Title: Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22)
Author: Anna Zabo
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: December 18th 2017
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Miniature artist Ian Meyers has one week to rebuild his damaged set. Needing help, he goes to End o’ Earth, the local comic and gaming shop. Owner Simon Derry pushes all of Ian’s buttons, and he also has steady hands and the skills Ian needs.
Before they can even grab a beer, Ian meets Lydia Derry, Simon’s wife. If Ian had any interest in women, he’d suggest a threesome, but then Simon explains that he and Lydia are polyamorous, and if Ian wants Simon, neither of them will complain. If anything, Lydia encourages the relationship.
Ian’s all in, and it’s fantastic working with Simon to piece together his set and then take each other apart at night. His friendship with Lydia grows too. The only problem is, the more time he spends with Simon, the more he wants everything Simon already has with Lydia: A house. A cat. A commitment. So Ian runs, and shatters the trust he has with them both—right when they need him the most. Piecing their relationships back together might prove harder than a smashed set.
When I saw that cover my first thought was that everyone on it looks so happy. After reading this, I can verify that. This cover is like a snapshot in time, a picture of how this story ended. The chapters of this book are bursting with so much hapiness and love !
The thing is that, most of the time, poly non-monogamous relationships get bad representation or no representation at all. “…no ethics, unrealistic, excuse for cheating, slut, no values…” is what I mostly hear. NO! Now, this is not my orientation but I can only imagine how hurtful it must be for poly people.
Outside the Lines is focused on Ian, Wolf Landing’s miniature artist, and Simon, the owner of a local game shop, and it is told from both POVs. Lydia is Simon’s wife, and an amazing character overall. Ian is gay, and he’s not attracted to Lydia, at least not sexually. But I’m not kidding when I say that my favorite part of the book was Ian and Lydia’s relationship.
This is not exactly a triad/ threesome, but when Ian gets scared, he hurts both Simon and Lydia. When he runs, he breaks Simon and Lydia’s trust. And he’ll have to go through both of them to come back.
The sex between Simon and Ian is sizzling, they have great chemistry in and out of bed. At first, I was a little iffy about the insta-love aspect (because lets face it, a week is too soon), but it made sense and was very consistent with Simon’s character, who didn’t like casual but formed strong emotional connections.
I really liked the writing. Anna Zabo’s voice is very distinct. They ‘re actually one of the few authors I can identify just by reading their prose, and who can use just a few nouns to describe a whole freaking scene!
In the end, what won me over is all the emotions. The level of trust in Simon and Lydia’s marriage, the openness, the communication, the inclusion, the friendship between Ian and Lydia. There is just so.much.love!
I know that this type of story is not a lot of people’s first choice. I still hope readers give it a chance.