Surrounded by a group of devoted four-footed and two-winged family members, Zak and Killian have built what should have been a dream life in their countryside farmhouse. But a cruel twist of fate and the re-emergence of old demons has frayed the edges of the men’s seven-year relationship until just one wrong move could end up severing their bond for good.

Seemingly content to walk on eggshells around one another, things come to a head when ER nurse Zak brings his work home with him… literally.

After being forced to leave their posh Southern California lives, homeless stepbrothers Liam and Noah are slowly losing themselves to the streets they can’t seem to escape. When twenty-one-year-old Liam is beaten up while protecting his younger “brother,” the pair find themselves being welcomed into a home where being a stray is considered a good thing. But Liam and nineteen-year-old Noah have learned the hard way that nothing is given for free and there’s no such thing as the kindness of strangers. Survival means only counting on and trusting in each other.

Will Zak and Killian’s offer of a no-strings-attached place to heal end up being more than any of the four men bargained for? Especially when feelings between Liam and Noah begin to crawl to the surface and the truth of what Zak and Killian’s relationship has turned into becomes harder to deny?

And what happens when lines begin to blur and needs start to change? Will Zak, Killian, Liam, and Noah end up going their separate ways?

Or will they learn that love doesn’t always come in twos?

*This is a novel about a foursome relationship, not just a story of two separate couples in physical relationships with one another. Thus, there is no “cheating” in this story. This is a standalone novel.

Trigger Warning: The trigger warnings in this book may be considered “spoilerish” so they can be found by using the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon or by downloading the sample and going to the section entitled “Trigger Warning.”

Review

This is not the first multiple partner book I’ve read, but it is the first where there are four. I always worry going in about how the author will handle the transition from two to three, or four. It’s not easy to insert an outside partner into an established relationship, and I have to be honest in saying that the best stories I’ve read are those where all participants come together at roughly the same time. It is rare that the author nails inserting a new person into an existing relationship.

In this case we have one very long established relationship (Killian and Zac) and one long-term platonic relationship that is desperate to blossom into something more. The writer has to overcome two hurdles. First getting one pair together, and the other, combining the two couples.

It helps that there is a great deal of story surrounding the relationships. All four men have serious issues that they’re not addressing. One by one, these issues are teased out and ultimately dealt with, but the fact that they’re all actively involved in doing this brings them together without the involvement of sex.

Then there are the animals. Sometimes I think the animals, especially Nana the mini horse and Waldo the toucan, steal the show. In fact, Waldo drives some of the key scenes and is fully involved in the story, and the group dynamics at all times. That right there, is one of the keys to the author’s success in pulling off the huge feat of making the union of these four men feel natural and right. Details. Working hard on making the men and the situation feel real. Taking the focus off the sexual relationshio and building other relationships within and without the group.

Although there are flashes through the book – a look here, a touch there, a sense of guilt (that isn’t built up too high) – the issue of the four men coming together isn’t raised until near the end, when other relationships have already been established. We know and sympathise with all four men. We’ve followed their journeys and we want the best outcome possible for all of them, so when the touches and looks and thoughts begin to build, the author pulls us along with her in wanting them to get together, so we overlook any details that we might think of as being a bit unrealistic.

Another thing I like about this author is that not only does she not skate over the dark side of life, but she doesn’t make her characters perfect. All four men stumble, make mistakes, second guess themselves and each other and regret, even become embarrassed by, actions. There is a sense that although four other men in this situation might not succeed in entering a four way relationship, or that the relationship might come over as forced, unequal or even taking advantage of one or more participants, for these men in this situation it’s perfectly natural.

Not only is the story engaging and exciting, but the characters are very much three dimensional. Each one has an unique voice to the point where you can tell who is speaking even if you’re not specifically told by the text. Physically, mentally and emotionally, they are their own men. Of course, everyone has preferences, and for me Noah stands out as my absolute favourite character. He is the focus of so many scenes and is the catalyst for many of the events and actions. I loved him from the moment we’re first introduced to him, until the very last word, which was his.

If you’ve not read this author before then, if you like stories that have some hot sex that is strictly peripheral to great stories and fabulous characters , and if you’re not afraid to take a walk on the dark side, then she’s an absolute must read. If you’re considering dipping your toe into meange, then this is a absolutely perfect book to show you how it can be done elegantly and naturally. At no time did it feel that anyone was cheating.