AFTER HOURS, by Cara Mckenna
Author: Cara McKenna
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Genre: Erotic Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Intermix
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE 18+
Contains no spoilers
Explicit language, Sexual Situations etc.
Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.[divider top=”0″]
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I didn’t go into this with high expectations, the cover was stock, the name had me rolling my eyes and the blurb sounded alpha-boy boring. However, this story actually pleasantly exceeded my underwhelming outlook. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it wasn’t the same-old formula and sometimes shaking it up just a little is exactly what a reader needs to push a moderately unoriginal tale into the realm of satisfying and intriguing.
SYNOPSIS: A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…
Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.
Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.
What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need
THE LOWDOWN: When I first received this book, my thoughts went immediately to the run-of-the-mill erotic stories that have been saturating the market. You know the one, perfect rich guy meets even more perfect super young girl, they fall head over heels in love instantly, he rules her world, they have hot sex everywhere and then something super-duper bad happens right before their happily ever after, forcing her to leave him temporarily. During this time away, she figures out she was partly at fault and they work it out just in time to get that happily ever after, after all.
In After Hours, all that pretense is gone. You have two underachieving small town people struggling at life and working in a cesspool of craziness. The town is a Podunk, middle of nowhere rural community, the backdrop a psychiatric facility that houses criminals, both of which add a gritty and realistic effect to the story. The glamorous parties or fundraisers with sexy car rides where the lusty protagonists get hot and heavy are replaced by a goodbye party held at a dorm like facility where everyone stands around awkwardly wondering what to say to the new girl. In fact, not one character was that exceptional, none of them were rich or even middle class, and high school was considered well-educated. And I liked it.
The male protagonist was scarred physically and emotionally, he wasn’t much of a talker and what he did say, had purpose and meaning. He was a character that I could see holding a real job while trying to find his place in the world, someone I might have known. He had issues and sometimes they seemed far-fetched, but they fit the character. Oh and he wasn’t in his twenties. In fact he was well into his thirties.
Then there was the girl who was designed to be attractive, but I never felt like she was more than just the cute “new girl” that everyone wanted to get to know a little better. She had issues too, but she was a stand up gal who just wanted to take care of her messed up family. Oh and her panties didn’t fall off the minute she saw the boy. Yes, the attraction was there, but they weren’t shouting their undying love for each other from the rooftops after only two hours of talking.
I didn’t give it four stars, though. Not because I didn’t like the story, because I did. The sex was gratuitous, but appropriate for the couple because they were stark and graphic, and the story was interesting enough, not mind-blowing, but attractive. It was good, not great and the story was slightly slow to go, but that didn’t make a whole lot of difference in the long run. If this story tread a little farther off the beaten path, taken just a few more chances, I might have pushed the rating up even farther, but it played it just safe enough to stay slightly above good.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: If you are still into the erotic genre, but are like me and don’t want everything to be unicorn and rainbow perfect all the time, then this is the book for you. It balances realistic elements into the story, while still fulfilling the erotic fantasy.