Author: Logan Meredith
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/12/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Gay, Gay Romance, Menage/Poly, Romance
Heartland: Book Two
Psychologist Victor Mascari and his partner, spa-owner Derek Jameson, have been together eight years, but their relationship is still evolving. Derek distrusts monogamy because of his parents’ messy divorce, but as marriage equality advances, Victor’s doubts about their open relationship are growing. He doesn’t necessarily want a legal union, but he’s increasingly concerned about how others view them.
When Victor comes home to find Derek with another new conquest, he’s annoyed… at first. As he gets to know Antonio, Victor discovers the young man is intelligent, self-assured, and charming. This time, it’s Victor who is intrigued by someone else and Derek who thinks Victor’s interest is crossing the lines they’ve agreed on. If Victor wants to keep Derek, he’ll have to let Antonio go.
But Antonio is in real trouble and has nowhere to turn. Victor and Derek take him in, and it soon becomes clear how well he fits into their lives and how strong the bonds between all of them are growing. A committed relationship between three men—all very different in age and background—is enough of a challenge, and then the horrifying secrets of Antonio’s abusive past emerge.
Threesomes can be hot and fun, but a three-way relationship is quite ‘nother cup of tea.
It’s a truth that both Victor and Derek have to learn the hard way – especially Derek, since their open relationship was based mostly on his particular insecurities. Thus far, Derek pretty much called the shots; he set the rules, and Victor, affected by his own uncertainties, went with them. Until suddenly it’s Victor who demands liberties of his own, and Derek finds himself forced to realize that things might look rather different when viewed from the other end of the stick.
Antonio/ Remi was an adorable character right from the start, but I’ll admit it took me a while to warm up to both Victor and Derek. Again, it was Derek whom I had the most issues with; his entitled machismo attitude and the way he let his mother treat Victor got my hackles up. In comparison, Victor started out a bit of a pushover; I couldn’t help wondering why he thought he had to put up with all that Derek threw at him because he didn’t really seem to enjoy those threesomes/open-relationship shags all that much. Their relationship, for all it was constantly described as so happy and committed, didn’t quite feel that way, it struck me as rather imbalanced.
Happily enough, Antonio came along to tip the scales, and suddenly everything changed. For the first time in eight years, both Victor and Derek were forced to stop and really look at their relationship, with almost disastrous consequences.
There was a lot I liked about this book. First and foremost the growth all three characters went through; I found all three main characters really well drawn and their developments struck me as comprehensible and realistic. Well, the outcome might’ve been predictable – this is a romance after all – but watching them struggle their way to their hard-won happy end still kept me turning pages. Some of the side characters were also elaborate enough to evoke strong sentiments in me while reading; Derek’s mother above all, I could’ve strangled that woman for most of the book.
Then, there were the various subplots twining with the main storyline of Derek, Victor and Antonio/Remi working to make things work for them. Antonio’s heartbreaking backstory, Victor’s ethical dilemma, Derek’s messy love-hate relationship with his parents – even if some things seemed a bit cliché, they struck me as lovingly written and heartfelt. This goes for the writing style in general; it was a bit heavy on the telling vs. showing, and the story had a few lengths, but overall, I enjoyed it.
I wouldn’t call this a nice and easy read with the serious topics this story touches upon – and sometimes quite explicit at that – but on the romance front, it’s beautiful and touching.
(On a side note, Expanded Hearts is book 2 in a series, and several characters from book 1 (Healed Hearts) make more than a cameo appearance, but it can be read as a standalone. )
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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