This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: M/M/M Romance, Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Riptide
Released on November 29, 2014
A delicious blend of ‘enemies to lovers to reunion romance’ all while expecting not one, but two hard hitting super secret organizations to descend upon them just made this unique ménage sci-fi romantic suspense unavoidable. For years, I have heard the praises of this series sung and, trust me, it wasn’t lack of interest that prevented me from starting it earlier. I saw that this one was shorter, it was a holiday-ish piece and of course all that yumminess that was mentioned above so I leaped into the seventh installment hoping I wouldn’t be hopelessly lost.
And I wasn’t by the way. The only loss that I can see is that I really want to get the rest of the series more than ever. This one did well as a standalone.
The story opens with one of those prologues where happy boys make heart-felt promises, but the reader is also aware of the dark clouds building on the horizon behind them and just knows that those promises are getting ready to get shot to Hades. After the prologue, things leap to the future when the happy boys are now hardened men who are far apart and hardened and battered by the lives they have led.
Justice works for the secret agency ACRO with the other gifted humans and regular humans with skills set to police the others like them who are set on using their powers for evil and harm to normal humans. He wouldn’t be anywhere else, but the past comes rushing back when he gets a desperate call from his one-time best friend and former lover who broke his word and split from Justice right when they needed each other. Both said hateful parting things. Now Tag needs him. ACRO wants Tag brought in because they are afraid that the dreaded Itor will grab up a gifted of his powers and use him. Justice might still be angry and hurt, but Tag sounded scared and desperate in that phone message.
Tag never wanted to make that call to Justice and would love to take it back now that things are set in motion, but Itor’s on his tail and he never wants to go back there after he escaped. Justice’s arrival and the angry greeting they experience is soon followed by the arrival of the man that sold him out by handing him over to Itor after tricking him into believing they were lovers. Tag is now sharing a snowed in cabin deep in the Alaskan wilderness with the two men he most loved and hated. Both have probably led their respective organizations right to him. They all three snap and snarl at each other with little trust and a lot of high emotions that are barely tempered by their strong mutual attraction.
Ian has never regretted anything more in his life than the day his actions led to Tag’s capture, torture and forced work for Itor. He knows that his betrayal cut deep because everything was real, but Tag needs to understand that it was very real for both of them. He can’t change the past, but he sure plans to do his best to be there for Tag now. He will do what it takes to earn back Tag’s trust. Only he has arrived to find Tag’s first love is already on the scene and wants to kill Ian on sight. Both men have unfinished business with Tag that involves clearing up the past, but both want a chance at a future too. Do they all dare something together?
The story is short, but it had a lot of ground to cover. I really liked how the authors used the page count for optimum story and character development. Oh sure, it could have had a few things better teased out if it were longer, but when all was said and done, I was well pleased.
A ménage romance is always a tricky thing for me. I like exploring these, but its really hard for one to hit it just right for me to enjoy it. First of all, I’m all about relationship development and secondly, I’m more into it when all involved are involved equally in each other. I’m also pretty picky about how the ménage comes together. Fortunately, this one ticked off all the right boxes for me. I found the ‘enemies to lovers/second chance’ components really worked for me. Their prior history also helped since this was already a shorter story though there was the part of Justice and Ian getting to know each other and accepting each other as lovers and not just sharing Tag.
One of the best things about this one was how these three were all scarred by their pasts, where it led them and how they come together to both release the anger, talk through stuff, but also reform as a three way working partnership, friendship, and trio of lovers. Their personalities and what they brought together melded good. The story stopped at a good place, but I could have kept reading about these three.
As to the holiday theme being present, its there in the sense that none of the guys have had fond memories since the murders of Justice and Tags’ moms and the fact that Ian never had any good holidays, but there was one final scene that was fun and wrapped up this story nicely. I so wanted to see them all make use of Tag’s naughty gifts.
All in all, my first experience with the ACRO series and my first time in a while with a ménage was a wonderful experience. I imagine series fans would enjoy this, but also those who enjoy m/m/m set against a blend of sci-fi and romantic suspense.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.