by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink & Chrome #3
Pub. Date: Dec. 8, 2015
Publisher: Forever / Grand Central
Arriving back in Seattle after five years, Jessilyn Franklin is done pretending she didn't want two men. She's done letting anything stop her from being with Adam and Mick, now back from the war and working at Twisted Steel, a custom hot rod and motorcycle shop. One night changes everything, but their relationship must strengthen to weather the storms they'll face as they make their way back to one another.
Coming Back is the third installment of the Ink & Chrome series. When I first started reading, I thought it was the 2nd book. So I have not read Falling Under, but will go back and do that soon. I have read Opening Up, so at least I knew who most of the players were. If you haven't read the first two books, you will likely be okay - but it would enrich your experience to read them in order.
We have an M/M/F relationship in this book covering a variety of my favorite types of characters. There is Jessilyn, a big-hearted heroine who is so sweet your teeth will ache. She has this kickass tattoo of iridescent wings on her back that really makes me want to go out and get something similar. Then Mick, whom Jessi has known since she was 5 years old, is now a veteran bad boy biker who likes bare knuckle brawling. And the final member of this menage is Adam, an architect who is both rich and dominant. The dynamics between these three were complicated, sweet and steamy. I liked that their relationship worked whether they were paired as a couple or a trio. The three banded together against those who opposed their polyamorous lifestyle, and were supportive of one another no matter what each was facing individually.
That being said, due to the history of the threesome, it seemed like we fell into the middle of the story. I wasn't always sure what was going on and it seemed that a lot of the action happened off the page. I think if we would have been in on the story from the beginning, the angst and drama might have drawn us into the relationship more. The story was also very dialogue-driven, which made it harder for me to connect fully because I couldn't get into the head of any one character. When the dialogue was bouncing around between the three, it was not always readily apparent who was talking so I had to go back and re-read paragraphs more carefully to figure it out. I am a big fan of Lauren Dane, she is great at writing these super-steamy romances with mouthwatering heroes. I enjoyed this story, but its not one of my favorites when compared to some of her others that I have read.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time, so her husband took her comments about "giving that writing thing a serious go" to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it. Today, Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 60 novels and novellas across several genres.
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“Things just unraveled for me when Mick left. Watching Jessi try to process, trying to be there for her and not managing it very well. I felt like an asshole, felt like I’d been tossed away. Felt like I needed to be someone else to see if that’s what I should do for the rest of my life,” Adam said.
His leaving—the way he’d done it—had been a way to allow himself the space to take what he wanted and gorge on it.
Jessi lifted her face from where she’d been buried in Mick’s shirt, locking her gaze on his.
Adam hated that she’d been hurt. Hated that it had been necessary in any case, to step away and be Adam in a completely different context.
“And did you like what you found?”
Adam took her hand. “It was something I had to do. I’m back to you now. For keeps.”
Which didn’t make it any less harsh, he knew. He had a lot of fucking sins to make up for when it came to Jessilyn Franklin. He just had to hope he was man enough to do what it took.
And that she found it within her heart to understand. One day.
As for Mick, that was still complicated, only in a different way.
“For keeps like we’re all close friends again? We hang out and share our lives?” Mick asked, wariness in his voice.
Jessi wore the sweetest confused expression, and Adam refused to think about how terrifying it was that she got to him the way she did just by being herself.
“I didn’t want to assume,” Adam said.
Jessi rolled her eyes. “You realize that all three of us showed up after years of being apart. We all clicked back together pretty much immediately. And now it’s like we’re all shy? After all we’ve shared? That’s what this is, then? We’re all friends but not like before? We just forget those times? You two want to see other people?”
“Is that what you want?” Adam asked carefully.
“You left, Adam. After you left, Mick. I didn’t want to walk away. You two did. So asking me that question sort of makes me mad.”
“You’re the one who lived with someone else and was going to get married,” Mick mumbled.
“You guys are such assholes sometimes. Despite what you both put me through, I accept that you needed to step away. But you come back to me with this? No, thank you. If you want to just be friends, all right. I can deal. But you need to be up front and you can’t be kissing my fingers and Mick needs to stop grinding his cock into my ass. Friends don’t do that.”
“I just wanted you to know I didn’t expect you to hop into bed or anything. I didn’t want to assume,” Adam repeated.
Jessi looked up to Mick. “And you?”
Mick was smarter than Adam, though, because he hugged her tight. “If it was up to me, I’d want us to all be together. Really together.”
“Suck up.” Adam rolled his eyes.
“She’s on my lap though, so I declare that a win.”
Adam reached out to snatch her from Mick’s lap, bringing her to his own. “Looks like she’s in my lap now.”
“Something friends don’t do,” Jessi reminded him. Adam took her cheeks in his hands and then claimed her mouth before she could say anything else.
It slammed into him so hard—a wave of regret that he’d put this aside—that he gasped, sucking in the sigh she gave him.
A sweet enough kiss. For now. Hunger, barely leashed, filled him. He wanted. Wanted what had been freely offered before he’d truly understood how rare and special it was.
“I’m always your friend,” he spoke against her mouth. “But I’d be a liar if I claimed I didn’t want everything from you. Being away from you only underlined it.”
“I was so lonely without you both.” She closed her eyes a moment to avoid his seeing all that pain, but he saw it, felt it cut him to the bone.
“I’m sorry. I was lonely too.” Adam had filled every moment with a pursuit of pleasure, but this was something totally different. Something he might not have really recognized if he hadn’t been without it.
But what he did see was he’d have a job of earning her trust back, even if she was being easy enough right then.