Title: Out of the Darkness (Dark Horse #2)
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Menage (m/m/m)
Length: Novel (329 pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lily
A well written sequel about dealing with unexpected feelings and trying to make an unconventional relationship work. Dan, Evan and Jeff discover it’s not an easy thing to do but well worth it in the end.
Sequel to Dark Horse
“It’s hard enough with two people. Throwing a third into the mix is… I don’t know, doesn’t it seem like we’re asking for trouble?”
It hasn’t been easy, but horse trainer Dan Wheeler is beginning to build a new life for himself, finding his place in California with his lovers Evan Kaminski and Jeff Stevens. When things are going well, it’s spectacular: there’s affection, humor, and passion. But things don’t seem to go well all that often.
Dan continues to struggle with the loss of his previous lover and sometimes doubts that he even deserves to be happy; Evan is jealous of every rival for Dan’s attention—including Jeff; and Jeff worries that he’s too old for the younger men and wonders if he should bow out completely. Despite his resolutions, Dan has grown attached to the other two men, but he’s not sure that’s enough. He knows that it hurts to be together—he needs to decide whether it would hurt even more to be apart.
Dark Horse Series
Out of the Darkness is the sequel to Dark Horse and opens up right where the first book ends. Dan, Jeff and Evan are just beginning to figure out the dynamics of their new relationship as well as dealing with the horses, Jeff’s art, family and old friends. The prologue is told through Tatiana, Evan’s sister’s POV but after that the rest of the story is told almost completely in Dan’s POV using present tense which does takes a bit of getting used to. Despite this being a long story time-wise not too much passes during the course of the book. The story basically follows their daily lives for a short period of time although the epilogue is set some months in the future.
Jeff and Evan have been together for a long time and have always had an open relationship. Both men have fallen for Dan, who recently lost the love of his live, and while Dan has feelings for the other men he finds it hard at times to even think of how a relationship could work for the three of them. But the feelings are there and they do want things to work out and so there is an intricate dance between them as they try to deal with jealousies and insecurities, with the pain of the past and the hopes for the future and they do so while each has his own job to see to as well as the added stress of unexpected visitors throughout.
Just like in the first book it’s Dan who is the focal point. I was happy to see that the angst level in this book wasn’t quite as high as in Dark Horse although it’s still an emotional read. At times Dan did get on my nerves and I wanted to tell him to get it together already but then I’d start to feel for him since he had gone through so much recently. It also felt at times like the other two were pushing Dan a bit into something he wasn’t truly ready for. Despite the fact that they generally got along well and there was a lot of sexual tension between them I didn’t get the feeling of a great love and passion between the protagonists.
As I said in the beginning Evan and Jeff are an established couple and so there is history and an obvious affection between them but even though they kept saying how they wanted Dan as a part of their lives to me something was missing. I also felt it was strange that Dan spent a good bit of the book questioning how he really felt, especially about Evan, and thinking quite a bit about ending things between them. However towards the end of the book there is a sense that all three are ready to commit to a relationship, that they’ve finally worked out their feelings and fears and are set to become a threesome and not just a couple and a third. I enjoyed the epilogue very much for that reason. It was nice to see them together and happy at last.
Much like in the first book there is a lot of emphasis on the horses and the characters interactions with them. Although I’ve had almost no experience with them myself it seems to me that the author is very knowledgeable about horses and it was an interesting part of the story. I also really liked the secondary characters in the book. Chris, Robyn and of course Tatiana are back and we meet Jeff’s mother who was a fun and lively addition to the group. Evan’s old school friends and Taylor, Dan’s old friend added an interesting layer to the story as they brought out strong emotions in both Evan and Dan. Jeff was once again the calm center in the Evan/Dan storm and I really like him.
Overall I did enjoy Out of the Darkness. It’s well written and the characters are all interesting and for the most part likable. Even though I wanted to see Dan, Evan and Jeff established in their relationship earlier in the story the slow pace did work well and it’s always a nice change when a book isn’t totally focused on the physical side of the relationship. There definitely was sexual tension and chemistry between all three but it wasn’t the most important part of the story. However, when they do get physical the scenes are well written and quite hot.
Anyone who is interested in reading this story I recommend that you read Dark Horse first. There are some sequels that work well without reading the prior book but this one I think works best if read in order. There are also some free stories featuring the guys posted at the author’s site. Some of them take place between the end of the actual story and the epilogue and added quite a bit to the story. I didn’t read them though until after writing this review.
I recommend both Dark Horse, which was reviewed here, and Out of the Darkness and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.