Archive for April, 2015

April 29th, 2015

Coming in Threes…

It is my pleasure to partake in the blog tour for editor Kristina Wright‘s latest erotic romance anthology for Cleis Press, Three of Hearts—which features the theme of, of course, threesomes.

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Though this may seem obvious, I will say right away that if you are a fan of the idea of threesomes—if they interest you at all—this is almost certainly a book you’ll want to pick up. Though they all share that particular numeric configuration, these stories vary wildly in scenario, gender combination, relational context, and tone. There are committed triads, spontaneous threesomes among people who heretofore considered themselves platonic, budding romances among trios, and, of course, couples inviting a third into their beds—as well as, in some cases, their hearts.

With the title of this anthology offering a foregone conclusion about the number of people involved in each imminent tryst, the fun in these stories lies in seeing how the three of them will get there. And in its own way, each one features a glimpse into the unique dynamic inescapable when another person is added to a traditionally two-person equation.

Even when on the surface two stories’ premises seem similar, there are significant distinctions that place each tale into its own unique niche in this book. For example, in both Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s “An Extra Pair of Eyes” and Kathleen Tudor‘s “Experience and Expectations,” a third person is being brought into a married couple’s relationship. But Rachel’s story showcases a woman who (delightfully) simultaneously exhibits the brazenness to ask a man she’s just met to come home with them alongside a solid tendency toward sexual submission and the desire to be taken once they get there; Kathleen’s tale, on the other hand, tells of a woman whose wife has never been with a man and seems to have come to feel she might like to try it….

Three of Hearts runs a gamut tonally as well, and there is indeed a whole lot of “more than just sex” among these pages. Some stories pulled forth relational empathy in me, submerging me in the fascination inherent in interpersonal contact, particularly in a sexual or romantic context—made all the more so in this instance because a whole other entity beyond that which is considered traditional in our culture is entered in the equation. For example, I found Annabeth Leong‘s “Whose Anniversary Is It, Anyway?” a beautiful and nuanced exploration of relationship, vulnerability, and commitment. “The Mistress in the Brat” by Skylar Kade affected me similarly, this time with the added context of Dom and sub BDSM elements.

“A Thief in the Night” by Giselle Renarde, on the other hand, got a lot of points for originality from me and was an example of a story with an entirely different kind of tone. I found similar unexpected elements in Cheyenne Blue‘s “What Happens in Denver,” one of a number of stories where sexual interaction was not already existent among any of the characters involved.

There were also stories whose prose I simply loved. I find it such a treat when a story I already otherwise like offers evocative imagery almost reminiscent of poetry. It’s not a prerequisite of enjoying a story for me by any means, but it tends to add to my experience like a touch of just the right spice. I found this in Angela Caperton‘s story (and have often experienced it in Angela’s writing), “Eve’s Apple Red,” as well as in “Uncharted Seas” by Chris Komodo. The rich prose of both effortlessly called up their exquisite scenery—which can include characters—in my consciousness as though it were right in front of me.

I experienced Three of Hearts as a smattering of hot, entertaining, diverse stories that do the topic of threesomes in their innumerable possibilities justice. In some instances, the identification of the “third” wasn’t even obvious. There were simply people in relationship, interacting within that core theme of a triangle of bodies, hearts, perspectives, circumstances. It all adds up to a great triple-decker ride—and one I recommend taking!

Love,
Emerald

“Three is magic, three is mysterious, three is a heart turned sideways, looking at life a little differently from the rest.”
-Kristina Wright, in the introduction to Three of Hearts