Desert Isle Keeper
I had really mixed feelings about the first book in the Sins in the City series, Crosstown Crush, but I am happy to report that I loved this second installment. Like its predecessor, Downtown Devil is about a woman and two men engaging in a ménage when real feelings start to intrude on the fantasy. McKenna balances the romance between three people with strong characterizations and plenty of sizzle.
Photographer Clare reaches out to a handsome man that she is interested in photographing when she sees him in a coffee shop. She is putting together a proposal for a gallery show based on portraits of multi-racial people like her, and Mica’s unusual look is perfect. What starts as a professional interest soon becomes more intimate as Mica asks her back to his place. Their steamy two-ways take on a new dynamic when there is chemistry between Clare and Mica’s roommate, Vaughn. Clare fulfills her fantasy of being with two men, but there is far more to this three-way than it initially seems.
McKenna has no issue with, and in fact appears to seek out, taboo subjects in her writing. In this case, she turns the typical erotica ménage scenario on its head by adding a bisexual male character, Mica, whose history with Vaughn is one of more than friendship. A few drunken nights while out mountain climbing got intimate and now Mica is craving more from his best friend. Vaughn has been reluctant to take things further with Mica, but having Clare as a buffer makes it easier for these friends to explore their sexuality.
The great thing about McKenna’s writing is that her characters aren’t just cardboard cutouts jumping into bed with one another. People’s emotions get involved and things get messy. Clare wants more from the flighty Mica, Vaughn sees relationship potential with he and Clare, and Mica may be in love with his best friend, yet is not one to commit. I can honestly say that I was guessing until the very end about how these feelings would all pan out. I wanted everyone to have their happily ever after, but it almost seemed impossible, and I really didn’t know who would end up with whom. Balancing three main characters isn’t easy, but I think the author does it very well. It would’ve been easy for Vaughn and Mica to turn into two macho men with almost no differences between them, but instead there is a clear picture of who each of them is. Mica felt so real to me and so much like men I wanted and couldn’t pin down when I was younger. Vaughn on the other hand is steady and caring. Keeping these two so dissimilar really made the story.
Not to mention, the sex scenes in this are so hot. There is some male/male action, so readers should be aware of that going in. I think this is one of the best ménage books I have ever read since I felt like all three participants equally wanted to be there and enjoyed each other, rather than the typical scenario of two men basically competing for one woman even while they are both sleeping with her. There is also an interesting look at sexuality and its fluidity, especially with Vaughn who struggles to define what he feels for Mica.
This book definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re open minded and want something that burns up the pages, check out Downtown Devil. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting anxiously for the next installment in the series.