by Cara McKenna
Series: Sins in the City #1
Published by Signet on September 1, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Erotic, Menage
Buy: Amazon, B&N
Add to Goodreads
When he’s working, Mike Heyer is all business—every inch the alpha male, with the hard, capable body to back up his persona. But at home he can be a different man entirely, harboring appetites only his wife gets to glimpse…
When Samira first learned of her husband’s fantasies, she was reluctant, even alarmed. But after witnessing the way they set him on fire, she yielded, and happily indulged. As their games have intensified, so has the rush. And now so has the risk—they’re poised to take Mike’s indecent desires to the next level, by opening their bed to a sexy, brazen stranger. A man seeming custom-made to grant every last one of Mike and Samira’s sinful wishes.
Welcoming someone new into their lives was always a dangerous proposition, but the couple imagined if anything was at stake, it was their privacy…not their hearts.
Crosstown Crush is book #1 in Cara McKenna’s Sins in the City series, a series of standalone books that focus on menage. This book is unlike any other I’ve read before, for the main reason that it focuses heavily on kink, specifically cuckolding. In this case, the husband’s sexual desire is wrapped up in the fantasy of his wife cheating on him. I wasn’t sure if I would like this book—in fact, that’s why I’ve waited so long to read it, even though I’m a big fan of Cara McKenna. But I only wish I had read it sooner because it’s a fascinating look at one couple’s sexual dynamic and how everything changes when they bring a third person into the bedroom and, subsequently, into their lives.
Samira/Sam (an actuary) and Mike (a detective) have been together for several years and married for a few. They have a good relationship and Sam has never found their sex life lacking in any way. However, just before they married, Mike confessed to her that he frequently fantasized about her cheating on him. Sam didn’t know what to make of this at first. She didn’t understand Mike’s unconventional turn-ons, but over time, agreed to indulge him in the fantasy.
And that’s all it was in the beginning: fantasy. Sam would come home late, having spritzed herself with men’s cologne so that she would have someone else’s scent on her, allowing Mike to become suspicious and questioning. She would then concoct a story, for example, about a random guy she met in a bar and later hooked up with. The more detailed, the more effective it would be for Mike. The humiliation aspect is what really does it for him, so Sam learns how to be inventive enough to push all his buttons.
Eventually, Sam considers whether Mike would ever agree to take things to the next level and make his fantasy a reality—meaning, actually bring another man into their games. Sam doesn’t share Mike’s kink in the sense of having the same turn-ons, but she indulges him because she wants to make him happy and give him what he craves sexually.
Although both Sam and Mike have hesitations about the idea, they trust each other and decide to go for it. After placing an online ad and weeding through the less savory replies, they contact Bern, who seems like an attractive (and more importantly, sane and stable) prospect.
Bern is an electrician and a very likable guy with not much emotional baggage. He also ticks all of Sam and Mike’s boxes when it comes to their requirements for the perfect cuckold. Interestingly, Bern has a kink of his own because he gets off on being watched. So, it seems that he’ll be a good match since Mike will always be watching.
Sam and Bern’s first meeting goes well and although they don’t have sex that first night, it’s clear that they have a strong, tangible chemistry. Both Sam and Mike were nervous to see how things went; after the night is over, they’re in agreement that they want to pursue things with Bern and see how far they can go.
Gradually, Sam and Bern continue meeting regularly with Mike off to the side so that he can observe them. The games escalate and become more intense. Along the way, Sam discovers that she just might have a kink or two of her own.
Not surprisingly, all three of them find themselves more entangled than they ever anticipated. Beyond sex, Sam and Bern find themselves becoming attached to each other emotionally, an unintended consequence. When things come to a head, a decision must be made whether the games can continue, or if Sam and Mike’s marriage has been irrevocably altered.
Cara McKenna is a master at capturing the conflicting emotions involved for all three characters. I didn’t understand Mike’s kink much in the beginning, but as the story goes on and it’s explored, it becomes apparent that it’s something hardwired into his sexuality. With Sam, at first I didn’t get how she could go to such drastic lengths to indulge Mike’s kink. But she proves to be utterly devoted to his happiness. As for Bern, initially I felt that he had the least to lose in this arrangement. However, as emotions become more intense, lines become blurred, then crossed. I realized how much Bern actually has to lose once he becomes emotionally attached to Sam.
The sex scenes are off the charts. I can’t even rate them. No, maybe I can. I’m talking 20 out of 20 jalapenos, that’s how intense and well-written these scenes are. In addition, there’s a lot of sexual tension even when sex isn’t happening actively on the page.
Ultimately, I felt a little skeptical about the ending, just because I wanted everyone to be happy and I questioned the sustainability of the current arrangement. But in the end, everyone seems pretty content with each other and it’s a satisfying ending to a fascinating story.
Crosstown Crush far exceeded my expectations and put my initial reservations to rest. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Rating: 5 stars