A Must Read: BADGER by C.M. McKenna

Adrian Birch is nobody. 

She once sold her sister’s engagement ring to get numb on Vicodin. Now in recovery, out of work, and burrowed in a dingy Boston apartment, it’s clear sobriety doesn’t make her somebody.

The first time she feels something isn’t when her wrist is broken from a hit-and-run but when the accident is avenged by a local antihero, the Badger. Then Adrian isn’t numb. She’s obsessed.

She scores her next hit of the Badger by faking a suicide attempt on a bridge over the Charles River. After her rescue, she takes what she needs however she can get it — following the hooded vigilante through the streets of Boston, forcing encounters until she knows better than anyone alive that the Badger is trouble. 

He has no remorse. No moral code. He’s nothing but a ball of human impulse racing through the streets on a ten-speed with a paint gun weaponized against petty injustice. But he’s her buzz that kills the numb. Just the latest addiction Adrian can’t seem to quit.

When Boston police put a price on the Badger’s head, her actions spawn a movement she can’t control, and Adrian can’t guess if she’s saving the Badger, the city, or herself.

This review has been a long time coming and I've been struggling with writing it because I wanted to make sure it fully encompassed all of my feeling, because boy there are a lot. Let me start off by making it clear that BADGER is not a romance novel, and should not be read with the belief that because there are romantic elements it will end in a traditional happily ever after. Because you will get your heart broken if you go into reading it that way. This is not a story about misunderstood, scarred souls that find each other and heal one another's wounds, resulting in a blissful walk off into the sunset. BADGER is filled with raw, primal, often uncomfortable emotions that smack you across the face leaving a sting you can't help but crave more of. The characters worm their way deep into your heart and even when they do things you don't agree with and can't understand, you feel like they're a grittier, bolder extension of yourself. 

You just can't help but be pulled in by Adrian's obsession with Boston's "bargain basement Batman". She's a semi-neurotic, awkward 27 year old (something I understand) who is drawn to a man who is completely emotionally unavailable. No matter how much he confuses and hurts her, she can't help but be pulled back to him and the excitement he stirs in her. She may be a calming force for him, a break from his chaotic thoughts and anger, but for Adrian, Badger is an electric pulse waking her from the numbness she's always struggled with. There's just something so wrong but so incredibly erotic about these two together. Unfortunately, like his name would suggest, Badger is a snarling, clawing, feral animal and a lasting, loving relationship isn't really in the cards for him. 

BADGER gave me all the feels. Seriously, not even one emotion was left unfelt. I fell hard for these characters, had my heart bombarded and battered by emotions, and was left with a serious book hangover. C.M. McKenna is nothing short of a wordsmith. This book made me laugh and weep like a baby. Being able to connect to this novel on such a profound level is what truly makes this a five-star read in my book. BADGER is dark, dirty, uncomfortable, poignant, heart-wrenching and beautiful. I could throw around adjectives for days but the bottom line is that BADGER is an absolute must read. If you're looking for a deep, emotional novel to devour look no further than BADGER by C.M. McKenna, But be prepared. This one might just bite you back. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

C. M. McKenna, writing as Cara McKenna and Meg Maguire, is an award-winning author of more than thirty-five romances and erotic novels. Her books are acclaimed for their fresh voice and defiance of convention. A recent transplant from Boston, she now lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest, where people make a startling amount of eye contact. You can find her online, at www.caramckenna.com, or on Twitter at the handle @caramckenna.

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