Thu
Nov 28 2013 12:00pm

Three’s Company, Too: Manageable Ménage a Trois

Strange Attractions by Emma HollyI’ve always been an impatient, slightly hyperactive person. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) wasn’t even on the public radar when I was a kid, so who knew if I would’ve been diagnosed then or if I developed a keen sense of multi-tasking years ago while working in marketing and having to actively manage two dozen projects at the same time…all at different phases. I think a little ADD goes a long way; it certainly helps you get a lot of things done at once.

But one area I’m certain, for me, is better left to one at a time is men. Despite my superior ability to mentally complete a thousand tasks, I only want one pair of arms to give me comfort at night. It’s also how I prefer my romances—except, on occasion, I do find myself skipping down the road less traveled: ménage a trois. And anytime I read them, I always wonder how in the hell the third partner resists the urge to go on a violent bender when the other two are having their turn.

Admittedly, most of my menages are of the Bordeaux blends, but on occasion I do like a little saucy reading. The bulk of ménage a trois in the romance genre tend to focus on multiple partners in a succession of steamy vignettes, rather than the traditional French translation of “household of three.” Sometimes a ménage a trois is considered a love triangle, sometimes a threesome. I think the love triangle is a little easier to read because there’s more of an emotional connection than “insert Tab A into Slot B…and Slot C.” But you’ll have to decide for yourself what’s good, and what’s good.

Strange Attractions by Emma Holly accelerates my heart rate, for sure. While this story falls into the love triangle realm, the underlying story of this romantic erotic tale is also good. I find the circumstances of the three lovers to be very believable, despite the setting in a reclusive genius billionaire’s mansion, rife with the ghosts of quantum physics and sex games. B.G. Grantham, Eric Berne, and Charity Wills come into their relationship with eyes wide open, though it becomes increasingly obvious that B.G. set the stage for Eric to feel like he could follow a traditional path and fall in love and get married to a woman. Charity is charming and sexy, and realizing that the strange attraction between her and the two lifelong friends and lovers is more than just chemistry: there’s something strange happening in the house.

When Eric and Charity discuss the possibility that B.G. needs to get out more often, out of his lab and in civilization, it strikes an uncomfortable chord with the brilliant physicist.

“If I wanted to push you away, why would I make it possible for us to be together without limits?”

A good question, if I had to guess, for anyone involved in a three-way relationship. At 40, I know myself. I don’t share books with my neighbors. I didn’t share my Barbies with my friends growing up. And I’m not going to share my husband with anybody. Which is probably why, when I do read a ménage book, it holds my attention like a train wreck. I can’t look away; I can’t put it down. And I love Strange Attractions, regardless of who’s kissing who and when.

I Spy a Naughty Game by Jo DavisI Spy a Naughty Game by Jo Davis threw me for a loop…but I kept reading. Because I was a fan of Davis’s Line of Fire series, I was excited to begin the (new to me) SHADO Agency series. When I started reading it, oh my. It reminded me of Quentin Tarrantino’s Dusk to Dawn, when George Clooney heads into a bar on the edge of the desert and VAMPIRES shoot out of the chimneys. Yes, the ménage a trois and Dom/Sub relationship was just as surprising, but that’s what I get for not reading the description first.

“I don’t understand why you did it,” she whispered. “Was I so easy to forget?”

He didn’t have to ask what she meant—her quiet pain spoke volumes, wrenched his heart. He took her face in his hands, brushed at a tear that escaped to roll down one creamy cheek, cursing himself all over again. Was there any possible answer that wouldn’t land him in deeper water? “No, sweetheart. I was in agony over losing you, and I took refuge in what I know best—being a Dom. Exerting control. It’s what makes sense to me—it’s who I am.”

At first I thought: boy, Blaze Kelly sure is a dick, hooking up with his friend and a date when his longer term girlfriend, Emma Foster, broke up with him. But everybody needs a little solace now and then—only, Emma realized she’d made a mistake relatively quickly, and walks in on Blaze and the couple. Shocked is what she is, though that’s saying it lightly. Blaze and Emma work together in the SHADO Agency, and when they have to pose as a couple working to infiltrate a group planning to transfer a weapon of mass destruction to the bad guys, they have to figure out a way past their past.

“Sex is natural, baby. There’s nothing shameful about two or more consenting adults taking pleasure in each other’s bodies. I’m not sorry you saw what you did…I’m only sorry about the circumstances surrounding it.”

Naturally, because she was so upset over witnessing his natural abilities when they broke up, it made sense for Blaze to take her to a BDSM club so he could tie up, whip and nail a submissive male club member while Emma watched. But it did get them past the hurdle of shame and embarrassment, and back on the terms of working together to accomplish their mission.

Hotter Than Ever by Elle KennedyIn Hotter Than Ever, the most recent installation in Elle Kennedy’s Out of Uniform Series, we get to see how things work out with Aiden and Dylan, two SEAL buddies who have spent years hooking up with girls together, only to decide that they are really attracted to one another. When Dylan finds himself in the company of Claire, who was stood up at the altar by his brother, he has no choice but to bring her home.

“To make matters worse, her big brown eyes gave her that perpetually vulnerable look that triggered a man’s hero complex, should he have one. And Dylan, unfortunately, had suffered from a serious case of hero his entire life. He’d never been able to walk away from a damsel in distress, and protecting Claire from the embarrassment and questions that awaited her in that ballroom had been instinctual.”

Thankful for the quick dignity Dylan’s escape plan provides, Claire leaves with her no-longer-to-be-future-brother-in-law—who has the hots for her. God, I love romance. But she recognizes Aiden from months before, when she witnessed his passionate embrace with Dylan.

“The punch of lust that hit her was completely unexpected. But…oh sweet Lord, shock and confusion aside, this might actually be the hottest thing she’d ever seen in her life.”

The three quickly become affectionately acquainted, though there is an occasional twinge of jealousy when one of the men isn’t on the receiving end of her attention. See—somebody always has the potential to be left out. Or, somebody (usually the woman in the middle) always has the potential to develop a pain in the ass—pun intended. It’s enough to make my head spin, but it’s a good story.

I have to laugh, as I wrap up this post, because I’m curious what my husband would think if he were to check my browser history. Googling “ménage a trois” is not a good idea at work, and if you follow all of the links on the Wikipedia ménage a trois page to learn more about the historical pairings or the “see also” links, then you’re in for an entertaining evening.

 


Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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2 comments
Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I too feel that most threesomes I read about just can't work out in the long run. I feel that Emma Holly and Lauren Dane are about the only authors who makes me believe.

That said, I've been wondering lately why there's a plethora of m/f/m menage books out there, but no f/f/m ones.
allyson55
2. allyson55
I surprised myself this year by reading some menage a trois books and discovered that I quite like them. Emma Holly writes some good ones and I really enjoyed 'Offside' by Bianca Sommerland and 'Northern Exposure' by Jayne Rylon and Mari Carr.
I also wonder how these relationships work out in the long run.
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