Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “This is my wife….and these are my daughter’s boyfriends.”
Claire McKinley getting dumped on her wedding day sets the stage for an amazing adventure that ends in love when her former fiance’s brother, Dylan Wade, rescues her and takes her home with him to San Diego. Dylan is not Claire’s biggest fan but no one deserves what she endured. When Claire arrives at Dylan’s house, she meets his “roommate” Aidan and from there, things get interesting. Dylan and Aidan have a complicated relationship that goes beyond platonic. (we see a beginning of it in Getting Hotter) They are both bisexual and while they enjoy each other, they also feel a woman completes their relationship. And they want that woman to be Claire.
Claire is unsure how all this will work. She is attracted sexually to both men but she has concerns and she knows Dylan doesn’t like her. Aidan sees the tension and decides to take matters into his own hands and force a confrontation between Claire and Dylan. A confrontation that sends a firestorm of passion throughout the house and binds all three together. When outside forces learn of their unusual relationship, all three become fodder for gossip which leads to heartache. Can Claire, Dylan, and Aidan stay strong or will they succomb to the wants of others and let their chance at happiness die out?
I’ll be honest, most who know me know I am not a fan of menage stories. It’s hard for me to buy into the notion that everyone gets what they need from such a complicated relationship. I find them more believable (and readable) if all three are attracted to one another, all three indulge in sexual relations with one another together and apart, and if the author includes the bad with the good. I need to see the characters dealing with realistic issues involved in attempting such a relationship. Even with my many issues, Elle Kennedy is a talented author whose writing style and character development makes this particular trope work for me.
Hotter Than Ever is a menage story but it goes much beyond the stereotypical erotic romances that only focus on how much gratuitous, multi positional sex scenes can be added. In here we are taken on an exploratory journey that addresses a permanent MMF relationship, homosexuality, and how the outside world views and reacts to it all. We develop an intimate relationship with three people who enter into a relationship that is not only extremely hot in nature but also heart achingly emotional. What grabbed me from the onset was the realism that Kennedy imparts in the story. Kennedy shows this isn’t an easy relationship for anyone to have There is jealously, commitment issues, secrets, and outside influences that elevates the story into a sweet sexy romance that engages you to the end.
All three characters are well defined and work well together, separately and as a unit. Claire is an interesting character and I enjoyed meeting her. Strong and intelligent, I was amused by how wrong Dylan’s original impressions are of her and vice versa. He sees her strength and “go getter” attitude as money hungry and bitchy. She is neither. She is merely goal orientated. She handles her fiancee’s betrayal well though there were some things he did that I felt she just let slide when she should have blasted him to smithereens. Her reactions to Dylan and Aidan’s relationship and their requests of her were realistic. She has reservations that are worked through slowly but at an acceptable rate. Dylan and Aidan are hot. Period. Hot together and hot separately. Kennedy does a wonderful job of pairing them together and revealing their inner demons when the affair between the three of them becomes more than they bargained for. Incredible chemistry and steamy, erotic love scenes show us every possible combination and while this is a fantasy, it’s a fantasy that works. The communication between the three is all inclusive and their banter is witty and fun to read.
The balance between the main conflict and external factors are fairly distributed though Kennedy does use a heavy hand with a stereotypical nasty villain and certain scenes to promote the relationship in a positive light. We see many old friends from previous books and get a peek into how their lives are progressing. I will say I was a bit amazed by all the threesomes happening in this group. The ending is heartfelt and humorous as Claire and her boys find common ground with their families and themselves. Kennedy’s Hotter Than Ever once again combines the best of fantasy and real life to produce a highly enjoyable story.