Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel
Series: Tangled #1
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: June 1st 2010
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Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued...and a little gun-shy.
Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki's life, but he's determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki's heart.
Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?
I don’t read a lot of menage stories. I like the basic concept behind a permanent threesome, but I have a hard time buying into the reality of it. Especially when the social consequences and relationship dynamics aren’t fully explored. This was a good story. It had substance in dealing with some of the darker issues of a permanent threesome. I liked that Braemel addressed the issues instead of skirting them.
Nikki has been really un-lucky in love. Her ex-husband turned out to be a verbally abusive cheater who took her to the cleaners when he left, and her younger brother – who is the apple of her parent’s eye – is a total loser who is doing nothing but sponging off her. She’s doing her best just to get by, when her truck breaks down. It looks like things might finally be turning around for her, because her sexy neighbor, Dillon Barnett, is the one to stop and help her. And it looks like he might be showing more than neighborly interest in her. Then she gets home and finds everything in her house is gone. Everything.
When Dillon sees Nikki on the side of the road beside her broken down pickup he figures now might be the time to make his move. He’s been wanting her most of his life, but he stepped back while she was married to her no-good ex and then while she recovered from the divorce. But now he’s ready to see if she’s receptive. When things get thrown off track by her house being burgled he takes advantage of the situation to have Nikki move in with him.
Brett Anderson had a major thing for Nikki in high school, too. Only he acted on it. Too bad for him she ended up with her ex and he ended up almost losing the only family he’d ever known and his best friend on top of it. Now he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon be with Nikki, even though it’s killing him inside.
But when Dillon suggests a threesome, then plants the idea that it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing, Brett wonders if it’s too good to be true. Can the three of them really make it work? Can Nikki let go of society’s preconceived notions about it and accept both of them?
I really enjoyed all three characters. They were all different, yet they complimented each other perfectly. Dillon is the golden-boy from a good family. Brett is the bad-boy from the wrong side of town with a tortured past. Nikki is the sweet girl who made too many bad decisions and is now afraid to trust – not only the men in her life but her judgment when it comes to them.
I liked Dillon and Brett, but I think Brett was a more real character for me. Dillon was pretty simple – he grew up in a loving home, never really made any major mistakes (except once with Brett) and pretty much got everything he wanted. Except Nikki. It wasn’t that he was perfect, he just wasn’t very complicated. He was kind of the calm one that balanced out Nikki and Brett.
Brett was more the tortured bad-boy. He grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father until Dillon’s family took him in. He’s afraid of losing them more than anything, which is why he steps aside to let Dillon have his chance with Nikki. I liked that his insecurities were addressed and that one of the key elements to the story was his fear that he’d be tossed aside.
Nikki was a good fit for them both. She has some baggage leftover from her time with her ex, but there wasn’t too much of it. I liked that she really struggled with what to do about the guys, and how to go about living with both of them.
It did seem a bit cheesy that great-grandma had two men, and that Dillon’s family pushed so hard for it. But I was able to overlook that part and just enjoy the story as it was.
4 out of 5
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here in e-format.