Beyond Eden

Beyond Eden - Kele Moon First things first: this is a DNF review. I read about halfway, so I think that's enough to justify a rating and review, especially considering my problems with the book.Ten years ago, artist Eve Everton left Tampa and her boyfriend Paul Mattling behind to attend art school in New York. Dumped by her fiance, out of work and down on her luck, she's moved back in with her parents and trying to start over. While shopping in the local grocery store, she bumps into Danny Carlow, her and Paul's best friend from way back in the whens. Discovering that he and Paul not only keep in touch but live together, she accepts his invite to come over that night and catch up on lost time.Although she never stopped loving Paul, and always had a tendre for Danny, much has changed in ten years. Paul is engaged to a fellow lawyer in an effort to please his domineering father by planning a career in politics. Danny is independently wealthy following his parents' untimely deaths in a drunk-driving accident. And, unknown to her so far, Danny and Paul are more than mere roommates, or even simple lovers. Despite all outward appearances, Paul is a deeply masochistic submissive, and Danny is his evilly sadistic master. Unwittingly, she's become a part of a high-stakes emotional drama as she and Danny quickly indulge their mutual attraction.So, there's a lot of potential in this set up. You've got three very different people who have a long, shared history and a lot of love for each other. You have Paul's struggle with being honest with himself versus pleasing his father. You have Danny's struggle with his love for Paul being tossed in his face and outright rejected. And then you have the lost soul Eve fluttering in and gumming up the works ever further. There's a lot of drama to work with here and a great premise for a memorable menage story that's more than just feminine fantasy.Unfortunately, there's a small problem - I couldn't seem to give a shit about any of this.Now, why was that, you ask. It was because of how it was written as though I were on a guided bus tour. Everything was plainly told and explained to me. I wasn't trusted to draw my own conclusions or watch anything unfold. I was on the author's prescribed ride, and please keep your arms inside the vehicle.I resent being led through a novel by the nose.Constantly throughout the book, the author plainly tells rather than shows:He needed the punishment of working out until his muscles burned in agony. It was one of the few socially acceptable things he could do that catered to his pain fetish. Couldn't I have made the connection between extreme workouts and masochism myself? Why not show me Paul working out compulsively rather than alluding to his workouts and plainly spelling out the symbolism for me“I’m sorry,” he whispered frantically, trying to fight down the deep-seated instinct in him that made him hard and desperate when a woman he wanted as badly as Eve was that domineering and angry at him. Yes, I got it the first dozen times you alluded to his "pain fetish." You don't have to keep bludgeoning me with it.Paul stared at Danny in horror, trying to convey that saying Paul looked sexy was not something typical between two male friends.No shit? It isn't? Thanks for the heads up.So, long story short, I hate telling. Hate it. She kept referring to Paul's "pain fetish" (and man did she over- and misuse the word "fetish" as well) but I was at the halfway point and maybe a half-dozen sex scenes in and had yet to see any pain play. She told me via Danny that Paul liked pain so excessively that he didn't trust Paul with any top other than himself, but I never got to see Danny whipping, caning or otherwise beating Paul. Am I just to take her word for it? Shut up, the tour guide's talking?Show me. I want to see this stuff with my own eyes.The final straw was when Eve and Danny decide to get their kink on and Danny scolds her for asking about a safeword. "'If you trusted me, you wouldn’t have asked for it. I’m disappointed.'" Um, that's kinda fucked up. For a first foray into bondage, roleplay or whatever, sussing out boundaries is kind of important. Yes, I get that this is fiction. I don't expect a full-on scene negotiation, but chiding someone for asking about boundaries isn't sexy to me. It would be like if a hero pressured a heroine to drop her request to use a condom. Just not hot.That bit of boorishness mixed with a sudden switch to puppy play just made it too much for me. With my emotional detachment due to the abundance of telling, the sex scenes were uninteresting. By halfway through, I should have a sense of who the characters are, and I didn't have that. Ergo, I didn't want to watch them fuck. Book abandoned. The book's not a bad book, though. I think fans of Lauren Dane and Maya Banks would really like it. It's written in that same, plainly told style that I detest and everyone else seems willing to overlook. So, consider the book with my bias in mind. If you like a hot, emotional m/m/f and can overlook bland telling for a complex plot, you might enjoy this much more than I did. After all, I didn't dislike the book, really. I just didn't want to keep reading it. YMMV