A Guest Review by jeayci
Review Summary: A wonderful friends-to-lovers ménage story with more narration and less dialogue than I prefer.
Blurb: When Christian first meets Jordan and Ezra, they’re all young and lucky, thrown together in a journalist internship that cements their friendship for life. But when the internship ends, everything falls apart.
Christian has always loved Jordan, though he’s sure he doesn’t have a chance. By Jordan’s wedding, Christian has feelings for Ezra too. Then Ezra leaves on a foreign assignment, and Christian resigns himself to loneliness and concentrates on his job.
But his professional success comes with crushing personal blows. When an accident kills Jordan’s wife, Christian becomes Jordan’s only support. Months spent so close to him take their toll on Christian’s heart. Then Ezra finally comes home and Christian realizes he has to make a choice: give up on both of them and try to move on… or take a chance that’s risky, crazy—and his only shot.
Review: If you enjoy friends-to-lovers stories and don’t mind menages, then this is the book for you. I don’t have a big thing about menages either way, except that I don’t always find them believable as HEA material. The characters in this book shared my concerns, which helped make their ultimate resolution and HEA more believable to me. When one character says people don’t live in ménages à trois, another replies that they do and points out, “Hence the existence of the term, really, as opposed to ‘wild drunken threeway’. Ménage: ‘household’.”
And they are a household. Christian and Jordan lived together for years after the death of Jordan’s wife, in what Christian described as basically a sexless marriage. If Christian was attracted to his straight friend, well, that was his problem and nothing to bother Jordan about. When Ezra returns, the three of them pick up their friendship as if they’d last seen each other yesterday. And he’s at the house so much he practically lives there. So all the way around we see solid friendships.
I liked all of the characters individually and together, in each combination of twosomes and as a threesome. I even learned a new word: tessellating (from Dictionary.com: to form of small squares or blocks, as floors or pavements; form or arrange in a checkered or mosaic pattern.). So why didn’t I rate this five stars? I had a few issues with it that interfered with my ability to stay in the story.
The majority of the first twenty percent was almost entirely narrative, with very little dialogue. It was well-written and engaging narrative, so I didn’t even really notice for the first ten percent or so. But after a while it became noticeable because there was so darn much of it; I really wanted to see the characters interact rather than just be told what happened over the course of years. Around twenty percent they finally started talking to each other, but it seemed like it continued to be a bit heavy on the narration even after that. And I didn’t really understand why we needed to have a flashback in the middle, rather than just progressing from early years to later ones.
There was also a point when Christian and Jordan got dogs, and Christian observed that “when he and Jordan both had to work almost to midnight, it didn’t have that edge of the tomb when they opened the door on the dark.” I noticed something that would never have occurred to me before I got a dog: if they’re gone til midnight, when do those poor dogs get to go potty or for a walk? I found myself searching for mention of a yard, at least, but found none. And then I forgot about the dogs, as they weren’t mentioned again. I’d also have liked a little more explanation about Jordan’s sexuality and how he went from apparently straight to in bed with his best (male) friends.
But despite those niggles, I loved this story. When there was finally dialogue, it was wonderful and often made me laugh out loud. It was also frequently quite touching, and I’d think “awwww” as I read. Sometimes the laughter and the “awwww” were simultaneous. I loved the consideration the characters had for each other and the ways they looked out for each other, and teased each other, and overall complemented each other. There were times they were awkward together and I feared it was the setup for a Big Misunderstanding, but each time they actually gasp talked to each other and resolved things right away.
And when the three finally end up in bed together? I thought my ereader was going to burst into flames! But their compatibility in the bedroom was clearly an extension of their compatibility and comfort with each other out of it. And that made their HEA both desirable and believable to me. I highly recommend this story to anyone who doesn’t mind a bit too much well-written exposition.