3 by Jacob Z. Flores
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Blurb: Justin Jimenez has loved his partner, Spencer Harrison, for ten years. He’ll do anything for him—including bury his feelings for a man he met while he and Spencer were separated last year. Justin never planned to fall in love, and he certainly never planned to tell Spencer about it—but when a phone call wakes them in the middle of the night to inform Justin that his former lover, Dutch Keller, has been in an accident, he doesn’t have a choice.
Justin’s revelation shatters the fragile relationship he and Spencer were trying to rebuild. The weight of his guilt—both for hurting Spencer and for leaving a heartbroken Dutch to find solace in a bottle—crushes him. But what Justin doesn’t know is that Spencer and Dutch guard an explosive secret of their own. All three men are tangled in a communal web of lies, and unless they find the events in their lives that ultimately led them to friendship, passion, and betrayal, they won’t see the love at the heart of the pain.
Review: This story jumps around in time. First it’s 2010 and then it’s 1999. Every other chapter is present day. I followed that okay. It’s the characters I had a problem with.
The book begins with Justin taking a middle of the night call that’s the trigger that blows the lid off his relationship with Spencer, his partner. It seems all is not what it should be in their household and the dirty truth comes out in dribs and drabs as the story progresses.
Darlings, I understand that cheating happens in the best of relationships, and as the blurb tells you, Justin cheated on Spencer. But the circumstances leading up to it left a bad taste in my mouth, and at one point, I despised Justin so much, I wanted to flail him with my feather boa and smack him with my stilettos. Insensitive, self-centered, clearly only concerned with how he’s feeling and no one else… That man almost made me stop reading the book.
The line that pushed me over the cliff? “I can always log back on afterward.” Justin says it to Spencer just before Spencer leaves him. You’ll understand when you get there. Do not blame me when you throw your e-reader through a window.
And then the author starts letting other questionable cats out of the bag and it all gets very complicated and tacky. Justin fucks Dutch. Spencer finds out and leaves Justin. In the flashbacks, we find out Dutch also flirted with Spencer, who returned the feelings. Everyone is cheating on everyone. In time, I hated every main character with the passion of a thousand suns. I threw back a stiff drink and kept reading.
I’ll say no more so I don’t ruin the ending for you, but after a promising start, I quickly lost interest in these miserable people, who deserve to suffer an infestation of bed bugs and fleas as punishment for their shallowness. Suffice to say, two car accidents in a book is one too many. Has someone decided to make a soap opera out of this yet?
Reviewed by Red Licorice