Rating: 3.75 stars
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Hunter Steele has come to realize that he is not as straight as he once thought. Not only that, but he is incredibly attracted to his two best friends, Killian and Ari. Hunter knows that his friends will be totally accepting when they find out he is interested in men; both men are gay themselves. But he still hasn’t worked up the nerve to tell them and finally admit it out loud.
When Hunter’s friend offers him a stay in his beach house for two weeks, there is no one Hunter would rather share it with than Killian and Ari. Spending time together gives Hunter the confidence to finally admit to them not only that he is bisexual, but that he is attracted to both of them. And to Hunter’s surprise, it turns out that Killian and Ari have developed feelings for the other two as well.
Now that Hunter, Killian, and Ari have finally admitted their feelings for one another, they begin to explore their relationship together. The chemistry is great among all three men and they find that the long-time friendship they have shared makes them a perfect fit as lovers as well. Things are just perfect as they spend time at the beach, but facing life at home brings new challenges. Hunter still has to face coming out as bisexual outside of their cozy little vacation bubble. And Killian has insecurities about being good enough for the other two. But now that the three men have finally found happiness together, they are determined to find a way to make it work for good.
Spare Parts is the second book in E.M. Denning’s The Trouble with Triads series. This one stands alone perfectly; the books seem to only connect in terms of the triad/polyamory theme. The story has a strong friends-to-lovers vibe, as the three men have been long time best friends. Hunter and Ari are also roommates, and while Killian lives on his own, he spends much of his time with the other two. Denning does a nice job here really establishing the close bond among the men. We get a great sense of how close they all are, how well they know each other, and it then really helps them build their ultimate romantic relationship. Even as the men hit various challenges, the close bond they have allows them to understand each other and continue to support each other.
While the men fall quite easily into their romantic and sexual relationship once they admit their feelings, they do have some issues that arise. Hunter struggles a little as he comes out with his bisexuality. He shares it with Killian and Ari, but they are in a little bubble at the beach, and Hunter needs to work through some fears about coming out more publicly. The bigger focus here is on Killian, who has had a really difficult past and grew up in foster care. While he has a foster dad who loves him and Killian has come a long way emotionally, he still struggles with self worth and fears of abandonment (particularly after some past lovers dismissed him for some of his sexual preferences). Killian was my favorite character and Denning develops him particularly well. I think we see the most overall growth in his character and it is rewarding watching him find his happiness. Hunter’s storyline ends up tying up quite quickly and easily despite the initial angst, perhaps too quickly for the amount of focus it is given. And I feel like we barely get to know Ari at all, or at least much about him beyond his immediate interaction with the other guys. We get kind of a basic backstory, but not much detail, especially compared to the other two men. I feel like Ari doesn’t get nearly as much character development and I wished things had been a little more balanced among the three of them.
Denning does a great job here of really creating three distinct characters, something I noted in my review for Spare Room as well. We get POV chapters for all three men, which helps to give insight into each of them. For me, this one took a bit to get going though, as it felt a little repetitive with all the set up. We rotate among all three men as each has similar thoughts about their feelings for the others, how they are attracted to their friends but think they don’t feel the same. But once things all get out in the open, I felt like the story picked up nicely. I really enjoyed these guys together and they have a sweet connection, combined with a lot of heat.
I found this one an entertaining friends-to-lovers story. If you enjoy this trope, particularly if you like menage/polyamory stories, give Spare Parts a try.