Buy Link: What We Deserve
Author: Kerry Freeman
Publisher: Loose Id
We first meet Sean at 12 years old when he realizes he is in love with his older best friend Jamie. After a brief introduction we skip ahead six years to the day of Jamie’s college graduation, soon after Sean has turned 18 and completed high school. He is still in love with Jamie, but doesn’t even know for sure if Jamie is gay. He is shocked and thrilled that night when Jamie confesses that he loves Sean in return and the men make love (it is Sean’s first time). However, Sean is devastated the next morning to find that Jamie is gone, having left to join the military without a word to Sean.
The story jumps ahead 12 years and we find Sean working as a computer programmer and dating a great guy named Tyler. He has never really gotten over Jamie’s betrayal and still hurts from being left like that after sharing such a special moment. However, things are really good with Tyler and Sean admits to himself that he is in love with him and ready to take their relationship to the next level. He is stunned then to hear from his parent’s that Jamie has left the military and returned home. The news brings up all his old hurt once again and he has no desire to see Jamie. But the men’s parents are close friends and it becomes impossible to avoid him, especially when Sean’s mother invites Jamie to dinner. She tells him:
“Look, Sean, I know that maybe he doesn’t deserve a chance to be your friend. But sometimes we give people things not because they deserve them but because we love them or because they meant something to us once…or just because we can.”
I wanted to argue. I wanted to be angry and spiteful. Most of all, I wanted to hate him. But I didn’t, and I never had. I just wanted him to hurt as much as I had. If my mother was right, though, he already did.
Sean is shocked when Jamie says he has returned for Sean and still loves him. Sean makes it clear that he is with Tyler and that will never change. Yet it is obvious that Jamie feels terrible about the way he left Sean and he admits to how scared he was, both of coming out and of telling Sean he was leaving. Sean soon forgives Jamie and the three men begin to see each other socially, including a hot night at a club that ends up leading to some three way macking in the back of the car.
Although things are awkward afterwards, it soon becomes clear that the feelings between the three men are strong. When Jamie admits that he wants both of them (and they realize they want him back), the men decide to try out dating for a while. Although the “no sex” rule is hard for all of them, the two months of spending time together and developing their relationship really bonds them together and by the time they are ready to make things physical again, all three men are in love with each other. Their relationship is good and solid but being a threesome is a challenge. The men worry about telling their families even though they want to live together in the open. The remainder of the story follows them as they work though how to make their relationship work and mesh their three lives into a solid family.
There were so many things I think were done well in this book. I really enjoyed the humor, whether it was Sean lamenting his “cockblocking” mother or Tyler’s snarky comments. I also think Jamie’s integration into the relationship came together nicely and fairly organically. Sean and Tyler were just reaching the point of becoming an official couple and admitting their feelings for one another. So although this is clearly a twosome taking in a third, their relationship is fairly new as well. It is clear that Tyler never has any jealously and although Sean has known Jamie for years, most of his getting reacquainted happens along with Tyler rather than he and Jamie rebuilding their relationship on their own. This all helped to make it more believable to me that they would move toward a threesome, as well as to make it clear that Tyler has just as large a role in making their relationship happen as Sean and Jamie.
I also really liked that the guys spend a lot of time building their relationship together and it is not just all about the sexual attraction. They date as a group for two months before having sex again (and even Sean and Tyler abstain when on their own), which helps them to really bond together as three. They talk through their issues about where the relationship is going, how and when to become public, how they will behave when they aren’t all together, etc, which is something I always appreciate in a menage. But don’t you worry that this book is all talking! These guys are super crazy hot when they are together and they just burn up the page. I defy anyone not to get all hot and bothered reading this!
I had just a few small criticisms. First, when Jamie comes to Tyler and Sean to declare his feelings and suggest trying out a threesome, he and Tyler have only spent a short time together. Yet Jamie is already declaring that he can’t imagine life without him (a feeling Tyler returns). While I can get that they have a mutual attraction they want to explore, this felt a bit instalove to me. But after these first moments, it is very clear that their feelings for one another are strong and they form a bond with each other as tight as they each have with Sean.
I also questioned how quickly and easily most people in the families accepted their threesome relationship. While there is one holdout who doesn’t get past the disappointment and anger, most of them accept it seemingly without a second thought. While I’d like to think everyone is openminded and welcoming to different relationships, I just found this a little unrealistic and idealized. But again, this was a small thing and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Last small thing is that I would have liked to have had a better understanding of why Jamie joins the military and leaves without telling Sean. I feel like this is hinted at but not totally developed.
This is the first story I have read by Freeman and I really enjoyed her writing. What We Deserve was romantic, hot, and sweet. I could really believe in this relationship, both that it would happen and that it would last. The men make a wonderful “household of three.” Definitely a recommended read.