First Look: Cara McKenna’s Crosstown Crush

Cara McKenna
Crosstown Crush
Signet Eclipse / September 1, 2015 /
$9.99 print & $7.99 digital

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.

A title like Crosstown Crush gives the impression of a light, cheerful romantic comedy, but what’s on the page is the dark, twisty and emotional sexual exploration that readers have come to expect from author Cara McKenna. In fact, Mike and Sam’s story hearkens back to several earlier McKenna works like Willing Victim and the Shivaree series, where identity and kink and commitment are as hard to untangle as knots and the reader’s journey is as uncomfortable at times as the characters’. The reason for that is Mike’s appetites, his particular kink. It’s not one frequently found in erotic romance…and the term is one you’re more likely to find in a historical. Cuckhold.

Mike gets off on the humiliation of being cheated upon, of another man giving his wife what he can’t. An alpha outside the bedroom, in the bedroom it’s powerlessness and emasculation that turns him on. It’s something both his wife, Samira, and the reader have to adjust to. After all, being adulterous goes against everything we’ve come to accept about Happily Ever After, doesn’t it? But thanks to McKenna’s skill, we see Sam’s both devotion and her turmoil…and, eventually, her embracing of her own desires.

When they’d first started exploring Mike’s kink, Sam did as she had this evening—stayed out past dinenrtime and came home smelling of alien maleness. Back then, she’d simply worked late, then swung by the drugstore and rubbed samples from the men’s style magazines on her wrists. But having seen even in the past couple of years what their games did to her husband, she’d learned to revel in it herself. The same kink that had once belittled her now turned her into a powerful, wicked devil-goddess. A sexual supervillain.

It’s when Sam and Mike bring an actual third party into their relationship that the real wickedness begins, and the power begins to shift. Bern is an exhibitionist, and as different from Mike in looks and temperament as night from day. He and Samira hit it off—and strike sparks. Mike reaps the benefits, and many scorching cuckhold scenes follow, but McKenna makes sure that these encounters also raise tough questions. How far is too far to ask your spouse to go? Can you really trust a stranger? Can you really trust your heart? What actually constitutes cheating?

She should be hot for him, that was fine. If she could come from his touch—his mouth or hands or cock—all the better. But a crush? Why did that scare her so much?

Because Mike doesn’t get hard imagining my crush.

No, Mike didn’t fixate on soft things—first kisses, private and tender touches, the subtle trappings of romantic interest. For that matter, neither did Bern, she assumed. She was feeling something that belonged only to her, with no place in these games. She’d imagined having sex with any number of men she’d never, ever touch—strangers and celebrities and wholly fictional men—in the five years she’d been with Mike.

But I’ve never had a crush on one of them.

Mike sets parameters, he and Sam make rules, but human beings are complex and rules are easy to break. It’s no big shocker that Mike, Sam and Bern’s relationship hits a point where it’s no longer all fun and games.

What makes Crosstown Crush work, ultimately, is that McKenna fully embeds us not just in their kink scene but in Samira’s conflict and her growth. It’s not about cheating on her husband, or falling in love with Bern, so much as it is about her finding and fighting for what she needs. She spends years catering to Mike’s fantasies—when can she have what fulfills her? The drive to discover that was what kept me turning the pages. I was rooting for Sam to “get it” the whole time—whether she had to go crosstown to do so or just stay home!

Order a copy of Crosstown Crush by Cara McKenna:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Originally published on HeroesandHeartbreakers.Com

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