Title: Willing Victim
Author: Cara McKenna
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Buy Link: Buy Willing Victim Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed by: Mickey
For the past couple years Laurel's been coasting, hiding in the backseat while her life drifts off course. Then one summer afternoon a tall, built bruiser named Flynn strides in and steers her straight into an infatuation she never saw coming.
Flynn introduces Laurel to things she's never imagined-to the violent but exciting realm of the underground boxing circuit, to rough sex and even rougher role-playing, and to an attraction she craves even as it intimidates her. As Flynn invites her deeper into his world and his life, Laurel has to make a choice-let fear keep her holed up where it's safe, or take a chance and fight for the man who makes her feel more alive than she'd dreamed possible.
I am sure that Ms. McKenna's disclaimer causes some initial hesitation prior to reading Willing Victim, it certainly did for me. Yes, she does utilize rape situations or role-playing for her characters' love scenes, yet they are done in a nonviolent and tasteful manner. Is this a contradiction - rape and nonviolence, probably however, in this instance Ms. McKenna's scenes are more sensual and ultimately loving than one would expect. Perhaps, remembering that rape is a crime of violence, and Willing Victim is a novel centered in passion outlines the differences between the two acts. In addition, Laurel and Flynn actually begin to care for each other with that affection immediately apparent, and it is even more evident as time goes on. The romance is always there throughout regardless of what position, no pun intended, the characters happen to find themselves.
I was truly surprised at how much I liked this story! The characters are normal everyday people, slightly flawed but somehow charming, the dialogue is quick and sparkling, the plot plausible and highly engaging. Watching Laurel and Flynn struggle to understand their developing relationship, especially when they tried so hard to avoid any hint of one, is both wonderful and amusing. Ms. McKenna knows how to see into the mind of the average couple and put their insecurities and fears out there for her readers to enjoy. Inserting a D/s element into her story, with both the level and the intensity of those scenes not to mention the raw sensuality, illustrates Laurel and Flynn's insecurities in their intimate moments. I can definitely say that Willing Victim is not a novel easily forgotten, but it is certainly one easily enjoyed.