I’ve seen this book recommended in multiple places as an example of excellent MMM romance, which is the original reason that I picked it up. However, more exists to the story and characters, even if the premise (two men in a long-term open relationship fall for a third) is precisely what it says on the tin. Tom and Cass aren’t looking for a third, but the way they’ve structured their lives means a significant amount of time apart from each other (hence the open relationship). Tom stumbles across Jake and develops an infatuation with the man, bringing him into his bed and business; however, Cass also creates a genuine friendship with Jake and brings him into their life together.
Another thing this book does well is how the external plot intertwines with the romantic arc. Cass has shadows in his past that still darken his present, and Jake struggles to maintain an independent life in the face of his mental illness. On the surface, Tom is the most sorted of the three. Still, his workaholic tendencies cause just as much damage to his relationship with Cass as Cass’s stereotypical chef persona (which also involves being a workaholic).
The three men come together in a somewhat circuitous fashion, but each time they crept closer caused me to cheer. Jake’s inclusion doesn’t “fix” the relationship between Tom and Cass, but it does force the two men to address their problems and work toward a better future.
This book is the first I’ve read featuring a character with Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), and as the author notes in her preface, Jake is not meant to represent an entire group of people. Based on what little (and I mean very little) I know of TS, Leigh portrays Jake’s tics in a way that enhances his characterization rather than making them the character alone. I also liked how Cass and Tom both approached and reacted to Jake differently from each other.