A Deeper Connection THIS IS NOT THE END: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary MMF menage romance from Sidney Bell. THIS IS NOT THE END features two bandmates who have more in common than they thought–especially when they begin sharing one’s wife.

About the book:
Zacary Trevor is the love of Anya Alexander’s life. Their sometimes tumultuous marriage has survived ups, downs, and all the in-betweens. With successful careers, a lovely home, and a beautiful child, domestic bliss is a hard-earned reality for two people whose hedonistic days are in the not-so-distant past. They’re happy. Enter Zac’s best friend, the deeply reserved Cal Keller.

Zac’s friendship with Cal is the foundation of his career and—until Anya and their son came along—the most important relationship of his life. Cal’s a cipher, someone Anya can’t help but gravitate to, even if they don’t always get along. Even more, she’s drawn to the Zac she sees when he’s with Cal—a careful, cautious version of her husband, someone with hidden thoughts and desires kept secret even from her. Inviting Cal into their home, deeper into their life, is a risk.

Zac should say no. He knows he should. But he doesn’t. From the first, the hint at the life the three of them could have together is exhilarating. And finding a new definition for family just might be worth the risk to every bond that exists between them.

My Review:
Zac Trevor and Cal Keller are bandmates, and the longest relationship/friendship either man has had in his adult life. Zac is an avowed hedonist and has indulged in much and frequent sex with many many partners over the years. Cal is his opposite, keeping himself in check and sober is a huge part of his life–ever since he lost control and nearly injured a family member about 8 years back.

Zac is married to Anya Alexander, a former model turned photographer. Anya is a keen observer of humanity, and also a sexually-liberated woman. Zac is in favor, enjoying sharing Anya with sexy men they each find attractive. It’s interesting that Zac is completely mum on the attractiveness of Cal, because he’s a very sexy man, in her opinion. Even if he’s standoffish, and she thinks Cal resents her. It becomes a mission to learn more about Cal, now that she’s home more and can explore building a friendship–or more–with Cal.

Zac and Anya have a young son, PJ, and Cal thought being married and a father would settle Zac. But he’s absolutely stunned to learn about the kinky hijinks Zac and Anya entertain. Once Anya makes it clear that she would be more than willing to engage in some sexytimes with Cal, while Zac watches. Because Zac very much likes to watch. And Cal’s even more stunned to learn that Zac has had fantasies of this very act–and more–with Cal in the bed with them. It’s so unsettling that Cal’s sobriety is threatened, and this becomes a turning point in the relationship between Cal and Zac, that Zac can finally confess he’s seen the rigid manner of Cal and knows his sobriety is an issue.

This book is told in three parts, no chapters. Anya tells the beginning, how she initiates this journey and guides Zac and Cal to confess their secrets and needs. Then Cal picks up the story, giving us the inside look into his fiercely private struggles. He has loved Zac for more than a decade, but he kinda loves Anya, too. And, he’s a little jealous of their idyllic life, with a sweet son and a house that seems to be filled with love. And it is, but a different take on love than Cal had imagined. He’s not sure if he is welcome to be a full member of the family, or a temporary lover like all the others before him. Because that’s his secret-est desire of all–to truly belong in a family, and one that includes Zac is the biggest bonus. Zac wraps up the story, which brings in the largest of vulnerabilities: Zac and Cal being intimate with one another. And, the full acceptance of their blended family by each of them. I liked how this turned out, with firm reassurances that they are committed to each other and to their poly-family.

I loved the straight-talk. I loved the sexytimes. I loved that Cal was well-hung and well-heeled. I loved that Anya and Zac were so open with each other, and how they got Cal to open up, too. For a manage, this one was centered on personalities and relationships, and not sex. Definitely recommend for people who like menage, or MMF stories.

Interested? You can find THIS IS NOT THE END on Goodreads, Carina Press and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

Catch up with Sidney on her website or twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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