Matilda “Mati” Viveiros is the only girl in her conservative family. Despite her drive and intellect, her father never wanted her to become a managing partner at Viveiros and Sons, the produce business he ran and that her two elder brothers now manage. Instead of fulfilling the narrow confines of her parents’ expectations, scandalous Mati moved out of their home and took a job managing the wealth and properties of reclusive billionaire, Reese Lamont. That Mati has developed a deep love for Reese in the five years of their partnership is immaterial. She has sexual desires her parents would call depraved and which drove away her last suitor, family-approved Frankie.
Reese has long been a recluse in the mansion his similarly reclusive father built. He’d thought his dad was paranoid, fearing for his life for decades, but Reese was nearly killed twice after inheriting and that made him lock himself mostly away. He’s only able to manage in general because of Mati and Hodges, the long-time house and security manager his father hired when Reese was a child. While on a carefully planned trip to visit treasured friends, Reese is startled to get a call from Mati. She was staying in the big house, working, when two masked people broke into Reese’s home. From hours away, Reese guides Mati via telephone and video surveillance to his hidden panic room. He and Hodges depart for home, and Mati collapses in his arms when they arrive. Reese wouldn’t mind holding Mati tight under other circumstances, but not because her life was threatened in his home.
Because the purpose of the break-in was unknown and the perpetrators escaped, Mati and Reese decide to go on an unplanned road trip. Reese is sure his previous assailants are back, and he can’t bear to let them hurt Mati just because he’s too timid to leave his compound. They arrive in Boston and connect with an old friend who runs a security agency. That’s how they meet David Zapetti. David was a 10-year veteran of Boston’s SWAT team, but he left the force a year ago due to PTSD. He’s immediately intrigued by both Mati and Reese. Bisexual and unashamed, the three of them experience an electricity that David isn’t shy about discussing. Or testing.
Clearly, hiding in David’s protective custody, fearing for their very lives is exactly the right time for some bam-chicka-wow-wow. It’s maybe a day before they start to explore the sexy side of house arrest. Mati is the link, as she’s got a Domme kink and neither David nor Reese want to leave her unsatisfied. There is A LOT of sex in this book. So much so that I was like, uh, when are we going to get back to the high stakes chase, folks? Which said volumes as I’m totally a fan of sex in my books. The three-way POV seemed a bit repetitive, and that further bogged the pace for me. Reese has never been with a man, and David and Mati ease him into it. He’s inexplicably drawn to David—and it seemed odd because Reese behaves in a way that is somewhat demisexual, yet he’s attracted to David nearly out of the gate. I could have read that wrong, but Reese’s lack of sex partners or attraction for a long, long time, coupled with his deep love for Mati, whom he’s been connected to platonically for years, played into my impression.
When unexpected parties pop in at the Boston hotel where this trio almost can’t pry themselves out of bed, they know they’ve been made. David thinks it’s the end of their love affair, but Reese and Mati want him to drive back to Canada, which, oh did it take me a long time to reveal the original locale? Yeah, that’s how I felt reading the story, too. Apparently, Reese and Mati are from Nova Scotia. It took me out of the story while I waited for some landmarks to ground me. Then I was confounded by how such a recluse as Reese is described (at length) to have taken trips to his besties’ home or driven through 16 hours of snow-clogged byways to get to Boston.
This is a standalone MMF menage romance, but it felt like it was part of a larger world of MM and MMF couples. I say this because the characters here have “strong” connections to other people that didn’t feel fully fleshed out in this work, as if their relationships had been discussed comprehensively elsewhere and myriad secondary characters were now making cameos. I’m not sure if that’s in fact the case, as I haven’t read any of the other books, but that was how it felt. Honestly, I would have liked it more had there been more explicitly-stated settings, fewer side characters, and more action driving the plot.
It was a bit like two books were smashed into one, and eventually Mati’s family became a large part of the mystery of her assailants. Nothing she can’t handle with some “sit-down and shut-up-dad while I save the family from ruin” and herself from being a pariah. And you can bet the next scene was sexy. The unnecessarily convoluted plot took more energy than I was expecting to give in order to keep people, places, and events all in order. Pretty much, it all (nearly) made sense in the end, but it definitely took the long, kinky, instalove (at least with David) way to get there. I felt I was suspending disbelief far more than I have in a long time, even for menage romance.