Sterling Sunshine is a quick, steamy read. The town of Sterling has a long tradition of polyamory involving multiple men and one woman, and this series focuses on groups of men finding their woman. I haven’t read the first book in the series, but I didn’t have too much trouble following that the woman in this story, Gretchen, as well as at least two of the men were introduced in the first book.
For the most part the characters are believable, even if a little shallowly drawn due to the shortness of the story. The only thing that threw me was that Gretchen seems very hesitant to enter into a relationship with three men, yet on their first date (which happens quite early in the story) they all end up having sex. It seemed a little quick given her multiple thoughts that she was unsure about a relationship.
The writing style is easy to read and overall I enjoyed this story. I give it four cat kisses.
Gretchen isn’t in Sterling to find men. At least she keeps telling herself that. She has a new job to do promoting local businesses. Still, she can’t resist hoping she’ll find the right group of hot men to really make her dreams come true. She already has her eye on a certain sexy trio, and when they fail to make the first move, she uses work to make a meeting happen. Alaska is definitely bringing out her bolder side.
Tony and Ross are eager to date and seduce the voluptuous beauty but their third lover is a roaming pilot with notoriously bad timing. Do they count him in or out? Should they wait for him to show up or move on her? The attraction proves too hard to resist, but Matt turns up just in time to make it a foursome. It complicates the relationship but adds to the passion. Besides, love and lust aren’t practical.
The deeper Gretchen gets into the lives of her three men, the more she knows they need to be shaken up and she’s just the woman to do it!
Early on a Monday morning, the sun was already high and shining. Summer in Alaska meant lots of craziness with only a few hours of darkness. After the long dark winters, people soaked up the sun, and it meant not enough sleep, too much energy, and stupid stuff. Tony Wooden was ready for another day of tourists and locals who needed help. He saw all of it firsthand working as a paramedic with the Sterling Fire Department.
As he sat at the breakfast table across from his steady guy, Ross Isaac, Tony tapped on the side of his coffee mug. The excessive sun affected him too.
“Too much coffee?” Ross teased.
“Too much routine.” Tony glanced over. As usual, Ross was studying his tablet for the latest news. The new mayor of Sterling wanted to boost tourism and make his mark. At only thirty-three, he was young for that sort of job, but everyone liked him. A long-time resident, Ross was one quarter Native and it showed in his dark black hair and brown eyes. He wanted progress but respected tradition, which pleased almost everyone.
“Can I help?” Ross asked.
“I’m just a jealous jerk. My little brother Jason and his guys have the perfect woman for them and I feel like I’ve been off and on with guys all my life. I knew I liked men and women growing up. I found the right men, but Matt always makes it complicated with his job priorities. We’re finally set but we could be missing a chance,” Tony said.
“Gretchen.” Ross sighed. “I agree, she’s the best thing that’s happened to this town in a long time. And us. I’m just as interested as you are. You’re so cute when you’re smitten.”
“You have to like her and…” Tony stopped before he brought up the guy who’d hopped in and out of their lives regularly.
“She’s very attractive. I can’t say I’m in love right now. I more than like her but we haven’t had a lot of time to do any traditional sort of dating. She’s been busy moving up here. Back and forth to Michigan then setting up her advertising work with your brother and his group. It’s hard to seriously date someone who is still moving and settling in. Will she stay in Alaska? Plus I’m still figuring out this mayor job.” Ross grinned. “It’ll happen.”
“With just two of us? Or will Matt show up and ruin it? Throw a wrench in it?” Tony asked. He was used to putting out fires and handling emergencies, so when Matt landed in town, it wasn’t too bad. Ross and Tony dealt with it and enjoyed it. Maybe Tony had been putting off moving seriously on Gretchen because of the Matt question. He and Ross had spent time with her, but it was more friendly time at gatherings.
“He could jumble things if we’re trying to win Gretchen.” Ross nodded.
“No shit! He showed up right after the wedding she was in, but she was busy going back and handling things at her old place. By the time she came back, he was off again. They’ve crossed paths at most. Now she’s staying with her friend Melody and my brother and Ryan and Dale, but Matt’s gone again. I don’t want to screw it up. It’s already complicated,” Tony said.
“Small towns are always complicated. New women don’t move here every day. We shouldn’t keep things on hold. I think she’s settled in now and, with summer here, we have lots of events and options to socialize. But are we ready to shut the door on Matt? Maybe he’d settle in if we had the right woman?” Ross asked.
Tony had been wrestling with that for weeks. Matt had met Gretchen once or twice while he was here, but, like most times, he’d gotten some job and hopped in his plane.
He didn’t want to lose Gretchen over it, but Matt was a complicated guy. His dad was an ice-road trucker who was gone for long stretches. It seemed to be genetic. Matt was a pilot who loved to take high-paying jobs transporting things needed by people living on islands and in remote areas. Not every place had a ferry, and once it warmed up, the ice roads shut down. He made good money, and Tony understood, but it was hard to build a relationship without all the players.
“What do you think?” Tony turned the question back around on Ross.
“We love him. We always will. We know what he is and accept it. He’s not going to change tomorrow because of an ultimatum. We just need to live our lives. If we want Gretchen, we go after her. Date her. Two stable men isn’t bad. Gretchen came up here for Isa’s wedding. Isa only has two men and she’s very happy,” Ross said.
“And if Matt drops in while we’re dating? You know his timing,” Tony replied.
“Then we tell the truth. We tell Gretchen all about him and our history. The ménage tradition in this town is odd enough. She doesn’t seem to mind it for her friends. Guys with jobs that take them away for chunks of time is part of why the ménage structure worked in Sterling. Being on the Kenai Peninsula, some of the men went out in boats to fish while others went north and up the mountains to mine. And everyone hunts. All of it is dangerous. Sharing a woman gives the family protection. Matt says he wants the old-fashioned relationship because he loves the real Alaska.” Ross shrugged.
Tony nodded. “Matt loves the adventure. He could make a living around here giving tours. We just have to be honest with her. Two men are plenty when you have such a safe job. We’re both in town.”
“Isa married two men in the coast guard. There are no guarantees in life. You have to roll the dice and hope for the best,” Ross said.
“I know. I want to make her part of our life and keep her safe. I deal with chaos at work. I don’t like chaos in my personal life.” Tony left the table and put his dishes in the dishwasher.
“Then you should’ve cut Matt out a long time ago. A new player means uncertainty. She might not like it. She might want four men. Who knows? The longer we wait, the better the chance other men will go after her. Right?” Ross asked.
Tony leaned down and kissed Ross slowly. “I know. When you explain it, it makes sense. I want to offer her the world not a hard to explain trio.”
“If we’re that hung up on her, we need to stop stalling and move on this fast.” Ross looked at Tony. “You’re worried I won’t fall for her?”
“Of course I am.” Tony sighed.
“I’m crazy about you, and we both can’t get Matt out of our system. I think the odds are good. Let’s see what we can do to get her attention.” Ross cleared his place.
“I hope I haven’t waited too long.” Tony leaned on the counter. “She was moving and working but I danced with her at the wedding and stuff.”
“Stuff?” Ross asked.
“Nothing like that. Flirted. You’re right. We need to move on it before she thinks we’re not interested. I just don’t want Matt to screw it up.” Tony knew he was overanalyzing and looked at the time. “Work is always a distraction. Have a good one.”
“You too, and stop worrying,” Ross said.
That was easier said than done. Tony wanted a stable family of his own. Tourism did better over in Homer. Sterling was a bit more traditional, but they had their share. New women moving in didn’t happen much. Any woman wouldn’t do. Gretchen caught his attention, and Tony trusted his instincts.
Growing up in Alaska, he was ready for the bear in the backyard or the moose on the road. He trusted his gut on a camping trip or when driving in a blizzard. At work he made split-second decisions about life, death, and the conditions around him. When it came to personal things, he agonized because he had time to think. He couldn’t trust that Gretchen and Matt would work out. He wasn’t that lucky, but he couldn’t pick between the two. He had to trust Ross and explore the options.
Check out the first book in the series:
Melody’s stuck in Sterling, Alaska over the holidays, sewing custom dresses for her friend’s wedding. She’ll do anything for her friends and is determined to be the best maid of honor she can be. There are just a few very sexy distractions.
Dale, Jason, and Ryan are lovers with an eye out for the right woman to complete their family. They’re happy to let Melody use space to make the dresses, but Dale especially doesn’t expect the perfect woman for them to show up in their small town. How are they going to explain Sterling’s unusual relationships. Even so, the trio is definitely interested in more than simply helping out with the wedding but can they win Melody over?
Melody has never been anywhere like Sterling—where group relationships are a tradition. She can’t pass up the experience of three hot men in bed but rearranging her life for them, or any man, is a ridiculous idea. Normal marriages don’t last and she’s had repeat wedding dress clients to prove it. What the quad has is more than sex but they have a lot of baggage to sort through for her to make it a Sterling New Year.
About the Author
A lover of unusual things, Cheryl Dragon enjoys writing unique stories with sinfully hot erotic romance. Her two favorite settings are Las Vegas and New Orleans…where anything can happen! Cheryl lives in the Chicagoland area with her deaf albino cat. By day she analyzes numbers for a division of a large international conglomerate, which leaves the creative juices free for her erotic romance novels.