Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles

Why I read it: It's an m/m/m romance so that was enough to pique my interest. Then I saw some reviews which said the boys actually talk, so I was in.  Bought it the week it was released.  Plus, Books on Board was having a sale (so I bought the author's other 2 books also).
What it's about: (from Goodreads) Two plus one equals scorching hot fun.

Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter has gotten used to expecting the worst. Now he lives only for his job as a glassblower…and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.

Every time he overhears the diminutive academic and the hunky plumber having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is overwhelmed with lust…and a longing for a fraction of what they have.

To his amazement, Rai and Evan find his embarrassing tendency to blush utterly charming, and the three men grow closer over the course of the long, hot summer. Despite Rai’s charming flirtation and Evan’s smoldering gaze, Josh is determined never to break his new friends’ loving bonds.

On the night a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle of one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes control. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. Leaving him to wonder if the winds of love are about to blow his way at last…or if history is about to repeat itself.

Warning: Contains one well-endowed stud with a sexy accent, one improbably toppy bottom boy with an unfortunate owl obsession, and one blushing naïf who can’t believe his luck. Also, the occasional indulgence in mathematical spanking and some shameless armpit sex.

What worked for me (and what didn't):  I have a weakness for m/m/m romance.  I'm not quite sure why that is.  But, much of what I have read has been firmly in the realm of fantasy (no matter that the label said contemporary) because there is often very little discussion on how the relationship is going to work.  What I liked about this one is that it was clear from early on that Evan and Rai was in the habit of talking over things explicitly in their relationship.  Josh is very shy and finds it difficult to talk about his feelings or his desires but Evan and Rai just won't put up with it.  They require (in a kind way) Josh to participate actively, to answer questions and ask for what he wants himself and, over the course of the book, he finds it comes easier and easier to him and he sees for himself how much easier it is in the long run to have open and clear communication.

For all that communication is big with these guys, there were a couple of conversations I would have liked to have seen on page.  Rai and Evan decide that they want to have a long term relationship with Josh (and I don't think it was inappropriate for them to have that talk just the two of them) and plan on talking to Josh about it.  I felt like we got half the conversation but I would have liked a little more of it.

There was also a place where Evan and Josh are getting started while waiting for Rai (with his encouragement) and Josh lets slip something stupid inviting a comparison between Rai and himself.  Evan just will not compare.  I loved that about Evan.  He really was straight up and down - what you see is what you get, and a man of true integrity and I liked that he didn't want to get into any silly games which would only lead to tension.  But what was missing was the conversation with all three of them about it - not to shame Josh but, maybe to set out some further ground rules.  One of the things which happens a number of times as the triad relationship emerges is that they have to make more rules because what was initially expected to be a fling, with the prime relationship staying Evan and Rai, becomes something more.  I liked that Evan and Rai were quick to identify when things were moving beyond expectations and bring things up (by the end, I thought Josh would do that too, but for most of the book he was unsure of his place and so I didn't expect him to lead the process).

I wondered if they moved to the no condoms a bit too quickly - would they not actually exchange test results? However, I'm glad they talked about it and at least some effort was made to deal with the sexual health issue.

The story was told from Josh's 1st person POV so the view of Evan and Rai was somewhat limited.  I did think there was enough of the both of them though to get a fairly clear picture of them, separately and together and I liked that both Evan and Rai made an effort to spend time with Josh alone too.

The book was humorous and quirky, from Rai's obsession with 70's kitsch and his owl fetish and Evan's love of Kerplunk and B horror movies.  There were also positive female roles in the book - something which is always welcome, with Josh having a strong friendship with Denise, his downstairs neighbour and friend and fellow tenant Stella the little old lady with the open and somewhat dirty mind who needs help because of her arthritis.

Josh's glass blowing job was interesting too and it was nice to see him become more confident in himself professionally as well as on the personal front over the course of the book.  I wonder if we might not see Dylan in a future story?  

What else?  I will admit I got a little confused during the armpit sex.  I thought Rai and Josh should be facing the other way - but I am not in any way the expert on this.

The sex was smoking and there was no pronoun abuse - I always knew who was doing what and saying what - something that can be problematic for me in m/m and which can be magnified in m/m/m.  It says something about the strong characterisations that Evan and Rai came off the page so distinctly.

I also enjoyed the Bath setting and the authentic English vernacular (although I now have to go look up "gert lush" means).

I'd love to catch up with Josh, Rai and Evan in a future story -maybe a Christmas short (hint hint) or something because these guys were fun and sexy and a joy to spend time with.

Before reading this book, I'd only read Pole Star (a free short) from this author.  I'm glad I have 2 others on my TBR because this was great.

Grade: B+


Merrian said...

I loved this book and the Macrame owls and Josh's shyness

Kaetrin said...

@Merrian - yes, I enjoyed the 70's stuff too. I liked Evan and Rai's fun and cheap Sunday ritual at the trash and treasure market and how they extended it to included Josh - the standing bet was a win-win-win really. :)

jmc said...

I fell in love with Bath on my first visit and am a sucker for any contemporary set there. Off to check this out.

Kaetrin said...

@jmc I thought the parts about Bath were evocative without being intrusive but I have never been there. Let me know what you think once you've read it. :)

Chris said...

I'm not much for m/m/m because most of it seems to just assume that everything works and there aren't any particular emotional challenges, so I appreciated those being addressed in this book.

Kaetrin said...

@Chris I think it could have gone further - maybe there will be a sequel! :D