It seemed ideal —two months at a charming writers’ retreat, surrounded by kindred souls. But Bettina Boothe wasn’t prepared for just how long eight weeks truly was. Or that in the process, she would have to open up and reveal the most secret places in her body and soul.
Fortunately, her fellow authors do not share Bettina’s self-consciousness and begin to draw her out of her self-imposed shell. One in particular—Audrey LeClaire—seems to ooze confidence and self-assuredness. Dark and petite, Audrey’s potent sensuality draws the men and women in the workshop to her like flies to honey. Bettina is just as vulnerable, finding herself overwhelmed by a very unexpected attraction to Audrey who makes Bettina her special project.
But when Jack Curran arrives at the retreat, everything changes. Jack is tall, beautiful, masculine. A writer of dark thrillers, he is as mysterious and alluring as his books. He and Audrey are obviously an item, but they eagerly welcome Bettina into their bed. Suddenly Bettina finds herself swept up in a maelstrom of lust, obsession and jealousy, torn between her need for two very different people in a love triangle where she will either be cherished…or consumed.
I was intrigued by this book just due to the fact that it was a menage a trois featuring two women and one man, whereas the majority I’ve read in the past feature two men and one woman.
Bettina Boothe is a solitary sort of person. She’s extremely shy and her therapist has advised her to get out into the world more. Bettina decides that this writers’ retreat would be just the thing, because she knows all the fellow authors via an online group which she has been a part of for the last few years. The retreat is hosted at one of the writer’s beach front property.
From the get go, Bettina is strangely drawn to Audrey. Audrey just oozes sexuality and for someone as bottled up as Tina, she is oddly compelled by the other woman. Tina doesn’t believe that Audrey is actually attracted to her but doesn’t turn her away when Audrey does make a move. Everything about being with a woman appeals to Tina and she can’t help but fall for her.
Then a week things, another author joins their group and right away Tina knows that Audrey has a thing with him. Tina is jealous when Audrey drops her like yesterday’s news but is further conflicted when she realizes that she’s attracted to Jack as well.
A week after Jack’s arrival, Tina goes to her cabin to find both Audrey and Jack in her bed. Tina joins them, acting first, knowing the questions and repercussions will come later. She’s going to live! But things aren’t as awkward as Tina thinks they’d be because the very next day, Audrey has found a new conquest, leaving the field wide open for Tina and Jack to play.
Jack is upfront and candid about the fact that he is not a relationship guy. Tina is equally not looking for anything serious, simply because she’s wanting to experience new things. And she’s never been in love. But there’s always a first time for everything!
The Lovers is told from Bettina’s point of view so I did feel like there was a lot of navel gazing, which is to be expected with Bettina’s personality and her new experiences. Despite the fact that she is more attracted to Jack than Audrey, Tina still feels the burn a second time when Audrey ditches her and Jack for her new lover. She is still attracted to Audrey and the feelings are still there. Jack is equally torn, having gone through this three summers in a row with Audrey. That’s just her way, like a butterfly, landing, flitting from one love to the next. But when her full focus is on you alone, she takes up your entire universe. She’s larger than life and catches everyone up in her energy. So when she takes it away…you miss it. And despite being with Jack, Tina still misses Audrey.
Then there’s the development of Jack and Tina’s relationship. Tina tends to question everything and she’s trying to just go with Jack’s flow. But she does get caught up in beginning to question certain things he says. And yes, a lot of the things he says can lead a girl to think that he might stick around. And Tina in the past only ever slept with people she cared about, so she’s starting to wonder if she can really be this casual, to have a summer fling.
I enjoyed the Lovers. There were some steamy love scenes and I like the other writers as well. There’s more to the story than just Tina and Jack in bed. It was more about Tina’s journey and self-discovery. She also learns to stand up for herself, which had me cheering by the end. 3.75 out of 5.
You can read more from ~ames~ at Thrifty Reader.