Read my previous reviews of the books in The Game series:
- Top Priority (The Game #1)
- Their Boy (The Game #2)
- Breathless (The Game #3)
- Doll Parts (The Game #4)
- Out of the Ashes (The Game #5)
If you can count on anything about this series, you can depend on Dee’s unpredictability when it comes to the varying characters and relationships among the members of McLean House. Though they share a community, and often close friendships, each book explores vastly different aspects of many of the same kinks. We’ve been introduced to a great number of characters across this series, but each is so distinct that I find myself always looking forward to the next to get their happily ever after.
Greer has been a familiar secondary character in most of the previous books, always helping or to the sidelines, and this novel zeroes in on why that is. Despite being seemingly perfect on paper for many of those he has dated or had casual arrangements with in the past, he’s fairly self-aware of the issues that make a long-term relationship with him difficult (with one glaring exception). Unfortunately for him, the elements that he would prefer in a long-term relationship are difficult to enjoy on a more casual basis, leaving him to lean on what he can get from his friends, especially his bestie Sloane. As always, where Dee shines is how she upends expectations of how certain dynamics exist once they meet the real world (which is the theme of this entire series, so make this another story that hits the mark).
Archie was the “one who got away” after a single evening 5 years ago, but Greer’s memory of him is tainted by the social connections neither realized they had. When they reconnect, I’m mostly with Greer regarding his hesitancy in attempting a relationship with Archie. Some lines you just don’t cross, and Archie came pretty freaking close. To his credit, Archie is entirely up-front now about his role in the previous incident—and also with how his short time with Greer helped him realize what he wanted out of his life and how it helped lead them back together. Greer’s narrative in the first section of this book perfectly supports how he accepts a second chance with Archie along with why they dive straight into exploring what they truly need from each other.
However, the other thing that Greer needs is Sloane and his children closer in his life. Though he already seemed close to wearing Sloane down on the issue, I think reconnecting with Archie caused the perfect storm for Greer to fight harder than ever. It doesn’t hurt that Sloane also calls Greer out on the reason behind many of their conflicts. Ultimately, when the new boyfriend also blatantly “ships” Greer and Sloane, both stubborn Doms should have just accepted the inevitable outcome.
I adore the ways the most recent books in this series overlap their storylines (and even overlap with other series set in the same world). This does mean that Dee appears to delight in torturing her readers with a certain dramatic event we’ve encountered before. I must admit that I rather enjoyed how moments in this text foreshadowed it even as I pretended everyone would get their collective happily ever after with no more trouble ever. Instead, the relationship arc in this book ends on a perfect hinge moment. I know that this trio would be fine in their current dynamic, but the possibility exists for them to have and be so much more.
The real world is messy and complicated, and I adore this series for how much Dee prioritizes character over content. Though this book has fewer cut and dry “scenes” compared with, say, Doll Parts, this does not mean the relationships depicted are any less kinky or less sexy. Once again, I read this book twice before it even hit its official release date, and I’m already anxiously looking forward to the next one.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced review ebook from the author.