A Nix Erotic Menage Book Review : By the Book – Scarlett Parrish (5 Stars)

Posted May 19, 2011 by Nix in review / 1 Comment

By the Book by Scarlett (NA) Parrish
Published by Lightning Source Incorporated on 2011-12-15
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 280
Format: eBook

Two's company; three's allowed.

Reece Hutton conducts his life between the covers -- of books and beds. A librarian by day, in the evenings he's a man whose tastes are anything but vanilla. So when local writer Daniel Cross appears in the library one afternoon with the aim of doing some research, Reece has a hard time not noticing how attractive he is, or what feels like chemistry between them. They exchange a few words and Daniel's business card, an interlude which Reece puts down to networking rather than flirtation.

After all, he has his girlfriend Georgia to go home to and her best friend: a threesome to help his birthday go literally with a bang. Reece, being a gentleman (most of the time), has no objection to returning the favor, especially as his new friend Daniel seems all too willing to be their third for an evening. Georgia sees their triangle as nothing more than a temporary bit of fun but Reece...? He’ll eventually have to own up to breaking the unwritten rules of their relationship or close the book on a growing attraction to Daniel.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices, menage (m/f/m, f/m/f with female interaction).

**Spoilers Alert****

Reece and Georgia are a couple that could be classed as sexually adventurous. Always looking for ways to spice things up, Georgia gets Reece a threesome with her and her best mate Sarah for his birthday. This relationship seems to be any man’s fantasy. That is until Daniel Cross walks into the library where Reece works. I’m going to apologise for profanities now, but Daniel shall be known as Daniel Fucking Cross (or DFC for short) for the rest of this review. I’m sorry…. but to be honest if this offends you, you should definitely stay away from this book! DFC is a beautiful man that comes complete with guy-liner and a bad boy leather jacket….to be honest I fell in love with the visual description of him. DFC is an author who needs a change of scenery to become more productive. Little does he know that he’ll end up being the scenery for Reece!

Reece classes himself as a straight man, but he can’t deny his bodies reaction. He immediately finds reasons to talk to him. When DFC appears more than once at the library, him and Reece strike up camaraderie and go out for lunch. It is blatant that DFC is flirting with Reece, but unwilling to recognise that the attraction is mutual, Reece devises a plan to satisfy his craving to be with him, inviting him to be a guest star in a threesome between himself and Georgia. Georgia enjoys herself immensely (who wouldn’t? He’s Daniel Fucking Cross) but the whole situation just leaves Reece confused. He shouldn’t have feelings for a man, shouldn’t want to be touched by him, but he does.

During the threesome, Reece begins the adventure wanting to almost prove his sexual prowess to DFC, but ends it stood in a doorway watching the man have sex with his girlfriend, his eyes glued to him rather than her. Of course, like any confused man, Reece backs off from his burgeoning friendship with DFC, to try to eliminate the unwanted attraction. Unfortunately Georgia enjoyed herself a little too much, and wants DFC back in their bed. When she realises that Reece likes Daniel as a little more than the occasional guest star in their sexual antics, she has an ultimatum for him. Reece either commits to her fully, or he walks away and does what he likes with DFC. Can Reece put himself back in the metaphorical cupboard and ignore the feelings that he has? Or will he risk everything to explore the strong attraction he has for another man?

I first picked up this book after beginning to follow the author on twitter.  I liked her sarcastic humour, and had a feeling that this book would incorporate bits of it. Upon opening it on the Kindle the first thing I thought was “Damn it’s written in first person. I sodding hate first person. And the lead character is a sexually confused man. Awesome” It took me approximately two pages to completely fall in love with this book and completely disregard my initial worries.

Reece may be the lead character, but I never felt alienated from his character. In fact (and I don’t know whether this was the original intention) I found him completely gender neutral.  His reaction to the threesome with Georgia and Sarah was completely male, but after that he could have been anybody struggling with his feelings towards someone that he felt was completely inappropriate for him. His clumsy attempts at first contact with DFC were completely endearing, and I completely identified with his attempts to not blush and stammer at every opportunity.  His attempt to hide his growing attraction was so misguided that my heart ached for him, he didn’t want to be drawn to another man, yet his body and heart thought otherwise. I have heard various views that this is a story which cannot be classed as a romance and I completely agree. Is this erotic? Definitely some moments in it that had my heart pounding and the scenes with DFC *phew!* is it a romance that fits the traditional format? Hell no.  But, for me, this book isn’t about romance; it’s about self discovery through his feelings for both DFC and Georgia.

Although Reece is our main character, I don’t feel I can talk about him as an individual character. In this book, he exists as a pair. His journey of self discovery is done with someone else in tow, so I’m going to do this in terms of his two relationships. I warn you now….there are spoilers ahead!! Reece and Georgia are fabulous together. They are adventurous, fun and obviously in love. The fact that one of the first times we see them together is in the birthday threesome, shows what kind of a couple they are. Reece and DFC are a completely different kind of entity. They are a mixed bag of tangled emotions and sexual energy. When Reece comes to DFC with the offer of a second threesome, he makes it quite clear that he isn’t interested in one where he can’t touch Reece because, for him, Reece is the ultimate attraction. Hearing that propels Reece’s feelings from fantasy to reality, and, after Georgia’s ultimatum leads to a temporary split, there is a truly lovely courtship. Daniel tries not to rush Reece into anything, but with Reece clearly wanting him, it is hard for him not to truly want everything that a relationship holds.

The difference in the relationships is the other characters in them, because they change Reece. Georgia is a selfish individual, but selfish in a way I could understand. Reece is her everything, but she wants to have her cake and eat it. It was fine for them to bring people into the bedroom, especially people she was attracted to, as long as she wanted it more. When she realised that Reece was attracted to DFC, the whole dynamic of the relationship changed. It wasn’t fine for him to bring someone into the room that he was attracted to; the guest star should never become the main event. I understood this, but I couldn’t help think she had left their relationship open to this by being so free and easy with the boundaries that govern a relationship; she had made their relationship more a thing of fun than of commitment.

DFC is totally committed to Reece. He acts the bad-boy, he acts like the prize slut (a perfect example is when Reece asks him flat out if he’s flirting with him and his response is “Do you have a pulse?”) but really he is just as insecure as the next person. He is so desperate to be with Reece, he offers to be a third in his and Georgia’s relationship.  I almost got a little teary when he asked Reece for some hope that he wasn’t torturing himself for no reason. DFC was committed to Reece anyway he could have him; Georgia was committed to a relationship more.  DFC could be construed as a home wrecker, but to me, the cracks were there for him to exploit and, ultimately, it was down to Reece to tell him to back off. The ending is abrupt, the ending is not a HEA, but the ending left me to decide what I wanted to happen.

I loved this book. It was laugh- out-loud funny, heart- warming, heart-wrenching and it contained Daniel Fucking Cross. It isn’t a romance, but I thought it was so much more. This turned into an essay, but this book is so much more complex than I first thought it would be I just couldn’t help myself.  I’m leaving you with my favourite DFC quote,

 “Well for your first time, that wasn’t bad, and let’s face it, if the first man you kiss is Daniel Cross,  you struck gold there.”



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