Hot Licks (Off Beat)

Hot Licks (Off Beat) - A.C. Arthur Release day review originally posted at Sinfully.

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.