Anya is married to Zac, a rock star, and while marriage and a baby have led them to a more sedate lifestyle than what once knew, they have brought a third person into their relationship many times. These have always been one-time encounters, and that’s fine with Anya and Zac. After all, they weren’t looking for anything deeper than that.
But then Anya realizes that she’s attracted to Cal, Zac’s best friend and bandmate, and neither Anya nor Zac knows how to process these feelings. Cal doesn’t know about the open relationship, and furthermore, if the feelings aren’t reciprocated—or even if they are and things take a bad turn—the aftermath could do permanent damage to Zac and Cal’s two decades of friendship.
It is not, dear reader, a spoiler to say that Anya and Zac do approach Cal with their proposition, and things get intense pretty quickly. Cal has always avoided relationships for the most part, but he desperately wants Anya. As the three of them are adjusting to this new dynamic, both Zac and Cal begin to acknowledge their bisexuality and act upon the UST that’s been simmering for years, starting when they were unsigned and broke musicians barely out of high school.
The book is divided into thirds, with each protagonist getting a solid POV segment—no skipping around from perspective to perspective. What I liked the most about this book was the emphasis on family: there are numerous scenes of Cal playing with Anya and Zac’s baby, as well as everyone cooking dinner and just hanging out together. These happy domestic scenes serve a distinct purpose in demonstrating that polyamory is more than rockstar threesomes. These are actual people with unique needs, and they all put so much work in making sure that everyone is on the same page.
I would also like to point out that I appreciated the treatment of Cal’s….. um…… size. Apparently, some women have had difficulty accommodating him, so he needs to go slowly at first. Pointing out this reality is so refreshing, when considering all the descriptions of monster sized genitalia whose owners are able to thrust away with reckless abandon.
I would absolutely recommend This is Not the End. I was intrigued by the idea of a polyamory romance, and I found this to be exceptionally well done. All three protagonists were likeable, but Cal was my favorite. This is my first experience with one of Bell’s novels, and I look forward to reading more in the future.
I received an ARC of this book from Carina Press/Netgalley.