Monday, November 25, 2013

Menage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis

The Basics:

Menage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis
Carina Press
Erotica, Romance
Published November 21, 2013
Purchase from Carina Press

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Katrina and Liam Holland have the perfect marriage, a home in the trendiest part of Baltimore, and a scorching sex life. As another Christmas approaches, there's only one thing still on Kat's wish list: Hunter Croft. But she made peace long ago with his decision to choose the marines over their relationship. Until seeing him again arouses feelings she thought were in the past…

Hunter has spent a decade outrunning his attraction to both Kat and Liam. But now that he's stateside, his self-control crumbles when he comes face-to-face with the two people who star in all his favorite fantasies. Their reunion is both erotic and emotional—and has Hunter wondering if three's really a crowd, after all.

Liam can't imagine his life without Kat. But he can imagine a future where the three of them live and love under one roof. Liam and Kat have shared their bed with other men, but Hunter is the only one who could ever have a place in their hearts. And this holiday season, Liam intends to make their dream a reality.

Why I picked the book up:

This time the blurb got me. I like a good menage story and I liked that this one emphasized the attraction between all partners. I was also curious about Hunter choosing the marines instead of the couple, and wanted to see how that played out in the story.

What worked for me:

You'd think this novella hinges on the menage component, with lots of sexy times featuring three people between the sheets, but no, you'd be wrong.  Instead, we've got three people who are each involved with each other individually and as a whole, and we get that throughout the novella in both sexy times and serious times. That is the part that really works for me. There's a sense that everyone's interconnected in a way that sometimes doesn't happen in such a complete way in menage erotica.

I liked that everyone was fully in command of their own sexuality. Yes, there was some trying of new things, but no one was being cajoled or seduced into anything they really weren't sure about - there was real and expressed desire to participate in everything.

There's an intricacy in terms of the emotional baggage and the difficulties of making a menage relationship work that was also appealing, and helped bridge the gap between erotica and romance.

What didn't work for me:

This novella is part of a holiday anthology, but it definitely didn't have a heavy Christmas theme for me. There's references to it, but the overall tone was more about coming home/finding each other after years apart. This isn't really a problem when you read the novella on its own - and I'd like to read the rest of the collection to see how it fits within that grouping rather than just abstractly as part of a holiday anthology.

The other thing that irked me was that nothing seems resolved at the end of this story. Yes, there's a tentative plan in place for the three to share a life together, but it's so tentative, and I felt like the groundwork was laid for so much to go horribly wrong with Hunter's job and for Kat who seemed to be settling for a lot less than she really wanted. This was a real problem for me - I wanted things tied up more neatly because as it was, there were enough painful edges that I was left unsatisfied (despite some really satisfying sex scenes!)

Now the positive is that there's supposed to be a novel follow-up that will address, I imagine, those very issues. So this is good!   

Bottom Line:

The sex was well-written - the encounters were varied, creative and hot. The relationships and the concerns everyone had about them felt real and honest. There was an acknowledgement that a menage lifestyle would be made particularly difficult because of Hunter's military connections. 

That said, this is the first book in a while that I ended up sneaking a peek at the end of the story before I'd gotten very far into the book. I read a fair amount non-linearly before I went back to the beginning to read from the start through to the end in one shot. There's something missing, and I think it's that sense of resolution, that it's possible for everything to be okay.

Pick this novella up for the steamy menage, get hooked by the complex relationships, and wait, I guess, for the follow-up novel to see how it'll all come together!

3.5 stars
For fans of menage erotica, military heroes and recovering lost love

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