Review: Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

willing-victimReviewed by Joanna

This is a novel which carries a bit of shock value to it, in that it’s a story about a kink. A rape fantasy kink to be exact. Bear with me whilst I walk you through it.

Girl sees big handsome guy defend someone in the street, fancies him, asks him out, he says no because he’s into stuff most women don’t like. So far, so intriguing. But when he tells her what he likes, or actually, his current lover does most of the explaining, our heroine doesn’t run screaming. Which is good, as otherwise there would be no story.

The tale is told from Laurel’s POV only (that it has been remastered from a 2010 edition might explain that). She’s a waitress, though actually an engineering grad who has lost interest in her profession. She’s pretty self-contained, but you get the impression she’s searching for something or adrift in some way. Maybe that’s what adds to her boldness.

Flynn, our guy, is tall, muscular, confident, and a hard ass. He’s a construction worker by day and an illegal fighter in an underground boxing club by night. He wins his fights and he screws after.

Now the bit I didn’t expect is this is where the clichés end. Flynn isn’t a wounded hero who just needs a bit of TLC to make him love just one woman, and Laurel isn’t the mousy type who’s so sweet he can’t stop tapping that. She gets into his kink and over the next couple of weeks they explore this world together.

“…I’ll tell you now, I won’t be calling you tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, so don’t get into a stink when I don’t. None of the normal dating rules apply to this. I know what goes on here is twisted as far as most people are concerned, and I don’t want to be the creepy fucker callin’ up some girl he accidently freaked out. If you decide you want to do this again, you call me. You decide I’m a jerk, don’t. My feelings won’t be hurt.”

Flynn is clear with Laurel what he wants, though not why, and after meeting him in a basement boxing ring under a dive bar, she proceeds to go back to his place to watch him in action with another woman. I could’ve done without this, to be honest. It didn’t do anything for me, or really all that much for the story, but it’s there if you like/don’t like that sort of thing. (The other lover goes away, so don’t worry about any repeats.)

So, rape fantasy. The words make me shudder, but actually what they got up to was pretty standard role play, nothing particularly violent and definitely not that scary. He was mean and bossy, and a little rough, she kept saying no and fighting him off and they both loved it. Flynn doesn’t really want to hurt a woman, he’d be devastated if he did by accident, and Laurel just enjoys the game. She’s in control and he responds to their safe word in a heartbeat.

There was no sadism, not much in the shock factor and I have read far worse in BDSM type books where the guy is getting off on punishing the woman. Flynn doesn’t seem to be doing that. He’s actually a total sweetheart. They also have standard sex, so his big speech goes out the window in pretty short fashion.

There is a bit of a flip nearer the end, where their personalities changed a little, and some threads are left untied. I think this was done to turn it from a single novel to a series. I spy a second book available, and I might well go on to read it as this so I can get to the HEA. This is only a HFN so far.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

Willing Victim
by Cara McKenna
Release Date: July 8, 2016

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