Review: Just Past Two – Elia Winters

Review: Just Past Two – Elia WintersJust Past Two
by Elia Winters
Series: Comes in Threes #2
Publisher: Entangled: Scorched
Publication Date: May 20, 2019
Genres: Romance
Pages: 200
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Abby Burke put her wild days behind her, determined to be the adult she thought she needed to be. It was just a phase, right? But when her college reunion reveals her...adventurous...past to her straitlaced gentleman of a husband, Abby is terrified he’ll reject her.

Except Sam is more than intrigued by what has his normally bold wife flushing with embarrassment…and desire. So when he and Abby stumble onto an especially hot scene that takes them over the edge, he proposes a challenge: confess their deepest fantasies and fulfill them together.

As their playful explorations escalate, their forays into exhibitionism and kink shift the way they see each other and their relationship—for the better. But when Sam finds himself longing to see her pleasured by other men, and Abby’s all in, they wonder if this will make their marriage stronger or end up tearing them apart.

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4 stars icon contemporary icon m/f romance icon

Content warnings: View Spoiler »

Wow, this was a super kinky fan-yourself-off type of book. I’ve read some pretty kinky stuff before, but I have to admit that this particular insight into polyamory was a new one for me! While the first book was also about a polyamorous couple, they were in a closed triad, something I’ve read about before (uh, extensively, thanks, Jekh Saga!). This book features a married couple who aren’t looking for a permanent partner, but more of an open marriage.  While this is the second in the series, you don’t have to have read the first to enjoy it – Mitchell from the first book, does CrossFit with Sam, and he shows up to give him advice over beers.

After ten years together, Abby and Sam have settled into a loving (but somewhat boring) rut. But Abby’s wild past is revealed at her college reunion, and some unintentional voyeurism leaves them both hotter than they could ever have imagined. Worried that he’s not fulfilling Abby’s needs, Sam proposes a game – they’ll take turns acting out their fantasies. But while each new boundary pushed takes them to greater heights, Abby fears that their new explorations have broken their marriage forever.

“Even in the last month, things have changed between us. They don’t feel like they used to.”
“In a good way or a bad way?”
Abby hesitated. “I don’t know. Just different. Sam’s different. He’s not the same guy I married. It’s like there’s this whole other side of him that I hadn’t known, just hanging out there, waiting for kinky sex games.”

I have to admit that the idea of an erotic romance following a married couple initially seemed odd, but this worked so well. Despite their long relationship, Sam’s never known anything but straight-laced vanilla Abby. At one point, he mentioned that he didn’t like bugging Abby for sex during the week because she needed her sleep! For her part, Abby conflated her sexually free college girl self with failure after nearly failing out of college, and assumed that Sam would think less of her for it. While they both enthusiastically enjoy their sexual explorations, it also triggered changes in their relationship, and Abby worried that she was being irresponsible again and going to ruin their marriage. For his part, Sam worried that he was not enough for her, and was surprised by how much he enjoyed the game. While there’s lots of ways this could potentially have gone bad, thankfully, the communication between Abby and Sam was excellent, both in terms of making sure sexual boundaries were being respected and for their relationship itself. This was especially important when they discovered that they both got off on Abby having sex with other men, and Abby has a lot of guilt and shame over the game in general and what she saw as “cheating.” She also worried that Sam was only going through with this to satisfy her, but Sam’s quick to reassure her. So while I wouldn’t say Abby’s guilt is a small thing, the book is surprisingly low angst due to how well they’re able to communicate with each other, which I loved. While I think that degree of communication would come off as unrealistic with a new couple, since they’ve been together for so long, it just worked.

“Guys. We’re at brunch. It’s the least sexual meal of the day.”
“Maybe the way you do brunch, it is.”

My main critique is that things did seem to progress very quickly. Abby and Sam go from ten years of vanilla sex to going to a sex club to hanging out with another couple with an open marriage over the course of just a few months. While I certainly enjoyed the escalation, I wasn’t surprised that Abby had a lot of misgivings about the stability of their marriage given how quickly it all happened. And while it is specifically addressed in the book, I did roll my eyes a bit over the fact that Abby and Sam seemed to just trip over polyamorous people everywhere they went in their small town.

Overall, this is ridiculously sexy book, and I can’t wait to see what’s explored in the next book in the series. In the meantime, I’ll definitely be checking out Ms. Winters’ backlist!

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