ARC-Review: COLORS OF LOVE by Jess Dee

Their true colors are hidden…until one woman turns everything upside down.

Seth Pace, guitarist of the rock band Speed, is a born dreamer, and nothing stands in his way of making those dreams a reality. Except when it comes to band manager Luke Struthers. He’s everything Seth wants in a partner, but even after five years of perfectly explosive sex, Luke refuses to commit.

After a childhood ravaged by abuse, Luke knows he’s a potential danger to anyone foolish enough to love him. Seth is safer without him, but Luke has no idea how to cut him loose painlessly. Until he spots Seth’s kind of woman—pretty, smart, friendly. The plan: seduce her into a sexy threesome, then leave the two alone to fall in love. Problem solved.

A night of excitement with the two hottest men on the planet? Yeah, baby! Yet Kaz’s inborn ability to read auras tells her something isn’t right. It’s obvious Seth and Luke are madly in love, but subtle clues in Luke’s aura signal he’s up to something. She’s not sure what, but if she doesn’t do something quick, the two men she’s quickly come to adore will wind up without the happily ever after they both deserve.

Product Warnings
One man + one man + one woman = a whole lot of steamy two-way and three-way M/M & M/M/F sex, a hero or two to drool over, and a heroine who recognizes true love when she sees it.

Title: COLORS OF LOVE
Author: Jess Dee
Series: Speed, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2012, July 24
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC from the author for review at my request

First line:
“One more day,” Kaz Flaherty said into the phone.

Last line:
“The only thing we could possibly call an album after meeting you, sweet pea. Colors of Love .”

Memorable Scenes:
– the kissing scene and subsequent sex scene in the hotel after the Sydney concert > I think Jess owes me a new pair of panties LOL
– the scene where Seth and Luke hash it out after Luke tries to leave Seth with Kaz > breathless and teary-eyed!

PLEASE BEWARE that this is not a spoiler-free review. If you dislike spoilers about a book you still are going to read I’d advise to stop reading.

The main couple of this book is Seth Pace/Jordan Speed and Lucas Struthers. Seth is the guitarist and lyricist of the band Speed. He’s stubborn, creative, warm and a dreamer. He’s in tune and at ease with himself and the world around him.

Luke is also stubborn but he’s also practical. He feels he has nothing to offer to Seth but violence, abuse and darkness. Oh and sex. He’s consumed by his fear of hurting Seth with his violent nature he denies Seth and himself their chance at happiness.

I really wondered about the age difference as Luke kept referring to Seth as “the kid” but Luke is same age as middle brother Zach? The kid thing started to bother me at some point during chapter 2 when I found out there’s only a 4-year age difference between them and it’s like Seth says:

“Ya know, Lucas, I stopped being a kid the first time you stuck your c#ck in me.”

It’s funny how at the start of the book Seth decides he wants forever with Luke and at the same time Luke wants to break things off with Seth. Luke’s threesome plan in which he wants to “give” Seth someone to love instead of him so he can walk away from Seth, seems like a solid plan but Luke hadn’t counted on Kaz, the woman who links him and Seth together sexually and emotionally. And he hadn’t counted on Seth, who is definitely not on board with this plan.

I cannot see Kaz as the heroine of this story because for me the heroine has to be included in the HEA and in the end she wasn’t. I really liked the character Kaz. She sees and reads auras, she’s sassy, quick-witted and an all-around good person.

Everyone knows I love ménages but the m/m/f ones are tricky for me as I’m not a fan of m/m and don’t read straight up m/m. So every time a favorite author has an m/m/f coming out and offers it for review, I accept it wondering if it’ll work for me.

COLORS OF LOVE worked for me partially. I had to get past the fact that the beginning was very Seth/Luke orientated. I need the main focus on the female for the m/m/f ménage to work for me so when the first love scene is between the men this puts me on edge for the rest of the book. In this book that first love scene is between Seth and Luke and the emotions and Luke’s emotional struggle are so well done the fact that the first sex scene is between them didn’t bother me as much as in other m/m/f books I’ve read.

One thing that did bother me (other than the “kid” thing) was the fact that I felt Kaz got the short end of the stick (no pun intended). There were scenes where the emphasis was very much on Luke and Seth, Seth and Luke and Kaz kinda went to the background. The connection to Kaz seemed to be only sexually from Luke’s POV and more friends-with-benefits-like from Seth’s POV. At one point I really didn’t like where the romance was heading as I feared Kaz was not going to get the HEA she deserved and the focus definitely wasn’t on Kaz for most of the story. For the kind of reader I am and knowing what I love to read, I think this story could have worked better if it were a straight m/m story and if Kaz had been left out. I was now expecting an m/m/f romance, which it wasn’t as the HEA is between the males only.

The sex scenes are explicit and graphic and though m/m scenes are not exactly my cuppa tea, the urgency and rawness of Luke and Seth together in those scenes were very well done. Needless to say I like the scenes where Kaz was involved better.

Never let it be said Jess Dee isn’t gutsy or willing to take risks with her romances. With COLORS OF LOVE she certainly took some chances. It’s not your run-of-the-mill m/m/f ménage and it will have readers on the fence for various reasons. And still I prefer this over any author jumping through hoops to deliver to the readers what they think is the readers would want. The story has to be told as the story needs to be told and that is exactly what Jess Dee does.

Because even when there were some developments in the story I wasn’t completely on board with because of my own tastes and preferences, I couldn’t stop reading this book and in the end I just loved it because if there’s anyone who can make me sit back in awe of her writing it’s Ms. Dee. The well-balanced mix of heat, emotion and characterization is stronger than ever in COLORS OF LOVE. Even if I call it an m/m disguised as an m/m/f story.

My liking the book a lot turned into mad love from the moment Kaz meets both Luke and Jordan. The chemistry and dynamic between them coupled with the heat and humorous dialogues sealed the deal for me. Though I’m not overjoyed about the role Kaz played in the romance I loved reading this book. It might not be one of my favorite Jess Dee books but it’s still a very, very good book, especially for readers who love the m/m genre.

Favorite Quotes:

Luke needed to look away. Needed to drag his gaze from the couch and stare anywhere but at that face.
Easier said than done. That face trapped his attention and reeled him in. Held him transfixed—almost to the exclusion of everyone else in the room.
He was stronger than this. He could ignore the attraction that crackled between them, ignore the electricity that snapped across the room, shocking everything in its path.

“I like sex. Often. You I need. Always.” (Seth to Luke)

In the darkest hours of the night, when he lay awake with nothing but his thoughts for company, he’d admit the truth to himself. Then, and only then, when there was no one around to witness his deepest desires, he’d admit that if life had been different and if his legacy had been inherited from anyone other than his father, he and Seth could have had everything together. Could have gone anywhere together. Now, forever and always. (Luke)

Kaz tried not to act awed and overwhelmed. She tried her damn best. Honestly. But…but…but… Jordan Speed was shaking her hand. The same Jordan Speed who she had secret sexual fantasies about. Yes. That Jordan Speed.

She held her own breath, utterly overwhelmed by the depth of emotion in the room. She’d never been loved the way these men loved each other, never felt passion as feverishly as they did. For long seconds, she soaked up their love, relished it, savored it.
It warmed her very soul to see them together, to know they’d found each other. Seeing them joined like this, Kaz had no doubts. They completed each other. Each made the other whole. It was beautiful. Sacred. It was breathtaking.

She was no longer solid or whole. She was made up of millions of particles joined together by nothing more than silken threads of ecstasy.

Luke’s heart cracked in two, never to be whole again.

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