A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…
Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.
Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.
What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.
Review by Jenny & Gitte
Jenny: We both read and loved Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim and her writing style, and couldn’t wait to get stuck into After Hours and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. I will say that I did find some similarities in both books but this in no way detracted from my love of this story.
We first meet Kelly Robak, a deliciously brash, hard, direct, imposing, alpha male who is pretty rough around the edges and somewhat closed off emotionally. He is what he is, makes no apologies and after having been dealt some blows from life he has built up a persona that guards him from his emotions and deals with his life by compartmentalising his feelings. This man is direct and says what he thinks but is so guarded and suppresses the hurt that has affected him in his past. Yet this man mountain, with his buzz cut and scars is a calming presence at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital. An orderly at the hospital, he is respected by his peers and admired by the patients. I absolutely loved Kelly. He completely won me over with his brash personality and direct way of speaking.
“He was an impenetrable unscaleable presence, gray and huge and immovable. Comforting to everyone in the room. Me in particular” – Erin
Erin Coffey starts her first day at the Hospital and after an intense, emotionally charged day is completely wiped out and questioning her career choice when she is asked by Kelly to join him for a drink. Kelly is the type of man Erin has sworn off.
“A man needs meat, sleep, and pussy, to keep from going insane” – Kelly
The type of bad choice man her mother always seemed to pick. Erin is at first shocked and turned off dominant Kelly and his bluntness but then begins react to his dominance and directness and is intrigued by what Kelly brings to the table..
“When I’m off, I want what I want, the way I want it” – Kelly
Gitte: I couldn’t wait to get stuck into After Hours. I absolutely love how this Author writes, it’s written with passion and reads with pure emotion; it’s gritty and raw; ugly yet beautiful. I was reminded again how deeply I get sucked in, feeling every emotion this Author’s characters feel.
I loved our main characters Kelly and Erin. They were both from broken homes; they had both struggled and could have gone down the wrong path in life. The strength and determination of both was awe inspiring as they were adamant that despite their heavy baggage they would not succumb to a fate that could so easily have replicated where they came from. They fought to be different despite their scars and their reluctance to give their hearts and their trust to another. To each other.
Them working in a place where they saw daily pain and suffering was a testament to this strength and dedication. I believe that what they have seen in their life served to provide them with an understanding and a want to help others, but being helped somehow in return themselves through their working environment.
Jenny: Both Kelly and Erin have been deprived of any form of nurturing by the ones who should have loved them, protected them and been there for them when they were growing up. Both are drawn to one another through sexual desire, and wow! The sex scenes certainly do sizzle in this one, they are certainly played out in detail slowly and very erotically!
“My heart stopped. He’d peel me like a banana if I let him. I couldn’t’ remember a man ever looking at me like that, like there was a Very Important Message printed on the bare skin under my clothes and that reading it was a matter of life and death” – Erin
These two have a sexual chemistry that is off the charts, but this was so much more than a sexual connection. These two have something more.
“We got a little something between us, don’t we?” – Kelly
There is a deep connection that neither wants to admit to. They’ve become experts at deflecting those feelings and Erin rationalises in her head why this “thing” between them couldn’t work, yet thinking that maybe it could.
Erin has always been the nurturing kind. She takes care of herself and others. That’s her way. Kelly so male, so primal, so alpha and dominant goes against everything Erin ever desired yet finds she relates to Kelly and feels protected in a way she has never felt before, their feelings are so raw and as they learn to open to one another emotionally, you sense the shift as barriers are broken and both Kelly and Erin creep into each other’s psyche and hearts. Can this, whatever it is, nurture and develop, can it be sustained?
“My heart hurts. So bad”
I enjoyed this story between two people guarding their hearts, not expecting much from one another but who take away more than they ever thought possible. Kelly and Erin felt real, their feelings believable and this gritty read was erotic, beautifully drawn and told with emotion,passion and humour and you will find yourself championing these two to the very end.
Gitte: Oh how I loved Kelly the huge brooding, controlled and brutally gorgeous scarred man. He was a formidable force. Like a breath of fresh air, he was so stoic and commanded everything through his pure power. Quiet really on the whole but this making every word he said that much more powerful, whether it was when he made his dominating sexual demands, showed his protective side or when he tried to figure Erin out and help her bring her out of herself.
What started, as I suppose, a ‘two-night stand’ with him in charge turned into so much more and uncovered so many wants, needs and desires but not without a truly bumpy self-realisation ride for both of them.
“My mouth could deny my interest in Kelly all day long, but my pussy didn’t lie. He felt like more than a single person. Two hands, a hard body, a mean voice. A one-man orgy. I’d leave here limping, just as he’d promised.” – Erin
“I watched him go, a tower of lean muscle and scar tissue camouflaging more secrets than I’d realized.” – Erin
The sexual chemistry between Kelly and Erin was truly addictive. It was intense and almost became a fight of wills and self-protection.
Erin has always been the protector, the care-giver and has had to show immense strength. This role is hard to let go which is why she fights. She finds it incredibly hard to not only let go of this fierce grip she has on herself but also, she is unable to let anyone else take this role and turn it on her. She fights Kelly and what she ultimately feels for him every step of the way. She does acknowledge the connection and the attraction and knows she can’t resist him, but she is petrified of letting her tight reigns slip from her grasp.
“He was the best lover I’d ever had. So far ahead of the competition, I couldn’t even recall their names or faces.” – Erin
I loved the setting of this story, it was unusual and a refreshing change and I found it really moving how two characters who were struggling with their own demons worked as a nurse and an orderly in a psychiatric ward where they showed compassion, hope and humour.
Reading After Hours I felt so despondent, then hopeful with a smile on my face, then lost all over again but overall I felt sad….so very sad throughout and despite having an HEA my heart felt heavy and with a huge sigh I reluctantly turned my kindle off when it ended. I would have loved an epilogue perhaps going a few years down the line to see them get the ‘normal’ they both so deserved. That being said, I truly loved this story, its characters and the passionate and fierce impression it left on my heart.
Jenny: 4 Stars
Gitte: 4 Stars
ARC supplied by Penguin via Netgalley for an honest review