Twice Upon a Blue Moon
Publisher: Totally Bound
Categories: Contemporary, MMF, BDSM
Twice Upon a Blue Moon is the first instalment of the Surface Tension trilogy, a contemporary, BDSM ménage from Totally Bound.
Some affairs are like playing with fire, but knowing you’ll get burned is no reason to throw the game.
When her best friend doesn’t show up after a no-strings date with a man she met in a fetish club, Hazel is duty-bound to fetch her from what could be a sticky situation. She doesn’t expect to find her friend’s date so attractive—or so unflappably cool. Not that it matters. Hazel has been burned before and she knows to stay away from handsome men who are patently out of her league, especially when they’re involved with her one and only friend.
Tesla-driving, suit-wearing Dylan more than fits the bill. But every barb Hazel throws him makes him rise to the challenge, and he doesn’t want her to find a way to say no. But not only does Dylan have his own playroom and a sound grip on the S&M lifestyle, he’s also a man of many secrets. Dylan sees a place for Hazel in his bed, but what he wants is more than a one-night stand.
As she acclimates to the idea that Dylan may not be entirely straight or entirely single, Hazel soon finds herself caught between two dominant men whose bond seems to balance on a knife’s point.
“I’m sorry he’s so difficult,” Dylan whispered in her ear as he pulled her close. “If you want to leave…”
Hazel wrapped an arm around his shoulders and let Dylan fold his hand around her wrist. “Already? But I’m having such fun.” It wasn’t a complete lie. Ward had ‘life of the party’ practically stamped on his forehead. He wasn’t likable, but he was entertaining. Hazel had no desire to capitulate just because he’d annoyed her a bit. “You’ve known him for a long time, haven’t you?”
Dylan hummed a note of acquiescence, the sound bubbling out from deep within his chest.
“We met in freshman year. That’s… God, is that really twelve years ago?” He shook his head, brushing her temple with his lips. “He’s a good guy. A little standoffish, but a good guy.”
If you say so. It wasn’t Dylan’s past that Ward had gone digging into.
“And will he be a good guy at the loft tonight, or… Is he going back to San Diego, by any chance?”
She felt Dylan’s smile more than saw it. “I think he’s headed back.”
“Yeah?” Dylan spun her under his arm. “You have designs on my virtue, do you?”
Hazel shook her head. “It’ll all be very spontaneous. Not like I spent all day thinking about it—or you.”
“Oh, really?” Dylan tipped forward, close enough to press a delicate, chaste kiss to the hinge of her jaw. “That makes two of us.”
His chuckle gusted against her cheek, rippling like a caress across her skin. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him as he pulled back, but Dylan didn’t stop at a few inches. When he turned, Hazel glimpsed Ward over his shoulder.
“May I cut in?”
Dylan hesitated, wary puzzlement on his handsome face.
“Sure,” said Hazel. There was no other polite answer she could give. Ward would be offended if she refused and, hands down, he’d win Dylan in the custody battle. He’d known him longer.
Appropriately, the house band transitioned into the eponymous Habanera as Ward offered his hand. She took it. “I don’t tango.”
“Neither do I,” Ward replied. “But if I were to learn with someone, I could do worse.”
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About Helena Maeve:
Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.
Why not both? Polyamory in the romance genre
Back when I was a wee Maeve peeking at Harlequin titles on the sly, the recipe for romances seemed simple: one man, preferably shirtless and hunky, and one woman, preferably sporting long, flowing locks, the two of them entwined in a passionate embrace on some windswept peak, balcony or boat. Sometimes the hero was blond or wore a cowboy hat. Most often, he was dark and brooding. And though they say never judge a book by its cover, I’d take one look at those and think, eh, not for me.
If it sounds like I’m being too harsh on Harlequin, that’s because I am. Harlequin and the romance genre more broadly were only repeating a message already prevalent in the wider culture. The recipe is familiar because it’s been the bedrock of some of our greatest classics. Even action movies, theoretically geared toward a male audience, use the shorthand of ‘sexy girl as prize’ to reinforce a cultural narrative about desirable men or desirable women.
More recently, the oh-so-common love triangle has become a staple across genres and mediums in a similar way. Multiple love interests pursuing a (usually female) protagonist sketches out a roadmap for and transforms the famous ‘will they or won’t they’ gimmick into ‘will she pick this guy or that other guy’. And yet just as the Harlequin covers I used to peek at offered a narrow view of romance, so does the reflex assumption that three is a crowd.
Depending on where you’ve planted your flag in this vast and perilous Internet, polyamory can seem perfectly acceptable or a slippery slope stretching down from the frightful peak of gay marriage. It can be an evo-psych explanation for male adultery (and, for some reason, only male adultery) or a means of coercion. It can be proof that a potential partner is incapable of fidelity.
A few days ago I came across an exchange about the latest instalment in one of my favourite romance series. Readers were perplexed that the hero could be so eager to share his girlfriend with other lovers and that she’d enjoy watching him with other women. If they truly love each other, the thought of their partner with someone else should send them into apoplectic fits of jealousy, right?
As a society, we love our mixed messages. Monogamy is supposed to be simple because only two people are involved, the roles are often culturally prescribed, and there is broad understanding about how such a relationship is meant to evolve. On the other hand, polyamory is presumed to be unstable (too many people!) and a ripe terrain for distrust. But in this exchange, it was monogamous contributors who defaulted to the assumption that a relationship must be possessive in order to be real—surely the unhealthier option.
I’m always wary of singing the praises of non-mainstream lifestyles, because no way of life is faultless—including monogamy. But I do think polyamory gets a bum rap. Compromise, communication and respect are values that any relationship should aim for regardless of the gender or number of participants.
When it comes to polyamory, there are few cultural narratives in place to serve as the basis for how, practically, such a relationship unfolds. And sometimes that’s challenging, as charting new courses usually is, and sometimes that can be freeing. For instance, if time has to be divided between three or four partners, that forces a degree of planning and forethought that might be absent in a relationship where it’s simply assumed one partner will make time for the other because that’s the way it is.
Coming to romance, and erotic romance in particular, as a queer reader and author has been an interesting experience. It took me time to realize that there was an appetite for all kinds of pairings and subgenres among the readership, and to shatter my own preconceptions. I suppose it’s no surprise that my first novel with Totally Bound was an MFM ménage-à-trois. Since then, I’ve dabbled in MF contemporary romances and MM sci-fi, gay vampires and bisexual fighters.
And now with Surface Tension, my first trilogy, I’ve come full circle.
In Twice Upon a Blue Moon, Hazel catches the eye of dark, enigmatic Dylan when she comes to retrieve her friend from a D/s booty call. Wary but flattered by his interest, Hazel soon discovers that there’s more to Dylan than good looks and a firm hand. Specifically, that Dylan is already involved in an unconventional friends-with-benefits situation—with another man. At first suspicious of this added complication, Hazel doesn’t expect to find herself attracted to Dylan’s sometimes-lover, much less wind up in bed with him… But must she choose or can she have both?
The romance genre changes and evolves constantly, and it can be a mirror for broader social acceptance. I’m still waiting, though, for that action hero to get the sexy boy after he defeats the bad guys…