Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hot Licks by A.M. Arthur

Benji Moore is living his dream traveling as the lead singer of his band. His life would be perfect if he could get his boyfriend, Josh, to commit to an exclusive relationship.

Even though Josh loves Benji, he has good reasons not to trust in long-term relationships. So Josh decides to take some time to himself and sublets a room at a friend’s beach house. But when he walks into the nearby Off Beat bar, he finds a bartender who may be a good distraction from his relationship problems.

Van Holt doesn’t do anything deeper than sweaty one-night stands. But when Josh sets his sights on him, Van is surprised by their connection. Except Van also doesn’t do complicated, and the situation between Josh and Benji defines complicated. But the more time Van spends with them, the more he’s realizing how hard it would be to let Josh and Benji go.

Can the three of them find a way together, or will they all end up going solo?

Add to Goodreads

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the third book in this series and this one is about Van! FINALLY! I've loved Van Holt's character in both previous stories and really needed his background/story. So. Hot Licks starts with Benji (lead singer of Faded Daze after Trey left) and his geeky IT tech boyfriend, Joshua. They have had an open relationship for years. After the car accident that almost killed Josh, Benji has been wanting to close the relationship between the two men. But Josh comes from a pretty messed up family and he's worried that without the open end on the relationship he's bound to hurt Benji and cheat. Just like Josh's parents always did to each other. They take a "break" and Josh moves to the beach house with Lincoln while Ben's on tour. Lincoln drags Josh to Off Beat, the little local live music venue where Faded Daze got their start. Van has been the bartender at Off Beat for years, he's very popular and the perfect flirt who's openly pansexual. Josh and Van hit it off, but a hook up goes astray when Emmett tells Van that Joshua is in a relationship. Van doesn't do "complicated" and never shows for the booty call.

Van is a character I have quite enjoyed reading. He's kind and generous, a total flirt, and open with his sexuality. I fell for his character two books ago. He tries to help Benji and Josh get back together rather than break them apart, and by doing so ends up in the middle of a "throuple," a triad, a threesome. These books really venture into all the small subsets of personalities with pansexual, asexual, and bisexual. That being said, I’m not certain I really bought all of Ben's asexual/demisexual and felt that Josh's bisexuality was sorta put to the wayside completely. The boys were definitely hot together and really kept my interest piqued with scenes that burned up the pages!

Warning though, these characters are all quite flawed. All three have horrible backstories dealing with abuse, hate crime violence, and parental issues. It's a lot to take in in one book and Arthur doesn't hold back, pulling out all the stops. A bit emotional overkill to the point where I became a bit numb to it all but I did keep reading since I needed to see them have a happy ending!

This is the third book in the series – and follows on from the last one. We get to see our favourites from them, but this revolves around three men who were in the periphery before. It would be easy to read it as a standalone, but all the books are so good that you should read them all.

I am a huge fan of ménage stories, and am always delighted when an author mixes things up a bit – and of course, with three people involved, that can be done really effectively (or become a tangled, contortionist's mess). Here we get a lot of convoluted pasts that have had significant impacts on our trio, both emotionally and sexually. As they, and we, get to understand just what they mean for how they feel right now, the story demands and deserves the reader's attention. I really enjoyed how things came to light, and how each of the men had to come to terms with their past to engage in their future.

On occasion I can become annoyed with lots of detail about what people are eating, and why, but here it was a fundamental issue, which kept reminding me just what Van was facing, and why. Those little jolts were incredibly effective at keeping the tension high, and the need for a good outcome high.

There is only ever one problem with a new Off Beat book – I immediately want the next one! Thank you, Ms. Arthur, for a very good read.

Also Available in the Off Beat Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our Body Rocks post.

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our Steady Stroke post.

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur's work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press and SMP Swerve.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Connect with A.M.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Hot Licks (Off Beat #3) by A.M. Arthur to read and review.

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