I have to applaud Cara McKenna for her ability to write such a different story with every book of hers that I’ve read, even when the premises are similar. She seems to reinvent with each new novel, which I don’t think is easy in the romance genre, particularly with erotica. Midtown Masters completely enamored me in a way its two predecessors did not, feeling deeply romantic and sweet for a ménage book, even as it was totally hot.
Suzy and Meyer have been earning money by having sex via webcam for a while now. They tried dating and, while the sexual chemistry was all there, the monogamy and romance didn’t work. They agreed to cam for a year, and remain exclusive during that time for financial reasons, but by the time the book opens, each seems to be growing bored with the arrangement. Meyer, a bisexual man, is eager to get back to seeing other men, and Suzy is craving more intimacy and romance. When one of their clients, with the screen name “Lindsay”, piques her interest, she and this mysterious person begin chatting away from on-camera time.
All she knows about “Lindsay” is that they usually like to watch more romantic encounters between Suzy and Meyer, with the emphasis on female pleasure. “Lindsay” also never shows their face. Suzy makes the assumption that the watcher is female and, even so, begins to feel an attraction to them through their chats. The more cynical Meyer mocks Suzy for the flirtations, but she can’t seem to stay away.
Suzy comes to learn that “Lindsay” is actually John Lindsay, a bestselling novelist who is watching the cam shows as research for his books. John is (almost) a virgin and, after reviewers rip apart the sex scenes in his books, his seeks out Suzy and Meyer to help him improve his writing. What starts as research turns into a fascination with Suzy… and Meyer.
Both John and Meyer remind me of people I know in my life, which is probably an odd thing to say about erotica, but it really speaks to McKenna’s skill for characterization. The initial romance between John and Suzy is so sweet that I just fell in love with him. Suzy has to coach him through his first sexual encounters and they don’t go perfectly or easily, which is how life goes. He’s nervous and things are awkward and the whole thing gave me big heart eyes. I just wanted to hug him. It was the most romantic scene I’ve read in any erotica in as long as I can remember.
Of course, this is a ménage story, so it doesn’t stop there. John admits that he has had sexual fantasies about other men and Meyer is all too happy to oblige. I did feel that the jump from John-the-virgin to John having sex with Suzy and Meyer happened a bit quickly; however, McKenna bolsters that transition through Meyer’s personality. He is pushy and greedy, almost to the point of being cold. As I said, I know someone like that, and I found it believable that they would be willing to push someone who was wanting, if a bit unwilling, until they gave in.
Tonally, Midtown Masters is unlike either of its predecessors in the Sins in the City series. I couldn’t like Crosstown Crush for various moral reasons, and Downtown Devil dealt a lot with the characters feeling conflicted, giving in, and deciding to not feel shame. This book, however, is much more about meeting someone, falling in love, and discovering the thrill of newfound sexuality together. I highly recommend it if you’re into steamy threesomes and can enjoy a bit of man on man action.
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