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.
Confession: I did not want to read this book. Ummm, so why did I? Because I wanted to read this book. Wait? That doesn’t make sense, which is it? I guess I wanted to read it but I was nervous. I kept putting it off, procrastinating and subconsciously making excuses. Why? Because I don’t read poly books. Why not? They make me uncomfortable. Uncomfortable? Yeah. No, that’s not right. Perplexed. How come? I suppose because I don’t understand it. How can it honestly work? It must be off kilter. Okay, so don’t read it? But this is Garrett Leigh and I love all things Garrett Leigh. Well then? I think I should stop talking in circles and tell you how Leigh not only helped me understand and admire the intricate puzzle of three but left me awestruck with the beauty of her words…again.
Love is powerful, intense and bears the curse of undeniable pain. Can you love someone with everything you’ve got and it still not be enough? Tom does many things well, but loving Cass is his greatest achievement. Cass has fought demons his entire life and despite beating them, he still can’t hold onto the peace that is supposed to accompany love. He has a fantastic life, why can’t he just be happy? Tom is his pillar of strength and light. But Tom needs Cass to maintain his brilliance and lately, he has found himself dimming. He needs another source to charge him and when he meets Jake, he feels the spark across the room. Jake literally buzzes with excess energy. I was captivated with him. I wanted to know everything about him. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one.
Leigh didn’t make this one easy and for that, I’m extremely grateful. Jake, Cass and Tom stole the limelight but it wouldn’t have been nearly as stunning without the elaborate threads that twist their lives together. I loved every bit from Jake navigating his Tourette’s and finding his footing in their business to Cass fighting the shackles of his past and his deep compulsion to care for people from his kitchen, and Tom juggling all the irons in the fire while keeping his partners safe and happy. It was impressive and I’m still reeling from it all.
To grasp the complexity of this romance, we must appreciate all three men. Thankfully, we are given ample time to explore the depth of each character. I adored getting to know all of them. Tom and Cass have been together for nearly a decade. They are fiercely in love. They also have an open relationship. This is important to recognize. There is no cheating here. Cheating occurs when there is deception and dishonesty. Tom and Cass are completely up front and have no secrets. They separate sex from their relationship differently than other couples. They are exclusive with their hearts but not their bodies. They have never had to worry about anyone coming between them because…they are a perfect fit. Two pieces that belong together. But what they didn’t realize is although they fit, they don’t lock. They slowly drift and slide until they crash back together again, and again and again. Then Jake comes along. He is the missing piece, the arch end that locks them tight. Jake doesn’t interfere, he is the connection that secures them. *blinks* Yeah, I see it now. It’s breathtaking and you don’t want to miss it either.
A complicated and challenging merging of three lost souls. There is sexy shagging but its shining message is about ultimate surrender and dreams becoming a reality. Leigh reminds us that we can exist without truly living and should cherish those that keep us ‘alive’, and she takes us on one hell of a ride to prove it.
If ménage lights your fire, you’ve probably met this trio before now. But if you’re like me and you shy away from three, trust me, this is the place to start. Leigh will open your eyes and your heart, and demonstrate interlocking harmony has nothing to do with a number.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to counting the days until ‘Strays’ graces my kindle.