Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Mel Sorrento is a recently divorced mixologist, working at one of the premier cocktail lounges in New York City. She’s butch and tatted and sure she’ll never find love again. Then, while working one evening, Mel meets Bebe, a gorgeous lawyer who’s giving off all the right signals–until Bebe’s non-binary spouse, Kade, arrives to take her home. Bebe insists on inviting Mel to a brunch party, but Mel has some misgivings–it’s bad form to lust after her married hostess, isn’t it? But, it turns out that Bebe and Kade are poly, and Bebe would love the chance to date Mel, if she’s open to the idea.

Mel isn’t exactly sure she is interested. She’s had this idea of monogamy in her brain a long time, but she married her high school sweetheart, and that marriage went down in flames. Mel’s not had an interest in a partner since, and Bebe’s very tempting. Perhaps a fling with someone who she can’t get too serious about is just the right tonic to set Mel back on track. Meanwhile, one of the brunch attendees tipped Mel off on a big cocktail competition as a part of a food festival coming in the spring, and the winnings could be a stake Mel uses to open her own cocktail bar. If she’s going to broaden her personal world, she may as well get risky professionally, too.

This is a poly romance that features a longtime couple who ultimately woo a third. Kade and Bebe have never shared a lover before, but Bebe has an intuition that Mel could be a good fit for Kade. It’s not long before Kade and Mel are caught in a space that allows greater intimacy, and I loved the communication here. Mel’s first thought is that Kade’s aloofness holds disdain, but Kade is just more contemplative and restrained than Bebe. This experience opens their minds to the possibilities, ones that Bebe had told Kade were very satisfying. I liked how this triad came to be, with discussion and friendship and lots of passion. The pacing is great and the writing is witty. I had lots of chuckles as Mel figured herself out.

The cocktail contest isn’t the focus of the book, but there’s enough mixology in the story for me to grasp that Mel was really good at what she did, and she had a lot of pride in her skills. This was really awesome, because bartending is often a career people assume to be something one does while waiting for the next phase of life to fall into place. And, while it can be, it’s also a career unto itself, one that can be lucrative and rewarding. Mel’s on the top end of her career opportunities, and she’s doing pretty well, though she’d like to use the potential prize money to open a more niche, LGBTQ-friendly space she can run herself. I honestly liked how it all turned out, with just enough fanfare to give us reassurance that Mel’s future is indeed going to be bright.

It’s a happy ending, for sure, and I had a great time getting there with this fun crew. I definitely recommend this story for anyone who enjoys sweet and (a little) sexy poly romance–and connoisseurs of a good cocktail story.