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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And Charlie Makes Three

And Charlie Makes Three by Jane Thompson
Publisher: Red Sage Publishers
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Tiger Lily

It’s 1953 and Ann Reynolds can’t seem to get into the expansively perky spirit of the new decade. After the struggles and derivations of the past twenty years, she feels guilty she’s not as happy as everyone keeps telling her she should be. There’s something missing from her life and she thinks it might very well be her. After dropping her sons off at summer camp, Ann sets out on a journey to discover what’s left of her life when she removes her kids, their schedules and, maybe hardest of all, Charlie Atwood.

Charlie is Ann’s ex-husband’s ex-golf buddy. He likes to tell people Ann got him in the divorce settlement along with the dog and a stack of old Saturday Evening Posts. Ann isn’t sure why Charlie has stuck around to help since her husband left three years ago but she knows the time has come to relieve him of active duty. If Charlie was interested in a permanent place in her life he would have let her know by now, and Ann can no longer pretend that what they have between them is enough to sustain her.

When Charlie finds out about Ann’s plan to take a solo driving trip down the coast, he is relieved. After three years standing in for his old golf buddy, a break is exactly what he needs. And if the break becomes permanent, well, Charlie can’t say he didn’t see it coming. He isn’t husband material and it’s become increasingly obvious that Ann needs more from him than he can ever give her.

Then Charlie hears Ann’s added a passenger to her journey, Trey, a man no one has ever met before. As the gossip regarding the scandalous behavior exhibited between the normally oh-so proper Ann and her handsome stranger reaches him, Charlie feels honor bound to make sure the man isn’t out for just one thing. Ann deserves better, which is exactly why he’s kept his hands to himself all these years.

But if all Ann is looking for is a summer fling…well, hell, Charlie isn’t opposed to helping her out one last time. And he’s got no problem if her new friend wants to come along for the ride.

Ever have that one person you want more than anything, but when you pour out your heart, you find that they can’t reciprocate? And what if they share your feelings, but are scared? Then you’d have And Charlie Makes Three.

Ms. Thompson’s take on the 1950’s is refreshing. This reads like a contemporary, but the idea of it being a historical makes it more fun. You want to see Anne and Charlie admit their true feelings, but you also want to see what could happen with the stranger on the bike.

There are so many turns this story can take that you can’t help but read on.

I liked that Anne goes with her guts and lays her heart bare. I respect her decision to move on as well. She knew what she wanted and when she felt the ship was gone, she didn’t give up. Charlie, though he comes across early as a jerk, redeems himself and you come to love him. He’s not perfect, but what hero really is?

Though the love scenes come a little late in the story, they sizzle. Even with the third person involved, you feel the passion flowing between Anne and Charlie. They want to let go and love each other while still being true to themselves. The fact that Trey is involved only adds to the tension and makes it hotter.

If you want a steamy, sexy story of redemption, then you need to read And Charlie Makes Three. You won’t want to miss it. I give this story 4 cherries.

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