Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.
Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.
Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.
Ménage books are a tricky prospect, if the author is actually trying to write a believable romance, as compared to only a piece of dirty, hot erotica.
I loved how Leigh wrote this story, where the sexy bits were in much less focus than the actual relationship that the three men develop.
Tom and Cass have been together and in love for nearly a decade, but as they met at 20 and 19 years old respectively, they still had wild oats to sew, so they've always slept with other people.
Their open arrangement always worked for them, because feelings for those other guys never came into play. Ever.
However, when steady, dependable, workaholic Tom meets snarky, withdrawn, Tourette’s sufferer Jake, something just clicks between them. And Tom is immediately torn between his intense attraction to Jake and reconciling those feelings as to where they could (or should) fit in with his current relationship.
And after Tom's partner, the similarly-snarky, ex-con Cass, sees the broken, lonely, 24 y.o. Jake alone in their bed, the morning after Tom and Jake meet, Cass also recognizes that Jake is someone special.
Tom is a fixer and Cass knows, first hand, how skilled Tom is at helping others get their lives back on track, so he urges Tom to spend time with Jake, to help him.
“What are you saying?”So Tom begins helping Jake put his life back together, first by offering him a job, then by helping him realize his own self-worth.
“I’m saying, stay here and be what he needs. You’ve got a big heart, babe. There’s plenty of you to go around.”
Tom grabbed Cass as he started to turn away. “I love you.”
Cass smiled. “I know. That’s why I’m totally cool with this. I can see it, Tom . . . I can see what draws you to him, and it’s fucking beautiful.”
But it's actually Cass who rides to the rescue when Jake loses his apartment and is having a severe Tourette’s breakdown, literally banging his head against a wall in the rain.
Cass loads Jake into his car and brings him home to live with Tom and Cass. And their evil, also-snarky cat, Souris.
Watching the three men bond, once they're all under the same roof, if s true thing of beauty. I'd have read the book for those aspects alone.
Neither Jake nor Cass had easy lives growing up, having many things in common, so the two form a close friendship while getting to know about one another's pasts. Then those feelings turn into something much more and they connect on an even deeper level.
Jake smiled. “You don’t remember the sun?”But Cass still can't, and won't, talk about the most painful aspects of his past, not even with Tom, which has always caused the majority of the couple's problems.
“Fuck the sun, Jake. I only saw you.”
And just as Jake begins to work his way past some of Cass' defenses, news is revealed to Cass regarding his most painful event from his childhood. So he runs. From Tom, from Jake, from everything.
Self-sufficient, take-charge Tom eventually leans on Jake to help bring Cass safely home, which I found fitting, as all three of them men were all in for making their "three-lationship" a go.
As I mentioned before, the book is *not* sex-centered; however, of the 5'ish on-page bedroom scenes, which were CRAZY HOT, my favorite was the last one, where all 3, finally, fully connect as one.
It was best for everyone if he let Jake take charge. Sex between them all was sometimes too hot to handle. Often, Cass got rowdy and people fell over. Then Tom got cross and Jake laughed, and no one got to come. A bloody shambles, that’s what it was unless Jake called the shots.But this long excerpt, where Cass reveals how he really felt, and why, when Jake first entered their lives... Simply beautiful.
And it wasn’t about who put what where. It never had been. It was about holding Tom and Jake in his arms and loving them for everything they’d done for him.
Tom rolled his eyes, but then his gaze fell on Jake, still sleeping peacefully, and his expression softened. “How did you really feel when you first found him in our bed at the flat?”And the gesture that Tom first did with Cass, when their businesses were first starting out, then Cass and Tom once again did for Jake, to help him know that he had options, even if something happened to their relationship? Just wow. Very sweet and touching.
That woke Cass up. “You’re asking me now?”
“I asked you at the time, but you never gave me an answer.”
Cass took over tracing patterns on Jake’s beautiful bare skin and thought back to another morning he’d found Jake in bed, fast asleep. “I didn’t feel anything to start with. Messing around with other blokes had always felt right until that point.”
Cass considered the question, and found his answer was more convoluted than he’d ever realized. Jake and Tom were two of a kind, both one of those rare beings that set the world alight with just a gentle smile. Cass had felt no jealousy when he’d discovered Jake in their bed, the sheets rumpled with sex and sleep. No, he’d only felt hope . . . hope that Tom would finally get the life he deserved, a life where his lover didn’t beat him back and shut him out. A life that made his smile reach his eyes every bloody time.
But it was more than that. Deeper. Cass kissed Jake’s shoulder. Breathed him in. “He didn’t hear me come in that morning. I’d watched him for ages before he woke up and punched himself, really hard, you know? Like he hated himself, then he looked at me, and I just wanted to rub his chest better. I never really got over that.”
“Know the feeling.” Tom sounded wistful. “When I figured out you felt the same way about him as I did, I thought I was the luckiest bloke in the world.”
“I still feel like that, but it’s changed over the past few months. I feel like it’s . . . I don’t know, solidified? Like it’s permanent. I don’t feel like we’re searching for something anymore, that make sense?”
It did. The bond between the three of them felt perfect. Tom and Cass had their past, and Jake was their future: the link they’d never known was missing. Cass had always believed Tom to be his one great love, but he loved Jake too, just as much, and somehow it all seemed to work.
“It makes sense,” Cass said. “I was lucky before, but now, I can hardly remember what it was like without him.”
So, yes, if you hadn't guessed, the boys do get their "H3A" and they all live happily, yet snarkily ever after.
Three end. : )
4 1/2 highly-recommended *him-and-him-and-him-too* stars.
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.
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