Leigh’s Review – Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22) by Anna Zabo

I loved this book! It so perfectly seemed to capture the nuances of a poly relationship and had a such a unique perspective. ~ Leigh, Guilty Pleasures

Miniature artist Ian Meyers has one week to rebuild his damaged set. Needing help, he goes to End o’ Earth, the local comic and gaming shop. Owner Simon Derry pushes all of Ian’s buttons, and he also has steady hands and the skills Ian needs.

Before they can even grab a beer, Ian meets Lydia Derry, Simon’s wife. If Ian had any interest in women, he’d suggest a threesome, but then Simon explains that he and Lydia are polyamorous, and if Ian wants Simon, neither of them will complain. If anything, Lydia encourages the relationship.

Ian’s all in, and it’s fantastic working with Simon to piece together his set and then take each other apart at night. His friendship with Lydia grows too. The only problem is, the more time he spends with Simon, the more he wants everything Simon already has with Lydia: A house. A cat. A commitment. So Ian runs, and shatters the trust he has with them both—right when they need him the most. Piecing their relationships back together might prove harder than a smashed set.

I loved this book! It so perfectly seemed to capture the nuances of a poly relationship and had a such a unique perspective. It was refreshing to read something that didn’t feel like the same old/same old.

I have read a ton of ménage stories, but for the most part they run along one of two lines: either the woman is with two men and the men have a close friendship with one another, or the woman is with two men who are also lovers with one another. This is the first time I have encounter a group where one man is essentially the center of the ménage. Simon and Lydia are a married couple, living in the town of Bluewater Bay, the on-location town for filming of the hit television show Wolf’s Landing. They meet Ian, an artist on the show, and Simon falls head over heels. But soon, Ian realizes that he is not content with being just a fling. He wants more from Simon. But how much more can he have from a married man? Anna Zabo’s writing is always so engaging and her stories so heartfelt, but it was this very dynamic that I found so interesting about this particular story.

Ian’s perception of being a “side piece” was not the role that Simon intended for him to play. Simon and Lydia were so solid and confident in their marriage that there were no jealousies. There were no power struggles within their relationship. Lydia was happy to let Simon explore what he needed and to bring someone into their relationship that would complement them both. I loved how, even though there was no physical attraction between Ian and Lydia, there was still affection and a deep love growing, illustrating that not all romance needed to be sexual in nature. Reading how the author had the three of them navigate such a tricky relationship, without resorting to an easy cop out of simple jealousy, made this such a wonderfully complex and engaging story.

Outside the Lines took place in the world of Bluewater Bay and introduced me to Wolf’s Landing and the characters involved in the town and the show. And coming it at almost the end of the series, I thought I might be lost. I wasn’t. This was a stand alone that made perfect sense without having any other background, but it did introduce me to a universe where I have a HUGE backlog to go through now so that I don’t have to leave this quaint town! Anna Zabo put her own mark on it with this likeable and sexy polyamorous trio, and it was such a treat to read.

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