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Mostly Cross Posts from my blog, Readings From the Dark Side

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Budding Love
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Vanessa North
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Tian's Hero

Tian's Hero - Cherie  Noel What happens when you mix a psychotic assassin, a sharp tempered doctor, and a gorgeous sweetie of a chef?

Wow. Sometimes a book just hits with you, and this is what happened here. It's a funny thing, because the book had its problems. My biggest was that the overly inflected narration reads like an unending reaction shot. That can be great at times, because the characters' voices are very distinct and often hilarious, but unfortunately here it results in a kind of perennial narrative coyness. Specifics about this world are only given in tiny bits and pieces, and key points are often tossed out where they're not particularly helpful. The effect is unnecessarily frustrating and opaque, and means the sci-fi aspects and the world itself never come fully into focus. There are still a lot of things about the world I don't understand, including even the point of the mission Lewell'yn was on, or the role of this lost tribe. The book is listed as the first in a series, but until that sequel appears, the reader is left with a lot of questions.

That being said, this has to be my favorite, and I mean FAVORITE, m̩nage story I've ever read. This, I now understand, is how you write a threesome. The three men in the story are very different, but they are each fully drawn and given full importance in the story, and each is definitely more than he seems. Crucially, the dynamic between them in every permutation could not be more highly charged. I liked Kayron the best, but Lewell'yn is an absolutely smoldering alpha, and Tian is especially successful in the (very difficult to pull off) role of virginal twink. Luckily for my sanity, Lewell'yn is the quintessential loose canon, who never loses his intensity or descends (oh horror) into gooey marshmallow lurve after he accepts his feelings for (and impregnates) his two lovers, but remains volatile and oh-so-dominant til the end.

The whole book serves as a helpful reminder that in the best erotic writing, scenes with no actual sex are as hot or hotter than scenes with full-frontal X-rated action--and happily for my smutty imagination, there are plenty of hints of off-screen scenarios that leave even the margins steamed up.

So the bottom line is, the sci-fi may fall short, but the blistering m̩nage relationship more than makes up for it. I'm already willing to check the favorite/reread box for this one. And can we get the damned sequel, like, yesterday!