Title: Healing the Wounds
Series: Neighborly Affection book #3
Author: M.Q. Barber
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Stand Alone: NO
Re-issued /Re-edited: NO
Date published: June 2, 2014
Published by: Lyrical Press
Purchase links: LINK
Word count: 85,190
There are no safe words. There is only surrender.
When Alice leapt into sexual games with her neighbors Henry and Jay, she didn’t plan to fall in love. She sure didn’t expect she’d be the switch between Henry’s commanding mastery and Jay’s submissive playfulness. But now she’s moving in with them, and she’d better figure it all out – fast. Trouble is, she’s never been a live-in girlfriend. The day after a traumatic first night at a BDSM club might not be the best time to start. Struggling to find her place within the lifestyle, Alice seeks equality in a relationship built on surrender. Learning to lean on Henry challenges the foundation of her self-worth. He’ll have to lean on her in return for their triad to find stability. But can her stoic dominant lover accept her as a confidante as well as a submissive? And will their love be enough to silence Jay’s emotional ghosts?
This series, Neighborly Affection, is a must-read. It has all the ingredients that I truly love. I rated 5 poly stars for book #1, Playing the Game and book #2 Crossing the Line. No way, I could not give less than another 5 stars… but for different reasons.
Let me explain.
First of all, book #3, Healing the Wounds, is less dramatic. Not talking about the plot with villains and dead etc. A plot can be dramatic playing with the feelings of the characters. Lets remember that this series is a true saga and all books must be read in order. no choice.
So book #1, Playing the Game, was the journey of one woman to find and accept love and acceptance. Book #2, Crossing the Lines, was the journey of all three characters dealing with love and connect. Book #3, was the journey of the woman again accepting her role within their menage and dealing with her insecurities and jealousy. All three books brought tons of emotions but different ones. Book #1, was insecurity, fears to be rejected, hopes. Book #2, was acceptance, security, dealing. Book #3, was dealing, compromising, finding peace.
Each book brings a different face of what is the journey of falling in love, accepting the concept of long-term and moving in together. It takes time. And this is my first big complement I will give to this author, M.Q. Barber: she did not rush the feelings, she explained not too much not too little, just enough so we can understand and justify the reasons of the character,s doubts, fears, actions, reactions. That is so refreshing from some story that everything happen within a week or so, deflowering and marriage included. This series stand within around two years, which makes it very credible.
Healing the Wounds refers to a bad situation that happened in book 2, but it went further. Each character has a past. Each past is different. Each character needs each other to feel complete and at peace. The Dom needs a real submissive but also a partner that he can share his responsibility of this submissive. The woman needs a man she can trust entirely and another to nurture, a mix between being cared and care herself. And the submissive needs both dominance because he is hyperactive and definitely needs a Dom and a woman that can be a friend, a lover but also have this motherly attitude because his need is to have barriers in his life.
The difference I found in book #3 versus #2 is that we went back knowing only one side of the story, the woman. I would have preferred the POV of the three characters but the situations and dialogues were clear enough to explain the males feelings.
Healing the Wounds is more about finding peace, knowing the partners, fulfilling the needs, reciprocity, sharing.
So why did I hesitated to give a 5 stars then? Because, the element of surprise was not there, I think. Somehow, it was a done deal. Done deal can be associated with boring sometimes. But once I finished the book, I took a moment to analyze the feelings I felt once reading the last line. I realized that this saga is a journey with different level of emotions and feelings, just like in real life. When we fall in love, we are generally one-side blind, we see what we wish to see and our mind is blinded by our emotions going in every direction. Then, when we understand that our feelings are shared, we try to calm down and finally when we accept and understand that it is a long-term relationship, we want to please but we expect to be pleased too, a mutual partnership.
In book #3, Healing with Wounds, you will find a lot of sex scenes. I mean A LOT. At times, I wondered if it was too much but again I thought that one of the foundation of a relationship is sex. Everyone can wish or find different level of sex in a relationship but I never heard a couple who was unhappy when their sex life was fulfilled.
So sex is definitely more present, I thought, in book #3, Not complaining, mind you. Most especially because they were hot and the kind I expect to have myself in real life.
As usual, when I love a book or a series, I asked the author: will we have a book #4 and more? The answer is yes. Book #4, however, will be a prequel of this menage. A MM story, the story between the Dom and his submissive. How it all started.
Ask me if I am happy about it? Well no. But I understand the reasons. Since I am a convinced equal love-sex reader addict, of course my first reaction is bitter thinking about the woman put aside for an entire book. I cannot read the MM. Only because this will disrupt the menage story I have in my mind. I have no doubt that in this case, it will be great, but for my taste, I will not read it. Again, nothing wrong with the MM only, but only if the characters remains MM. Maybe something with the fact I fear the woman would be an after thought, a third wheel or worse a tool in the MM relationship. For me, a menage remains a menage with all characters happy and together but I do understand the concept of: they had a life before being together.
However, you can find a short 7,500 words story #3.5 Three-way Tie that you can read right after Healing the Wounds. “Three-Way Tie” explores a day in the life of Henry, Alice, and Jay. The story is told in three chapters, one from each character’s point of view.
Now, I hope that I will have a book #5 with all characters again. The epilogue of Healing with Wounds is not a final although a HEA. It gives rooms for more, just like a normal real time relationship. There is room for a baby, there is room for marriage and their respective families, there is room for many possibilities. My hope is that I will “hear” the Doms POV. I so very enjoy to read a “real” Dom POV.
Yeah yeah, sure you noticed the “real” here, eh? No need to ramble again, you know how I feel about pseudo Doms right?… right!
So if it is not done yet, make sure to buy the entire series, Neighborly Affection, and read it in order. This series is so very worth it! I rated it Heavy BDSM but only because it is a bit more than mild BDSM. You’ll find definitely a D/s relationship with some slave/Master interaction but no fetish, no flogging or heavy play. It is way more mental than physical IMO.
ps: I like the cover but not sure that the Dom looks like 39… 😛