I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Coming Back by Lauren Dane
Published by Forever on December 8th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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Arriving back in Seattle after five years, Jessilyn Franklin is done pretending she didn't want two men. She's done letting anything stop her from being with Adam and Mick, now back from the war and working at Twisted Steel, a custom hot rod and motorcycle shop. One night changes everything, but their relationship must strengthen to weather the storms they'll face as they make their way back to one another.
I love Lauren Dane. I’ll auto-preorder anything she puts out. That said, this one wasn’t my favorite. I think the problem was expectations vs reality. We met Mick in the first Ink & Chrome book, Opening Up, and got to know him better in the second, Falling Under. Based on what we know of him, I was expecting him to be the alpha in this relationship, and he wasn’t. Adam was the alpha, but I didn’t really like Adam very much. He was a little too alpha for my taste. Not in the bedroom. In the bedroom, his level of alpha was fine, but I don’t really like it when that leaks outside the bedroom. Do whatever you want in the bedroom, with whoever you want, but I think outside of it everyone should be equal, and I didn’t feel like the three of them were.
I’ve also never been a big believer in the theory that every person in a relationship owes the others every thought, feeling, and emotion they have. It’s not about keeping secrets, it’s just about some things being private. And it’s just not necessary to share some things. Sometimes I feel something and I don’t tell Rob about it because I don’t want to. Or because I know that for whatever reason, I’m just having a bad day and it’s not a genuine emotion. Or because I need to sort through my feelings before I discuss it. Or because sharing would cause more harm than keeping quiet. Or whatever. But there was no room for that in this relationship. Adam insisted that they all share every single tiny thing, every thought they had, every emotion they felt.
The Jessi/Mick relationship seemed to be the one that held the three of them together. Those two had been close friends since they were about five, and Adam came along a little later. I wish we’d seen more of the early relationships between the three of them. We got little bits and pieces, but not enough for a clear picture. Mick and Adam both struck me as being in love with her, and she with both of them, but the two men didn’t appear to be in love with each other. There was affection there, I’m not denying that, but it wasn’t nearly on the same level as the affection they each had for Jessi. The dynamic between the three of them was a little off for me because of it. Jessi was pretty much always in the middle, and I don’t mean sexually. It seemed like she was constantly making peace between the three of them, constantly being the one to soothe ruffled feathers, making the men feel better about themselves and their situation. It can’t be easy, living in a committed three-way relationship, but their friends were instantly accepting, and that helped. Jessi’s family also welcomed Mick and Adam immediately, while Mick’s and Adam’s families were completely against them, for very different reasons. Mick’s family issues stemmed from a deep-seated religious bigotry toward anything not heteronormative. Adam’s family didn’t really care about Adam’s immortal soul, but they weren’t ok with Adam’s situation getting out and making the family look bad. Weirdly, both families blamed Jessi for their sons’ bisexuality, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But that’s what Lauren Dane does so well. Even if I didn’t always like the dynamic between Jessi, Mick, and Adam, I always believed it. She writes relationships so well, so authentically, that I find myself engrossed even when I don’t love the characters. She’s locked in to whatever it is that makes me care.
And all of that isn’t to say that I hated this book. I didn’t, not at all. I just found it to be the weakest of the trilogy. Mick, though not the alpha I was expecting him to be, was still my a fantastic hero. I was so happy that he got the family he needed after so long with a family that treated him so badly. I’d been really looking forward to getting more of his backstory, and Lauren Dane did not disappoint me. His family treated him like such shit, even before they found out he was bi, it was no wonder he took off and joined the military. Until he found Jessi and Adam, there was nothing for him at home. And then, once he found them, his parents managed to ruin that for him, too. I really loved watching him slowly realize that he was worth loving, that his family’s problems, the fact that they couldn’t see that in him, that were their problems, not his. I was thrilled that Jessi and Adam were so completely on his side in this, and hid nothing from anyone in their fierce love and affection for him. This book was a good way to end the series, even if the first one is still my favorite. That’s just what happens when the first book features an awesome couple like Asa and PJ.