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Contemporary Romance Discussions > The Rules by Jamie Fessenden

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message 1: by Ulysses (new)

Ulysses Dietz | 1575 comments The Rules
By Jamie Fessenden
By the author, 2017
Four stars

A sweet and sexy romance about a college student, with the oddly Teutonic name of Hans Bauer, who takes on a job as a house cleaner for a married gay couple, and discovers rather more than he bargained for.

The “older” couple—meaning in their thirties!—consists of a WASP corporate executive, Thomas Fisher, and his Russian husband of ten years, Boris Ivanich Vasiliev. They live in a grand house, which at first is Hans’s only concern—cleaning it all in the allotted weekly hours. But then he discovers that Boris is an eccentric novelist who spends most of his time cooped up in his study, and all of his time naked.

Oh, did I mention that Boris is 32 and extremely hot? And naked.

The purpose of Fessenden’s story is to broach the idea of a lonely young man finding himself in the awkward position of falling for not just a married man, but a married couple. It is really very endearing, Hans’s fumbling attempts to restrain his fascination with Boris’s tattooed muscles. Then it gets more complicated when Thomas (who, by the way, is also movie-star handsome) begins to establish rules whereby Hans and Boris can enjoy each other—but only to a point. How does one negotiate the minefield of jealousy and sexual attraction without hurting good people?

Frankly, all three of the main characters are compassionate, intelligent, attractive and likeable. It is no burden to believe in their mutual three-way attraction, and no surprise at what transpires. Fessenden is trying to tiptoe delicately around a subject that might freak people out; but with all my “issues” this story didn’t push a single button. I rooted for them from the first page and followed with interest Hans’s awakening to a kind of love he’s never considered.

My problem, if there was one, was simply that the whole set up seems kind of contrived. It is all very sincere, and in the end all that big-hearted sincerity was harder to believe than the three-way-love itself. Am I just so cynical that I can’t believe three gay men would all be so considerate and loving?

If this had been a three-way romance with a woman and two men, I’d never have read it. If this had been the story of a horny college kid who breaks up a married couple, I’d never have finished it. I guess I just wanted the three men to be slightly less good; because the road to throupledom can’t be this flawlessly romantic.

Sigh. I still cried.

message 2: by Ajax1978 (new)

Ajax1978 | 4 comments Yet another book by Jamie Fessenden with lots of nakedness. Color me surprised. 😛

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