Warning: Rigid Standards by Laelia West

Heat Level 3
SKU 978-0-3695-0151-6

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Throuple Threat, 1

Silver-spooned Portia Ward is getting her degree to start a life free from her mother’s stipulations. She doesn't need additional complications. Maybe a casual one-night stand now and then. Nothing intimate, nothing close.

The economics major in her history class disagrees. Portia hates Malik on sight: he's tall, arrogant, and wears sunglasses indoors for no reason. He has a comeback for everything. His clothes don’t quite sit right. And who wears all black in the heat? When he asks her on a date, she’s so irked by his blasé confidence that she agrees.

Then she catches glimpses of Malik’s other side. The one who wants to study music theory. The one who apologizes by baking cheesecake. The one who won’t touch her until she asks. He has one rule: he doesn’t do casual. If Portia wants more, she’ll have to compromise her rigid standards.

Be Warned: voyeurism



Professor Benayoun took a breath and looked up. “Why don’t we take a five-minute break?”

Thank god. Portia cracked her knuckles. If she moved now—

Malik tapped her shoulder.

Portia twisted in her seat. “What?” she bit.

“Do you need an Ativan? You seem tense.”

Oh, wonderful. “Mind your own business.”

Broad shoulders moved in a lackadaisical shrug. “I’m trying, but you’re giving off this aura like you’re going to kill something. You didn’t even notice that girl move two seats away, did you?”

Portia lowered her voice. “Is this funny to you? Trying to piss me off? Do you think I couldn’t kick your ass?”

Malik tilted his head. Black hair brushed the frames of his stupid fucking sunglasses. “I know you could kick my ass.”

It took every ounce of her mother’s upbringing to mask her surprise with a blank stare.

A strange, lopsided smile flickered across his face and vanished again as he leaned back. “I’ve been told I have a penchant for punishment. Maybe a bad case of masochism runs in my family.”

Beneath her wavering anger, intrigue kindled in her lower belly. Portia looked him over.

It had been a while since she’d had the chance to be aggressive with a man. While Malik was annoying, he wasn’t terrible-looking. His build said he could take a hit. A lot of men flinched away from actual roughness, like teeth or nails, but if…

Horrified at herself, she shook her head. No. She didn’t need to take this there.

Malik leaned forward again. “What is it about me that irritates you so much, Miss Portia?”

“Don’t call me Miss.” The word reeked of Mother’s business associates: condescending and saccharine. “Quite honestly, I hate your sunglasses.”

From his arched brow, Malik didn’t seem to expect that.

Roughly, Portia said, “If you don’t need them, why wear them indoors? You look like a dick.”

“Ah. If that’s all…” He reached up and pulled the sunglasses off, his long fingers closing them one-handedly as he tucked them into his shirt. “Better?”

Portia stared. She couldn’t help it.

His eyes were black. Not umber, not gray, but absolutely black. Like a starless sky, a void that threatened to shred sanity to ribbons but for a flickering of heat indicating something deeper. His lashes were as dark as his hair, fine and long and highlighting the dark depths of his gaze.

Malik let loose a self-deprecating chuckle. “A little off-putting, right?”

“No.” It really wasn’t, not compared to the sunglasses. “I prefer looking people in the eye.”

“It never occurred to you I wore them because I could be intimidated by eye contact?”

Portia scoffed. “I don’t imagine much intimidates you.”

Surprise colored his features. Then he smiled, the closest she’d ever seen to a genuine expression on him. Portia’s lungs constricted at the sight.

Why did it feel like she’d caught a glimpse of something rare?


Product Reviews

Score: 4 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings)
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Steamy interesting story!
Written by Ash J on 1st Jan 2023

I really enjoyed this book. This was the first book I've read from this author but the story was steamy and interesting and I can't wait to read more to find out what happens to this couple and also with Ezra.

Warning: Rigid Standards
Written by C. J. Alvaro on 13th Dec 2022

This is the first book in Throuple Threat series. It is well written and has a great plot. I am looking forwards to the next book in this series.

3.5 stars
Written by Book_Lover_97 on 13th Dec 2022

This is an interesting start the Trouple Threat series. This is a quick steamy read. It introduces Portia, Ezra and Malik. I am not the biggest fan of Portia and her attitude. I will probably read book 2 to see if there is growth in characters and what happens after the cliffhanger.

Quick and steamy
Written by LBing on 13th Dec 2022

This was a quick and steamy read that took us into the lives of Portia, Ezra and Malik. Portia, a rich gal, has a tough momma that she'd love to escape. Malik meets her after a bad call with her mom and things do not go smoothly between them. However, they can't stop thinking about each other ;) Into the mix come Ezra and that really shook things up. This is a serialized story, though, so there is a cliffy and we need the next book to see how things continue to unfold for them. Good fun!

Will their story end?
Written by Nicole P on 13th Dec 2022

If you are after a short, erotic romance then I highly recommend giving Portia, Malik & Ezra's story a read. Where will this story lead Portia, Ezra & Malik?

Short Story
Written by Jeanne R on 13th Dec 2022

This is the first book I've read written by Laelia West; I can’t wait to read more of her books. This is the first book in the Throuple Threat Series; it is a stand-alone short story. The story is about Portia & Malik. I received a free copy of this book via booksprout and I’m voluntarily leaving a review.

Slow start to a cliff hanger
Written by RahiaLeight on 1st Dec 2022

I think it was about 3 chapters in before the story got interesting. It was a bit like walking uphill in the snow...shortly after it became an intriguing story, it was over and it's over until next time. It became intriguing enough that I am looking forward to the next installment, but I'd say that the college thing isn't really my scene. That may be why the first couple of chapters didn't really grab me. That said, I'd like to see how this story plays out.

Odd, but interesting
Written by MrsBrightside15 on 19th Nov 2022

Portia is trying to free herself from her moms rich clutches. She has her independence, but she also looks down her nose on others. I didn't love her even by the end, but I did feel bad for her. Malik is so very interesting. I can't wait to know more about him. He made the book so easy to read. He should get a book from his POV! Warning this book ends like a part 1 book, not a book 1. We don't really get an ending, will have to read the next book to get more.

Enemy Rom
Written by A. Adams on 19th Nov 2022

Portia is a rich girl. Portia is in in college. Porta likes to box and workout. At the gym she meets a guy wearing sunglasses who irritates her. Portia doesn't really know why but she can't stop thinking about him either. On the first day of classes this sunglass wearing stranger, Malik, is in Portia's history class. They fight, well. Eventually Portia and Malik agree to go on a date and not fight to see if they have any chemistry. Things move forward and while they are in Malik's dorm room his roomate walks in on them. Portia jokes about going back to get the roomate and Malik is unsure about everything but Portia. At the end of the book Portia and Malik do not agree exclusivity but agree to explore things open and honestly together whatever that may be.

If You Like a Slow Burn...
Written by Melissa on 29th Mar 2020

If you like a slow burn with a sexy pay off, this is for you. This novella reminded me of Delilah Devlin’s stories due to its empowered MC with hard edges & resistance of female stereotypes. This story is not only rife with sexual tension, but it also incorporates other intriguing characters I foresee popping up in future spin-offs.