Title ~ The Foster Family
Author ~Jaime Samms
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Genre ~ M/M/M Erotic Romance
Published ~ 14th February 2014
Rating ~ 4 Stars
Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch.
Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for fifteen years. Despite Charlie's willingness to accept Malcolm's unspoken domination in bed,something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed out Kerry from being washed away by the tide and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry's submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic.
But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.
I’m a big fan of ménage stories and after reading the premise of The Foster Family I was instantly intrigued. The fact that Jaime Samms is a new author to me made me burst with curiosity. I had to read the story.
Malcolm and Charlie’s relationship is far from stable. Over the years they have invited other men into their lives without really examining what it was they were searching for. When Kerry comes along his honesty makes them realise they need to make some vital changes in order to find themselves, whilst also coming to terms with the fact that Kerry can’t just fill in the cracks, he needs to belong, and find the right place for himself.
Malcolm… *sigh* had been through the foster system himself, calling his last foster dad ‘Foster Demon’, I guess the title speaks for itself. Malcolm is an untamed, rough diamond, dominant on the outside but inside he’s a sensitive soul, vulnerable and easily stressed. The helplessness he feels at his inability to get through to Charlie, just killed me. Charlie on the other hand is also stressed. His job as the assistant to the gallery owner from hell, makes his life a misery… ohhh, how I hated that bitch! So submitting sexually to Malcolm is Charlie’s own way of coping with his horrible job.
I fell so deeply for Malcolm, because as convinced as he is that Kerry is the missing piece to save his relationship with Charlie and complete them, he of all people realises that Kerry needs to leave in order to find himself first, before all three of them can find their happily ever after.
“I was a foster kid too, Kerry. I know what that’s like. Can I please be the one to show you that sometimes, there are people out there who want to look after you just because you’re worth looking after? Can you please just let me do this? Today, let me be your sugar daddy, or your man, or whatever it is you want to fill that title out with. Let me make decisions and look after you and buy you things because no one has ever done that for you and I want to be the one to do that. Please?”
Kerry’s journey from being alone and withholding himself from friendship and love, to that of a young man who learns to love himself, to trust and to belong, was interesting and gripping to read. He is one of those sad, lost characters that just breaks your heart.
Kerry and Malcolm’s past in the foster care system made me think about all the foster children out there, about their personal hell, lonely, unloved and unwanted. I adored Nash, Kerry’s foster dad, who cares so much about Kerry, loves him with all his heart and finally is the one who makes Kerry realise that he has to break down the walls around his heart first, before building a true and caring relationship with Malcolm and Charlie is even a possibility. Kerry’s reconnecting with Nash was breath-taking to watch. Loved it!
If your concept of a perfect ménage story requires an instant connection and never ending kinky three-way sex, then The Foster Family might not be the right choice for you. It’s more about three broken men hitting rock bottom and finding their way to come to terms with everything that’s happened to each of them. It’s about coping with the past, shifting dynamics, and finding their place within a stable, loving relationship without losing themselves.
I really enjoyed reading this. The storyline is complex, the characters lovable and the writing style deeply emotional, powerful and gripping. The Foster Family is one of those books that made me think about how others cope with the pain of their past, even years later, and how we as individuals deal with those emotions that makes us who we are today.
Overall it is a wonderful story and I recommend it to anyone who expects more from a story than a cute romance and hot sex. It has the perfect mix of inner struggles, angst, friendship, humour and love. I’m soooo hoping for a sequel, because I really think those three guys deserve one! I want to see all three men actually living together enjoying a happy, stable relationship.
A Word from Jaime Samms
I have had quite a lot of feedback on this book so far, and it never ceases to surprise me how polarized people get sometimes. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why, but this has turned out to be a story people seem to either love or hate. And sometimes, even people who love it, hate it. That’s okay. I told the story I wanted to tell, and I’m proud of it. But it’s interesting to me that it brings out such definitive reactions in people.
Much like the subject matter, I guess. I’ve found people either believe polyamory works, or that it’s impossible. Not many people sit on the fence about it. Same with Dominant/submissive relationships. People either believe in the idea of the dynamic, or they think anyone who lives that way is deluding themselves.
I am, obviously, not a fence sitter. Neither do I think either type of relationship can work without a lot of effort. Just because all parties involved want something to work doesn’t mean it will. In fact, usually, it means they have to be a lot tougher than they think or want to be, and that’s where reader opinion begins to flail. Readers want the fantasy of harmony and ease, and life, I’ve found, just isn’t like that.
That’s why I write the stories that I do, I guess. Because if you don’t scratch the surface, you never get to the good stuff. Like cake. Sure, icing is sweet and fluffy and colourful. But it’s just the dressing for the chocolaty feast beneath. And who doesn’t want a little taste of chocolate every now and then?
About the Author
With most of the hours in the day taken up by a part time job and the full time occupation of raising and schooling two kids, writing is somewhat of an indulgence, but it's the indulgences that keep us sane, right? When not otherwise occupied, like most writers, reading is my relaxation method of choice, and you can find my reviews at Kuriousity.com and Dark Diva Reviews to let you know what I liked (and occasionally, what I didn't). And just in case there are an extra few minutes in the day, I also help out the admin team abelong to a writer's critique group: Dreaming in Ink. After all, idle hands and all that.
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