Two Special Forces men and a Hawaiian girl make a lava hawt ménage. Tait is still trying to recover from Luna's death. His mess up on a mission puts both him and Kellan off the roster. Forced for a mandatory R&R in their team leader Franz's home in Kauai, it is paradise. Well, it's paradise for some, but not for Tait and Kellan.
This 3.5 star story is deeper for me. Tait's struggle with Luna's death is painful to watch yet makes him all the more loveable. His downward spiral into drunken stupor isn't that hard to fathom. Kellan's feeling helpless as he's unable to pull Tait out of his funk. The two brother-in-arms in conflict with each other is hard to witness for both the reader and Lani.
Lani is an exotic character. She's a spitfire with a soft heart. Neighbor and honorary family member to Franz, she's in trouble. She's about to lose her family home to a slick asshat resort developer. When Tait and Kellan come to her rescue, it's as if the stars align.
The characters in this story feel more three-dimensional to me. In addition, they stand out with their quirky characteristics. Their banter is both fun and sexual--lovely to read. The chemistry between these three is apparent and so good. This is the first ménage of Ms. Payne's I've read and it is very good. The sexual heat is delicious. The playfulness switching over to light kinky spankings is appetizing.
The BDSM in this story is very light. There is a bit of D/s with light impact play through spankings. The focus is more on the erotic ménage. Even though Tait and Kellan love each other, this is a M/f/M V formation with Lani as the focal point. The sex when the threesome finally get it on is good. The emergence of Kellan's dominant side is sweet. He takes his cue from Tait, the more experienced dominant.
This story isn't just about Tait's recovery and getting it on with a hot chick. There is also an action part with a familiar foe reappearing and a surprise reveal. This comes to light when Lani's situation is more dire than they thought. As Kellan uncovers the reason behind the purchase of Lani's lands, it's a complete cluster fucker. Franz sums it up best when he finds out during a call with the two.
"Satan's flaming balls. How did trouble follow you asshats like a goddamn rain cloud to that island?" (pg. 167)
The suspense part of this story is fun. Not sure how accurate it would be if I had a military background. Still, it's a nice touch and adds the element of conflict needed in this story. One of the heinous villains in this story, is of course, into BDSM torture. He uses a bullwhip and even though it's torture, the scene is still rather arousing for me. This is because there are restraints involved as well as a bullwhip. Having just experienced my first bullwhip session on my naked back several months ago, I am tainted in my opinion. Because my experience was very good and I'm hoping for a repeat, anytime I read about bullwhipping even at the hands of a sadistic rapist, I'm still a bit aroused. I digress.
Overall this is a BDSM-lite romantic suspense. It flows well and Ms. Payne does an excellent job of mixing in a bit of Hawaiian culture and bringing the Garden Isle to life. Recommended for ménage lovers who enjoy kinky alpha males.