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?
Review by Neta
This book has a LOT going on. In the first few pages we are already introduces to an established couple that has been going through some sort of issue for a while, around 15 animals, from cats to miniature horses and two young men, with a mysterious past, in the hospital. We learn pretty fast that there are many secrets these four men hold close to the vest and get little crumbs of the bigger picture here and there. That in itself makes the story very intriguing and keeps you guessing what the story behind them is, even if you do start to get the picture as it goes on.
What I found hard about this book, and the reason I gave it 3 stars, is the sheer amount of emotional baggage for both humans and animals, the physical trauma ad backstory is so complex and it just added too much details to the story. It’s hard to write a good romance about two people, let alone four, and when you add all the trauma and hurt they need to sort through and the issues each ‘couple’ has with the complexity of having the four of them get together in a poly relationship I just felt overwhelmed. Most of the important emotional things about them becoming a foursome where drowned in the complex sexual scenes between the four, that in my opinion, while hot on their own, could have been reduced to one good scene and have the other 3-4 converted into them talking about what is going on between them. Every time someone tried to talk, Noah got upset, and would not listen, which resulted in sex being used as a means to show him and Liam that they do want to be together and cement the strength of their emotions to one another.
It was hard to sort out Killian and Zak, and believing the quick way they ended up with the two younger men living with them, and then being their lovers too, while Liam and Noah have nothing to their name and are in such a difficult situation (no home, money and being physically hurt at first as well as emotionally traumatized. Because Killian and Zak have an advantage, despite their own issues, and it through the whole relationship out of balance for me. The first half of the book takes it’s time with them getting to know each other, while being attracted to each other very fast (while being hurt and scared, a situation I found hard to sort out sexual and emotional attraction in but oh well…). I wish the other half didn’t try to catch up the sexual parts of romance and took the time for them to get into poly in a slower, more sophisticated manner.
Add to that, the stray animals, Noah’s turbulent fast and his blackout attacks, it was all too much and there was no way to close all the plot lines like they should have been in the length of the story (maybe if it was much longer). They story was not bad but it was overflowing with drama and I felt like it should have taken a less dramatic approach in order to deal with the poly stuff.
Review by Karen
Mind-blowing! She pulled it off! Four incredible MC’s in an equal, loving relationship with each other. Just…wow.
The author meticulously built up the relationships between all four men, giving them all a chance to fall in love with each other and connect one on one, but also managing to make them function as a whole.
A loving unit of four. Forever.
What I absolutely love about this author’s writing is her absolute knack for writing tortured heroes with a heart of gold. Which is exactly what we get here. Yay!
Each of these four men has known loss or has been badly hurt in the (not always very distant) past. When life throws them together, they are finally able to find the comfort and healing they need. To say nothing of happiness, of course.
Killian and Zak’s love for each other is evident from the very first, but there’s an incredible aura of sadness surrounding them and something is obviously holding them apart in spite of their intense love for each other. Their pain comes across so clearly. Anxious times that make for an intense reading experience.
Zak has made it a habit to bring home strays, wounded animals in need of a safe space to recover. One day however, he brings home a wounded stray of the human variety. Followed shortly thereafter by a second. When Killian and Zak open up their home to Liam and Noah, they are both taken by surprise by their feelings for their two new house guests and they have a difficult time processing the guilt and shame that comes with those new feelings. What does this mean for their relationship?
I loved seeing all four of them get to know each other, individually and together, learning to lean on one another and most importantly sharing laughter and falling head over heels in love. One of the things that I really liked too was that Liam and Noah are a catalyst in helping Killian and Zak to open up to each other again and get their relationship back on track. The one thing the four of them needed a little help in learning though is that communication is key, and that by avoiding certain subjects you might actually cause someone you love pain instead of sparing their feelings. That was a tough lesson to learn.
The character development is wonderfully done, as always, and the writing is well-paced and evocative. The mystery surrounding Noah’s past, with its far-reaching consequences, held me captivated and nearly broke my heart once it was revealed. The cast of secondary characters, which consisted mostly of family pets this time, is extraordinary. Especially dearest Waldo.
This was a deeply emotional, beautiful love story, with just the right amount of angst.
Signature Sloane Kennedy. 2,3 or 4 men, I don’t care. If she writes it, I’m reading it.
Number of stars out of 5: 6