When Cade Winslow and Merrick Sullivan find Elle hiding in the cabinet of a gun store, they know they can’t just walk away from the fragile woman with no memory of who she is or who tried to kill her. Merrick is training for the title shot in the heavyweight division as a mixed martial artist and can’t afford distractions, but neither can he turn his back on the woman who tugs at his heartstrings.Elle feels safe with her two protectors, and the longer she spends with them, the more she realizes that she has no desire to remember her past. Not when it could compromise her future with Cade and Merrick.Cade has his own set of concerns when it comes to Elle, and it quickly becomes clear to the two men that for the first time in their friendship, a woman is coming between them. But what if they just kept her there? Between them. Where she belongs.
I received a copy of this story for an honest review for Amber's Reading Room.
WARNING: This story is a non-traditional romance and contains M/M/F scenes.
In the interest of full disclosure I jumped into Theirs to Keep as an established Maya Banks fan. From The Colters’ Legacy toThe Breathless Trilogy, Maya Banks knows how to write solid reads with unique hooks. I went into Theirs to Keep with very high expectations, and I’m happy to report I wasn’t disappointed. Well-rounded characters and an interesting plot led me to devour this story in one sitting.
Waking up on a muddy river bank broken and bloody, Elle has no memory of who she is or what has happened to her. All she knows is that a man hurt her badly and if she doesn’t keep moving he might find her and finish the job. After spending several days desperate and alone, Elle breaks into a store seeking shelter for the night.
Cade Walker and Merrick Sullivan’s lifelong friendship has made them into brothers by choice. Cade is the head of a thriving private security business he built with Merrick’s support. Merrick is a dedicated Mixed Martial Arts fighter giving one last go at making a name for himself in the MMA professional circuit. When the two respond to a late night alarm call from a store Cade’s company represents, the last thing they expected to find is a savagely beaten and tortured woman who doesn’t even know her own name.
As the two quickly piece together that Elle’s attacker may have been a law enforcement officer, they make the decision to take her security and protection into their own hands. What starts out as a feeling of duty to a fragile woman quickly turns into a spark that both men try to deny.
Elle struggles to piece together her past but begins to wonder if it’s worth the pain. The few memories that have surfaced have only managed to disturb her. Shockingly Elle’s most terrifying thought is that if she finally remembers her old life it may destroy the bonds she’s formed with her two new protectors.
Cade and Merrick never planned on falling in love with the same woman. Rather than losing Elle or risk permanently damaging their friendship in a fight for her heart, the two lay their feelings on the line hoping that maybe she’ll be willing to take them both on.
Shady thugs, jealous coaches, and the lingering question of what happened to Elle cause a few not so minor road blocks in the pursuit of happiness. The three must decide together and on their own if they’re willing to fight for a life as a unit.
If you’re looking for a trashy wham-bam-thank you-ma’am read,Theirs to Keep is NOT the book for you. The love scenes, though very well done, are minimal. At its heart, Theirs to Keepis a swoon-worthy love story. Not once in the entire story did the relationship between Cade, Merrick, and Elle come across as cheap or tawdry. The two male leads constantly reassure Elle of her value to them and emphasize that there is no pressure for a physical relationship. Ensuring Elle’s safety and security becomes the air Cade and Merrick need to breathe. They see in her a soul mate and each is willing to make sacrifices in their friendship to create the kind of relationship that gives everyone the opportunity for happiness. My favorite quote comes from Merrick’s attempt at describing his feelings:
“How do you explain why the sun rises every morning? How do you explain the stars in the sky? How do you understand why no two snowflakes are alike? Some things just are, baby. And this is one of them. I can’t give you pretty, dressed up answers that are so polished they don’t even sound sincere. I can only tell you that for me, it’s you. It’s always going to be you and nobody else. Fuck explaining it. I don’t need an explanation. I just need you.”
Like I said earlier, swoon-worthy.
Theirs to Keep is a great start in a promising series. I unashamedly loved this story and recommend it highly. If you’re new to “non-traditional” romance this is a non-threatening step into warmer waters.
Always Mine will be book two in the Tangled Hearts Series and I’m already looking forward to it.