Series: Flynn and Laurel
Published by Cara McKenna on November 22nd 2016
The long-awaited sequel to Willing Victim.
Nine months ago Laurel walked into an underground boxing gym and found herself mesmerized by a stranger named Flynn—a man who fights hard and loves harder. Since then he’s taken her places where fear and curiosity clash in exquisite pleasure, where trust is the price of ecstasy, and in time their brutal games have become her kink as much as his.
But when real life intrudes and hard decisions demand action, will these two whose bond is rooted in fantasy take shelter in each other’s arms, or discover that lust is no substitute for a lasting commitment?
Brutal Game certainly wasn’t what I expected and yet it was satisfying in a way I didn’t see coming. Michael Flynn has been solidifed as one of my favorite romance heroes ever. In this short novella-length sequel to the famously wicked novella Willing Victim, he becomes almost tangible and I fell totally in love with him all over again.
To me, this story is all about the hero… he’s the heart and soul of it. He has a deliciously taboo kink (pretending he’s raping his lover, but it’s all consensual and there is no actual physical violence that would disturb people that dislike pain). He is also a construction worker and an underground fighter… he is blunt and gruff, but sweet and tender. He is protective, and strong… but wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s not perfect and never pretends to be. Cara McKenna doesn’t concern herself with creating a beautiful, unrealistic fantasy, this story is all about the raw… the real… the grit. Flynn is as imperfect as Laurel is and you know what? I love them just the way they are. The thrill of imagining being in bed with a man as masculine and real as Flynn is the actual fantasy.
There is a theme across this novella that may surprise many. If you want this to be about the kinky sex and nothing more, that’s not the case. I would say the kink acts more a side dish. The main course is Laurel and Flynn’s relationship and its progression through some tough, real-life situations. Is their bond just about the physical? About the high of the kinky sex? Or can it withstand the trials and tribulations that life throws their way?
I loved that Brutal Game ended up being much more than I expected. Was I dissapointed in the sex? I think it could have gone there a lot more, and I certainly would have enjoyed it. But I feel like that would have cheapened the story. Flynn and Laurel are about so much more. They’ve become so real in my mind that I feel as though they’re living, breathing people. I feel as though I could visit them if I ever went to Boston. That is the mark of a successful story.
My heart will always belong to Flynn and Willing Victim + Brutal Game will always remain reread worthy material.
BRUTAL GAME RELEASES NOVEMBER 22nd.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.