I’ve really struggled with how to review this book. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a romance novel, and certainly not erotica, that left me feeling so conflicted. McKenna’s writing is sexy, and engrossing, but the storyline left me feeling uneasy.
In the sake of full disclosure, you should know that this book is hardcore erotica. It deals with Samira and her husband Mike. Mike has a very specific fetish for cuckolding, or fantasizing about his wife being with another man. They have done roleplaying and things in the past to feed this fantasy and in Crosstown Crush decide to go all the way so that Mike can watch his wife have sex with another man.
They go online to a kink-specific website and meet Bern, who agrees to play into the couple’s plans. It starts with some kissing and flirting, and slowly develops into more as Mike decides he is aroused by watching the two. I say it is hardcore erotica because the book is mainly sex scenes, and not your run of the mill sex scenes either. There are very specific discussions of how Samira, Mike, and Bern want to feed this fetish, such as dealing with bodily fluids and dirty talk. It turns into threesomes, which eventually include some light male/male moments. I’m not saying any of this to disparage the book, in fact McKenna writes really sexy scenes, but any reader should know what to expect.
I honestly enjoyed the intense sexuality of this since there is such chemistry between the characters. Bern is easily the most likeable of the characters, and outshines Mike most of the time. I had heard of this kink before but this was my first time actually reading a whole novel that dealt with it to such a deep degree. For the first three-quarters of the book, I had planned to give it possibly an A grade. The end changed that.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but the ending killed this book for me. I get it, these characters are supposed to be real people. Samira and Bern are having really intimate sex, over a long period of time and the obvious happens, they develop feelings for each other. I’ve read ménage books before and that seems to be pretty typical. I guess the biggest difference here is that Samira and Mike are married. These aren’t three strangers who jumped into bed together. McKenna really has the characters broach the subject of where the fantasy ends and adultery begins. I won’t tell you where Samira, Mike, and Bern land in the end, I’ll just tell you I didn’t like it. I found myself thinking back to it days after I finished the book. In a way, that’s a compliment to McKenna, as her writing was skillful enough to make me actually care what happened to these three. Sadly, I just wasn’t comfortable with it, even with the reasoning presented by the characters.
All of that said, I think I’ll be trying out the next book in the Sins in the City series. I have liked several of McKenna’s other books, and I like her gritty, no holds barred approach to sex and romance; this plot just wasn’t totally for me.