Book Review

HARD TIME
by Cara McKenna

Genre: Contemporary Romance, General Contemporary Romance, E-book
Sensuality: SCORCHER

RT Rating

McKenna has crafted an intense, at times dark, heated romance. Eric's letters to Annie are simply beautiful and build to a physical and emotional relationship that is completely addictive. The author approaches inmate life with sensitivity and is careful not to sensationalize relationships between inmates and women on the outside, which gives Annie and Eric's relationship greater depth.

Public librarian Annie Goodhouse has created a new, albeit lonely, life for herself in suburban Michigan after leaving her abusive ex. When she takes on a new position as the outreach librarian for a nearby correctional facility, she's nervous, yet eager to help inmates with their reading and writing skills. But her gaze keeps wandering towards one reserved, handsome felon — Eric Collier. When Eric begins sneaking her the most intimate of love letters, Annie is overwhelmed by long-buried feelings she hasn't experienced in years. When she returns his letters with sensual missives of her own, the two begin a very forbidden exchange. Soon, Eric is unexpectedly granted early parole and Annie must decide if she's willing to make their written words a reality. (INTERMIX, dl. $3.99)

*Web Exclusive Review*

Reviewed By: Elisa Verna

Publisher: INTERMIX

Published: April 2014

Reader Rating

4 Stars

Average Rating: 4 Stars
(6 ratings)

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LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Hard Time

Submitted by MichelleLOlson on May 3, 2014 - 12:52pm.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Vivacious Valkyrie - Marta:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review

Annie Goodhouse was in an abusive relationship and it marked her deep inside where no one can see. She hasn't trusted any man in nearly five years since but she's not down and out. No, Annie s a fighter and she's reinvented herself and moved away. Anne has taken control of her life and now has her dream job of a librarian and looks forward so much to opening the eyes of those who need it and bringing hope and fulfilment where she can. It may not be the dream of everyone but for Annie it's filled with possibilities to truly give and she's about to learn more about herself and just what she really needs.

Annie's new job is filled with challenges and one of them involves spending one day a week at Cousins the local prison giving literacy classes and computer based learning activities. Her first day is terrifying but one of the inmates really captures her attention. Eric Collier is possibly the most sexy specimen of bad boy that Annie has ever clapped eyes on. He's tall, dark, gorgeous and a felon! Maybe not what you would expect a well brought up young woman to want to take home but Annie just cant stop thinking about him.

Eric knows he deserves to spend time locked up for his violent crime and he's unrepentant . He's what some would consider white trailer trash but he believes that family and loyalties truly matter. Now he's finally met a woman who sees something in him that no other ever has and Eric so wants to really get to know more about Annie. She's a breath of fresh air at Cousins and for some strange reason she seems to get him. Eric boldly starts corresponding with Annie and amazingly enough she not only doesn't report him but actually answers his letters! Their letters quickly become more daring and passionate as they express the fantasies they both have but what would happen if Erc was released? Would Annie run away or towards him?

I really did not know quite what to expect from this novel. It's a new author to me and I don't read an awful lot of contemporary books but wow such an unusual story. The idea of forbidden love is not a new one but I felt it was tackled by Ms McKenna in a refreshingly novel manner . I'm sure that Annie's almost immediate infatuation with Eric may seem a little tacky and unprofessional to some readers but the author cleverly manages to show the heroines innermost turmoil and it did not at any point feel that either partner took advantage of the other. In fact when you read the letters that are exchanged it's quite revealing just how desperately alone both of the central characters really feel. Finding a little lightness in what is otherwise a very dark world and Eric's letters are quite moving to read. Yes they are full of passion but the reader is given a sense that he truly wants to do good.

This was a captivating read that kind of blindsided me really. I was expecting tears and heartache with lots of passion that would conclude when Eric left prison but that would have been far too predictable . No this author daringly continues the story long after Eric leaves prison and that's probably where the bulk of the characters true journey to happiness takes place. A word of warning though as there is a lot of sexual exploration between the two central characters that some readers might find shocking but it's definitely an essential part of what makes these two characters learn to trust each other. Surprisingly their first encounter was so not what I expected but in order to experience that you will have to read this book!

Well worth a read and I would definitely read more from Ms McKenna.