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Two men suffering from visible and invisible wounds meet by chance circumstance.
Nick Traynor and Ian Donovan spend a lot of time and effort keeping it very hot, only physical, and purely superficial. But when their resolve starts to slip, a woman is tossed into their midst.
Hannah Williams wants nothing more than to do her job until something better comes along, but is forced to own up to her visceral reaction to Ian, her new boss, and later to Nick, his sometimes lover.
Lust has a funny way of turning into companionship, and eventually evolving into a deeper connection. Faced with the internal and external complications of their potential three-way relationship, they begin to heal and trust, to consider that it might work. Then life tosses them a hardball, forcing them back into their respective corners, where each must choose what is most important.
Three people determined not to commit, thrown together by fate and undeniable attraction–their nights heat up and emotions run high in spite of a claimed mutual desire to “keep it simple.” In the process of honest self-discovery, can they learn that while love is never simple, it is definitely worth fighting for?
As most people know, I hate reading a menage that doesn’t end well. Meaning that I’ve invested time, money and emotions in a menage only for an author to end it with one person left out of the menage so that they can have their own book. Yes, I’ve read those and I don’t read those authors EVER again. Grrrr….
You wrote a menage in Essence of Time (Blake, Rob and Lila) that ended brutally without warning in another book (beautifully, I might add and I’m still weeping) so what makes this menage any different from any other menage that are out there? You wrote another menage in Vegas Miracle, too but why should a reader invest in Honey Red? What sets it apart from the pack?
Here is her response:
I hoped to craft a “menage” that didn’t feel too artificial. All of my menage books (4 of them now) are very much about people who find themselves a little surprised to be in a situation where they actually have strong feelings for two people at once. It’s an odd set up–not one that really squares with how we are wired to connect emotionally. Not many people I know, myself included, would really be able to manage feelings of jealousy that 99.9% of human beings are going to experience. I deal with it in Honey Red by having one of the 3 declare (in not these exact words): “As long as we are together, as in the same house or hotel or whatever, it’s ok if we ‘couple off.’ But if 2 of us feel a need to hook up and the other one is not in the vicinity, that is ‘sneaking around.’ ” I mean, please. How unrealistic is that? That little declaration ends up biting him in the ass too as you will see.
All of my threesome books have a catalyst for the emotional connection, and that I think makes for a deeper, more meaningful reading experience. Honey Red is about 3 very damaged people struggling to make sense of the hand life has dealt them and are all blind sided by each other, in a way. It’s purely physical at first, and they all make an honest attempt to keep it that way. I mean, why not have wild, 3-way sex with a couple of very attractive other people if you can, right? But as they develop deeper feelings for each other, their inner demons emerge and keep them from going beyond the sex…until they are forced to own up to it. And it keep it on what I think is a pretty real playing field, by having them talk about legal logistics, practical considerations (one of them has a son, and he has a moment where he has no idea how to explain “here is your new mom and oh by the way Uncle Nick sleeps in Dad’s bed too.”) and even go through separations that are forced on them by these considerations. It’s harder than you might think to arrange a three-way when you all have busy day jobs and other responsibilities.
But by the end, I want them all to be happy. How that happens is something you will find out soon enough.
Okay, now on with my review. If you are like me and want to read a ménage that will make sense in the end, then read Honey Red. If not, skip it because you will not like it. Period. End of review. I will list some of the things in Honey Red that will make you stand up cheer in a ménage book that hasn’t been told before.
1. We are introduced to the characters slowly. Yes, slowly. There is no rush to get them in bed. I appreciate it that in the end. I like to get to know my characters before they get in bed. Silly me, I know. What makes the tick? Why should I invest my time and energy in them as a triad?
2. Nick – the wounded combat veteran. Dealing with his injuries, the flashbacks and brutality of war, I came to love Nick from the very first time I was introduced to him. He is flawed, conflicted in his feelings for both Ian and Hannah. As an outed gay man, are his feelings real for Hannah? Can he be happy with a woman and a man? And what about Dan? Can he move on?
2. Hannah – the woman in the triad. Can she ever find happiness with two men? She only needed the brewery job to help pay for her college loans and to better herself. She has been described as wounded, too but I found her to be the least wounded of them all. She was a strongest in the triad (which is rare in a ménage; most women are the weakest). Sure her home life wasn’t the best but she was trying to make it better.
3. Ian – the bi, single father. When the fates dealt him the hand of being a single father, he was at a loss. Moving back home to Michigan seemed like the best thing for he and his son. It had a support system, family and a job waiting for him. Seeing Nick again, stirs up feelings that have long been dormant. After the last time with Nick, he decides that he can’t also get what he wants. Enter Hannah; beautiful, smart and great with his son, he pursues her with a vengeance. He never expected to enter a triad with both Nick and Hannah.
4. Playing with rules – yes, every ménage tries to have rules but what happens when the rules are not explained to everyone and the rule maker breaks the rules? Hurt feelings, a death and an unexpected consequence of someone’s actions. *sigh* Liz, writes this part of the book with an emotional whip that afterwards, I had to close my Kindle to collect my thoughts. Re-read it again and realized that NO ONE writes emotion better than her. She keeps it real and unwavering.
5. As I have previously stated, there is no rush to get them together. We get m/m time and m/f time. We actually get to see everyone falling in love just not as a triad. That comes later in the book and its well worth it in the end. If you are looking for the ménage smexy early, don’t read this book. When it does happen, its beautiful, somewhat surprising for one character and oh so right in the end.
6. What I like most of about Nick, Ian and Hannah is the pacing of their story. Its slow, methodical and real. They all deal with real issues that you, myself, our neighbors, friends, even our neighbors have dealt with in their own lives. Death, war, single parenthood, family dynamics and the hope to one day find someone that loves us for who and what we are paramount in this story.
Ms. Crowe has written a masterpiece in the genre of erotic ménage. She “gets” the genre and furthermore, writes it realistically. (*see Essence of Time for another breakout in the world of ménage*) She doesn’t sugarcoat it, fights and wins the troupe of ménage and handles her characters thoughts and feelings with care and understanding. The secondary characters only enhance their story. Everyone in the book has problems (just like the real world) and through love and patience, things will work out in the end.
Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.
When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)
Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.