I did an oopsie and didn’t realize it until I was well into reading this book. *whispers* This is the second book in a series. I didn’t know until I got curious about hints to a backstory. And yep, there it was plain as can be when I looked it up. Oh well, I took it in stride and kept reading because I was really into this story by then. Sooo, I’m not sure what I missed or if I spoiled my chances of enjoying the first book now, but I don’t care because I loved the heck out of this one.
Jimmy wakes up and is confused as all get out when he finds himself in Eddie’s truck out in the middle of nowhere on a cold night. Eddie is outside the truck going down on a man which wakes Jimmy right up. He knew his riding partner and best friend had just come out, but to see the proof was just a bit much for him and why were they out here and not at the ranch? Last he remembered was working in the barn.
Eddie soon lets him know what’s going down when they arrive at an out of the way posh cabin owned by Eddie’s friend with benefits. This is an intervention. With the knowledge of their ranch boss, Eddie has brought Jimmy here to dry him out- no booze, cold turkey. This is possibly his last chance since the ranch may be sold and the new owners probably won’t find Jimmy employable as he is now. Jimmy feels betrayed and angry and Eddie is sympathetic, but determined. When the withdrawals start, Jimmy doesn’t have much room for feeling more than longing to get through it and longing to die. He denies what is going on. He’s not a drunk and can stop when he wants and this isn’t withdrawals; this is the flu. Eddie is a true friend and won’t let all those lies fly.
When something happens to scare Eddie into thinking he can’t help Jimmy alone, they end up with Eddie’s friend Don who is a recovered alcoholic and doctor. Jimmy isn’t sure what to make of all this. Eddie and Don don’t hide who they are to each other and Don is just as interested in Jimmy when he’s not trying to help him through his issues with drink and his past.
The three guys get up to some fun, Don takes Jimmy to AA meetings and helps him sort stuff out and Jimmy starts to see what he and Eddie are together in a whole new light. But then he falls off the wagon and Eddie isn’t inclined to keep doling out chances.
I was really into this story as is typical when I read a ZAM book, but it really rung me out too. Reading of the beginnings of Jimmy’s recovery and all the stuff from his past just left my heart achy like the title says. The pace on this is gentle and Jimmy’s climb out of the fogs of alcohol are all laid open and it’s not a pretty sight, but it was told in such a way that I was rooting for him and into his story.
I was somewhat confused about the dynamics of the romance. I’m pretty new to the multiple partners and open relationships stuff. While I’ve come to enjoy some menage, I have to say that open relationships are probably never going to be my thing. That being said, I was still able to get into this story and like all three men. I liked them together too (I know that sounds contradictory to what I just said), but I wish they had all three felt the same about stuff. Eddie and Jimmy had been friends and working partners on the ranch for fifteen years. The story is told entirely from Jimmy’s perspective and he’s relatively clueless about stuff like how Eddie feels about him and what they’ve had together until it’s spelled out for him. Don was a great guy who Eddie had been seeing for years as a friend and lover, but Eddie was in love with Jimmy. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it though after a time I just gave up and enjoyed them all together.
As to the connection to the first book, I would definitely recommend reading them in order as I know pretty much how the first story went down and several things that probably would have read better in context. I’ll still read the first book, but reading out of order will probably take some of the sparkle out of it, but that’s on me for my own mess up.
All in all, this was a satisfying read and I can easily recommend it to those who enjoy modern westerns or don’t mind tons of character growth as the plot in their m/m contemporary romances.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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