4 stars for originality and because the writing is excellent. Would have been 5 stars if Elias' motivation made better sense.
Vicki and Elias have had trouble making their relationship work because both are so dominant. Enter Jesse, the sweet homeless street artist that Vicki takes home one day. Jesse is submissive and in love with Vicki and very endearing and Vicki finds herself falling for him. But she still loves Elias, and he is not out of the picture.
Jesse loves Vicki so much that he is willing to accept anything for her, including accepting Elias' domination. He's not bi, but he is
turned on by watching Vicki with Elias. Same with Elias. So it's a strange sort of threesome, with the men not attracted to each other at all and focused on Vicki, and yet each guy is able to get off on seeing Vicki with the other one. I've never seen this type of relationship dynamic before in a novel, and found it fascinating, and also a nice demonstration that all relationships work on their own terms.
The weakness in the story, I think, is where the author tries to articulate Elias' motivations. He doesn't truly want to share Vicki, and at one point thinks of Jesse as some kind of punishment for abandoning Vicki when she needed him. I had thought that the point was that adding Jesse made a failing relationship work, but whereas this seems true for Vicki, most of the time Elias still seemed to accept Jesse only because he has no choice since Vicki won't give Jesse up. And yet there are scenes where Elias encourages Vicki to kiss/dominate Jesse...points where the character didn't act consistently and confused me.
Otherwise, a gripping, enjoyable story and I would love to read a sequel.