Title: The Letter Z
Series: Coda Books, Book 3
Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: May 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
Zach and Angelo have settled into their new lives in Coda, Colorado, finding their place in the community with the help of their good friends Matt and Jared. Zach and Angelo are also working out the particulars of their relationship, but when they make a decision Jared disagrees with, Angelo finds himself at odds with his partner's best friend. And his best friend's partner.
When the four decide on a quick trip to Vegas, Angelo thinks he and Jared may be back on the right track. But a chance encounter with Zach’s ex-boyfriend will make Angelo question everything about himself and his relationship with Zach. Matt and Jared have always been there when Zach and Angelo needed help. But when it comes to sorting out their relationship, their friends may do more harm than good.
BE WARNED: THIS REVIEW INCLUDES SPOILERS.
PROCEED READING AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Very good novella with two very complicated romances and platonic friendships.
The Set Up: Unlikely couple Zach and Angelo are figuring out what being in a relationship means to them and how it will work. When they make a choice that Angelo’s best friend’s partner disagrees with, the three are at odds. Jared can’t help but keep quiet about what he sees even to his partner, Matt, who is Angelo’s best friend. Though the couples aren’t exactly in the best place, they still decide to take a Vegas vacation. But what happens in Vegas definitely doesn’t stay in Vegas and could have long term consequences.
Why I Read this Book: I’ve really enjoyed the two previous Coda Books and wonder if the rest of the series lives up to them.
What I Liked: Matt and Jared and Zach and Angelo couldn’t be more different couples. What works for Jared and Matt doesn’t work for Zach and Angelo but I love that each relationship works for the couple in them. For instance, when the two couples are checking in at the hotel, they’re assigned rooms with king beds but Zach calmly asks for a two-bed room so Angelo can have his space if he needs it. Matt and Jared can’t possibly understand how much Angelo needs even this little space to continue in his relationship with Zach and how it doesn’t bother Zach since he loves being his angel’s tether.
It’s impossible for me to review this book without spoiling that Zach and Angelo agree to a more sexually adventurous relationship than the traditional monogamy of Matt and Jared’s relationship. This nearly destroys Jared’s view of the couple and shocks even Matt but Zach and Angelo define for themselves what works and I adored this. I’m a traditional monogamist myself and typically like that in romance but this is such a great story with two tender and passionate romances that I could honestly see how people can create their own perfect romance.
What I Also Liked: The platonic friendship of the two couples continues to be strong. Matt and Angelo’s sibling razing is lighthearted and provides the novella’s levity. I like romances that include platonic friendship as I think this is a more holistic portrayal of real life and this book showcases that beautifully.
What I Didn’t Like: Again, sorry for the slight spoil but Zach’s ex-boyfriend makes a pretty big appearance and frankly I thought it was unnecessary tension. This isn’t a long novella and to have the two couples’ friendship at risk and the additional redefining of Zach and Angelo’s sexual boundaries as well as the ex-boyfriend just seemed a little much.
IMO: This is a great addition to the series that deserves its place on a list of best MM romance series.