Title: Out of Focus
Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary M/M/M, BDSM
Length: Plus novel/ 244 PDF pages/no word count
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Review Summary: An intense D/s threesome that wowed me!
He’ll bend for them. But they may break over him.
For twelve years, Dom lovers Ryan “Angel” Morgan and Dante James have run a successful photography business, and satisfied their need for a submissive with the occasional sizzling three-way. On a wedding job, they both zero in on the bride’s beautiful brother, but as professionals, they keep their attraction on the down-low—for now.
Jordan Steele has no trouble establishing mastery over his stallions. When he hires Angel and Dante to shoot promotional photos for his stable, though, there’s something about them that calls to his inner submissive. After a little flirtation and a photo session that gets almost too hot to handle, Angel and Dante are happy to show him the ropes. And the whip.
Once they break the ice, their sexual chemistry burns hotter than a macro flash. Everyone gets what they need…until emotions come into play. Their power could develop into something permanent, throw everything off balance—leaving one of them the odd man out.
When Angel and Dante first saw Jordan at his sister’s wedding they immediately fell in lust with him. As business and life partners they had shared everything over the past 12 years, including the occasional submissive, and Jordan’s tells were obvious, which would make him the ideal fling. The only fly in the ointment? He apparently was already involved with someone. But they quickly figured out that Jordan’s ex Eli didn’t want to let him go because he wasn’t motivated to find a job, and he saw him as his meal ticket. The really bad news? He was living in Jordan’s house and wasn’t moving any time soon since Jordan was too kind hearted to kick him out.
Jordan was an astute businessman, a horse breeder and trainer, good looking, intelligent, fun, and just what Angel and Dante needed and they set the stage for his seduction which was an incredible scene. After they got together the problems started because this wasn’t their usual “have fun and move on when it ends and no one gets hurt” dalliance. Neither Angel nor Dante wanted to let Jordan go because they started having softer feelings for him and they fit together as a threesome. As the relationship progressed they fell in love, leading to jealousy and guilt rearing their ugly heads as Angel realized an important truth: Jordan could give Dante something he couldn’t, and it seemed to signal the end of their partnership since it was obvious that Dante wasn’t prepared to give up Jordan and therefore he (Angel) could end up as the odd man out.
Out of Focus has three 1st person points of view which is quite unusual and difficult to pull off, but after a while I began to like the changing perspectives of the main characters as this gave me more information about their thoughts than the usual glimpse of each MC if he’s not the narrator in a 1st person story. In this situation I could understand each character’s motivations and fears from the get go, and while this format lost some of the mystery in terms of how each person felt about the other and the complexity of their issues, it worked for me.
L.A. Witt has fast become one of my favourite authors and I have reviewed most of her books. I like her writing style, the fact that she takes risks, and while some work better than others, her characters are always vibrant and three dimensional and her prose and dialogue are better than most. Her protagonists have different types of jobs which are definitely not run of the mill, and recently she’s added wonderful backgrounds and places to her books. Her writing keeps me involved in the story and I’m never tempted to skim, even when she has lots of sex scenes, because they usually advance the plot and most of the time are about something other than just getting it on.
In Out of Focus Jordan’s business gave me an insight into horses and the horse breeding/training industry which was nicely interwoven into the plot as I met his prize stallions who had their own wonderful personalities. It was obvious that Jordan adored his horses – the fact that they provided his income was a given, but he treated them like his kids. Angel was crazy about animals too which made him bond with Jordan, and it was wonderful to see the tough Dom interacting with the horses and showing his caring side, which added another dimension to his character. Dante, who was as dominant as Angel, was a chicken around most large animals and Jordan had his work cut out to help him overcome his fears. The characters’ different personalities worked well within the context of the story and demonstrated that the D/s aspect, while it was important, was a very small element in this very complicated relationship. The intimate and intense scenes with Jordan involved 3 people even when either Dante or Angel was not physically present, and the tender touches that were part of the scenes when they were in their D/s roles were more about giving the other person pleasure rather than being solely about domination.
My favourite character in this book was Angel who was so multi faceted and nuanced I never knew which “Angel” I would get in each chapter. He was at the same time dominant as well as extremely sensitive towards Jordan’s needs as he fell head over heels in love with him and cared about him as much as he loved Dante, something that was unexpected and puzzling to him, and I thought that his vulnerability when he felt he would lose them both was touching.
Most of the time when I finish an M/M/M romance it’s clear that the relationship would not stand the test of time because that spark and love were not there between the MC’s, but Out of Focus was the exception for me as I thought that the characterizations worked really well and that the protagonists liked as well as loved each other. In addition, the excitement was off the scale which made all the difference. The difficulties of a three way relationship weren’t minimized and each protagonist worried about who was expendable if something should go wrong. Would their life and memories before Jordan make him the third wheel and therefore not as valuable? What about Dante – could he continue to satisfy two such different men? Angel couldn’t give Dante what he needed, so was he out?
I would have loved to rate this book as 5 stars but there’s a very good reason why I didn’t. Chapter 18 really threw me – not the content, but the fact that there were 9 changes in the points of view in 10 PDF pages, which confused the hell out of me. Most of the time I didn’t know whose head I was in! I understand that writers experiment to keep their writing fresh, but I had to re-read this chapter several times to figure out who was saying/doing what to whom. This was my only negative about the book, other than I wished Jordan had enough balls to kick loser Eli to the curb a lot earlier.
I think Out of Focus will really move you if you like stories about threesomes.
Out of Focus is available from Samhain Publishing on August 2nd but can be pre-ordered now.