Buy Link: Edward Unconditionally
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Publisher: Loose Id
This book is part of my Goodreads Bingo challenge. The category is “Gay Men with Pets” which fits this book perfectly as Edward’s dog Winston has a big role (there he is looking adorable on the cover). I originally picked this book up because it was on a list of books with flamboyant main characters. I didn’t read the rest of the Common Powers series which is totally out of character for me (my book OCD usually means I can’t stand to read only part of a series!). But I had no trouble picking this book up even with characters from the first two stories making an appearance.
In Edward Unconditionally, Edward Beauregard is coming to Spring Lake, TX to visit with his ailing grandmother. He is also fleeing from a recent bad (and public breakup) and looking to get out of Atlanta for a while. Upon entering town he is stopped for speeding by Jack Whittaker, the chief of police. Jack is immediately frustrated by Edward who challenges his authority a bit, and even more annoyed when Edward’s dog Winston bites him in the ankle. Jack must hold Winston until his health papers arrive, and lack of other proper options send Winston home with Jack for a while, throwing the men together a bit.
Edward is attracted to Jack, but wary after so many bad relationships with men who didn’t really care about him. He knows his need to be loved and his desire for bad boys often get him in trouble. He is too gullible and quick to give his heart to those who take advantage of him. He has also led a bit of a shallow life of parties and changing jobs, backed up by his trust fund (although his mother tightly controls the purse strings). And Jack is totally in the closet, holding himself together with a rigid lifestyle after a very difficult childhood. He is completely hot for Edward, but terrified of people in the small town finding out he is gay and losing everything he has worked for. Especially because unlike the other two out gay men in town, Edward is very femme and clearly stands out as gay. Yet both men find themselves totally drawn to the other and increasingly struggle with their feelings. The book does a great job of showing that temptation and desire each man feels as their emotions build throughout the story.
The book is primarily a contemporary but there is a bit of a paranormal bent as well. Edward has a healing power that enables him to use touch to draw someone’s illness out of their body. (I don’t think this is a spoiler as this sort of paranormal connection is the link in the series.) His grandmother Olivia is sick and Edward has been sent by his mother to cure her. During the trip he bonds with his grandmother after going years without seeing her (Edward’s parents kept them apart) and his grandmother’s unconditional love really helps give Edward confidence and support.
The main characters from the first two books also appear in this story. Brian plays the biggest role since he works for Jack on the police force. The four men take a pretty active role in helping to get Jack and Edward to admit their feelings for each other and find their HEA.
Overall I enjoyed the book. The build was a little slow for me. I would have liked the guys to get together sooner (although things are quite hot when the finally do). Especially because it felt like they go from zero to life partners in about 20 minutes toward the end. But I think the book does a nice job of showing the issues each man has to deal with and how each resolves them without resorting to too much of a quick fix. Edward learns to slow down and not be quite so impulsive and wild. He begins to see the joys in the small town and like being away from the craziness of his past life. And Jack learns that it is sometimes worth taking a risk and giving up control to experience love and happiness. I liked both characters and would recommend the book.