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The Art Of Three
GENRE: Family Saga, Multiple Partners
ENDING: HEA (They’re a couple and live Happily Ever After)
WORD COUNT: 75,000 to 99,999 (large book)
HERO’S AGE: Over 50
HEROINE’S AGE: 40-49
HEAT LEVEL: Steamy (Talk Dirty To Me)
GRAPHIC LANGUAGE: Some (The occasional “F” bomb, lots of smack talk, some explicit sex)
Jamie Conway has a charmed life. A recent drama school graduate, he’s relocated from Dublin to London to star in his first feature film. Unfortunately, he also has one very big problem: He has a huge crush on his happily married costar.
British heartthrob to middle-aged women everywhere, Callum Griffith-Davies should have more sense than to flirt with his new-to-the-business colleague, but good judgment isn’t one of the qualities for which he’s known.
Nerea Espinosa de Los Monteros Nessim has better things to do than fret about her husband’s newest conquest. She’s busy planning her daughter’s wedding at the family’s farmhouse in rural Spain. Besides, she and Callum have been married and polyamorous for almost 30 years; she’s content to let him make his own bad choices.
But when Nerea flies to London after her artwork is selected for a high-profile museum show, she falls for Jamie too. Soon Callum, Jamie, and Nerea have bigger problems, and surprises, than international logistics. From ex-lovers and nosy neighbors to adult children with dramas of their own, The Art of Three is a contemporary romance that celebrates families, and farce, in all shapes and sizes.
READ AN EXCERPT
Tonio stopped by the house the next day. Nerea was in the kitchen experimenting with dessert recipes when he arrived. She wouldn’t have planned it so, but Callum was the one who answered the door and let him in, asking after his wife and girls as he led him down the hall to the kitchen.
It had been years since Tonio had been in the house. As he and Callum entered the kitchen Nerea couldn’t help but remember when he used to be here nearly every day — and usually overnight — walking into the house with groceries he’d picked up or with laundry he’d helped bring in from the line, or just with himself, happy to spend time with her and her girls. She could tell, as he looked around at the room, that he was thinking the same thing.
Tonio said hello when she looked up from where she’d been pretending to concentrate on her cookbooks.
“Not much has changed,” he said quietly.
“Some things have. Some things haven’t.”
With Callum standing there trying and failing to appear non-awkward, she wondered again if letting Tonio come by was a mistake. But then Callum, as he occasionally did so magnificently, rose to the moment.
“Can I show you the garden?” he asked.
Tonio startled, like he’d forgotten the other man was even there. “Yes. Thank you.”
As they left through the back door, Nerea caught Callum’s eye and gave him a warning look.
Don’t worry, Callum mouthed back.
Nerea waited. Whatever was about to happen, she was glad for the moment alone. That was the downside of the wedding, of three children, of a husband, of Jamie. Never quite enough time alone, not to prepare for all the messes and moments they made.
She didn’t hear any shouting for a quarter of an hour but also didn’t manage to make any progress at all with her desserts. She gave up waiting, wiped her hands on a dishrag, and crept through the house toward her own garden.
If any work had been accomplished — and she didn’t know that it had — it was already done. Tonio was lounging in a chair, his legs crossed. Callum was perched on a low wall that separated the rose bushes from the orchard beyond. Of the two of them, he looked the more tense, but not angry. Ashamed. He was leaned forward, eager to be understood.
He turned and saw her in the doorway, and his face instantly softened. In love with her like always. But Nerea wished he hadn’t seen her watching. Especially when Tonio followed Callum’s gaze and lifted a hand at her in acknowledgment.
“The life we should have had,” she said softly to herself, not loud enough for either of the men to hear. She smiled at both of them before taking her leave. Maybe this reconciliation meant they all could be friends and Tonio could bring his wife and their girls over; they could eat meals under the fig trees. Today was not yet that day, but it was closer than it ever had been before.
Meet Racheline Maltese
Racheline Maltese can fly a plane, sail a boat, and ride a horse, but has no idea how to drive a car. She’s based in Brooklyn.
Her co-writer, Erin McRae, has a graduate degree in international affairs for which she focused on the role of social media in the Arab Spring. She’s based in Washington DC.
Together, they write romance about fame and public life. Like everyone in the 21st century, they met on the Internet.