Three Is Not A Crowd : Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology

Three is Not a CrowdRating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Genre: LGBT Ménage Anthology 

Tags: Gay, (One) Bi, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, Shifter, Paranormal/Fantasy, Multi-Partner  

Length: 198 Pages

Reviewer: Kazza K

Purchase At: amazon.com, Wayward Ink

Contributing Authors: Alina Popescu, Aimee Brissay. Lily Velden, Asta Idonea, Eric Gober, Kay Ellis, L.V. Lloyd,  Eddy LeFey. Rian Durant

B.A.D. Boys by Lily Velden

Me, Callum and Dingoman by Asta Idonea

Knowing How He Feels About You by Eric Gober

Chimera by Alina Popescu

Life By Even Numbers by Kay Ellis

Love in 1975 by L.V. Lloyd

The Proposal by Eddy LeFey

Chance Encounters by Aimee Brissay

Exploring Heaven by Rian Durant

 

Review: 

1) B. A. D. Boys by Lily Velden

B.A.D. Boys starts with the narrator thinking over all the social faux pas he could get into inBAD Boys Quote 1 an elevator. He hates them and, I guess, it’s his way of dealing. Besides, we all have weird thoughts in them at some stage. Stuck with strangers in close proximity. However, he and two other guys, office workers in a Sydney high rise, are about to get caught in their building’s elevator. One that suddenly stops between floors. One of the guys is a hot, glasses-wearing, twinky nerd. One a macho, chiselled “pussy hound.” Our intrepid and humorous narrator is gay and has seen the other two guys before. They’ve been his fantasy material on more than a few nights.

BAD Boys Quote 2Things escalate quickly when the hot nerd, Danny, gets a tad freaked out about being stuck -maybe he’s about to plummet to a horrible death. He blurts something out, because he’s stressed, that has clearly been playing on his mind. Brad’s down with it but when Danny reaches for the pussy hound’s crotch, Brad thinks Danny is barking up the hetero tree. Nope, Aiden, Mr Chiselled, is bi and happy to oblige Danny’s wish. They’re both very happy to oblige Danny’s wish of not “dying a virgin.”  He’s hot. What better way to get a threesome started? But, wait. What about cameras? Hey, no problems…

Very cute, very funny, nicely sexy short story by Lily Velden. There’s not a ton of sex but it’s hot and really engaging  reading. Would I have liked more of these B.A.D. Boys? You bet your bottom dollar I would have. I wanted to stalk follow them home and be a fly on the wall. Great start to this anthology.

Tumblr Pic and Quote  Absolutely NSFW


2) Me, Callum and Dingoman by Asta Idonea

This is a very short read but it has an Aussie flavour to it… complete with Dingoman in the title, and I liked that. Mind you, I don’t know who goes into the Simpson Desert to celebrate turning 21, but, whatever. This is like a gay Spiderman tale – Callum Collins, bitten by a dingo, turns into Dingoman and fights crime in Adelaide. There isn’t much else I can say.  The narrator is an average guy and Callum is hot – a bit of a punching above your own weight thing – nice to see the average guy get a mention.

They met at an insurance conference and things took off from there. Matt is pretty darn happy when he gets a call from Callum after they hit it off at the conference. So, Hot Guy falls for Mr Average, Matt, our narrator, or interviewee. As a couple they had gentle lovemaking except for once a year when Dingoman had another side to his alter-ego persona. 

Thing is, dingoes aren’t like domestic dogs. They mate only once in a twelve-month cycle and it just happened to be “that time of year”. Whenever it comes around he gets unbelievably horny. Driven, in fact. For several days, until he gets it out of his system, all he wants to do is fuck. I’ve come to rather look forward to our annual romps, and I have only one condition: he has to be in costume.

There’s nothing terribly new here, nothing overtly sexy – it’s mild on the heat scale – but it was a nice little tale to add to an anthology with the number three as its primary criteria, and I liked its Aussieness.

 

3) Knowing How He Feels About You by Eric Gober

Set in the 80s, this story is about three cheerleaders on a trip from Wichita, Kansas, to Knowing How He Feels About You Quote 3ASU, Arizona, for a game. There’s Chad, the main voice. Sean, a friend Chad’s known for a while who he’s definitely not interested in, and Kyle, his other cheerleader buddy who Chad definitely is interested in. Kyle and Sean are from wealthy families and Chad’s working class. But they hang out, play games with and on one another, particularly Kyle, they muck around, they cheer and they do things like a 1-1-1 totem, with Chad precariously perched on top, and not always at the most… convenient times.

Kyle is the life of the party. He’ll get involved in anything with anyone and make it a party. While the other two like some fun, they’re more careful. Chad worries that Kyle is going to get himself in trouble and be hit on by the wrong guy(s), amongst other things. Kyle is also more than happy to tell them about his exploits, which Chad can find hard to hear.

I won’t say much more, I’ll mostly add some quotes. But know that this story gives you a Knowing how he feels about you Quote 1sense of the time it’s set in, with 80s movies, music and bands all stylishly dropped into the dialogue or a background to a setting or situation.

Chad has shifted but couldn’t get comfortable. Last road trip, he’d been squished between his squad mates on a bus seat while they squabbled nonstop. Would Aliens or Platoon get nominated for more Oscars? Which were cooler, stonewashed Guess jeans or 501s? Whose next album would be better, Pet Shop Boys or Wang Chung? This plane flight was no better. Timbuk3 leaked loud and tinny from Sean’s Walkman headphones.

Did I know how this was going to play out? Yes, I did. But the journey was sassy and fun and perfect for the ages of the three main guys. There’s chemistry galore but no steam in this book, Eric Gober is an author who relies on his characters and their story to capture your attention. His characters are always vibrant and three dimensional and they’re (gay) guys I personally relate to. This is my second short from him, the other being the terrific Out of Order, and I seriously have to read more by him sooner rather than later. Well named, fun and well written, Knowing How He Feels About You is also a bit deeper than the words on the page suggest.

 

4) Chimera by Alina Popescu

David believes he’s a twin, is talking to his therapist about it. He’s angry. Frustrated. His parents say there is no twin. He’s had a good upbringing and his older siblings have always loved him, but he has this germination of a thought – dreams, a voice – that he’s one of two. The therapist believes this is causing David’s subconscious to play tricks which is manifested through dreams.

He could sense he’d been a twin. Weird dreams of floating in a blurry liquid—something… no, someone pressed against him—were plaguing him every night. Someone who looked like him called his name every time, blaming him for forgetting.

And now it seems like he is drifting apart from everyone in his life. He doesn’t want to lose his boyfriend, Terry, over this. Is paranoid he will and the therapist tries to use him and his family as leverage.

“Are you going to keep at it until you alienate everyone? Your parents, your siblings…. Do you want to lose your boyfriend to realize this is all an illusion? You have no twin brother, David.”

Chimera had the potential to be a really good story but it relied partially on sex as healing and the therapy components were really lacking. There are good therapists out there – just saying. Anyway… no therapist/counsellor would say that they’ll go and ‘research DID’ and come back to help out, friend/work colleague or not. And if you purely work as a primary school counsellor, DID and repressed memories are highly unlikely to cross your mind. For the record, I’m not saying this is a case of DID or repressed memories in the story. I’m just picky about how therapy is handled. Overall the story fits the brief of threes and, like I said, it’s a very good concept, it just needed to be stronger and tighter.

 

5) Life By Even Numbers by Kay Ellis

Flynn Jacobs is out for a birthday bash with colleagues from work, which he isn’t really happy about. Flynn is turning twenty five, although he acts and looks much younger. Riley John is also there, and he’s cute. Flynn didn’t think Riley had noticed him but he’s always noticed Riley.

He’d been working at Calder’s for six months, and apart from the odd “hello” here and there, Riley John had never really spoken to him. Hardly seemed to notice him even.

Life By Even Numbers gives three POV – Flynn, Riley and Mitch. It was nice to have a break from Flynn because he is so down, so sensitive to comments and people he was initially frustrating, but time spent with him, and some context, made you want to hug him.

Flynn takes Riley home for sex, he and his boyfriend, Mitch, have an understanding – when Life By Even Numbers Quotw 1Mitch is away they can fuck someone else, just no feelings involved. But this time feelings do become involved. Mitch isn’t too happy about the fact that since he’s come back Riley is mopey and obviously impacted by his night with Flynn. He intends to get stuck into Flynn for (perhaps) manipulating Riley… until he meets him.

Now he’d met Flynn, Mitch could see what Riley meant when he’d described Flynn as a broken soul who needed someone to watch over him.

Life By Even Numbers is a sweet story with a bit more steam than some and less than others. The primary issue I had with the story was it sometimes got bogged down by telling rather than showing  However, this story had heart – tackling bullying is never a bad thing and people having OCD about even numbers, hating odd, is incredibly common. Nice way of the guys handling said OCD around a triad. Easy three-way reading which kept the anthology’s theme going.

 

6) Life in 1975 by L.V. Lloyd

Richard and Bill are a couple but Bill is around less and less. As a copper he’s busy at work and this makes Richard question how important their relationship is to Bill.

There had been too many of these occasions lately, as if he had slipped down Bill’s priority list to about number ten, after his job, his colleagues, and, oh yes, his job. Richard had tried hard not to feel resentful of his partner’s career, he really had; after all, he had his own work that kept him busy enough. It was just that lately he had been feeling abandoned.

Richard is a writer and at a function he meets another writer in the same stable, Laura. Laura fancies Richard and those feelings are reciprocated by him for her.

Bill is gay. Richard is bi. Bill doesn’t want to lose Richard but it seems Richard loves them both and if Bill is going to have a relationship with a bi man who wants a woman in his life, he basically has to put up or shut up.

I struggled with this story. I’m good with poly relationships open relationships alternative relationships, you name it and I’m good. BUT… I don’t like stories where a bi person feels incomplete without a male and a female in his/her life – to me, that’s reinforcing bi stereotypes. Apart from that, I thought Richard was selfish with a capital ‘S’ and I flat out did not like him. If you have relationship issues work through them, Richard. I thought Laura was okay but I wasn’t big on her either. Even the ending didn’t make me happy. Richard just wanted his cake and to eat it too. As for the title, there was no sense of time or place. If they hadn’t mentioned it being the 70s in one sentence (and obviously it’s in the title) you would never have known it wasn’t set in current times.

I know attitudes were different in the 70s, I saw what the author was trying to do – I was well and truly there in the 70s – but that wasn’t explored. Yes, there’s three in this story, but not my kind of three.

 

7) The Proposal by Eddy LeFey

The Proposal is written in first person and from Malcolm’s POV. Malcolm met Jack and Thomas three years ago. Jack and Thomas are partners who like to take a third from time to time. Malcom didn’t want to be a third when they met but he’s been best friends with the couple since that night. But are things about to change?

His roommates, Jack and Thomas, have just finished asking him a very serious question. One that just by the asking has changed their relationship forever.

Of course you know it’s about the possibility of Malcolm becoming part of their relationship, forming a triad. The book is Malcolm’s reflections of how he met the men, his ups and downs with his own relationships, how they share a house, and all that entails, and his feelings. Being scared but turned on. Not only is Malcolm doing some thinking, but “Little Malcolm” is doing a lot as well, and Malcolm’s big and little head don’t always The proposal Quote 1agree.    

His heart is opening up to certain scary possibilities, some of which Little Malcolm agrees with wholeheartedly. Malcolm’s mind, again, is of the opinion that changing things at this juncture could be a disaster.

The strength of The Proposal is that it’s very hard to jump into a relationship with people you’re good friends with. They’re your support network. They’re often like family. What happens if it doesn’t work out romantically? You risk not only losing your lovers but your closest friends. It’s a real conundrum and I thought the author did a good job of looking at those angles.

Once again, sweet would be the best way to describe this story. No heat, just reflection and hope for the three men and their relationship.

 

8) Chance Encounters by Aimee Brissay

Michael takes his partner, Daniel, to a sex shop. Apparently it’s a big move for Daniel who suffers panic attacks and for some reason a sex shop has been out of his comfort zone, until recently. When they’re looking at dildos, some absolute whoppers, the owner of the store pops out to assist. Nick is pretty damn hot, and he’s only too happy to talk about the products. This gets Daniel and Michael revved up, getting increasingly aroused, losing inhibitions, rubbing on one another in front of an appreciative Nick.

From here it’s a sexy ménage and, hey, you get no complaints from this reader.  Chance Encounters Quote 2

 

GIF-HAND-DOWN-JEANS

 

But the next day Michael’s worried that Daniel may have freaked out after the night of three-way sex with Nick at the sex shop, even though they had a very good time. What if he has remorse?

What if Daniel didn’t want him anymore? What if he regretted last night? What if…?

There was good character connection in Close Encounters. And, ooh, this is one hot tamale that I enjoyed. This short would have made a terrific extended erotic romance novella but I’m still good with this as an erotic short. This time the number 3 = heat.
Tumblr Pic and Quote  Absolutely NSFW
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9) Exploring Heaven by Rian Durant
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Chrissie is s Rottweiler who was found outdoors in the snow by his human, Simon, when he was just a puppy, something Chrissie is thankful for. Simon seems a bit preoccupied lately and lets Chris wander off down to the local pet store to get his twisted bones, and other food items. On one trip to the pet store, Chris meets his mate, the very sweet, dog-loving, college student, Shelly. Shelly doesn’t know anything more than Chrissie is a gorgeous Rottie and Simon doesn’t know his Rottie is a shifter.   
Once Chris knows Shelly is his, he’s mighty amorous and Shelley is inexplicably and suddenly turned on, having sex with Chris (in human form) without a name being exchanged. But soon after their affair begins, Shelly is (justifiably) worried about Chris’ behaviour – he turns up for fifteen minute rendezvous here and there, is always full of innuendo, and he fears he may already have a partner or be married.   
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Is there a reason you’re treating me like a quick fuck and not inviting me over to your house?”
Yeah, there is. I’m a Rottweiler, and my human is not aware I can shift.

Obviously Chris can’t take him to his house, as he’s a dog there. He has no job and no money, but he can’t explain this to Shelly. So Shelly feels like he’s being fobbed off, and Chris gets defensive, A defensive Chris is not a nice Chris….whatsoever. Shelly felt bad when he had sex immediately with (the then unknown) Chris and explains this to him.
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“You probably think I’m a slut after I let you fuck me right away before we had even introduced ourselves.”
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So what does Chris do when he can’t explain, when he gets all defensive? He’s an ass.

“Don’t worry, baby, I’ve heard there are some remarkable hunks going to the BC. There will be no need to imagine me while they are six inches deep inside of you.”

“You are disgusting. I don’t want to see you anymore.”
He turned around, and I yelled behind him, “Hey, it’s you who said you could have a good time there, and I believed your intention, given the short time it takes to get you on your knees.”
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Ouch! Not cool at all and it made it hard for me to like Chris. That’s bad for my overall enjoyment because characterisations/ characters – and Chris is the main voice – determine a lot of my reading pleasure.
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Apart from that, there were times when I laughed at this story because it’s so random and quirky, which is a good thing. Some of the observations of a dog looking at humans are interesting and there was humour I enjoyed.
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I know Fate is a twisted old whore—sorry for the language—but she took me by surprise yet again.

Yes indeed, Fate sure can be a twisted old whore.

Overall, Exploring Heaven is not a bad story, it’s simply okay, a bit more steam than some, not as much as others and it fit within the ‘three is not a crowd’ storyline.

Overall:
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Anthologies are never easy. It can be hard to get all stories working for your personal tastes, and Three Is Not A Crowd: A Wayward Ink Anthology is no exception. This is a mixed bag for me. I’ll say that Eric Gober – I love his writing – Lily Velden and Aimee Brissay were standouts with Eddy LeFey’s story being very sweet with a good heart as was Kay Ellis’. I’m sure I’m missing some others here but my reviews are reasonably comprehensive so you can see what might work for you.  I’m stuck on an overall rating but I’d say 4 Stars!

 



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7 Comments on "Three Is Not A Crowd : Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology"

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Cindi
Admin

What a fantastic review and I could go on and on about your pics, quotes, and Tumblr GIFs. 😉 All of these stories look interesting.

Carolyn
Guest

I’m happy to read a review of this one, Kazza. I have enjoyed one of WIPs other anthologies, and it’s always good to know what’s in one, if it’s worth the time. Honestly, even if there’s one really great one, with a couple of goods and mehs, I’m okay with picking it up if it’s a good deal. Some things I save for sale times, and I’m definitely keeping this one in mind. Thanks! (And Bonus, I saw that Arizona connections with the cheerleaders at ASU!)

Ree Dee
Guest

Thank you for the review of this anthology. I had been looking at it but couldn’t make the decision whether or not to go for it. I would love the chance to win it. Thank you.

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