Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/11/06/review-tart-by-lauren-dane/
I’ll admit to being a little gun shy when it comes to reading any menage book written by Dane, mostly because I haven’t been a huge fan of the way she handled the trope in the past, however I fell in love with the Delicious series, and decided to give this one a chance, especially when I learned we would have some man-on-man action between Cal and Gideon.
Juliet has long held a candle for Cal, but he has always given her the impression that he doesn’t want anything more from her than friendship, so when Gideon moves back into town, Juliet is excited about the fire they create between the two of them. But it doesn’t take long for Cal to realize that the relationship between Juliet and Gideon is more than just a passing fancy, and one night he stakes his claim on Juliet, throwing her entire life upside down.
Juliet loves them both, but is scared to start a three-some relationship. But Gideon and Cal prove to her time and again that being in a trio might not be all that bad. Everything is going great, Juliet’s business is rocking, Gideon is enjoying life on the farm, and Cal is successful as ever. But when Juliet’s family life takes a turn she never expected, she will have to lean on both Gideon and Cal to make it through, and decide once and for all what she wants from this unconventional relationship.
One of the things that I find somewhat disappointing in Dane’s menage stories is that she tends to develop a relationship between a couple before adding the third person into the relationship. While Jules and Cal have been dancing around each other for longer than they can remember, Dane spends a considerable amount of time in the beginning of the book building the relationship between Jules and Gideon. In a lot a ways, I have a harder time connecting with the menage relationship in these circumstances, because I feel like one person is always left wanting. I didn’t like that it took so long for Cal to make his move into their relationship, and felt as if we missed a lot of his perspective because of it.
I will admit that Dane is a master when it comes to the smutty times. I loved that we got to spend some quality time with just Gideon and Cal, and that they were equally committed to each other as they were to Juliet. I struggle with m/f/m menage books, but the fact that Cal and Gideon were just as passionate about each other as they were with Jules really worked for me. And the bedroom scenes were SMOKIN’ hot, regardless of who was in on the action at the time.
I also enjoyed the way that Dane played up the situation with Jules and her family. I respect the fact that Dane doesn’t sugar coat over the different struggles that come along with non-conventional relationships, and the fact that Jules brother acted so harsh toward her was both heartbreaking and encouraging. It was nice to see that everyone in her life didn’t accept their triad with open arms. Then, adding in the cluster-F with her father and how deeply that whole scenario bothered and upset her was a nice plot device for the rest of the happy-go-lucky aspects of the book. I loved that Gideon and Cal both rushed to her side when she needed it, and stuck together for her through thick and thin.
The secondary characters continue to be one of the best aspects of this series. I love the Delicious group of friends, and am so excited to see what happens with Mary and Damien in the next book. I love that the women are all so close and really turn to one another every opportunity they get. It makes each book in the series that much stronger in my opinion, and like I said, I can’t wait to see where the series as a whole goes next.
All in all I liked this story better than previous Dane menage relationships, but still had my own issues with it. I was so happy with the way the relationship between Gideon, Jules and Cal ended up, but wished they would have started their threesome sooner in the beginning. I loved the secondary characters, especially Gideon’s grandfather, and am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
I give Tart a B-