Quick Rundown: Serena Dammler is the town troublemaker. Jealous of those around her that have found love and happiness, Serena has made poor decisions because of her own insecurities and loneliness. After an abusive childhood, Serena’s dream is to marry a rich man who will protect her and give her anything she wants. Her latest stir of trouble came back to bite her in the butt and as a result she was physically beat up by a criminal she drew to town because of one of her schemes. Marc Weller and Tony Estabon are bounty hunters and lovers. Their latest assignment is to capture Serena’s attacker and return him to Texas. Once they lay eyes on Serena, they feel an immediate connection to her and decide that they will do what is necessary to convince her that she is the third they have searched for to complete their relationship. However, Marc and Tony have their own scheming going on and decide to pose as simple cowboys who work on a ranch instead of revealing their wealth and the truth that they are actually ranch owners.
First Impression: Had I known the main couple was m/m and they later add the heroine as a third, I would have probably passed on reading the book. (While I enjoy menage, m/m relationships are typically not my choice of genre, however I kept an open mind.) With that aside, the overall tone of the m/m/f relationship lacked a spark and chemistry that I hoped for given their individual character strengths. The love scenes felt more mechanical than passionate and emotional.
The Heroes: Marc and Tony are rugged, self-confident men and have a strong relationship as lovers. They were immediately protective of Serena and were determined to prove that she could love them for who they were and not just their wealth.
The Heroine: Serena made her first appearance in Missy Martine’s book, Table for Three. After being introduced to her bitchy attitude and conniving ways, I did not expect to like her at all. After learning more about Serena’s past, I understood why she went out of her way to cause trouble for others. Although that did not condone her actions, this story provided a better insight into Serena’s lack of self-worth due to the abuse she endured from her family.
What worked: The emotional growth of Serena from the first time we met her. Once she was living on the ranch with Marc and Tony, she was finally able to curtail her selfish behaviors and put someone else first. Serena was able to recognize the care and concern the men gave her and in turn was able to give it back without ulterior motives.
What didn’t work: The pet names! I am NOT a fan of pet names at all unless the author can really deliver an emotional tie to the name chosen. I was sick of the men calling each other “lover”! “Come on my tongue, lover. Give me what I need.” And the men always called Serena, “princess” or “sunshine”. When a pet name is overused in love scenes, it is a big turn off for me as a reader. Beyond that, the description of the love scenes in general were very mechanical and unemotional which left an unsatisfying lack of intimacy among the trio.
Final Conclusion: While this was a short story, I would have liked to have more depth and emotion of character as well as the passionate love scenes which I crave and have read in other menage short stories.