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Playing the Game

(Neighborly Affection #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,401 ratings  ·  182 reviews
She expects dinner with neighbors, but gets sex with a side of safewords.

Mechanical engineer Alice still drools over her sexy neighbors a year after she’s moved in. She can’t decide whether they’re roommates or partners, but either way, they spark a wanton desire in her that has her imagination–and vibrator–working overtime.

Henry, director of everything around him, studies
ebook, 225 pages
Published July 1st 2013 by Lyrical Press, Inc. (first published June 21st 2013)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,401 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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Jul 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the author
Recommended to Jaidee by: I liked the sexy cover
1.5 "all the good stuff is on the cover" stars !!

3rd Most Fun Review that I Wrote in 2017 Award

First of all this is not MMF erotica. This should not be advertised as such !!

There is so much that is just awful about this book. I am all about diverse and fluid sexualities !! However this author needs a crash course on bisexuality and in general male sexuality, and what it entails. This book is simply her own fantasy about her own vagina and what she would like done to it!!

First of all two very
04/25: I tried re-reading this because the cover is so pretty in black and white. Also I didn't remember what it was. Well, I have one word for you: sandals. No guy should be allowed to wear sandals, ever So DNF again.

Well, that's a DNF for me.

Not only does the love interest wear sandals, (that really disturbed me) the other love interest speaks like we're in fucking 1700. Kill me now.

This is just going to be a ranting, to be honest.

LI #1: He is a child in a grown man's body. Seriously, he's alw
Briar's Reviews
If I could give this book 10 out of 5, I would. It is probably one of the most incredible romance novels I have ever gotten my hands on. And by romance, I mean erotica.

This novel is centered around Alice and her two handsome, hunky roommates Henry and Jay. But there's something different about them...they really enjoy having three in the bedroom.

The story follows Alice engaging in some fun time with her two roommates, and boy is it hot.

If you are looking for some hot, dramatic erotica with two
♂♀♂ Mary's Menage Reviews ♂♂♀

to read my full review:

Dammit! I just finished the book and I want more. I mean like right about now!

I started reading this story, thinking that I will read another D/s menage story. I had no preconceived idea, or maybe I had. I thought that it would be the usual submissive heroine meet Dom meet another Dom (or potentially another submissive if MMF).

Well. If I step back and give a superficial description, indeed it was. But oh dear, it was much more than
Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
Good kink.

Good smex.

Needs more mansex.

The whole thing is told through Alice 3 yrs into Henry and Jay's relationship. After starting with Book 4, I've got to say I missed being inside Henry and Jay's head. And the possibility of their manlove.

I wanted some manlove dammit! All I got was one unsatisfactory oral scene.


It is very BDSM 101 but the descriptiveness saved it for me. Alice is very articulate and she is very turned on by their games as are both Henry and Jay.

As a sidenote, I'm surprised th
Sophia Jones
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Holy hotness.

Holeeeeey. Hooooootnessss.

I live in the American Southwest, and we've been gripped by a heat wave this weekend. Temperatures pushed 120 degrees, making airports threaten to ground planes lest they fall from the sky at takeoff. Being the reasonable person that I am, I decided to stay indoors and kick back with a yummy new read. But man oh man, I found the pages on my Kindle to be just as hot, if not hotter, than the burning outdoors as I finished Ms. Barber's debut novel in a single
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Insight into D/s Relationships: Playing the Game by M.Q. Barber

ORIGINAL POST May 6, 2014:

Purchased by Blogger. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.

This was a really great read that offered me a possible glimpse into the mindset of a gentle, part-time D/s m/m/f relationship. While the parameters of the original m/m relationship aren’t spelled out, I found that intriguing, and another reminder that
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's steamy and sexy enough, and doesn't hold back on the BDSM angle, but this erotic romance has so much more to offer than titillation or fantasy.

One of the things I appreciate in any sort of fiction is a strong heroine. It's a fine line - keeping a submissive female character strong and sure, not to mention keeping an alpha male alpha without making him an alphole, but MQ manages it beautifully! It kept me intrigued enough to follow Alice along on her journey to discovery and growth because s
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have read more than my fair share of ménage books but this one will stand out as one of my favorites. This author has created characters that are relatable, funny and more than one dimension. Both of the men in this story know what they're doing. There is plenty of hot sex scenes but the book is not just dependent on that. The characters and their spirits make this book. I'm so excited to read the next installment (if the author continues the series)!
Don't hesitate to pick up this book, you WI
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: menage, bdsm
M.Q. Barber has just become one of my favorite erotica authors.

I love erotica and ménage, but I dislike BDSM in most cases. I don't like a hero with something to prove and the way he proves it is by dominating a woman with no spine in a way that humiliates her while giving her scraps of arousal to keep her coming back for more. This is SO not that kind of story.

Alice is strong. She's analytical. She enters a contractual, safe, mutually beneficial arrangement with her gaybors (gay neighbors), and
Aly is so frigging bored
Rating: between 3 and 3.5*

What did you think about the emotional development especially of Alice, but also of Henry and Jay?
Aly: I think Alice advanced the most. She was more open about herself and her feeling then at the start. I liked how we could see the changes in them when comparing them to the start of the book.
Claudia: hm, for me she got more insecure with the book – not regarding her sexual preferences but regarding her feelings on the whole. Jay was the most open with his feelings, bu
3.5 stars
Well, that was unexpected...

Genre: MMF erotica.
Cover: 7/10
Writing style: 8/10
Heroine: 7/10
Hero/s: 7/10
Amount of humor: 2/10
Amount of jealousy: 1/10
Hotness: 8/10
Romance: 3/10
Ending: 2/10
Extra book Details: Book #2 out in March '14.

BLURB: When Alice moves to her new apartment, she's greeted by two lovely and exceptionally different neighbors. Jay and Henry befriend her quickly and intimately. But they also have a main feature in her fantasies for the next year, until one night, at dinner,
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Quick review:

Cover: Hit, but I think the age of the men are to close to represent The actual characters.
Title: perfect
Rating: Adult, M/M, MMF, BDSM
Thumbs Up: 4
Overall: there was just something missing for me.
Characters: Henry, Jay, Alice
Plot: Single girl, moving into her first apartment alone meets boys next door. Henry is the Domiant, Jay is playful.
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? Yes
Recommend: Yes
Book Boyfriend: Henry and Jay
Overall: this is my first time reading this author. I really like
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book in exchange for my review...

OK first let me say I want to be Alice lol she gets 2 hot guys who want her and she wants them. OMG the best of both worlds the bug kid and the gentleman at her front and back. This was a very hot read and I loved every minute of this book. I felt like I needed to sneak and read it because it was so hot and heavy. This was a great read and I can not wait till the next installment because I really want more of this threesome group.

They are perfect
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a recommendation from Goodreads, once I read the sample I was completely hooked; read it in one sitting. This is Barber's debut story and she brought it! I know that m/m/f is not for everybody but this time I’m going to extend my recommendation of this story to include those who wouldn’t normally read that category. This is a strong, solid story that builds on the premise of friends with benefits. But different than many others, this doesn’t develop into a typical love story because the ...more
Deb Markanton
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection Book 1) is definitely not for everyone. That said, I loved each and every beautifully written word of this book. It is not action-packed, nor is it one sex scene after another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for action and sex, sex, sex in the books I read. However, I also adore stories that explore the psychology of what makes people tick. More precisely, people and relationships in the complex and often misunderstood world of BDSM. Let me just say, M.Q. Barb ...more
Angela Goodrich
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pfp, mm, menage
Now THAT is how you write a menage!

The MFM is one of my favorite erotica subjects to read; throw in a little BDSM and a bit (or a lot) of MM play and you have the recipe for a potentially great read. And while the last few ménages I've read have been good reads, Ms. Barber combined all of my favorite ingredients and produced a stellar read, at least for me it was.

I did not connect with the characters in Playing the Game, I fell in love with them. Henry, our professorial dominant, is not describe
Jennifer Hajdics
Feb 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horribly Boring!

Wow. I need to wake up. That's how boring this book was. First off, it was infuriatingly annoying to have Henry speak like an 18th century English aristocrat throughout the entire damn book. It sounded absolutely ridiculous. The characters live in Boston in modern times. Jay was cute and funny, but we learned nothing about him throughout the book. He was like Henry's prop rather than his partner. And Alice was just plain boring. And the plot sucked. They get together every Friday
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: author-review
** ARC****. Just a few words to describe this book.... hot & sexy. This is one of those books that you need to read under your covers with a flashlight. I enjoyed it a little to much. To be fair, I was warned that this book had a strong BDSM and it did not disappoint. I am sure I will read the next one..... With a flashlight....under my cover, again! (Can't wait!) ...more
Hallelujah, the Neighborly Affection series by M.Q. Barber came as one hell of a hot surprise to me.

To be honest, I wasn't really expecting much when I picked up this book. I am a huge sucker for ménage romance, but let's face it, for the most part, this subgenre doesn't have a lot more to offer than mindless smut. Which is alright with me since I don't read erotica for its challenging content.
All the more surprising how very much I enjoyed reading this little gem.

Granted, there isn't much of a
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked how this book incorporated two submissive characters. They were different in many ways. The interaction of them with the dominant really made for an enjoyable read. I recommend you try this book. I found it refreshing and not cliche at all.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2r, nook
Having sexy neighbors can be very distracting and Alice finds herself dreaming about Henry and Jay. Even after a year of friendship Alice still can’t decide if Henry and Jay are more than just roommates but that doesn’t stop her wild fantasies when she’s alone at night. What would it be like to be with Henry? What would it be like to be with Jay? Heck what would it be like to be with both of them together? Alice is trying to keep her mind off of her wayward thoughts when the sexy duo invites her ...more
Heather Blair
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was soooo different than I thought it would be. This is definitely erotica. But more like erotica as an art form.

It's not stuffy or pretentious, though. What it is is goddamn amazing.

Alice is independent, sweet...and very curious about her neighbors, Henry and Jay. The relationship between the two men is impossible to pin down and Alice's speculations are all in good fun, until they invite her over for a special dinner one night. Dinner gets cold, but everything else gets HOT.

Smoking h
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-reveiw, erotic
Alice moves into a new neighborhood, in a much better area. On her first day she meets her neighbors; Henry and Jay. They have a friendly and easy relationship. Until they boys suggest something else, the suggest playing with Alice and the author doesn't mean board games.

We find out that Jay and Henry has a contract. Jay is a submissive, Henry the dominant. Alice to be another submissive. Alice, Jay and Henry enjoy their alternate Friday nights together. She learns things about herself, what she
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bdsm
So this was a lovely BDSM-lite menage that needed just a touch more passion. Henry and Jay are a couple and invite Alice, their neighbor, to join in on their play time. Alice struck me as rather dour. Too much inner musings. Now Henry! He shot this book to a 4 for me. That calm, sexy, never over the top Dom voice. You just shiver when he says "please come here, dearest one." OOOOO, what a sexy beast. Really liked Jay and could just imagine his almost puppy like eagerness while in bed. I loved th ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I will be honest. This book completely surprised me. I guess I expected a book filled with fluffy characters in a bunch of hot scenes. I was good with that. I like those books. This book, however was so much more than that. The characters were deep and so likable, even in their flaws. The connections they made were felt before the heat even began and the BDSM was not for “shock” value and was not your typical BDSM. It made the story fresh and different. There were a couple of time where the POV ...more
Jordhana Rempel
Apr 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What was the plot of this again? Other than a boring sexfest, there was no conflict, no issues, and no internal change for any of the characters. Just...more boring sex.

If you want a kink fantasy without having any knowledge or experience of kink (or relationships in general), then go for it. But this is a painful disappointment to everyone else.

Every character is one-dimensional. Alice is dismissive of a loving, long-term relationship and easily gives up all aspects of her autonomy and personal
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by thanking M.Q. Barber for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. What a treat!

Holy Hotness this was an awesome book! Henry....oh Henry, I want a Henry of my own. He just oozed hotness. Jay was more fun loving and easy going but oozed hotness as well. Generally I am not a huge fan of the female MC in ménage interactions. Alice was the exception. I appreciated that she was not winey as so many of them are.

Now for the came to an end a
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I loved this book! Couldn't put it down! 2 in the morning and my eyes are closing but I'm debating on reading another chapter! I loved everything from the simple story, the sexy characters to the sex! The SEX was awesome! And there was so much of it too! This was a perfect book for a smut-nut like me :) i loved when jay and henry were making out while pleasuring alice too! I loved everything! :) 5+ dominating-stars! ***********etc. ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried. I really did. But I just can't. Every single review that gave it one star reflects what I think about this book. Horrible. ...more
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I am a former Midwestern gal who well knows the joy of flopping down in a field for an afternoon and composing stories about the shapes in the clouds. As it turns out, adulthood doesn't have to be so different from childhood.

Sharing those stories is a new thing for me. I hope readers will love the characters as much as I do.

Other books in the series

Neighborly Affection (5 books)
  • Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection, #2)
  • Healing the Wounds (Neighborly Affection #3)
  • Becoming His Master (Neighborly Affection, #4)
  • Finding Their Balance

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When it comes to the romance genre, second books can be a bit like second dates, can't they? You've had that great initial meet-cute with...
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“Ludicrous," Jay said. "I have so much stamina it's oozing out of my pores."
"Best get a mop, then. The custodial staff shouldn't be forced to deal with your overeager excretions.”
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