The Road Back | Matt’s Smut Vault

It’s time to review a full length-er for the Smut Vault this week. At first, I had debated which “category” today’s selection would be the best fit, and decided that a final read of the novel’s back cover would serve as the tie-breaker. Peering into the top left corner I see the word written plain as day…”Erotica.” Well that answers that issue, so we extend our warmest welcome to the Vault Ms. Machado, and we promise to treat you well. Let’s hit the road (literally), and discover a little more about a long form erotica with a unique personal touch.

The Road Back by Marla Machado pushes the boundaries of romance so hard that in a vacuum it’s hard to distinguish from erotica. Not that it should matter of course, fans of both styles will feel right at home reading this book. Our protagonist, Karina is the all-american mom, wife, and Assistant District Attorney whose life is suddenly crashing down around her. Her husband, a police officer, was tragically shot in the line of duty, leaving Karina as a widow with two children to care for. Thankfully, there is no monetary concern as family needs are taken care of due to the late husband’s careful planning, as well as some help from his old partner on the force. However, Karina still needs to find a way to return to normal. Starting a new job as general counsel for a fancy tech company, Karina has just one more desire that needs fixing. Some may not think it’s right, but in a very realistic exchange, Karina graphically gets “back in the game” after a night in the club. Boy, that anonymous fling sure felt familiar, and soon she realizes the tech company is owned by an old flame (her first love actually) which Karina knew before her husband. Oh geez, will her life ever feel normal again?

There’s a personal feel to the writing style from the author that gives The Road Back a special touch. The word choice and tone has a homegrown vibe, not employing the usual prose and tricks of a more polished modern novel. This concept is emphasized by the first person diary-esque narrative as Karina speaks directly to us through most of the proceedings. I found this charming, but those little imperfections could be something to deal with if you’re particular as a reader. Karina is pouring her soul into this story as a narrator, so the flaws of her expression work as a benefit in this writing style. Speaking from Karina’s point of view also makes for some interesting experiences when the clothing comes off too! Speaking of which…

Sawyer, the leader of the tech company (and Karina’s old flame) takes every opportunity to win Karina’s heart with fancy trips and expensive favors…along with the ever present steamy doses of ol’ vitamin D. It’d be hard to say no, but the novel’s conflict is best examined as Karina gravitates towards the alpha male. She seems all too eager to be wrapped around Sawyer’s finger, despite the notion that even she knows this is all happening too fast. Some people in her life are supportive, others are pretty much shit, and Karina struggles to regain the control her life had when her husband was still around. The intensity of her problems escalates appropriately, keeping the reader engaged as Karina’s past and present are simultaneously challenging her friendships, her career, and her heart. The topics get a little deep towards the end, including a kick ass Law & Order style sub-story, but by the final whistle we get closure where we need it… be sure to have the tissues on stand-by.

Verdict: The Road Back by Marla Machado is a wonderful debut novel by an author that has all the tools to make a name for herself in the erotic lit world. The “Alpha Male” style of story can be a rough one to polish…to truly feel real. In this story’s context however, it’s nice to see a circumstance where you can conceive why we’re falling for the rich guy in an expensive suit (and not just for the quality bedroom visits). I’m excited to stay on The Road’s long journey, it’s well worth the trip.

Special thanks to Marla Machado for providing a copy of The Road Back to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions contained within this review are my own.
Author’s Twitter:
@marla_arce
Purchase Link:
Amazon

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