Sins in the City #1
Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from 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 a tricky read in terms of subject matter, a cuckolding kink–wherein a husband desires the humiliation of having his wife cheat on him with a man perceived as bigger and stronger than he is–a tough sell in the world of romance and happily-ever-afters. Ms. McKenna pulls it off beautifully though, delving deeply into Mike’s kink and peeling back its layers to allow us to see how something that would normally be enormously off-putting in a romance can actually be sexy, even if we (and Samira and Bern for that matter) can’t fully relate to that particular desire.
The key to the success of this story (for me) is the communication between all three parties, each person upfront with the others in what they want and need from the cuckolding fantasy so that everyone’s feelings can be addressed as things heat up. The conversations between husband and wife are particularly vital to us as readers, as the idea of a partner sleeping with someone else for most elicits feelings of hurt and anger. Those feelings make it difficult to fully wrap our minds around the appeal of a situation that in the beginning is physical between Samira and Bern only, with Mike taking a decidedly passive spectator role. Bearing witness to Samira’s questions for Mike and his attempts to explain what about this fantasy works for him helps soothe any ruffled feathers we might have though, ensuring we don’t pity Mike, get angry at Samira or wish Bern out of the picture as we likely would otherwise.
Ms. McKenna doesn’t take the easier path with this romantic arrangement either, one in which Mike and Bern develop feelings for one another as well to turn their relationship into a triad in truth, instead leading everyone down a rockier road as fantasy bleeds into reality and becomes infinitely more complex. We’re left with a satisfying ending (even if some uber romantics like me might wish for a happily in love triad), things between the three of them stable but a little more open in terms of what might happen moving forward. Overall, Crosstown Crush explores a kink that could have easily crashed and burned and left readers distinctly uncomfortable, but Ms. McKenna forces us in the most exquisitely sensual way to try and see things through the eyes of Mike, Bern and Samira in turn, and it’s nearly impossible not to get swept away in their games.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.