The relationship between Evan, Jace and Andre drew me in fast and I loved the dynamic between them. They have a complex connection and one weekend at The Ranch starts off a relationship that Andre and Jace don’t want to end, but for Evan, she’s engaged to her best friend and all she can give them is two months before she’s set to move to LA with her fake fiancé and his boyfriend.
The prologue grabbed me. It’s set twelve years ago when a young Evan is being fostered by Jace’s parents. She’s all alone in the world, she’s hurting inside and out and she turns to Jace for comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he’s nineteen and falling in love. They spend one night together and we find out later how wrong things went for them both after they were caught by Jace’s parents and his horrible father.
Fast forward twelve years and Evan is pretending to be engaged to her gay best friend. He’s a relationship expert hoping to take his show to network TV, but is being swayed into staying in the closet, being told that he’ll have more mass appeal coming across as a straight man. Evan owes Daniel for saving her life as a teen and she goes along with the plan seeing it as a way to gain financial security in life, something she’s never had. But being engaged to a man who loves her as a friend isn’t keeping her warm at night and as a surprise, Daniel sends her to The Ranch, a private sex club, for a weekend to explore her sexuality in a setting that will give her complete privacy and allow them to keep up their public personas. Little does she know that members of The Ranch include Jace and his best friend Andre.
Jace and Andre are, in word, delicious. They’re best friends, they share women and while things might cross a few lines between the men in the bedroom with a woman, they’ve never acted on anything together. But Andre’s in love with Jace and it takes Evan coming into their lives to shake up this threesome and bring in some major emotions. Jace is hesitant to start anything with Evan, the woman he loved that left him after the night they spent together as teens, but he can’t stand the thought of another dominant taking her for the weekend she’s at The Ranch. He and Andre claim her and she starts to realize that her solo life is so very lacking and Jace and Andre make her feel alive.
Something about the way he [Andre] said bella – bey-yah – made her all fluttery inside. Like her female genes were wired to be a sucker for the way that spice-paced accent rolled off his tongue. Made her want to find out if those lips tasted as good as his words.
She reached over and grabbed one of the sandwiches to give her shaky hands something to do. Her normally voracious appetite had been non-existent all day, but after round one with Jace, she was already feeling a little weak. Sustenance wasn’t optional. She bit into the sandwich right as Andre peeled off his T-shirt.
Bad idea. She nearly choked on the first bite.
The men are very dominant and Evan falls easily into the role as their submissive. The BDSM theme is strong, and it’s primarily centered around the D/s relationship, there’s no pain or humiliation for the heroine; just two alpha men who both like to be in charge. The emotion for me came into play largely through Andre. He’s been content to sit on the sidelines for all the years he’s known Jace, being his best friend and helping Jace pick up the pieces after his ex-wife made his life a living hell. I enjoyed how their own relationship grew, and Evan does play a role in that, but the most growth for them happens just between the two of them and mostly off page. I’d have loved to have gotten more page time on their own relationship, but the story’s main focus is on the trio and how they all battle their pasts and find a way to be together.
A couple things that didn’t work for me are Jace and his ex-wife. He was raked over the coals by her, she’s bleeding him dry in alimony and his upscale sex shop, Wicked, is struggling to survive. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Jace gives in to his ex’s demands and I wanted to slap him. It was frustrating to see this man give in to a woman who’s made his life miserable. I understand all the reasons he did it, but I still didn’t like and it didn’t seem to fit with his character. Evan was a little frustrating in how completely loyal she was to Daniel and helping him out without any care to what she wanted in life. Daniel didn’t make things easy on her, guilting her into keeping up their engagement. She comes around, but it was a bit of struggle and kept me from fully loving her as a character. She also keeps a very big secret from Jace and it kept the angst factor high, but by the time the secret comes out, she had been with the men for a long enough that she should have come clean sooner.
Overall, I thought the emotion and the relationship between all three people was well done. I loved the rock that Andre has been in Jace’s life and seeing them go from best friends to lovers and bringing Evan into their lives, it was easy to fall into their story. The D/s theme is strong, but most of those scenes take place at their home and not at The Ranch which kept their relationship feeling more intimate and didn’t cross any outrageous lines. I would have liked an epilogue, it feels like it ends a little abruptly, I just ultimately wanted more from all three of them at end, and I hope they show up in future books. This was my first book by Roni Loren and I can’t wait to read more from her. This was a sexy read with three characters that I couldn’t wait to find their happiness together.