Speed Dates with Connor and Rob: Her Best Laid Plans and UnBound by Cara McKenna

Posted 22 May, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review, Speed Date | 16 Comments

85 pages, ebook
Available now (April 2014)
Publisher: Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Experience Ireland—the dramatic beauty, the warm hospitality…and the smoking hot local guys!

Imagine nursing a pint in a cozy, authentic country pub, far from Cork’s busy city pulse. Getting here took you a plane, bus, taxi and…um, bicycle. But just as you’re resigning yourself to drinking beside grey-haired farmers, you see him—a man with the looks and charm to soothe any heartbroken girl.

He’s your bartender. Your really, really gorgeous bartender.

For American Jamie Webb—recently dumped and housesitting for two weeks—Connor Kelleher is like a six-course feast after a 23-year starvation diet. But it’s gotta be casual. She’s just begun rerouting her life after a three-year man-related detour. Still, a sexy romp (or twenty!) with Sexy McBartender?

But what happens when Jamie’s best-laid plans for no future plans with any man begin to change?

SPEED DATE: Question–Where is this bar? *books flight to Ireland* Jamie takes a little vacay to Ireland and winds up sipping pints opposite the hottest Irishman in the area. They hook up, explore the gorgeous country and each other. (Seriously, why do things like this never happen in real life?) What started out as a combo of rebound and vacation sex turns into something more. According to the Fabulous Book Pushers (I’m looking at you, Wendy and Karen!), this is one of her lightest, frothiest books (very satisfying, though!) so I ventured a little deeper into the Cara McKenna waters with my next date.

UNBOUND by Cara McKenna
268 pages, ebook
Available now (October 2013)
Publisher: InterMix
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.

Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…

Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.

SPEED DATE: Ooh, dark, self-destructive Rob. Self-exiled to the Highlands, avoiding people and temptation (in the form of drink and other things), Hot Rob finds Merry at death’s door at his solitary cottage and, despite his better judgement, takes her in and nurses her back to health. And, once back on her feet, Merry has the strongest desire to hang around this lonely, sad (and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous) man. Yeah, she wants to finish her trek but she also wants a little one-on-one time with Hot Rob. 

Then he reveals his kinks and, with it, a very vulnerable side, one that makes Merry even hotter for Hot Rob. I appreciated this kind of turnaround, since usually (in most of the erotica/romance I’ve read, anyway) this particular type of sex play is the guy doing it to the girl versus the girl doing it to the guy (no, I’m not going to tell you what it is. That’s Rob’s secret.). As dark as this story was, it was also incredibly romantic and sweet as Rob and Merry got to know and explore one another. 

I will definitely be reading more Cara McKenna (the Fabulous Book Pushers tell me I must read McKenna’s Curio series. Sounds like I have summer date plans!).

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

16 Responses to “Speed Dates with Connor and Rob: Her Best Laid Plans and UnBound by Cara McKenna”

  1. I like light and frothy! I also like Ireland, hot men and pubs! Obviously I need to read HER BEST LAID PLANS. I’ve yet to read anything from Cara McKenna, but the delicious Rob from UNBOUND has me thinking that I need to change this, too. I must read all the books you mention, Mary!

  2. Wendy & I have accomplished our mission! lol

    *flails with excitement*!!!! I’m so glad you’ve started reading McKenna’s books. I was a little worried when you started with Her Best Laid Plans because it’s much lighter and not at all like her others. So I’m glad you still liked the darker Unbound. Whew!

    You can go wrong with ANY of them but the Curio series is my absolute favorite.


    Eeeeep! You made my day! Can’t you tell by the !!!!! over usage lol

  3. Mary. I’m still waiting for the day when I’m going to stumble across an isolated cabin in the woods whilst hiking and, instead of a big, burly mountain of a main with way too much hair and way too few teeth, find an absurdly attractive man who should spend the entirety of his life naked just so I can ogle him. When do you think that day will come?

  4. Those steamy covers always make me want to try to fit these types of books in.

    Ooo the “speed dating” – have you ever really done it? I never have but I always find that thought entertaining – they are doing a “book speed dating” session at BEA this year I hear.

  5. Exploring Ireland with a hottie?! I can totally do that. Are we there yet!?
    And I love this idea of him nursing her to health in such isolation. I bet it makes for some steamy momets. But like Carmel, I was a bit distracted by that cover. Yum.

  6. I just read Hard Time by this author this past weekend and quite enjoyed it — it was the perfect combination of sexy and sweet. I wasn’t sure what to read next by her, but thanks for these mini-reviews, Mary! I’ll be checking them out for sure!(:

  7. “Hot Rob” ha! Also – an Ireland setting? Wee! I love it when books are set overseas I just find them so much more atmospheric and compelling!

  8. I will meet you at that bar! Both of these sound fantastic. I’ve been wanting to read Cara McKenna for awhile anyway, but you just gave me that extra push of motivation. The weekend is looking mighty fine 😉

  9. Oh I love her books! Unbound wasn’t my favorite of hers but I enjoyed it too. So far my favorites are Willing Victim (edgier than her others I thought) and After Hours. Omg I loved that one! Totally had me hooked on her.