I'm an avid reader and reviewer of romance books, especially m-m and erotica. You can find me on http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4669232-baba-marcus-tyler-tate-dan-ty-hunter
4.5 stars.****Review completed April 11, 2013
"Nah. It's art. It's not about intelligence--although if it was, you'd have no problem, Dan--but it's more just about impressions, or feelings. Just look at them and let your mind go, see where it takes you."
"So, art's kind of like an acid trip?"
"Good art is." Jeff's voice is warm and rumbling, and Dan really wants to haul his ass into the truck and drive them somewhere private. They have got to get the rules worked out.(…)
Out of the Darkness picks up right where Dark Horse left off. The prologue is testament to the fact how hard it is for Dan to deal with the loss of his former partner and lover Justin. (view spoiler) has a huge impact on Dan and he just crumbles and has to go through another meltdown. Jeff, however, is the tower of strength who offers him much needed comfort and sympathy.
All three men are trying to make their nontraditional relationship work. While Dan and Jeff get along very well, there seems to be a certain tension between Evan and Dan. And to make matters worse, a former friend ‘sneaks’ back into Dan’s life and asks for help. Evan’s jealousy and possessiveness are flaring up again and Dan is tired of being on the defense. He feels betrayed because he would never cheat on them and he wants them to trust him. Dan is not a big talker but they seem to ‘communicate’ very well on a physical level—the sex is great after all. Then again, sex is not the right device to solve any problem. That’s the reason Jeff thinks they should slow down on the sex and talk much more because they use sex to push their problems away. Out of the Darkness is another prime example why it is so imperative that traditional as well as nontraditional couples should communicate openly, regularly, and early. Also, it’s very clear that without honesty and trust a relationship just withers away.
"He said you think too much, and we need to help you turn your brain off." The kiss is a bit deeper, a bit wetter, and Dan can taste himself in Evan's mouth and remembers that Evan hasn't gotten off yet. "He said sex is always good for that."
Jeff's frowning at him in confusion. "I don't get it, man. How can you be so comfortable, so…confident when we're actually going at it, and then turn into…this…as soon as we're done?"
"Maybe if I stopped sleeping with women…and, holy shit, that's what I'm gonna be doing, right? If it's just you and me and Jeff?" He shakes his head. "That will make me quite a bit more gay!"
Dan can't let that go, either? "Okay, we need to talk about that. I mean--if you guys want a threesome, and you like sleeping with women..wouldn't it make more sense for you to find a female third?"
Evan stares at him. "Now, you see, this is what I find fascinating about you. One second you're running away, the next you're offering to get a sex change, just for my pussy-loving pleasure? It's sweet, man, but maybe you could find a middle road of moderation?"
"Okay, psycho, you can't just make a joke out of everything I say. It's a good question!"
"The Operational Paramters…? Evan, are you playing soldier? First you've got your club house, and now you're going on missions--aren't you a bit young for a second childhood?"
Evan just grins at him. "Up and at 'em, recruit!"
"Mommy said you were a horse trainer, and then Daddy said it looked like you were the one who got rode hard last night."
It takes Dan's brain a bit to process that, and by the time he's done his smile seems frozen on his face. Brian doesn't seem to notice, though. "If you're not a horse, what does that mean?"
"(…)Or I guess you could have one of the bedrooms at the guest house, but it's been designated as ground zero for most of the whoring, so I don't know if you want that."
"You have a designated ground zero? This is some very organized whoring you've got going on."
"The logistics of a threesome are a little insane, my friend."
I totally heart Jeff. He is mature and the calming influence in their relationship. Plus, he is the glue who holds everything together. Both Evan and Dan were looking up to Jeff for guidance and a word of wisdom. Besides, he seemed to have the right answer to every question, and he could solve every problem. Jeff is always so stoic and reserved and comes across as very self-confident. Though behind the armor of confidence, Jeff has to deal with his own insecurities. I liked shy and insecure Jeff when he talked about his art. Also, I did understand his POV when he thought he was too old for Evan and Dan. And it was all right when he talked about bowing out of their arrangement (no spoiler, read the blurb) and letting Dan and Evan have a more “normal” relationship. No worries though, he didn’t do it. Although I really think it was good to address the issue because you can’t just live for the day. Instead of kicking something down the road it’s always the better option to get it off your chest. So, while I really enjoyed to learn a bit more about Jeff, I still wanted more insight into Evan and Jeff’s life as a couple. What are their problems? How did they meet? I know I will have to read the novellas to hopefully get my answers.
It goes without saying that I’m psyched I got more moments that involved Jeff and Dan. Only Jeff and Dan for that matter. Therefore I’ve had enough page time to enjoy and develop my little Jeff crush. Let me tell you Jeff and Dan getting off in the stable while Evan was listening on the phone was hot! Jeff cuddling with Dan at Jeff’s? Sweet. Jeff painting Dan? Insightful and sensitive. Jeff (view spoiler)? I could feel the love.
What I didn’t like
Once again the author used the term ‘man’ quite generously. But to top everything off she added ‘dude’ to the mix.
Dude, it was tedious. Got it, man?
"I like your voice. I like the way you look at me sometimes, like there's a secret or something, like only you and me understand what's really going on."
Dan just shakes his head. "And you think Evan is immature…"
"Honey, at my age, being called 'mature' is no longer a compliment." (I adore Jeff’s mom Anna!)
"I'm not a sensitive flower, asshole."
"Ooh, you said a naughty word! I take it back, you're not a sensitive flower at all."
"Oh, my ears! You brute!"
"Blasphemy! To what depths will you sink?"
I even appreciated Evan although I’d love to give him some pointers. Rein in your jealousy!
When Dan and Evan want to lift the sex embargo they can be quite entertaining…
Jeff looks from one to the other. “So I’ve got the business argument and the animal training argument—but what about my sensitive artist’s soul?”
Dan barely needs to think about that one. “Be a rebellious artist instead. Be all about the pleasure of the flesh, or whatever…what’s that word, man? Starts with an H, maybe?” Dan looks to Evan for backup.
“Hedonism.” Evan nods enthusiastically. “Be a hedonistic artist, Jeff. Revel in the beauty of the human form.”(…)
The story is written in first person present tense from Dan’s POV. I really liked Dan very much and the way the story was written allowed me to get into his head. Hot headed Dan, confident Dan, gentle Dan, hilarious Dan, insecure and cautious Dan. It’s all there and quite revealing. Between the sheets he is clearly a man of action and he acts confidently. He just knows what he wants. But after the deed is done he retreats into his shell and he is once again quite taciturn and wary.
All in all Out of the Darkness is a very engagingly and beautifully written sequel to Dark Horse. Intense and difficult moments were perfectly balanced with some light and funny interludes. Loved the banter and tenderness. The steam level was really good, however, I’m glad the author provided so much more plot than smexy times. In any event I think she did a great job at developing their halting relationship and I was immersed in the story and characters at all times. It wasn’t just sunshine and roses but it was certainly believable. Hence, this book was a true pleasure to read.
„Dan, I wanted to…I wanted to thank you again for that painting. It’s…when we first got it, neither one of us was sure, but I’ve looked at it a lot. I understand now why you wanted us to have it. It’s beautiful, Dan. It’s…some people go through lives like beat-up plow horses, and others…others burn through the jumps, don’t they? They inspire all of us.”
Dan swallows hard, and takes a moment before he answers.
„He really inspired me, sir. I mean it.” Another deep breath, but he wants to continue. “Anything I do, anything worthwhile, ever—it’s because of him.”
Dan is afraid that his love for Justin might fade and that he might forget how he felt about him but that’s not possible. Even though Justin is gone the love is still there but at the same time the pain is fading away. And while Dan knows that Justin is irreplaceable, life goes on and love happens despite past tragedies. Dan knows he can have something beautiful and valuable again. After all, he deserves to be loved and he can love someone back. All he needed to do was fight for it and make it happen.
“I want this. Us.”
Recommended to readers who would like to give an m-m-m love triangle a try that provides way more depth than smut.