Review: "Playing the Game" by M.Q. Barber (Neighborly Affection #1)
Alice Colvin is a mechanical engineer who doesn't believe in love but she does believe in being satisfied in the bedroom, something that hasn't been all that easy since she only appears to be able to achieve it when she's on her own. When she moves into her new apartment, she meets her next-door neighbors, Henry Webb and Jay Kress, two very different but very attractive men whose relationship piques her curiosity.
Over the next year, Alice forges a friendship with Henry and Jay, and on the anniversary of when she first moved in, the two men invite her to a celebratory dinner that becomes so much more than what Alice was expecting. When Henry offers her a contract to participate in "games" that will involve all three of them, Alice needs to decide if this is something that she's ready for and wholeheartedly wants to participate in.
Playing the Game is the first book in the Neighborly Affection series by M.Q. Barber and one that presents the beginning of a bi-weekly liaison among three people, two of whom were already in a long-term relationship. The dynamic is definitely interesting, even with Alice being a more than willing participant, since Alice tends to keep certain questions to herself, unsure of how Henry or Jay will react.
Jay has a back story that's just waiting to be told, especially with teeny tiny bits and pieces alluding to him having endured something horrible in the past and Henry saving him. His flirtatious and open manner belies his need to please, at first, Henry and, later on, Alice as well highlights. Without a doubt, he's my favorite character, followed closely by Henry and Alice, without whom there really wouldn't be a story.
This was an original take on the BDSM theme and explains it in a way that I've never come across in other romance novels, making it a cut above the rest in my opinion. Since the story of this amorous trio continues over a few more books, I must say that book one has successfully grabbed my attention and I'm keen to see how the Alice, Henry, and Jay's relationship evolves. I'm giving Playing the Game five stars. ♥
Date read: 09 March 2015
Learn more about author M.Q. Barber here.