Josephine MylesThe Hot FloorSamhain Publishing, September 25, 2012 | 233 pages
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Two plus one equals scorching hot fun.
Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter has gotten used to expecting the worst. Now he lives only for his job as a glassblower…and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.
Every time he overhears the diminutive academic and the hunky plumber having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is overwhelmed with lust…and a longing for a fraction of what they have.
To his amazement, Rai and Evan find his embarrassing tendency to blush utterly charming, and the three men grow closer over the course of the long, hot summer. Despite Rai’s charming flirtation and Evan’s smoldering gaze, Josh is determined never to break his new friends’ loving bonds.
On the night a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle of one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes control. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. Leaving him to wonder if the winds of love are about to blow his way at last…or if history is about to repeat itself.
Warning: Contains one well-endowed stud with a sexy accent, one improbably toppy bottom boy with an unfortunate owl obsession, and one blushing naïf who can’t believe his luck. Also, the occasional indulgence in mathematical spanking and some shameless armpit sex.
Genre & Keywords: M/M/M Romance, Contemporary, Ménage, Kinky, Glassblower, HEA
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames
Josh, Evan and Rai (and my secret stash of good chocolate) have given me the best Sunday afternoon I had in a long time. This gay threesome is so incredibly delicious and scorching hot that I'm surprised my ereader didn't black out from all the heat they were producing. I love some good gay ménage story every now and again, especially when it combines the erotic parts with a solid romantic arc. And although The Hot Floor is definitely packing a lot of highly erotic and kinky sex scenes, it certainly is satisfying my romantic heart as well. It's not easy to convince me of a HEA in a polyamorous relationship, so that's a job well done here.
What makes this ménage stand out for me is definitely the portrayal of the characters - the main characters as well as some of the secondary ones. They are all so colorful and lively drawn, you'd immediately like to move into that old building they're living in and become part of their lives. And especially the main characters are well-rounded, multi-layered persons, with distinct characteristics and personalities. Additionally, the three men each bring something unique to the relationship in a way that, eventually, they complement each other.
I loved Josh's voice in this story. He's the first person narrator and the third wheel (for a while, or so he thinks) in this relationship. Because Rai and Evan are already a couple long before Josh comes living in their building. Josh is a bit insecure, due to his ex-boyfriend, and very shy. But he lusts after his downstairs neighbors ever since he moved there. Evan and Rai couldn't be any different - a big, bold-headed, bearlike plumber with a goatee versus a small, octopus-like, young, Japanese, academic twink - and therefore Rai finds it hard to believe that Josh fancies both of them just as much. Rai is the more complex character of the two; he has his insecurities and a tendency to get very jealous. However, seeing Josh and Evan together evokes none of these negative feelings in Rai, so he welcomes Josh into their bed for more than just one time.
It's a good choice to use Josh's POV to gradually get more insight into the workings of this ménage. We're with him when he faces his own growing feelings as well as his insecurities about the long-term status of their threesome, and when he learns to understand the personalities of the other two men. There's only a little bit of angst involved here, but nothing too heavy. Little bumps in the road are swiftly dealt with. I loved how everything could be overcome fairly easily with one of the 'discussions' that Evan and Rai liked to organize.
A nice bonus are the little things that make these men three-dimensional and special, like Evan's love for teenage horror flicks, Rai's fondness of spider plants and (macramé) owls and Josh's profession as a glass blower. Also their shared interest in 70s games and their visits to car boot sales. All these things combined with their personalities make them very memorable characters for me. And the scene where Josh crashes through the ceiling with bath tub and all, in the middle of one of Evan and Rai's kinky sessions, makes them even more unforgettable, due to their very intriguing uhh... appearances there. Plus, of course, their unrelenting passion and kinky fun in and outside the bedroom together only adds to their being memorable.
About that, the heat level of this novel is off the charts hot! Yeah, well, you kinda expect it to be, with three instead of two hot guys, right? But it’s not necessarily a given that this makes the sex scenes better. In fact, sometimes a confusing use of pronouns and an accidental case of head hopping can ruin the hot scenes more easily than with just two protags. Fortunately, both of these mishaps are successfully avoided here, thanks to the choice for the single, one person POV. More so, I think that Josh’s perspective specifically, makes the erotic scenes as hot as they are, because of his shyness and inexperience. Everything that’s happening is so incredible thrilling and arousing for him, which is excellently conveyed too.
And of course, the mathematical spanking and armpit sex do help to make these scenes scorching and unforgettable as well. You have to admire Myles for her inventiveness and her humor, here and also in other scenes!
Having read a few of Myles’ other novels and stories, I started to notice that the remarkable choice of her characters’ professions fascinates me and adds to my reading pleasure. In this case I learned a few things about Josh’s profession as a glassblower, among them the use of the term hot floor, which has something to do with the oven they use and the temperature of the glass. It’s one of the hot floors in Josh’s life, the other of course being the floor that Evan and Rai live on in his building. I like it when a title makes sense like this.
I also like it that there’s always a lot of creativity and arty/crafty or cultural references in Myles’ novels. And can I just say, I really adored the cute glass owl Josh made for Rai and I would love to have one made for me by my lover as well (and if I was really lucky it would come with the glass gift Josh made for Evan too *cough*).
Although this was Myles’ first ménage story, as far as I now, it’s certainly a genre she masters just as well as regular m/m romance. Except that maybe some of the other titles of her I’ve read so far went a bit deeper on the emotional level than this novel. But even taking that into account The Hot Floor is better written and from a much higher quality than a lot of other gay romances, ménage or otherwise. So, this is definitely a recommendation for readers who like steamy, sweaty hotness mixed with a good dose of romance!