This one is the second in a series that I’ve come to love, but I’m all over the place when it comes to reading the series. I read books four and five and then one and now two- see, all over. But I wanted to at least read this one before I read for review the novella follow-up with this threesome that will be out soon. Hard to read a follow-up without knowing what it’s following up, right? Plus, I’ve really enjoyed the glimpses of them that I got when they appeared in other books of the series.
So anyhow, about this story…in a nutshell? Loved it! My heart melted for all three of them at different times and some times when they were together. This was an erotic romance with BDSM and ménage so yes, it was sultry, but at its core, the author didn’t let it reduce to cheap and tawdry, stinting on the romance of three unique people and not (or not just) their titillating situation. The characters, their backgrounds, and the plot were strongly developed. Now, I did have two niggles that had to do with the denouement. One, and its the bloodthirsty nature in me, I wanted some real smack-down retribution against Jace’s ex for what she pulled. Two, I wanted more of what it was like to live as a ménage after the resolve. Maybe I’ll get my wish when it comes to both in the upcoming novella- I hope- because I’m powerful curious (and vengeful).
On to the story. The story is told from all three perspectives for narration, but predominantly by Evan and Jace. The story opens with a prologue of Evan and Jace’s encounter that was the catalyst for all that came after and then it jumps to present day when the three meet at a couple’s seminar hosted by Evan’s fiancé, Daniel. Evan is keeping so many secrets including the fact that Daniel is gay and his partner, Marcus is with them always as Daniel’s business manager. Daniel can’t be a marriage therapist and not be married and he is Evan’s best friend and the one she literally owes her life to so she willingly agrees to an engagement and marriage of convenience. It’s not like she plans to ever have a true relationship and start a family- that type of thing involves feelings, vulnerability and trust which she never plans on giving anyone to shatter again.
Jace is astounded to see that Evangeline is actually alive. After he screwed up badly back when he was nineteen with the emotionally unstable sixteen year old foster girl living with their family and she disappeared the next day, he thought she had died trying to live out on the streets destitute and alone. But he can see that life for Evan isn’t perfect even if she is engaged. And what is with her fiancé gifting her with a membership at The Ranch to let herself go with other men? Something isn’t adding up, but he knows one thing, no other Dom will touch her. He won’t ever, even for Evan, do a relationship after the number his ex did on him, but he can and will be the one to introduce her to his world and help her explore her submissiveness. Staying detached is harder than he thinks and Evan herself is so much more than he expected.
Andre has been Jace’s friend and roommate for years since the dark time when Jace’s wife nearly broke him. Jace means so much to him and he can’t go there with his straight friend or he’ll lose even the friendship, but the arrival of Evan on the scene changes the dynamics and now he wants it all and might be willing to risk it all by coming into the open with his hopes and dreams for both the sealed off and wary people he loves.
As I noted above, this story has a lot of heart. I haven’t read much ménage in the past, but what I have read seemed to rely more on the titillation factor more than anything to sell the book and the story was just some weak background bit. That was not the case in this one. The sexy times were squirm-worthy for sure, but they were also the vehicle to explore personality and the dynamics of a blooming ménage relationship. Even the BDSM explorations stayed on the lighter end due to Evan’s newbie-ness and the new relationship growing between the two men. Yep, that’s another thing. This is what I will call a true ménage in that all members are into all members. There is a variety of m/f, m/m, m/f/m, and hints of m/m/f going on. I have decided that I like this best because it rings more true to me for this type of relationship.
The general plot is very much relationship and character-oriented with the beginning of their coming together and hesitant start since all are keeping secrets and holding back to a certain extent, but near the end outside action does place pressure on the threesome and their relationship. I love how each story has some suspense attached to it. Now in this one, the suspense is small and short-lived, but still there. As I said, I would have liked more in the end, but there was enough closure to at least make me feel satisfied that the romance was in the right place.
On a side note, this book has like three different covers. Just a heads up so you don’t accidentally grab the same book twice thinking you got a hold of a new one in the series.
To wrap it up, this was another fabulous installment in the series. I’m loving how each installment offers such a differing romance scenario and situation yet tying all the stories together loosely too. I had no trouble reading this one out of order, but I think it did work out better getting it at least after the book before it to make sense of the encounters with other characters and mentions of past connections like with Jace and Reid. For those who enjoy a mild to moderate erotic romance that is strong on the romance and development, I would recommend this book and its series.