Starting Over by Annmarie McKenna
Length: Novella / 24,000 / $4.99
Two years ago, Aaron lost his partner in a drowning accident. He’s trying to move on, but letting go of the past, of the life they were building, is hard. One thing he knows he’s not ready for is a new relationship, but Garrett and Dane are determined to change that.
Lifepartners Garrett and Dane, a cop and an ER doc, bring Aaron home after an accident. They’re happy in their light Dom/sub relationship, fulfilled and in love, but they’ve been keeping their eyes open for a third. It doesn’t take long for them to decide that wounded, pretty Aaron is exactly who they’ve been looking for.
The three get along great, but Garrett and Dane have their work cut out for them in convincing Aaron there’s a time for starting over.
[More naked chests. I mean the cover is fine – Loose Id has good covers. It’s just boring for me.]
This is a sweet story about moving on after the death of a partner. The sex is hot and the connection between the established couple is strong and evident while the grieving partner is sympathetic. Mostly well written with a few holes in the story and emotional connection, nonetheless this is an easy, enjoyable story that will appeal to fans. Although this wasn’t entirely successful, it does open my eyes to a new author I’d buy again.
The book opens with Aaron being involved in a dramatic and painful motorcycle accident. Nearby cop Garrett happened to see the accident and was the first on the scene. Garrett instinctively feels something for the injured Aaron, a feeling that is later reiterated by Garrett’s partner, Dane. Although the two have a full and very satisfying relationship, teasing into light D/s, they have been talking about adding a third and Aaron seems to be that person. Unfortunately Aaron’s not so sure he can love again.
The story is a shorter novella (~85 pgs) and doesn’t do justice to the full concept in my opinion. The established relationship of Garrett and Dane along with their light D/s is well crafted and shows the strong love between the two. However, the reason for wanting a third in their relationship is never explained. Whether it’s due to their opposing schedules, wanting more variety in the bedroom, or another reason – this is a muddled part of the narrative. They are very receptive and instantly want Aaron into their relationship while knowing almost nothing about the man. This is a weakness in the story since within a month all three are deeply in love and that emotional connection is definitely missing. The declarations of love between Aaron and Garrett and Dane seem false and too soon.
Part of this is due to the fact that the narrative skips over the recovery time in a few hops. This is to fast forward from the time that Aaron is unable to have sex to when he can fool around again but even this was too soon for his injuries. At the same time, supposedly the three men develop a deeper emotional connection but that is surprisingly never told or shown. Instead the evident lust dominates the story, which isn’t bad since the author can write smoking hot sex scenes and the touch of D/s is light and wonderful. The enjoyment of reading these scenes and the relationship between Garrett and Dane do help keep the story entertaining and somewhat makeup for the lack of a deeper emotional connection with Aaron.
For his part Aaron is a sympathetic character struggling to get his life back together two years after the death of his partner. Aaron is trying to move on, which is admirable and sets him up to be open to the relationship between Garrett and Dane. However, Aaron’s only concern is whether he’s ready to be in another relationship and doesn’t seem to question where he’d fit in with the two men, or if jealousy is an issue or where he would be with the light D/s dynamic going on. The only real concern Aaron had was his perpetual horny nature coupled with an inability to properly masturbate. This definitely contributed to his emotional distance with the other two men but the witty dialogue kept this a quick, fun read even despite these problems.
Overall I’d easily suggest this as a decent read with some fun, hot sex between gorgeous men. Although clearly Aaron would be too hurt to actually have sex so soon and the threesome wasn’t entirely established, that isn’t likely to turn too many readers away. You’ll still enjoy the narrative regardless.
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