Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ménage by Emma Holly

Kate Winthrop is a business owner who runs the "Mostly Romance" bookstore that is such a hit in Philadelphia. But when she becomes the landlady to two young college students she knows, she is drawn out of the shell that her husband leaving her left her in, and becomes a sexual adventuress that is drawn into a romance with both young men.

At first, she thought that Sean and Joe were strictly gay, but when she caught them making love in her bed, using an item of lingerie that Sean said belonged to her to fantasize with, she can't help but join them in their erotic lovemaking. They make love more than once, and she ends up with both of them before they all fall asleep in her bed.

The next morning, she makes her way to work, leaving them still asleep in her bed. There, she meets with her business partner, Marianne. Marianne is bragging about having her way with the stock clerk, Keith, who sucked her feet when she met him on the street the night before. And then they had sex on his motorcycle. But Kate keeps mum about her lovemaking with Sean and Joe. In fact, she has let Marianne believe them to be gay, something that she knew wasn't true even before she let them rent space in her house. Marianne is partly jealous of the fact that Joe is never interested in her when he comes by the shop, and when Sean comes over to talk to Kate and ends up having anal sex with her in the rare books room, Marianne's jealousy goes through the roof.

Afterwards, Sean and Kate leave to talk and Sean tells her how he met Joe, and that after they had sex in a college bathroom, he felt a flare in Joe that had Joe believing he was gay for the first time. But Sean knows that Joe likes both sexes, and that Joe is really attracted to Kate. He likes both of them and doesn't want to lose either one.

Later that night, Sean is out of the house, so Kate and Joe have dinner, and then sex. He's upset that Sean took her "anal cherry", which he wanted to have first, but they make love many times to make up for it. When Sean arrives home, he's drunk, and Kate helps him up the stairs. But when she challenges him over his relationship with Joe, he sees it as something he can't back down from.

The next day, Sean sends a beautiful female transvestite to Mostly Romance with a message for Kate, challenging her in return. Kate takes him up on it, and ends up in a corset, body paint, and not much else at her own home. There, she shares a sexual adventure with Sean, Joe and two other people. Then. she turns the tables on Sean and gets him to accept being loved and cared for in sexual ways. Then, someone calls and reports them for loud noises. The police arrive and they have to hide what they are doing. But who was it?

As their three-way relationship goes on, Kate knows there is no way it can last. But when Joe proposes to her, Kate can't find it in herself to accept. She's older than Joe, and feels that with her as his wife, she'd be holding him back, especially when she realizes how phenomenally talented he is at composing music. But can Joe, who loves her, persuade her to look beyond their ages and the image she has of him and accept him for the man he is and love him with her whole heart?

This book might be seen as a romance, but considering that the lovemaking is right in your face at the start of the book pegs this right away as more erotica than romance. Not that there is anything wrong with that! I actually like erotica, and I had no problem with the threesomes and moresomes that make up this novel. I realize that not everyone will, but the sex in this book was extremely, seriously hot.

Towards the end of the book, the power and dynamics between the three characters in the book changes dramatically and drastically, but in the end, the three characters come together in a way that it is left up to the reader to dream up, but which is still pretty hot, no matter what way you slice it. All three characters experience personal and professional growth, and I could tell who really called the cops on Kate and the boys, even if she never figures it out in the story. But all the characters, even the secondary ones, experience some kind of appropriate end, and the story ends just as hotly as it began, with the promise of more to come (ahem), even if it isn't written down.

The only "problem" I had with the story as such is that it's hard to tell how much time passes between Joe leaving Kate, and his return to her. He was in several commercials and one season of a show, and then made salary demands for the next season, and yet tells us that six months had passed since they last saw each other. Unless they are counting Kate seeing Joe on TV, I can't see how that is possible. I might have missed something, but it just seemed off.

I found this to be a very hot, entertaining story that had not only really hot, erotic sex, but an excellent story as well. It's usually easy to find one or the other, but finding both together is rare, so this book scratched an itch that I don't usually find fulfilled. I would highly recommend this book, and much of Emma Holly's other work as well. You're sure to find something wonderful in her books that is missing from many other romance authors.

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