Merc and Her Men
Elizabeth Lapthorne’s Merc and Her Men is categorized as ménage à trois Romantica. This may be a contradiction in terms for some, although it’s worth noting that this futuristic tale has just one m/f/m scene – the remaining pages feature a monogamous relationship. While the author sets up the future world rather conventionally by using terms and devices found in most Futuristics, she deftly introduces the reader to the heroine and her past, hinting at intense emotions and conflicts. And the book starts out wonderfully, but the story’s pace and ultimate impact can’t compete with its take off.
After seven rough years of fighting and traveling throughout the galaxy, former merc Kyli resigned from her grueling job. Settling down in a place of her own and becoming an investigator with the Force – and maybe finding a sex buddy – seem tantalizing ideas, but Kyli’s application to the Force is rejected. At the same time, some old friend has apparently learned of her recent return and anonymously asked her to meet up at one of their old hangouts. Sitting and brooding over her Blue Vodkas in the Corner Pub, two gorgeous men show up. Kyli has a previous history with both: Seven years ago, Gregor introduced her to testing out her sexual boundaries, whereas Max was the man she loved, and whose betrayal broke her heart. Gregor and Max offer to fulfill Kyli’s ultimate erotic fantasy, a ménage à trois. Kyli agrees, not realizing that Max has his own agenda regarding their future.
Kyli is a strong character, an experienced woman who has led an adventurous life. Pushing thirty and burnt out by her work at diverse galactic hotspots, she finds herself at a crossroads. She looks for a change in pace, though that doesn’t necessarily means she would rule out any adventure the future might hold for her.
Gregor and Max are two gorgeous and appealing hunks. Though Max is the story’s hero, Gregor often steals the show – he is easily discernable as the hero of the next book. Max too willingly lets Gregor take up the lead. For example, Max didn’t actively seek Kyli out, it was Gregor’s idea. While swapping sex tales with best buddy Max, Gregor told him of Kyli’s secret sexual fantasy, and Max agreed to the suggested ménage à trois. I couldn’t get rid of the icky image of how the two of them must have discussed Kyli with each other…
The transition from a threesome to a twosome occurs smoothly, not least because the two men previously agreed that Kyli belongs to Max. Once Kyli’s fantasy is taken care of to the participants’ satisfaction, reunited Max and Kyli enthusiastically engage in oral, anal, and some voyeuristic sex.
The story is advanced by external action, there’s no big internal conflict nor did I get to know the characters beyond basic data and their shared history. Of all things, Max’ character remains elusive. Gregor gets to play deus ex machina and demonstrate his soon-to-be-hero qualification.
Merc and Her Men wasn’t exactly emotionally exhausting. If anything, everything merged too seamlessly and conveniently. The lack of real conflicts prevented the story from being above average. The author’s pleasant writing voice intrigued me enough to look up her other titles though. Overall a nice book, quickly read and quickly forgotten.