Review: A. M. Arthur – Sound of Us (Us #2)

51PLlqbvnqLAuthor: A. M. Arthur
Reviewer: Diane
Publisher: Briggs-King Books
Genre: MMM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:

Jake Bowden didn’t expect to be settling into a strong, loving relationship with another guy at only twenty-three years old—never mind with two. His chemistry with Cris is as strong as ever, while things with Charles are more like a simmer than a heavy boil. Charles says he’s perfectly content to go at Jake’s pace, but Jake isn’t sure slow is what he wants anymore. And when Jake wants something, he isn’t shy about going after it.

Cris Sable is head-over-heels in love with the two men in his life, and he’s vowed to do everything he can to protect the fragile, three-way relationship they’re cultivating—even if it means lying about his past. A dark past that resurfaces in an unexpected way and forces Cris to make the difficult choice between shielding Jake and Charles from it, or trusting them enough to help him face it head-on.

Charles Greenwood had forgotten what it felt like to be loved, until a feisty go-go boy and an ex-porn star fell into his bed, and then stole his heart away. He loves both men equally, but differently, slowly stoking the fire of the chemistry he shares with Jake, while passionately pursuing Cris—both in and out of bed. Their lives are entwining in the very best way…until Cris starts to pull away, distancing himself from the loving support of their triad. And after Cris disappears one night on a drunken bender, Charles vows to do whatever it takes to prove to Cris that he can trust them with anything—mind, body and spirit.

Three separate hearts will finally beat as one.

Note: This is the continuation of an m/m/m romance begun in Here For Us and is best read in order to fully enjoy the character and story development. The book also contains mild BDSM elements, including spanking.

Review:

Sound of Us picks up the story of the triad relationship between Cris, Jake and Chet pretty much from the end of Here for Us. Where the first book was the three men learning that yes, maybe three men can have feelings at the same time, book two is about what that means for the relationship – emotionally, mentally and physically. At the same time, there are some secrets that have not been shared by Cris, Jake is trying to take care of himself in a new way and Chet seems to be the anchor for both of the other men.

The story is told from Cris, Jake and Chet’s point of view.

What I really enjoyed about this story was how the author had the characters deal with some of the issues they still had with their new ménage relationship. Jake is happy with both men, but his insecurities still exist, he now has a mental health issue to deal with and now some sexual issues as a result of his meds. While he enjoys having people to lean on for the first time in many years, he also wants to be able to stand on his own, and I did like that about him, as well as seeing his growth over the stories. While Jake and Chet’s back story was pretty clear from the first book, there are quite a few blanks and secrets not shared for Cris, even from his bestfriend, Taro. While it would have been easy to draw out this element of the story to be a secret kept for the entire book and possibly damage the relationship Cris had just gotten into, I liked that the author decided to show that while his first instinct was to run or just try and escape it, he did choose a better route – for himself as well as for his partners.

Dell, Chet’s nephew, who has made appearances several times, gets a bigger role, which was great to see, although his backstory was a bit heartbreaking. It sounds like book 3 of this series will be his story and I’m very much looking forward to that as he seems like a great character. As usual with an A.M. Arthur book, the supporting cast are as strong as the lead characters and they do seem like an extended family. For that reason, I was a bit disappointed there was not actually a scene with Jake telling Richard and Bear the story behind his sick time and also about his relationship as I think they would have been additionally supportive on both fronts as I get the impression they see all their staff as being family! Then again, that might have been just too much support for Jake, but he kept talking about it, I guess I just like Richard and Bear so much I wanted another scene with them!

There is a lot of sex in this book, but it does not feel overly excessive, we have three men who now accept they are in a ménage relationship and part of that would be working out the sexual chemistry, if there are specific roles each want to take, try, etc. And one of the strengths Chet brings to the entire story, inside or outside the bedroom, is telling both of his partners to talk, communicate, don’t shut anyone out or think you have to do it alone. It was helpful, especially for Jake, to find his place in the sexual relationship, but also in their overall relationship.

As with the last review, I would say if you are a fan of ménage stories and of the older/younger partners, I believe you will enjoy this story. A good balance of drama, sex and a lot of heart.

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