Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: August 19, 2019
Received From: Netgalley
Sometimes three is deliciously better than two
Raleigh McKean has borne witness to every conceivable way one person can take advantage of another. He sees it all the time in his job as a book publicist, especially working alongside his boss’s daughter. Everley Shannon would be amazing if she wasn’t such a pain in his ass.
All Raleigh wants is something real. But when the captivating stranger he agrees to go home with turns out to be Bruce Engle, the elusive rock star, it’s a harsh reminder that users are everywhere. Raleigh’s his route to a book deal, nothing more.
What Raleigh doesn’t realize is that the brooding musician is also searching for something real—and it’s possible he’s already found it in Everley’s arms. But is there room in those arms for one more?
With Everley’s own dream of getting out from under her father’s shadow crumbling into chaos, it feels like the perfect time to embrace something new. But when Raleigh’s insatiable attraction to both Everley and Bruce makes it impossible to keep his distance, there’s only one obvious solution…assuming they can learn how to share.
SEXUALITY: presumed bi- and/or pansexual (I really can’t remember if it is explicitly stated)
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: presumed bi- and/or panromantic
TROPES: enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, office romance, publishing romance
TAGS: adult, romance, queer romance, polyam romance, contemporary, neurodivergent MCs
WARNINGS: ableism, mentions of parental neglect and abuse, bullying at the workplace
I absolutely adore this book and pretty much read it in one sitting.
Basically you take three people who really don’t have a lot of things in common, or to do with each other, and you throw them together in various circumstances that boggle your mind and at 30% of the book have you wondering how in the world the author is going to solve this tangled mess. And then you get your heart served to you on a silver platter.
At least that’s what happened to me. I think what I loved most about all the characters is that without them realizing it, they had so much in common. They all had to deal with the expectations and the scars their families have left them with, as well as with the expectations and judgment other people are trying to trap them in. Be it Bruce and his brain that is everything but neurotypical, and which has had people treating him with the worst kind of ableism throughout his whole life.
Or Everley who was trained to never rock the boat, never take up space, always take what people dished her way with a complacent look on her face. So much so that her own happiness was always a thing she wished for, but never got to find. She wasn’t allowed to learn how to stand up for herself in any way or form, not when her father forced her into a career and role she never wanted, not when her coworkers tried to punish her for getting the job she never wanted in the first place.
And Raleigh… Raleigh was never free of who his father is. What he does, what he says, what he can do for people. He was never free to be just himself. To have something for himself other than his job he fought so hard for. All three of them struggle with the results of that, all three carry the scars and the baggage that comes with those kinds of traumatic and life-shaping experiences.
And what I loved was how thoroughly and gently Holley Trent incorporated all of it in the narrative. The characters, their flaws and strengths and struggles, their actions and feelings were all related to their life experience and to the one thing they all wanted but could never truly experience the way they wanted and needed to: The freedom to be independent and happy and loved for who their are.
I did wish for a little more time and space for Bruce and Raleigh to explore more of their connection, their push and pull, but at the same time it wasn’t really needed, just my personal wishes. It *worked* just the way it was.
Great side characters made the story whole and real to me. In addition to the setting in the entertainment and publishing industry where so much is reduced to and focused on appearances rather than humans and humanity. It was an emotional roller coaster and a pleasure to dive into this story, into this tangled mess these characters created, while simultaneously being so human and gentle and caring. I loved them, I loved their story, and I loved how Holley Trent managed to first make me wonder how she’d ever solve all of it, then made me guess all the steps it could take to really work, and *then* made me believe and absolutely fall into what these characters were doing and feeling so effortlessly. If anyone ever tells you romance is predictable and therefore boring? Please send them my way and will gladly use this an example and explain how you might predict some of the twists in this story, but you couldn’t possibly be bored because the journey to this HEA is amazing and wonderful.
4.5 stars rounded up to 5
USA Today best-selling* author Holley Trent was raised in rural coastal North Carolina. She’s a lady with Southern sensibilities, but in 2011, her adventurous spirit drove her to Colorado for new experiences. She lives on the Front Range with her husband, two kids, and two cats.
She writes paranormal and contemporary romances ranging from sensual to erotic. As H.E. Trent, she writes extra-sexy science fiction romance.
She’s a winner of the inaugural CIM-RWA Abalone Award (for My Nora) and a three-time Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence finalist (My Nora, Calculated Exposure, and A Demon in Waiting). A Demon in Waitingwas a RomCon Readers’ Crown finalist in 2014. Her M/M romance Winterball won the Passionate Plume award for erotic romance novellas in 2015. The Cougar’s Trade was a 2016 Prism finalist. The Cougar’s Pawn won a Swirl award in 2016.
Want to chat with Holley about her backlist titles or any other thing? Email her at holley [at] holleytrent [dot] com.
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