I read Maya Banks’ novel Colters’ Woman, the first in the Colters’ Legacy series, for one simple reason. I had never before read a ménage romance, and had to start somewhere to correct the deficiency.
However, I finished the book and still don’t think I’ve read a ménage romance. But more on that later.
The story begins when Adam Colter discovers an unconscious woman near the hunting lodge where he lives with his two brothers. The moment he turns the woman’s body over and sees her face, he starts getting hard, which is a sign that she’s The One. So he carries the (still passed-out) woman inside, where his brothers Ethan and Ryan also recognize that this is who they’ve been waiting for all their lives. Then Adam strips her naked and puts her in the Jacuzzi.
With a novel that was more realistic, I would have been utterly repelled. But here, it couldn’t be clearer that we’re in a fairy tale if the story had started “Once upon a time”. Plus, the pacing is so fast I barely had time to think. Page 1 : Woman. Page 2 : Erection. Page 3 : Brothers. Page 4 : Bathtime. So I went with the flow.
Much as the heroine, Holly, does. Yes, she’s fleeing from her murderous husband and yes, she doesn’t know any of these men, but they’re all sooooo hot. Plus, they make it clear they’ll kill anyone who tries to hurt her. Holly soon trusts them, but after first Adam and then Ethan kisses her, she’s mortified at having responded to both of them. Doesn’t that make her a slut?
No, they’re delighted to inform her. It makes her their woman. This is how they roll in the Colter family.
“Our fathers chose our mother, our grandfathers chose our grandmother.”
Apparently there are three sons in each generation, and they all fall for the same woman. I found this fascinating in a bizarre way, and kept reading from sheer curiosity – what would happen if the sons had different preferences in women? Or if they can’t all live together because their education or work takes them elsewhere?
Unfortunately the story doesn’t get into any of this. Instead, after the men explain to Holly that she is now the sun around which they’ll revolve, they prove it by taking care of her every need. For instance, when she has a headache,
He walked to one of the cabinets, retrieved a bottle of ibuprofen, shook out several pills and handed them to her.
Ah, the bottle had a child-proof lid. For her part, Holly flinches and sobs a lot, to the point where the men think of her as a “skittish colt” and a “frightened fawn”. Naturally, she’s a virgin, since she escaped from her husband before their wedding night (but of course she’s an expert at oral sex and engages in an enthusiastic four-way her first time). She’s also a trust fund baby, meaning she doesn’t need to work.
In other words, she’s perfect for the brothers. I should say something about their characterization, but they’re so thinly sketched they never advance beyond one-dimensional. Adam is the authoritative one, Ethan is the easygoing one and Ryan is the tortured one. That’s all you need to know, since when it comes to sex they’re pretty much interchangeable.
Speaking of the sex scenes, they’re numerous and detailed, if not emotionally moving, and there’s no m/m of any kind. This was another thing I was curious about: did the men decide beforehand on how to maneuver so they didn’t end up accidentally touching each other (and what to do if they did)? Alas, no answer was forthcoming.
Ultimately, Colters’ Woman doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is – not so much a romance as a wish-fulfilment fantasy where you can imagine yourself in the place of beautiful blank-slate Holly, relaxing in a picturesque snow-covered lodge with three gorgeous men to feed, bathe, clothe, protect and make love to you. Especially make love to you. But any readers looking for a deeper or more well-characterized ménage romance may want to look elsewhere – as will I.