Review: Downtown Devil by Cara McKenna


Title: Downtown Devil (Sins in the City #2)
Author: Cara McKenna
Genre: Erotic romance
Release Date: 21 June 2016

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Tumblr / Goodreads

My rating: 5 Stars
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At the edge of thirty, Clare is feeling restless. Even though she’s gainfully employed and pursuing her passion for photography, she can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing. Then she meets Mica. A perfect subject for her portrait exhibit, Mica is sexy, exciting, and everything Clare desires. 

One night with the charismatic stranger is all it takes to leave her craving more. But the intensity Mica brings isn’t confined to the bedroom, and Clare wonders if this summer fling might turn more adventurous than she anticipated—especially as a curious energy starts to simmer between the two of them and Mica’s handsome roommate, Vaughn.

As the three-way tension mounts, Mica makes a sinful proposal. It’s an invitation Clare can’t pass up, and an erotic encounter she’ll never be able to forget. Caught up between two irresistible men, Clare is about to get all the excitement she’s been looking for—and then some...


This is the second book in Ms McKenna's series of contemporary erotic menage romance Sins in the City and it's probably the best of her erotic writings I have read. And I'm not saying this lightly since I'm a huge fan of her books in general.

This one is special, I think. At least it felt that way to me. I'm not a big fan of menage romance but like many of the other tropes and elements in romance I don't particularly like, when they are exceptionally well done and read convincing and engaging to me, I do enjoy them a great deal.

The focus of the story falls on the heroine, Clare, and her exploration of her sexuality and her relationships but things gradually shift and the more we see of Mica and Vaughn (friends and roommates and in a way, the male love interest in the story), the more romance becomes about all of them, their sexuality and identity, the way they see themselves, their love lives, fears, hopes and dreams.

There is also a strong emphasis on the mixed race of the characters from the very beginning and I very much like the way Ms McKenna explored their identity and how it affected them and the relationships they build with the people they meet in their lives. They all follow their own paths and when the three of them cross, it's the time to be honest with oneself, to be open and to push boundaries and taboos.

One of the things I liked the most in this story is how refreshingly unpredictable the romance felt to me. I knew there will some kind of HEA/HFN at the end but there were so many moments in the story where I really couldn't imagine how it will all play out in the end. I considered a number of possible outcomes and they all seemed viable and fitting. It's not very common in romance and I absolutely loved it - the not-knowing, the guessing, the author making the reader reconsider their own assumptions and expectations.

I will not go into details about the plot in order to avoid spoilers. I want only to say how much I appreciate the way Ms McKenna presented the sexuality of her characters in this story - no shaming, no judgement, just young people following their desires. There were false expectations and self-doubt, guilt and shame but also shared dreams and ecstasy, openness and acceptance and so much hope for future happiness. 

In short I loved everything about this story. I'd say it's the perfect erotic romance for me - hot and sensual with a strong and intriguing plot and amazing characters who grow and change before your eyes. The reader sees how sex and feelings and taboos and personal boundaries are explored and how they mix together in this complex net that makes our lives and shapes so much of our identity.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo

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