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.
4.5 Stars rounded up!
Garrett Leigh was one of the first M/M writers I read when I first discovered this genre about a year ago. I immediately fell in love with her style, and as I read more books by her I realized that it was easy to fall in love with practically all of her characters, as well. She writes complex men. Broken men that struggle and fight every day to find peace. She writes wonderful hurt/comfort stories, and as a reader you know that no matter how dark things seem to be, the characters will find a way, and it will all feel right in the end.
When I first heard about this book my main concern was that this was a M/M/M story. I usually struggle a lot with them because it rarely seems fair to all three characters, and I usually end up feeling like they weren’t equally happy or invested in each other. Also, some writers focus a lot on the sex scenes, and very little in character, relationship, and plot development. So, I’m always weary when it comes to this kind of story. However, Garrett Leigh has shut my mouth brilliantly with this story.
We have three men – Tom, Cass and Jake. I appreciated that you can see enough of their background stories to understand them better.
Tom and Cass have been in a committed relationship for over nine years, but they also have an open relationship. In the beginning this was a difficult concept for me to understand (I always struggle with it, I don’t completely understand it, though I accept and recognize that for some people that works very well). They are madly in love with each other, but still sleep with other men every once in a while, and they trust each other completely about it. Their relationship really is beautiful. Tom and Cass own a bunch of restaurants around town. Each restaurant has a unique thing, none of them is the same as the other.
Tom was visiting a restaurant (not one of theirs) when he met Jake. The desire is obvious from second one. Jake has Tourette’s syndrome, a neuropsychiatric disorder that gives the person a lot of motor and vocal tics, so you have Jake saying “wankers” out of nowhere, and hitting himself, sometimes. I found Jake to be an incredibly lovely, and interesting character. All of them were, really, but the one who stole my heart first was Jake.
Anyway, Tom and Jake sleep together and Cass finds Jake in his and Tom’s bedroom the next morning. Jake freaks out and leaves, pissed off, of course, even though Cass tried to be nice to him.
Tom and Jake meet again, and their relationship starts to develop from there, and a bit afterwards, Cass’ and Jake’s relationship starts to develop, too.
I loved the build up of both relationships, but I also enjoyed to see how it all fell in place for all three of them. It was SO well written that it made me buy it completely.
While I loved all three interactions, the one I loved the most was Cass and Jake’s. I loved how patient Cass was (Tom was, too, but it felt different), and I loved how Jake started giving in little by little without even noticing. Their first kiss made go crazy, i swear. It was the moment I kept waiting so I could see that the circle was now closed.
As I mentioned earlier, the writer shut my mouth. This story is beautiful, and it’s written in a way that even though Cass and Tome have an “advantage” of 9 years of being together, you really don’t feel it, because they both take Jake in under their wing and it all flows naturally from there. There is no preference for one partner over the other. They enjoy lots of time the three of them together, and still make time to enjoy each other in couples, not only as a throuple (what?… i did write that one right, right?).
While by the end of the story Tom refers to Cass as the love of his life, and Jake as the man who taught him – them – to live, it really doesn’t feel that way. It feels like both men are the loves of his life and that they both taught him to live.
Being a Leigh book you know that you should expect pain. You should expect broken people, people that find themselves feeling incomplete in some way. I found this book much lighter than other books I’ve read by her, and I liked it just as much.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
AMAZON | BARNS AND NOBLE | RIPTIDE PUBLISHING | ArE