Desert Isle Keeper
Three Part Harmony
Three Part Harmony is a ballad of completeness; the story of how three people escape the shallow stratification of their social groups to find true love. It’s also a very nice ménage romance with a few quibbles that keep it from a flat-out A grade.
Raleigh McKean is the son of a firebrand of a senator; he’s used to dealing with extra attention. Now that his best friend and partner in his book publicity agency Stacia is involved in a committed poly situation with a married couple (see book one in the series, Writing Her In), she has less time to devote to the business, so he’s glad to put in more hours and pick up the slack.
In Raleigh’s case, that means trying to work alongside Everley Shannon, his boss’ daughter and a perennial thorn in his side. It also means dealing with the repercussions when the handsome man he picks up for a one-night stand turns out to be his latest client.
That new client is elusively cryptic rock legend Bruce Engle of Outward Reaction, who’s looking to finally tell all in an autobiography. Bruce, desperately tired of the phony Hollywood world in which he lives, is looking for something deeper and something real, and when Raleigh doesn’t recognize him, Bruce sees the attraction between them as a blissful escape. But Bruce also has someone in his life that he’s not telling Raleigh about – his on again/off again girlfriend, Everley.
Everley is utterly tired of Bruce’s emotional unavailability, but she’s not looking for anything deeper than a little bit of fun every now and again. After all, her life is a mess; she’s working a nine-to-five job she hates in her father’s company, where everyone resents her for being the boss’s daughter. Her real passion is not the suit-and-tie world of book publicity, but to step outside of it is to cut ties with her father’s corporate universe and risk displeasing him.
Together, Everley, Bruce and Raleigh will try to figure out how to become their best selves, with a little help from the other two people who love them. But can they make a trio work?
I liked different pieces of Three Part Harmony’s plotline for different reasons. While Everley’s story in general caught my attention, causing me to root long and hard for her to escape from under the long shadow of her dad and the corporate world she hated, I found the wounded-souls-colliding romance of Raleigh and Bruce more compelling. Yet Everley – who needs Raleigh’s availability and concrete presence when Bruce is off being elusive and emotional, and vice-versa – helped make their poly relationship settle nicely. You can’t have one side of the triangle without the other, and thus this book moves along in an enjoyable way through hot sex and rough angst as each of our threesome has an emotional breakthrough and finds out that the love staring them in the eyes was there for them all along.
There’s a fly in the plotty ointment, though. I didn’t buy that Raleigh wouldn’t have recognized Bruce when they met! Raleigh’s whole field is publicity, so he should know a famous face when he sees one, especially a guy whose book he’s supposed to be squiring around to publishers. His lack of recognition was such a contrivance, although Bruce’s reason for not giving him real name, his reason for wanting Raleigh and his reason for quasi-cheating on Everley all make sense in the context of the story. Also; bonus points for a realistically funny and awkward portrayal of a first threesome.
Three Part Harmony is a little broody, a little sexy, and a little soapy. A very nice, fun romance that’s a solid read if you’re looking for something extra warm during those waning final days of summer.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier