Title: Double Up
Author: Lissa Matthews
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Buy Link: Buy Link Double Up
Genre: M/M/M contemporary romance
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary Review: Too much internal monologue, angst and repetition, slowed down the pace of this book and made it a dull and frustrating read.
Jared and Bryson started their life together by leaving their childhood homes to make their way west. Ending up in a small community near Livingston, Montana, with a small horse ranch, life is just about perfect for the two men until Jared gives Walt, a Native American drifter and horse trainer, a ride.
Sparks fly in the truck cab and when Jared gets him home, Walt finds himself caught between two hot-blooded cowboys, a place he never expected to be and one he doesn’t want to leave. Their idyllic ménage of love and lust hits the skids though when Jared experiences jealousy and fear. He issues an ultimatum to Bryson and Walt…either they leave, or he will.
Hoping Jared will come to his senses with time and space, Bryson and Walt wait. But after three months, Jared hasn’t budged. On his birthday, Bryson and Walt steal into the house they all once shared and wake him with a kiss, a grope, a thrust of hard bodies, and a birthday spanking he will never forget.
Will Jared be able to conquer his doubts and insecurities, or will he lose the only two people who will fight to keep him?
Anyone who knows me will know that I love a good m/m/m, especially when the characters and situation are realistic and there is more to the story than just sex. In this story, the character of Jared behaves in quite a baffling way and that, coupled with a lot of internal angsting over absolutely nothing made this story more of a miss than a hit for me.
From the blurb I expected a story about how the three guys meet, with the complication with Jared forming only part of the story. Instead the whole story focuses on the last line of the blurb and that pretty much is all that happens. Jared has rejected Bryson and Walt but they are determined to win him back so they sneak into his house and much sexiness ensues with a large dollop of Jared pretending that he doesn’t want Bryson or Walt to come back whilst telling the reader how much he wants and misses them. You may be wondering how, given that so little happens in the story, it manages to be novella length. Well before, during and after the sex and birthday spankings, Jared is constantly going over his insecurities in his head. According to him, his best friend since childhood and now long term lover Byson is going to leave him for Walt. In fact, as the story begins, Jared has made all his fears come true by kicking Bryson and Walt out of the ranch for no reason other than he was scared they were going to leave him. It didn’t make sense to me, and it made even less sense when Jared talks about how faithful Bryson has been to him. If Bryson had been true to him all these years, left his family and stuck with Jared through thick and thin, then why would he suddenly leave him? Alongside this is a large amount of macho posturing as Jared is determine to continue on the path of self-flagellation, even when the evidence to the contrary is right in his face. This macho ‘woe is me’ mentality quickly distanced me from Jared and it wasn’t long before I stopped caring about him or his flimsy predicament.
The narrative is shared between Jared, Bryson and Walt, but each time we go into someone else’s head, they just tell us the same thing except from their perspective. The repetition got a little annoying after a while because nothing new was being said. The whole book is focused on Walt and Bryson attempting to win back Jared through reminding him how great the sex is and how well they work as a three, or with Jared rejecting those attempts. This goes on and on until Jared eventually realises what an idiot he’s being.
I think that part of the reason why I was disappointed in the book is because I was expecting a different story to the one I got. Maybe this was the fault of a misleading blurb, but it’s probably my fault as a reader for having expectations which weren’t met. I thought I would be getting the story of Walt arriving on the farm, how the three men get together and then the split towards the end followed by reconcilliation. Instead, most of that history is told to us by the characters, rather than being shown on the page.
The story wasn’t all bad. The sex is very well written and I got a good sense both during the sex and at other times that the three work well together. In the end though, I was rather bored with the story. There were too many pages where we were stuck in someone’s head whilst they told us about themselves or the other characters, or obsessed about a situation which could have been resolved very easily, to make this an engaging read and I’m afraid I can’t recommend it. However, I am only one reader and there may be others out there who enjoyed this a whole lot more than I did.