Review: Maestro by M. Crane Hana

Gay and happily married, Leo has helped manage a large, influential nonprofit arts foundation over the past ten years. He has built a friendly rapport with the elderly billionaire who began it, but he has enemies within the foundation.

Leo’s birthday is on February 13, and that has always meant candles on heart-shaped cupcakes and birthday cards with “Happy Valentine’s Day” crossed out. To celebrate, Andrew, Leo’s mystery writer husband, arranges a tryst for Leo with Mel, a gifted violinist who is one of Andrew’s biggest fans.

What started as mere pleasure becomes a three-part harmony as Leo, Andrew, and Mel explore the ways their kinks and needs mesh—until Leo’s enemies attempt to use evidence of the liaison to force him out of his job.

Loved this set-up for a threesome. It was so different to anything I’ve read before. Andrew and Leo are married and have an open relationship... well Andrew does. They have an agreement where Andrew can have as many ‘trysts’ as he likes as long as he uses a condom. Leo knows Andrew will be coming back to him at the end of the day… or the next morning, so he’s happy with the open relationship. Leo has only ever been with Andrew and is happy to keep it that way, that is until he meets Mel (also called ‘Irish’). Mel is one of Andrew’s trysts, and his birthday present to Leo.

A few things felt off with their relationship, despite how much I liked the premise of an open relationship. Even though Andrew having trysts is a mutual decision and agreed upon, Leo still uses words such as ‘cheating’ and ‘being faithful’ which made me feel like that's how he saw it, that made me uncomfortable. It’s like he had only agreed to the open relationship to make Andrew happy, not because he was comfortable with it.

Then the connection between the three was fairly rushed, but I generally give leniency in that regard to novellas because there is just not enough time to establish a strong relationship. That being said I liked the way these three interacted with each other, each character was unique and I could clearly see what Mel could add to Leo and Andrews relationship.

The sexual tension and build-up to the threesome was well done. We got to see Leo’s thoughts and concerns about entering into a threesome for the first time and Andrew reassuring him. There were some subtle D/S tones in the sex which was hot. Also a pretty sensual blindfolded, food sex scene which was delicious in every sense of the word.

There was a weird sub-plot about Leo dealing with some homophobic pricks at work which I was half interested in, but this took up too much of an already short storyline. Also, Leo’s work issue resolution was the last scene of the book instead of the three establishing where they'd move on from their night together. It felt a little incomplete.

Definitely a solid HFN. All in all a fun, sexy, unique threesome novella, with a few little niggly issues.

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Author Bio

M. Crane Hana lives in a flat place filled with cactus. She writes romances in all flavors, spends too much time world building her sword & planet fantasies and space operas, and makes museum-grade artifacts from cultures that never existed. Publishing credits: (as Marian Crane) ‘The Blood Orange Tree’, Such A Pretty Face anthology, Meisha-Merlin 2000. ‘Saints and Heroes’, Thrones of Desire anthology, Cleis Press 2012. (As M.C Hana) Moro’s Price M/M erotic romance space opera, Loose Id 2012. Novel-length erotic romance and mainstream fantasy and science fiction work represented by literary agent Cherry Weiner.


M. Crane Hana © 2016
All rights reserved

Above the din of subway crowds and canned music, Leo heard a thread of sound so lovely and incongruous he stopped in the turnstile. Somewhere out on the platform amid the echoing tiles and concrete, someone attempted Gershwin. On a violin. Rather well. From only a few bars, Leo placed Porgy and Bess.
“Sir? Are you okay?” said one voice among the stalled commuters behind him.
Then another: “Get moving, man. We don’t got all morning!”
Leo risked some nastier comments when he backed out of the line. He “accidentally” rapped the angriest of the commenters with his briefcase on the way. Once free, he stopped caring about the subway, his job, and the meeting. Only the music mattered, as it shifted into “Rhapsody in Blue” before he rounded a corner.
A broad-shouldered young man in worn khakis and a tan flannel shirt made love to a violin. Rapt, swept up in a world of his own, the violinist paid little attention to the commuters hurrying along. The black vinyl instrument case lay open at his feet, its scarlet lining forlornly framing a few scattered one-dollar bills.
Leo felt insulted on his behalf. Then he looked beyond the young man’s beautiful hands to his face.
Freckled ivory skin. Short red-gold curls brushing against a clean-shaven square jaw. A full mouth currently set in concentration and such long copper eyelashes, fluttering half-closed in musical ecstasy! Leo had seen the man before, but couldn’t place where or when.
The violinist lifted his chin and stared right at Leo, through him, seeing only the music. Until Leo moved, and the other man’s pale blue-green gaze went from Leo’s face to the scarf draped around Leo’s shoulders. One note, not quite missed, revealed the violinist’s sudden intake of breath. Then he smiled hesitantly over the last bars of “Rhapsody.”
Leo recognized the violinist’s incongruous tie, the fall of ice-blue silk jacquard woven in the same crystalline Art Deco pattern bordering the scarf. His husband, Andrew, had commissioned them together, two ties and two scarves, matching a motif they’d both loved since honeymooning in Barcelona. It wasn’t likely the old haberdasher had made a duplicate set since then.
So, Andrew gave the boy his tie? Leo shuffled through possibilities, settled on “they already know each other,” and waited for a sick jolt of jealousy to claw up his spine. He and Andrew, they’d had their rough patches early on. What couple hadn’t? Instead, low heat settled in Leo’s belly, as he thought of his husband and this young man together.
Where the hell did that come from? He’d known about Andrew’s rare, careful trysts. A one-man guy, Leo had never wanted to be involved in them before.
The redhead was something special, and oh, that music! No wonder Andrew had been frisky. Andrew’s recovering libido was a gift Leo wanted to experience over and over, whatever the cause.
He could so clearly imagine his husband and this milky-skinned musician, twined together in bed. God, yes. If it had already happened, good for them. If it hadn’t, it needed to happen. Preferably with Leo in the room. Hell, in the bed, please.
He swallowed and forced himself to fall back into the music. Leo swallowed, trying to throttle down this new, overwhelming need.
Train cars emptied, a few more people paused for a moment or three, but the latest crowd didn’t break ranks in their march toward the subway exits. Finally, Leo and the violinist were alone on the platform.
After one final trill of music, the redhead lifted his bow from the strings. “Mr. Leo Ellson?” he asked in a Northern Irish lilt, before swallowing.

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