Coming Back by Lauren Dane (Ink & Chrome #3)
Contemporary Romance (MMF)
Released: December 8, 2015
Grand Central Publishing
Reviewed by Helyce
Favorite Quote: Damn she was blessed. Not just for the abundance of penis in her life, but the big stuff, the love and connection they brought her. The belonging.
Arriving back in Seattle after five years, Jessilyn Franklin is done pretending she didn’t want two men. She’s done letting anything stop her from being with Adam and Mick, now back from the war and working at Twisted Steel, a custom hot rod and motorcycle shop. One night changes everything, but their relationship must strengthen to weather the storms they’ll face as they make their way back to one another.
Lauren Dane finishes up her Ink & Chrome series with a menage romance. Dane is one of the few authors who can do a menage relationship that I find believable and I looked forward to this one because one of the men in the threesome is Mick, a character who we met in the last book. Ex-military, Mick definitely had some darkness in his past. Hints that he was gay or bisexual intrigued me and I looked forward to what would be revealed about his past.
The Twisted Steel grand opening to showcase the new and improved shop and announce Mick’s joining Asa and Duke as a partner is where we meet Adam and Jessi, Mick’s dearest friends and love interests. Jessi and Mick met when Jessi was just 5 and Mick was 7 years old. Mick’s family was religious and cold and he found love and acceptance at Jessi’s house and spent as much time as he could get away with there. In high school Jessi and Mick meet Adam. Adam also had issues with his family, specifically his father, and the pull of Jessi’s family and their welcoming love was something that he needed and could not ignore. Unfortunately, Adam, Mick and Jessi were young and completely unprepared for the attraction that they felt for each other. Not understanding and not knowing how to deal with the flood of emotions, they fight and all three go their separate ways.
Now 4 years later, Mick has struggled to make peace with his past and the mistakes he made. He knows without a doubt that he needs Jessi and Adam in his life, so he invites them both to the Twisted Steel party to see if they feel the same way.
I liked this story. Strong characters in real life situations give it a strong emotionality that makes you feel the character’s pain and confusion. I felt Dane did well with the issues that both the men had with their families. Mick’s family’s religious beliefs are at root of the majority of Mick’s problems, and he is scarred by the crap that was shoved down his throat as a child and through his adolescent years. He has a hard time separating his loyalty to his family with his love for Jessi and later Adam. Unable to deal, he joins the military and drowns himself in that darkness and even after he returns he continues to avoid the real issue by using drugs. He gets himself together in book 2, and is in a much better place by the time he faces the fact that he needs both Adam and Jessi in his life.
Adam’s issues with this dad are different in the sense that he came from a wealthy family and that there were expectations of him. Unable to be what his father wants, Adam had struck out on his own. Now a successful architect, he is wealthy all on his own and doesn’t feel the need to deal with his father. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t continue to harass Adam in coming back to the family fold.
Jessi’s path following their breakup was positive in a way she’d never expected. Though she suffered the loss of her two closest friends and their love, Jessi finds her true self in her art and creativity. Designer, seamstress, sculptor, artist, Jessi found a way to channel all her feelings into her creativity.
For me, the underlying theme of love and total acceptance that Jessi’s family had for everyone was at the core of this story. They provided a safe place for both Adam and Mick at a time when they most needed it. No matter what, Jessi’s parents never wavered in their unconditional love and support of not only their daughter, but the men that she chose to love and have in her life. It once again proves that family doesn’t always come by blood connection, but often by choice and it can be just as strong, and emotionally connecting.
“Here we all are. Improved but not perfect. Holding fast to one another to be the best we can possibly be. And that’s why I trust it. That’s why it’s special. That’s why I love you both more than I ever thought possible to love anyone and not die from it. This is our house. This is our bed and our stunningly gorgeous Jessi with our supermodel dog. This is where we’re supposed to be,” [Mick]
Dane finishes this trilogy with a strong love story that realistically depicts a love between two men and a woman that felt true. Despite the obstacles and their years apart, the love that started with a couple children, changed in adolescence with the addition of Adam and then suffered through years of uncertainty, continued there, in the background until Mick, Jessi and Adam were truly ready to accept it and each other.
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Great review, Helyce. I felt the same way about this one!