Willing Victim

Willing Victim - Cara McKenna I have a love-hate relationship with Ellora's Cave books. This one tipped it right back to love.This is my first Cara McKenna book and reading this was like the first time I had Xiao Long Bao. Yes the soup dumplings that I'm dreaming of right as I churn out this review. It was the wide-eyed variety of delightful surprise to discover on first bite that it's the expected dumpling AND a warm broth neatly wrapped in a flour pouch of heaven. This was an atypical romance with sharp dialogue and plot deceptively wrapped in the neat package of BDSM erotica. (I'm going to improve on the analogy but you get what I mean)It starts out very porny, splashing right in to the sexy premise, and I expected it to go a certain way. You know, lonely waitress meets an underground fighter with a very particular kink. Then Flynn starts to dole out these nuggets of honesty and blue-collar charm in an alcohol-free haze (Ginger ale?! okay, I'm down with that) that makes me recalibrate my alpha hero expectations. Then you have Laurel who initially comes across as a mindless, vapid, horntastic waitress looking to liven up her sex life (or even just her life, period) but ends up strong and relatable.I'd usually harp about the lack of secondary characters because it restricts plot development and it gets exhausting to read about just the same two people (nearly) the entire time. But for this one, it worked for the story it was trying to tell.Midway through I was so surprised how much I was liking it. The hot sexytimes and the dirty talk were expected and did its part for the story plenty well. But I also found myself looking forward to the non-sexy moments between Laurel and Flynn. Okay maybe the dirty talk did make me want to go to confessional after reading this (because boy, it really got a bit good dirty) but it didn't come across silly or contrived and certainly fit Flynn's character well.In the end I was satisfied with a good sexy, story and a hankering for ginger ale, dumplings and chicken pot pie. "Sorry.""Don't be sorry. I don't look at you and just see chicken pot pies and rape fantasies, you know."