Bradley starts off with a sensual punch and she writes some steamy sex scenes. Unfortunately, after the great sex, the first-person POV puts you right back inside Bettina’s head with all the angst and moodiness. There’s a reason she’s in therapy. And, her lovers have problems too. Read The Lovers for the sex and the setting — not for the emotional and relationship issues.
Reclusive writer Bettina is persuaded by her therapist to attend a summer writers retreat with her online writers group. Staying in a beachfront house in Santa Barbara, the writers spend their time eating great food, drinking wine, working on their books — and, in Bettina’s case, having sex with Audrey and Jack (both singly and as a threesome). Bettina, who fears relationships, doesn’t know what to make of her sexual attraction to both a woman and a man at the same time, nor of her neediness for their attention. Audrey and Jack wrestle with relationship issues as all parties try to work through the situation. (SPICE, Dec., 256 pp., $13.95)