Author ~ A.M. Arthur
Publisher ~ St. Martin’s Press/Swerve
Published ~ 7th February 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M/M Romance
Benji Moore is living his dream traveling as the lead singer of his band. His life would be perfect if he could get his boyfriend, Josh, to commit to an exclusive relationship.
Even though Josh loves Benji, he has good reasons not to trust in long-term relationships. So Josh decides to take some time to himself and sublets a room at a friend’s beach house. But when he walks into the nearby Off Beat bar, he finds a bartender who may be a good distraction from his relationship problems.
Van Holt doesn’t do anything deeper than sweaty one-night stands. But when Josh sets his sights on him, Van is surprised by their connection. Except Van also doesn’t do complicated, and the situation between Josh and Benji defines complicated. But the more time Van spends with them, the more he’s realizing how hard it would be to let Josh and Benji go.
Can the three of them find a way together, or will they all end up going solo?
If you know me, you know I love m/m/m storylines that bring something a bit different and Hot Licks did it for me. All the characters have been briefly introduced before, but I think you could jump into the series here and not really miss anything.
Benji, the sweet and sexy lead singer of Fading Daze, has been struggling with his and Joshua’s open relationship and has finally requested that they close it, needing to know that he is enough for Joshua. During their three years together, this isn’t the only thing he has been struggling with. He has just come to the realization that he is asexual, most likely demisexual, and this new realization sheds light on so much that has troubled him about his physical relationship with Joshua, but putting a label to it doesn’t make it any less complicated. Joshua has his reasons for not wanting to close the relationship. He can’t imagine his life without Benji but fears his ability to remain faithful based on the lousy track record of everyone in his family. Even with these issues and the rocky state of their relationship, it is so clear how much these two love each other and want the relationship to work.
Both Benji and Joshua think Van, the bartender at Off Beat, is sexy and sweet and both have, independently, pursued him to some degree while their relationship was open. Van doesn’t do complicated or men with boyfriends, but he is drawn to both Josh and Benji. As much as he’d like to walk away, he just can’t resist them. After helping Joshua make amends with Benji the three men begin to explore their feelings and the possibility that Van would fit into Josh and Benji’s life perfectly. Benji feels a desire to get to know Van, he sees his beauty in and out and wants to explore that, while Joshua has a palpable sexual desire for him, that Van definitely reciprocates. In fact Van wants both men and they quickly find a way to satisfy everyone’s desires. There are plenty of smoking hot scenes here, whether all three men were together or making things work with Skype while Benji is on the road.
Beyond the initial attraction, each man is looking for something different going into this relationship and has a very different background that colors their viewpoint, so I loved that we were presented with points of view from all three of them. There are brief moments where both Joshua and Benji wonder if Van will take their place and the other won’t need them and Van wonders if he’s about to break up their relationship, but they really want to make it work and jealousy has no place between the three of them. A.M. Arthur never makes it easy for her characters and some of their backstories are horrible. None of them are broken, but they all have something to work through.
There is a lot more going on around the three men trying to work things out. There are issues relating to the band and Benji’s place in it, Joshua is trying to set his life back on track after taking leave from his job and moving to the shore and Van is trying not to let the fear his childhood instilled in him keep him from making a commitment to the first men he’s had feelings for in more than 10 years.
This was my favorite book of the series so far. Although all the men had something they needed to overcome from their pasts, it didn’t weigh the story down. I really liked that the focus was steadily on Benji, Joshua and Van finding a way to make things work even though there were still other storylines at play around them. This book had a little bit of everything – drama, humor, hot sex, tender moments and a satisfying love story and happy ending. Now if we can only find out what happened to former XYZ member Tyson, who mysteriously hasn’t been heard from since the first book.
Body Rocks (Off Beat Book 1)
Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country…too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member of XYZ.
Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?
Steady Stroke (Off Beat Book 2)
After a tragic accident, Lincoln West’s dreams of making it big as a guitarist fell apart. Unable to play music, he’s battling a hopeless downward spiral, and takes his friend’s offer to stay at their beach house for the summer. While at an open mike night at local bar Off Beat, he locks eyes with a busboy who doesn’t make Linc feel so broken anymore.
Emmett Westmore lives for the anonymity of busing tables in his aunt’s quirky bar where no one pities him for the fire that killed everyone he loved. He blames himself for the fire, and he doesn’t want anyone to see him—except for Linc. Emmett’s walls drop when he’s around the gorgeous blue-eyed guitarist, but he has a secret that could destroy his budding relationship with Linc.
Both Linc and Emmett are looking for a way to live again…will they let their fears control them or take a chance on something real?
Meet A.M. Arthur
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and "bromance" (and "The Young Riders") with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments