Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
First and foremost, this it the third (and final) instalment of our journey with Will and Jesse, a couple who has experienced so much in the close to seven years that they have been not only a Dom and sub, but also life partners. If you have not read Another Way and Of Being Yours, I strongly suggest reading them first as there are too many references to past events to make this book make sense on its own.
Following the events in Of Being Yours, Jesse’s mom passes away from cancer. Having known she was afflicted for years and having hidden it from the family, she passes away, leaving chaos in the wake of her death. Jesse takes a leave of absence from his job at the museum and Will take time off work to support Jesse, Jesse’s father, and his sister, Jennifer, now that the backbone of their family is gone.
Although Jesse’s mom quickly adapted to finding out Jesse was gay, Jesse’s dad has had difficulty dealing with Jesse’s homosexuality and during an afternoon fishing trip at the lake initiates an awkward conversation about Will and Jesse’s relationship. Will goes home to Seattle for work and in his ten day absence manages to get a promotion to a “location independent” position with his company. Knowing that Jesse needs to be with his family longer, Will buys a house in Georgia without Jesse’s knowledge.
Jesse and his dad start renovating the new house, therapy for both of them. Will and Jesse need to regain their former intimacy and it is done at Jesse’s pace in their new house. Will and Jesse settle in to their new life and Jesse discovers a BDSM club in Atlanta where they demonstrate their D/s relationship publicly and afterwards, discuss their future.
At a dinner hosted by Will’s company, Jesse gets jealous about one of Will’s co-workers, Matthew flirting with Will. Will thinks Jesse is jealous and overreacting and Jesse thinks Will is a jerk for dismissing his concerns. Will and Jesse discuss the situation, as well as the strength of their relationship and Will’s feelings about Matthew and decide that perhaps another threesome for one night will bring some of the missing “zing” back into their lives. They place an online ad for a third and meet Ben at an Atlanta hotel for a night of intense sex between the three men. Weeks later, Ben contacts Jesse asking about a repeat performance, but Jesse is not interested in another threesome, but rather in a friendship.
With a smaller house and no playroom, Will and Jesse must figure a way to separate their lives and retain balance. Jesse is strong and admits to himself that “when I was Jesse, normal guy, there was no way I’d do the things Master asked of me. When I was his sub, I needed those things.” Unfortunately, the current set up is not conducive to a healthy, balanced D/s relationship.
The great marriage debate continues and everyone (of importance) is supportive, but Will and Jesse have yet to figure out how their current dynamic will translate once they are married. Will sees things staying essentially the same while Jesse is concerned about how the D/s aspect of lives will mesh with being married. Children are also at the top of Jesse’s mind and although Will has expressed wanting kids, these discussions never lead anywhere.
I have to admit that this was one of the toughest reviews I have had to do so far. I kept getting lost in the story over and over again and forgetting that there was an alternate purpose for reading To Say I Love You other than to see where these boys end up, and for pure reading pleasure.
After almost seven years together, Will and Jesse have an innate knowledge of each other, as demonstrated by Jesse knowing there was more to the house purchase situation than meets the eye. Will admitted that his promotion was “the more” but we discover that that is not in fact the case. We also learn what has happened in the years between the car accident in Of Being Yours and present day, through the use of reminiscing on Jesse’s part as he works on the house, in the yard, and while running, and the use of this technique made the inclusion of the information smooth and unobtrusive.
The conversation between Jesse and his dad while fishing was obviously a long time coming, and fueled by the loss of Jesse’s mom. Jesse’s dad worries for him and wants to make sure Jesse is happy. What a wonderful conversation. I laughed and thought Jesse’s quiet father broaching the topic of not only a same-sex relationship, but the sex as well, was priceless and beautifully addressed. Jesse’s behaviour at the end of Will’s surprise birthday party, sitting on the floor with his head on Will’s mother Cara’s lap mirrors Jesse’s behaviour with Will and indicated a strong familial bond between Cara and Jesse, critical now that Jesse’s mom is gone. Martin creates characters that are so realistic and that we can empathize with, it is no wonder I have followed Will and Jesse since 2011 when I first discovered Another Way.
Will and Jesse still have periods of uncertainty with each other, as various major and minor events threaten their relationship, but their foundation is solid, especially after the accident in Of Being Yours and it’s aftermath, which Will and Jesse successfully navigated with help from their family and friends. It appears that this time is is their families alone who help them navigate the latest bumps in the road, and although Will and Jesse propose to each other regularly, that is where it appears to begin and end.
If outside forces like Matthew and Ben can threaten their seemingly solid relationship, and they still have a ginormous lack of communication about their feelings, are Will and Jesse meant for marriage and the long haul if they let outside elements cause such havoc in their lives?
By now, it must be pretty obvious how I felt about To Say I Love You and the two previous books, Another Way and Of Being Yours. I loved them. I plan to re-read them when I am in the mood for some really hot BDSM action, sweet love, and angst. All three books were well written and had great flow and pace which made them a pleasure to read. The characters were all well formed and the issues faced by Will and Jesse were reasonable considering their lifestyle and the challenges they have faced in the past. The Another Way series is a definite must reads and To Say I Love You was the perfect ending to the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.