Author: Megan Hart
Tempted is a Megan Hart book published by Harlequin Spice that’s been on my shelf for a while, it was originally published in 2007 but this edition is a re-release from mid-2013.
Megan Hart explores an intimate situation which many women fantasise about, one woman with two men. The way this situation is explored is quite fraught, very nuanced and the situation almost creates more sexual tension than it alleviates.
Anne Kinney has a wonderful husband, a perfect house and the perfect veneer to present to the world. She has always been the ‘good girl’, the one that could fix things, the peacekeeper. She is also the one who always ensured she was in complete control, never allowing herself to get so involved that she couldn’t bear to lose it. She chose to love her husband James as opposed to falling madly and deeply in love with him and their life has been calm and peaceful and perfect. She is well practiced in holding her tongue to keep the peace and not letting her emotions out to avoid confrontation.
Anne and James know each other well but when Alex, a friend James has had since the eighth grade, comes back on the scene it seems they don’t know each other as well as they thought. James invites Alex to stay with them, without even thinking to talk to Anne about it first and even from hearing only one side of that first conversation Anne can see that Alex causes a change in James, a change that is magnified when they are actually together.
James is a golden mummy’s boy who has never been able to do wrong, he has learned to tune out his mother and just allow her annoying and controlling traits to go straight over his head. Something Anne can’t do but James doesn’t seem to appreciate how much it affects her, he is so used to having been made the centre of the universe that much of what upsets Anne just doesn’t register with him. James had quite a calm, loving and ordinary upbringing which is in direct contrast to both his dear friend Alex and his lovely wife Anne.
Anne has three younger sisters and her parents are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary but their relationship has been far from stable which is something that affected each of the girls differently. The cracks in their home life have always been papered over and not discussed, and that is a trait that each of the girls have carried over into their adult lives.
Tempted takes place over a summer fraught with change for all of the players in the novel. Anne likes her comfortable life and knows that adding a long term house guest is going to change the dynamic. James and Anne are far from newlyweds having been married 6 years; however, living alone and not yet having children means that they are able to do whatever they want, wherever they want – therefore a house guest is going to cramp their style. Anne can see how excited her husband is at the prospect of a summer with his old friend Alex so can’t bear to deny him, she figures she will just have to adjust, it’s only for the summer and it will all work out fine.
Alex arrives and James becomes a different person, not necessarily in a bad way but everything changes. One night of abandon sees the three sharing a bed and things escalate from there. I will admit that from here I expected there to be endless intimate scenes and exploration of the three-way bedroom dynamic with little story and I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case. Things got complicated quick and there was always more running just below the surface that you were never sure would be resolved. There was always a little more going on than you could see on the surface, it made the situation much more interesting to follow because it wasn’t as much about the sex as it was about how the situation would unfold.
Alongside the unfolding affair for three are the preparations for Anne’s parents anniversary party, being thrown by the four sisters and bringing them into quite regular contact. This summer is set to be a big one for all of the sisters with each of the others also facing huge life decisions of their own. The four always had their set roles in the family, their own aspects of perfection and it seems this is the summer everything is going to change – for all of them.
Tempted is definitely erotic, it is extremely sensual and there is no shortage of intimate scenes with just as many of them being made for two as for three. I found it to be much more than just that which is a refreshing change. It was about family dynamics and the different effects the same childhood has on each sibling in a family and it was about the dynamics of marriage and friendship. Friendship between males and females can be so different which was something also addressed here. Another dynamic that I was interested to watch unfold is one that I don’t want to address in depth here because it would be too difficult to do without spoilers.
The dynamics of a threesome are interesting to explore, regardless of the makeup really. If you want to experiment with three in the bed how do you come up with the third? Is that something that compromises your heterosexuality? How do you set ground rules and boundaries?
Tempted gave me more to think about than I ever would have expected and I enjoyed it on a level that I really wasn’t expecting. Tempted is book one of the Alex Kennedy series, the next is a short available in digital format only and told from Alex’s point of view. This is one I definitely want to read because it gives that second perspective of the events that we have already seen and brings a new emotional depth to the tale but I’m not convinced I would want to follow Alex further than that. I definitely thought Tempted was worth the read and am glad I finally got to it.