It is a very happy day for me when I get to read a new Cara McKenna novel. Since Amy first introduced her books to me last year, I have read her entire backlist and now grab up any new releases. One of my favorite thing about her writing is the heroes. They are dirty, alpha men that grab you by the hair and don’t let go. Heh. When I first heard about Unbound I also heard that the hero might be submissive and have a certain kink I don’t normally associate with the man. But what Ms. McKenna writes, I read, so with only a bit of trepidation, I turned the first pages of Unbound.
Over the past year, Merry has had a lot of changes in her life. Her mother has passed away and she has lost a hundred pounds. With that hundred pounds she also lost a bit of herself or the knowing where she fits in life. She decides to take a three-week hike in the Scottish Highlands with the hope of finding that missing part. Two weeks into the trip she falls ill and looks for help. She finds help in the form of grumpy, antisocial Rob.
Rob lives in the wilderness of Scotland by choice. He has been there for several years and feels more in control of his life in the barren place where only he and his dog Nameless exist.
For days at a time, Rob could forget who he was. When the weather stayed fair, he moved like an animal along known paths, meeting the most basic of physical needs, his thoughts no more than sensory feedback.
Now Merry has blasted into that existence and changed everything. At first, he just wants her to get well and then be on her way. But things slowly begin to change. Rob opens up to her in a way that he never has with a woman before. He doesn’t know though if he can be what she wants or if he is permanently broken.
I have given a general plot outline because there are some small spoilers to the story that I feel like are better read in context. They aer things the reader learns pretty quickly however they are more authentic if you read them from Rob’s thoughts and not from me telling them to you. Rob is a very complex and haunted man, running from something that he never took the time and care to fix while at the same time being ashamed of certain desires. Rob is generally not my type of man however Ms. McKenna pours so much feeling and heartbreak into him that I couldn’t help but fall for him.
The first 20% of the book is slower than normal because of the setup. Once it gets going though, oh wow, it is dirty and mesmerizing. Ms. McKenna gives us a book without any outside interruptions. It is pretty amazing to sit down and read just about the two main characters and nothing else. There are no distractions to pull you away from focusing on them and only them so it allows the reader to get to know this couple in a way that is deeper than normal because that is all we have on these pages.
Unbound is a very emotional, tug at your heartstrings type of book. Ms. McKenna has a gift for making the angst jump off the page here. Rob is such a challenging character that at times, I almost felt that Merry was not going to be enough for him. I had some minor heart palpitations when even Merry questions her ability to be what Rob needs. The end of the story was only as it could be. It was thoughtful and hopeful. I am not sure if there are more plans for this couple but I would sure love to read more.
While this wasn’t the type of book I have come to expect from this author it was still so very good. It reminded me a bit of The Reluctant Nude (Meg Maguire) in the way it was written only around our main characters. I think fans of Ms. McKenna and all romance lovers will fall in love with this couple, just as I did. Final grade- A-
“You’re lovely, and warm, and the most beautiful person I’ve ever met. In every sense.” Her lips pursed and quivered. “And I want to make you feel those things you need. I know….I know I’m not quite right. But I’ll do the best I can.” Until a more deserving man comes along and sees everything I do in you. I’ll suffice, if you’ll let me.