Why I read it: I picked this short story up from NetGalley, intrigued by the blurb and thinking I might finally try a little of the f/f.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Determined to end a long dry spell, Tina is thwarted by her best friend, Des, who scares off the only eligible guy at their party. But Des more than makes up for it when she and her boyfriend, Josh, invite Tina to their own intimate celebration. The encounter awakens cravings Tina didn’t even know she had. She’s intrigued when the couple asks her to join them for two days of sun, sand and steamy sex in Santa Barbara. She should say no. But she doesn’t…
The erotic weekend is beyond amazing. But there’s something deeper developing between the trio-something Tina is not yet ready to explore. After all, their party of three can’t last forever-can it?
What worked for me (and what didn’t): I’ve considered reading some f/f romance for a while now but hadn’t got around to it. I must admit it’s always been a bit mysterious to me and so I was curious. When I saw this one pop up on NetGalley, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally try some f/f - even though there’s an “m” involved too! Most of the menage I have read is m/f/m so a f/f/m menage also intrigued. If the story had’ve stuck to what I believed it would be from the blurb, I think it would have been much more successful for me. The sex scenes between Desi/Tina/Josh and Tina/Vixen were well written and very hot (although there was an alarming lack of condom use on Josh’s part). I’m interested in trying more f/f romance now, so I guess something in the book was successful for me.
Unfortunately, the plot took a sharp and unexpected right turn into dark and icky for me, with an evil and rapetastic villain. The “eligible guy” scared off in the blurb is Kenton, a sexual sadist who hides behind an initially pleasant facade. Tina’s first clue (apart from being vaguely warned off by Desi) that Kenton is not who he appears, is revealed when she and Desi go to one of his “parties”. It’s the modern version of a swingers party (now called “open concept parties”) – there, Kenton slips some Ecstasy to Tina without her consent. Right there, that’s enough for her to be warned to stay far away from this douchebag. For reasons which aren’t clear to me (but which the plot necessitated), Tina goes back to Kenton’s house and even accepts a work contract from him (she’s an interior designer). He continues to make unwanted and unpleasant advances towards her and she keeps going back. I’m not in anyway suggesting that Tina invites Kenton’s advances or that she was deserving of his later attack on her. Rape is always and only the fault of the rapist. However, I did find Tina’s choices somewhat inexplicable.
In terms of character, Kenton is very one dimensionally evil – complete with (and this is the God’s honest truth) a tattoo of a grinning wolf on his “enormous” peen (also referred to as “the anaconda”). Seriously.
The interaction between Tina and Kenton takes up a lot of the book and most of it was very unpleasant to read and not what I thought I was signing up for when I picked up the book.
Readers be warned: there is a pretty graphic rape scene toward the end of the book which was most unpleasant to read.
As far as the triad between Desi/Tina/Josh is concerned, so much time was taken in the story with the “suspense” aspect, that not enough time was available to be devoted to the romance. Desi and Josh are already together when the book begins, so I was prepared to believe they were already in love. Desi and Tina have been “best friends” for 20+ years, so I was prepared to believe that there was love between them and a sexual attraction which had been unmentioned and smouldering for some time. But, Josh and Tina barely know each other and the fall “in love” very quickly. I didn’t really see this happening, rather the reader was told it was so. The other thing which didn’t quite fit with the BFF relationship between Tina and Desi was that there was much they didn’t talk about and quite a bit of miscommunication – especially because they apparently “told each other everything”.
Josh’s mother is aware, by the end of the book of their menage relationship and is very accepting of it, but it does not appear that the girls’ families have been told and there is no mention of any kind of difficulties involved in navigating their unconventional relationship. In fact, it does seem that most of it is sex. Which is smoking. But, still. I would have liked more of their non sexual connection.
Also, as mentioned above, Tina is raped near the end of the book, but there does not appear to be any fallout from it in terms of her relationship with Desi and Josh and it seems she jumps back into sex with them without a second thought. Which seemed odd to me. If rape is going to be included in a story, then I do think the consequences of it need to be addressed for the story to be complete. I wasn’t so much concerned with the legal consequences – what was in the book was enough for me, but emotionally, there really was very little.
What else? I was expecting a light and fun erotic read – I would have been happy enough with limited relationship development if the story had’ve only spanned a few encounters as the trio decided to embark upon a menage relationship. The sex scenes (well, except any of the ones involving Kenton of the tattooed peen) were hot and well written. Those aspects of the story deserved a C+ but the story is really not as advertised and there are things in it which could be triggering to say the least, for some readers. I don’t think I would have chosen to read this had I known what I was getting into. As much as I enjoyed some aspects of the book, my overwhelming feeling when I finished was distaste, hence the grade.