Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sharing Hailey by Samantha Ann King

Why I read it: I picked this one up at NetGalley because I liked the blurb.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Hailey Anderson's deep, dark secret? She's been madly in lust with her overprotective brother's two best friends for years. Gorgeous woodworking artist Mark Allen and sexy doctor Tony Adamo have no idea they star in her fantasies every night.

After a nasty breakup with her abusive boyfriend, Hailey's looking for a little distance. Headed for a two-week Hawaiian vacation with her brother and his hot friends, Hailey can't wait to feast her eyes on Mark's and Tony's rock-hard, ocean-slick bodies. Even if she can't touch.

But instead of treating her like their little sister, Mark and Tony have a surprising proposition: a monogamous ménage à trois. The three of them—and no one else. Both men want Hailey and have agreed to share her. The red-hot reality is even better than the forbidden fantasy. Until Hailey's ex threatens their newfound happiness…

What worked for me (and what didn't): There was much about this book I loved.  The connection between Tony, Mark and Hailey was clear from the start - they have been best friends for many years.  Even though in the blurb they're described as her brother's best friends, really, they are hers also.  Living in the same city, they hang out regularly - although less so since her relationship with Daniel began.   The book begins shortly after her breakup with Daniel.  It took her a long time to realise he was bad for her, but when he started getting violent - pushing her, shaking her and leaving bruises, she called it quits.

 The book is told from Hailey's third person POV so we don't get to spend any time in Tony or Mark's head, which was a little disappointing.  It seems that Mark is the more kinky of the pair and it was initially his suggestion that they try "sharing" Hailey.  The way they put it to her is not as squicky as it sounds though - both, either or neither is fine, but they wanted to give her all the options.  As she loves both of them, once she gets over her initial concerns about a threeway relationship, she's on board.

The sex is certainly hot and there are scenes with Hailey/Tony and Hailey/Mark and also with all three.  There is even one scene where, caught up in the moment, Mark and Tony kiss.  Mark is more willing to identify as bi but this freaks Tony out a bit.  Unfortunately, that aspect of their relationship wasn't very well explored - the story went off into the suspense plot and never really got back to whether or not the physical relationship would develop further between the men.  Having made it an issue in the book, I felt let down that it wasn't explored.  I admit I do like m/m action in my m/f/m books, but if it hadn't been raised, or had merely been mentioned as not ever happening, I would have been fine with that - because the relationship between each of the men with Hailey was so hot and the men were good friends, I could go with it.    But, having teased me with glimpses of intimacy, I felt disappointed when it didn't really go anywhere.

The middle portion of the book lagged a bit for me.  I was much more interested in the relationship between Tony, Mark and Hailey - how they were going to work it out, whether there was any jealousy between the two men from time to time - again, some of this was hinted at, but not really explored.  Parts of the middle felt a little like a social commentary on domestic violence - and quite pessimistic at that (although perhaps validly so) and when the focus wasn't on the trio, I found myself skimming.

But the beginning and the end do feature the relationship mainly (even if the ending depicts their relationship in the shadow of violence, the focus is still on Hailey and the boys), and they were the parts of the book I enjoyed the most.

What else? I am hoping that this author has more to write about this world - Hailey's sister-in-law's brother, Landon or his other sister, Meredith, all look like good potential MC's to me and maybe we'll get a glimpse in the future of how Hailey, Mark and Tony are getting on.

While there were things which I didn't love in this book and things which I wish had been more fully explored, I did enjoy this one.  There was something good about the writing and the way the author put the words together in the sentence that raised it to another level and she can certainly write good sex.  I was so invested in the relationship between the three that I wanted more of it and most of my frustration was ultimately because I cared about the characters.  I'll be watching for more from this author.

Grade: B-


Lori said...

Hmmm... Sounds interesting. I also like the examinaton of the m/m piece of the relationship in a menage. Too bad it's not explored more.

Kaetrin said...

@Lori yes. I enjoyed the three characters so much and there was definite chemistry between the 2 guys but for some reason it seemed the author shied away from fully exploring that aspect. I did enjoy the book though. :)

Jane said...

This book did not work out for me at all. I felt that the abuse issue was really heavy handed and the instantaneous relationship was unbelievable. Why was she dating if she constantly had these feelings of lust and/or love for these two other men? Why is she so obtuse? What as the point of her brother, sister in law, sister in law's sister, and sister in law's brother even being the in book?

Kaetrin said...

@Jane - I agree that at times the abuse issue seemed heavy handed - I think I said in my review that it seemed a bit like social commentary and that's what I meant. I didn't find the relationship so very unbelievable (at least, in so far as romance novels are concerned in general anyway). They were clearly very close and she had always been attracted to both men. I understood that she had thought she was off limits to them for one reason or another (maybe because they were so much better looking than her - she thought she was "average" or maybe because they were her brother's BFFs) - whether I made that up or it was in the text I can't say.

As for the family relationships, I thought part of it was to establish why she was going to Hawaii with the boys in the first place and also perhaps, for some sequel baiting. I'd be happy to read a book featuring Landon.

Obviously this book worked better for me than for you but I can see that the things you pointed out could be issues for some readers. Fortunately for me, they didn't trip my trigger. :)