by Cara McKenna
Series: Flynn and Laurel #2
Published by the Author (Self-Published) on November 22, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Erotic
Format: ARC, Ebook
Source: The Author
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I received an advance copy of this book from The Author.
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 is the long-awaited follow-up to Willing Victim by Cara McKenna. This book is not a standalone and needs to be read after the preceding book. I want to avoid spoilers, so this review will be intentionally vague.
Laurel and Flynn have a unique sexual connection in that they both enjoy a very specific form of kink: namely, role play and rape fantasy. This relationship is introduced and explored in Willing Victim.
When Brutal Game begins, Laurel and Flynn have been together for almost a year and their relationship is going strong. Flynn is still working construction and is part of the underground boxing scene. Despite having an engineering degree, Laurel continues to work as a waitress while searching for a job in her field. She knows that this job is temporary, but feels somewhat listless in the meantime, which contributes to her ongoing struggles with depression.
Their physical relationship is as intense as ever and they trust each other on a uniquely intimate level. But when the unexpected comes crashing into their lives, they are forced to deal with the toughest decisions either of them has ever faced.
As much as I enjoyed Brutal Game, it definitely goes to some angsty, dark places that I hadn’t expected–even more so than the first book. I’m still glad that I read it, but I’m not sure that I could re-read it any time soon. In contrast, I’d definitely read the first book again. As the title indicates, though, this story truly is brutal. I recommend this book, but with the caveat that it’s quite dark and absolutely needs to be read after Willing Victim.
Cara McKenna is a master of writing emotions. She captures the complexity of human relationships–especially how we have the ability to love each other so powerfully in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances. Ultimately, it’s that love that keeps us alive when nothing else can.
Rating: 4 stars