Trifecta

Title: Trifecta
Author: Kate Sherwood
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M/M contemporary romance
Length: Novel (178 pdf pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review
An intelligent look at the stresses and strains of an open relationship which suffered in my opinion from unlikeable characters who lacked sexual tension.

THE BLURB

Mark and Alistair think they’re happy with their open relationship — they can have all the anonymous sex they want, and still come home to each other for love and affection. That changes when they discover that they’ve both hooked up with the same guy, and, worse, that they’re both falling for him.

Tyler is a take-it-as-it-comes type, happy to coast through life on his good looks and charm. He doesn’t have ambitions and doesn’t make plans, but when he finds himself involved with Mark and then Alistair, he starts wishing that he could have something more long-term.

Nobody has any doubt that sex between the three of them would be fantastic, considering how hot things are when there’s only two involved. But can they make it something more? Is the threesome destined to be a scorching memory, or can they find a way to overcome their challenges and hit the trifecta?

THE REVIEW

I’ve read a couple of other Kate Sherwood m/m/m novels and found them to be well written and thoughtful studies on the dynamics between a three way relationship. Whilst that thoughtfulness was still evident in this book, I simply didn’t really like the characters or their motivations for being in a relationship with one another and as a result this book missed the mark slightly for me.

The story begins with two men who are lovers and in an open relationship. Mark is a pilot and often away from home and as such he and his partner Alistair agree that they can seek other partners for one night stands whilst Mark is away. There then comes a time when Mark is at home and Alistair is away so Mike ventures into a local gay club and picks up Tyler for sex. When Alistair returns unexpectedly to find Mark in bed with Tyler, his feelings are hurt, and things become even more awkward when Alistair meets Tyler later and begins a relationship with him during Mark’s absence.

I said in my summary that this was an intelligently written book and I’ll stand by that. The stresses and struggles that all three men go through in the book are well documented through the alternating third person points of view and so at each point in the journey of these three men the reader is aware of what they are thinking and feeling. This made the various misunderstandings which crop up during the book less annoying than it might have been because I knew why the characters were acting and behaving in that way. The story has a strong emotional content and as such I was pretty engrossed in the story. The pages turned quickly as I was interested in finding out how the men would try and work out their relationship.

Another part which worked for me was in the secondary plot between Mark and his ex-wife, Emily. At first I disliked Emily and found her hatred of Mark to be a little extreme. However, as I read on she reminded me of the sister of a friend whose husband had left her for another man and how devastated and furious she had been at the time. That link helped me to see that Emily was probably acting in a realistic manner, even if she was being awkward, difficult and downright bitchy for much of the book. The way that Emily develops towards the end of the book may have been a little sudden, but I felt it necessary for the closure needed in that part of Mark’s life.

As I said earlier, my main dislike of the book was that I found it very difficult to connect with any of the three men, especially Mark and Alistair. Tyler is too passive for my liking although generally a nice guy – too nice in fact as he is metaphorically trodden on for quite a lot of the book. I found it a little irritating that he allowed himself to be a pawn in the relationship between Mark and Alistair, but could see the necessity of that passivity for the story to work. Normally, I’m not too bothered about stories which show an element of unfaithfulness, especially if it is agreed that the relationship will be an open one. I could also accept that Mark’s frequent absences would be a strain on their sex life and therefore why they may want to look for the occasional night of sex with a stranger. What I found very difficult to understand was the way that Alistair deliberately starts more than that with Tyler. They begin to have a relationship with an emotional connection which is far removed from the original agreement between the men. This made me uncomfortable, and I didn’t like Alistair very much as a result. I also never really felt a close emotional or sexual bond between Mark and Alistair. We are told often by both characters that they love each other – Mark even left his wife and daughters to be with Alistair – and yet most of the on page sex is with Alistair and Tyler, or Mark and Tyler, and we are told time and time again how Mark and Alistair are not particularly sexually compatible because both of them are tops who don’t like to switch . As well as this, when Mark and Alistair are together they are mainly arguing or discussing Tyler. These are not the actions of two men in love, but rather those on the edge of a break-up.

All of this meant that when the time came for the three men to get together, I wasn’t convinced that Tyler wasn’t just there as a sticking plaster over the relationship between Mark and Alistair and that, ultimately, the relationship would fail. It didn’t help that the m/m/m part came almost at the end of the book and we never get to see the aftermath of the initial group sex scene. For the relationship to have been completely convincing I needed to see much further into the future than the next day.

So whilst this book was well written and went into great emotional depth with the themes of unfaithfulness and trying to find a balance in an open relationship, my uneasiness about the lack of fidelity and whether the m/m/m relationship was actually going to work meant that I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I’d hoped.

20 comments

  • Thanks so much for your review Jenre. You rescued my TBR pile! I’ve been on the fence with this book and now I can say NO decisively.

    I really do appreciate it. I think I’ll go finish reading Ghostv.
    Thanks again! Hope you have a great weekend! 😯

    Reply
  • I started this book a few days ago and I just couldn’t get into it. I was already put off with Marks and Tyler (though Tyler was just okay, he didn’t specifically bother me) before Alistair even showed up. I had to put it away… now I’m not sure I’ll pick it up again. Oh well, even though I’ve already bought it, I don’t feel like I have to read it if it will bring me more of the same uncomfortable feelings and dislike of the characters that the first bit of the story did. I’ll just shelve it in my dnf file. 🙁

    Reply
    • I can see why you may have found it difficult to like Mark at the beginning, Cole. He’s a little self-obsessed and the whole ‘I must have sex now’ vibe that he gives off before going to the club made me feel uneasy about Mark too.

      It’s a shame, but if you couldn’t get past the first section with Mark and Tyler, then you probably won’t like the rest of the book.

      Reply
  • I totally agree with your review Jenre! I really liked Mark and found his struggles in life interesting. The stuff with Emily was very well written and had me on needles. The relationship with Alistair left lots of questions though…

    I didn’t really understand the need for the open relationship. Or, theoretically I guess I understand it, but not the way the dynamics between them were written. Actually Alistair came off pretty unlikable for me, especially after he started a thing behind Marks back with Tyler.

    In the end I just felt like they both just wanted to be with Tyler and I couldn’t really see what would keep Mark and Alistair together. I also think the issue with jelousy was blatantly ignored and I was not really convinced Mark wanted a threesome, it felt more like he did it not to loose Alistair, even if he was very infatuated by Tyler.

    Reply
    • Hi Saga

      In the end I just felt like they both just wanted to be with Tyler and I couldn’t really see what would keep Mark and Alistair together.

      Yes, that’s how I felt too.

      The jealousy issue was interesting and I also wish that could have been explored further. Alistair is the one who suggests the open relationship and yet he is jealous when he sees Mark and Tyler together. I would have liked to know more about that side of the open relationship.

      Another aspect which was only slightly dealt with is Mark’s notions of what makes a solid relationship. He’s been in a conventional faithful heterosexual marriage and then is confronted with the more relaxed views of Alistair. The menage is a step up from that and, yes, I did feel that Mark’s feeling of discomfort at this step wasn’t dealt with fully.

      Reply
      • Totally agree Jenre.

        I wonder if it’s good for an author to keep visiting the same theme? It could be a benefit if you can carve out a niche for yourself but what if the theme is too narrow that it is hard to produce a unique story?

        I must say I really like the horse/stable stories this author is using though. Feels very authentic. She could probably write some kick-ass cowboy stories…

        Reply
  • Hmm. Although I enjoy m/m/m I think I’ll pass on this one for now. A few too many things that are not really likely going to work for me. Especially the use of another guy to fix things because we all know that it usually doesn’t last long.

    Reply
    • Hi Tam

      In many ways this book is more about the consequences of infidelity than it is about an m/m/m relationship. As I said in the review, the men only get together towards the end and before that they are carrying on with each other independently of the other.

      Reply
  • Well, thank goodness! At least one book off my to-buy-list.

    I’ve been sitting on the fence with this one. I love the cover and the title, the premise of the story sounds intriguing and the excerpt was good, so I’d been leaning towards buying it. Based on this review, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I can’t stand doormat characters and neither Mark nor Alistair sound likable.

    Reply
    • Hi Kaija

      The cover is nice isn’t it? And I said, the author writes well which is why the excerpt will have been good. You really won’t like Tyler if you don’t like doormat characters. Even when he had the opportunity to stand up for himself he still allowed others to take advantage of him – it was very frustrating!

      I would recommend Dark Horse if you want to read a great book by this author.

      Reply
      • Isn’t it funny how much more annoying it is when something is slightly off in a well written book? You want to like the whole thing, rather than just admire how well it’s written.

        I’ve been wondering about Dark Horse but so far I’ve given it a pass.

        Reply
        • I think it just goes to show that no matter how well written a book is, sometimes things just don’t gel with a reader.

          You really should try Dark Horse :).

          Reply
          • I think one really strong part of the Dark Horse series is the likability of the main three characters and especially Dan, which is the narrative person. He is utterly charming, despite all his fault and you just can’t stop liking him. Also, Kate manages to keep them all three equally in the mix with lots of dynamics between all of them.

            (Had to comment because I just recently reread both dark horse books and damn, fell in love with Dan again…)

            Reply
  • I read Dark horse by this writer and I did not like it much. Although it got raving reviews and plenty of 5 stars on GR, I did not see why and the menage did not work for me either.
    So seeing you got problems with this m/m/m relation I will give it a pass.

    Reply
    • Hi Ingrid

      The menage did work for me in Dark Horse but if that one didn’t work for you I think you will have problems with this book too.

      Reply
  • Oh just what Wave said.

    But I really did like Tyler. He felt like a differently evolved Danny, with just about enough differences to be convincing as a separate character.

    I also love the vet practise/ horse detail, it all really works for me.

    I will reread this one just for Tyler.

    Really good review.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Raine :).

      I liked the horsey bits too, even though in general I’m not a huge fan of horses. You can tell that the author really loves horses though :).

      Reply
  • Jen
    My sentiments exactly.

    I couldn’t see this great love that Mark had for Alistair that would make him leave his family. In addition I, too, felt that they weren’t compatible, even in bed. I ended up not liking either one very much.

    As for Tyler, although I liked him I couldn’t see him as a permanent part of Mark’s and Alistair’s relationship in the future and I thought he was being used by both of them.

    Reply
    • Hi Wave

      I couldn’t see this great love that Mark had for Alistair that would make him leave his family.
      Me neither, although Mark tells the reader often how much he loves Alistair, he didn’t show it much in his actions.

      I also felt that Tyler was being used and it was a little frustrasting how he let them!

      Reply

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