Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TBR Challenge: Lena Matthews - I Never

Thanks to his friend's thirtieth birthday, Tripp Kowlaski is forced to face the two people he's been avoiding for the last year — Skylar Daveigh and Gideon Foley. At one time the three of them had been part of a close-knit group of friends, but that all changed thanks to one game of I Never.
Some things can't be forgiven or forgotten. Unfortunately for Tripp, Gideon isn't in the mood to do either. He and Skylar are happy now together. The last thing either of them needs is to be reminded of what they can't have.
Skylar is conflicted. She's in love with two men who can't move past their anger or fear to admit their love for one another. All she wants is the three of them to be happy, together, but some wishes aren't meant to come true. The birthday surprise is on them though, because they're receiving a gift none of them will ever forget. The only question is, will they make the same mistake the second time around?

Comment: Here we are again, at another book for the TBR challenge. This month, the theme is luscious love scenes, which means - for most people - erotic stories where it is the focus. 
I picked a book I've had since 2009 or 2010 which I got during my times of discovery of MM romances and how I've read several MMF to see if I would enjoy MM on its own. Like many readers out there, nowadays I kind of prefer MM instead of MMF which I tend to find mostly boring and uninteresting because I like the MM parts better.
This story was no exception, in particular because it was on the short side and didn't allow much development the way I think it could use, but well...

Anyway, this story is the second of a trilogy of shorter stories the author has written for Ellora's Cave. The trilogy is set on the idea of naughty games, those games teenagers play but this time a group of seven friends played it with consequences for them all. 
In this story's case, Tripp, Gideon and Skylar, who were best friends, took their friendship further with a game of I never, which proved to them all how attracted they all were with each other, but Tripp wasn't in the best place emotionally and he left the other two. Now, two years after, they are told by another friend to try to mend their problems and to see if what they still have between them is worth it all.

Despite being part of a trilogy, all stories apparently take place at the same time and one doesn't have to read the others to understand everything.
I thought this story would focus on the erotic part of their relationship, which I imagined would be developed with some structure. I think the fact this is short, I'd say it is a short story, didn't leave much room for progress. There are sex scenes and we have scenes from two years ago, when things went bad. I understand this was a device the author used to show the reader why these three have things to deal with, but obviously it took some time from the current working out of things. And I don't think that knowing how sexually tuned with each other was that necessary to understand their issues, because after all they were always supposed to be good together.

So, there's a short story and a good part of it is showing a sex scene from the past before things went wrong. The major issue here happened between Gideon and Tripp because Tripp wasn't ready to tell himself he had important feelings for Gideon, the same he had for Skylar. They had sex and Tripp got scared and he said things that hurt Gideon. A this point it became rather obvious the main problem was between the boys, and I have to say, the conflict wasn't that badly done, their issues had some merit.
The biggest thing for them to solve then, was how Tripp would accept their relationship and how Gideon would forgive Tripp. Eventually everything worked out well, although I still had the feeling it was all too fast.

In fact, I had some trouble believing things could be dealt that fast even more when Gideon and Tripp had serious things to talk about. I really think a bigger story where we could see the nowadays time going slower and where they could talk better would suit them. In a way, this story was about the two guys and how what they would do would affect the trio.
So, where was Skylar in all this, she had a good relationship with both guys, even if Tripp hurt her too, but she was quicker to forgive, like her presence was there to just balance the guys. There were times where I even thought she was redundant, just to allow a different erotic level, but honestly her presence wasn't such a big win for me. If this is the story itself or my better opinion of just MM romances, I can't really say for sure.

Then the sex, this is labeled erotic, it has sex scenes, it has menages and sexual situations usually addressed in erotic stories. Still, I can't say the sex parts were that important. I think if we removed them the story would still be there, with its interesting points and lac of solid development because of how short it was and because it doesn't have the feel of a well developed story. At least to me. Perhaps I picked an unsuitable story, but the truth is, the sexual content wasn't that impressive, at least for the type of story it was supposed to be in. I still think the best scenes were between Gideon and Tripp...

In the end, not only was the story short, it didn't convince me in terms of structure, it wasn't that sexy or sensual and it was more focused on the guys than the menage itself. After all the things I found fault with, the good aspects weren't enough to me.
I don't plan on reading more by this author. She can be talented, but based on this story alone, I wasn't convinced.
Grade: 4/10

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