Sequel to Dark Horse
“It’s hard enough with two people. Throwing a third into the mix is… I don’t know, doesn’t it seem like we’re asking for trouble?”
It hasn’t been easy, but horse trainer Dan Wheeler is beginning to build a new life for himself, finding his place in California with his lovers Evan Kaminski and Jeff Stevens. When things are going well, it’s spectacular: there’s affection, humor, and passion. But things don’t seem to go well all that often.
Dan continues to struggle with the loss of his previous lover and sometimes doubts that he even deserves to be happy; Evan is jealous of every rival for Dan’s attention—including Jeff; and Jeff worries that he’s too old for the younger men and wonders if he should bow out completely. Despite his resolutions, Dan has grown attached to the other two men, but he’s not sure that’s enough. He knows that it hurts to be together—he needs to decide whether it would hurt even more to be apart.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Out of the Darkness is the sequel to Dark Horse and you must read the first to really appreciate the second. As a follow up, the story establishes the threesome and gives hope that they will finally work things out to stay together. Unfortunately the story isn’t as engaging and interesting as the previous book and I found myself wondering why the characters made the choices they did. There is a definite lack of context to Jeff and Evan that is a glaring hole in the third person, present tense writing. Those that liked the first book will definitely want to continue with this relationship but it didn’t keep my attention nearly as much as Dark Horse.
Picking up where the first book left off, Dan is newly involved with Jeff and Evan. Dan is not only getting over the death of his lover but he’s trying to navigate the sticky waters of a threesome. His emotions are all over the place and he bounces between wanting to make it work and wanting to bail. Add in some horse drama, ex’s and friends that all have opinions, and finally some sex to make a complicated story but one that has a happy ending.
The story is told from Dan’s third person perspective but in present tense. This takes a while to get used to and even more so in this offering. The story starts kind of slow with Evan’s precocious younger sister in a horse related accident. Of course Evan freaks out and Dan retreats to his shell, leaving Jeff to bring the two together and mend fences. This sets up the pattern for the book as Evan and Dan clash repeatedly, leaving Jeff as the force that makes them work things out and continue. On the one hand, this sets up a good dynamic that makes every person important to the relationship. Yet on the flip side, Evan and Dan only seem to be together for the sexual chemistry and because they both want Jeff.
Dan comes across as pretty selfish here as he struggles to find his footing in the relationship. He gets jealous about Jeff and Evan being together, yet takes advantage of alone time with both men. Jeff and Evan seem to bend over backwards to make Dan feel wanted, desired, and let him set the pace and the rules. I kept wondering why since there is nothing offered from their perspective. I couldn’t understand why either of these men decided so vehemently they wanted a relationship with Dan, who is prickly, aggressive, and riddled with rules about what he allows and what he doesn’t. His bouncing back and forth between wanting in or out of the relationship goes on until the very end with ultimately Dan making the decision.
Dan’s not a bad guy really but he’s complicated with a lot of issues and he demands a lot from his lovers. They give it with few qualms but it didn’t quite make sense why they were so willing to work for this relationship. Perhaps it’s the sex, which apparently is great between the men. There’s not much sex in the book though, a few quickie blowjobs and a few threesomes that are fade to black so I couldn’t really get a handle on this energy that is supposedly so explosive between them. Instead Dan comes across as melodramatic and often self centered. Since there is very little development offered to Jeff and Evan, they remain mysterious.
The writing is good and once the story picks up, rather engaging. It’s slow to start and Dan is the sole character of note. There are a few outside influences from Evan’s friends, Jeff’s mother, Dan’s ex and so on that make appearances. These mostly help to move the story along while Dan emotionally waffles on his choices. These side characters also help keep the tension alive without being so emotional that the reader gets frustrated. They offer outlets for Dan’s angst and help even out the otherwise rocky pace and tone.
Overall this is a decent sequel to the first book but not as good unfortunately. The epilogue however is a nice way to end the story with all the characters happy and settled.