Things seem to be going well for Truman and Hugh. They have been together about 2 1/2 years now and their relationship seems solid. Truman happily spends most of his time at Hugh’s house, and they enjoy a close connection. But when one of Hugh’s former students kills himself, the news sends Hugh spinning. He pulls away from Truman and from life and Truman has no idea what to do to help his withdrawn lover. Hugh won’t accept help or comfort from anyone, despite all of Truman’s attempts. Finally, Truman calls on Will, their frequent sexual partner, for help. It is going to take the love and affection of both men to help Hugh and bring him back from the dark.
Take Three Breaths is the fourth book in the Scientific Method series, featuring partners Hugh and Truman, and their close friend and sexual partner, Will. While it is part of the larger series, this story is pretty timeless in the sense that there isn’t a strong series connection, and I think if you are familiar with the series you could jump into this one out of order.
One of the things I love most about this series is the way Ripper really gets into the nuances of their characters and their relationship. The characters joke that Hugh has a “shrink kink” in that he likes to analyze and assess everything, and that theme often carries over to the books themselves. So this story really looks at the nuances of these guys, focusing on Hugh and how he deals with pain and conflict. In this case we see him totally withdrawal and get Truman’s POV as he desperately tries to figure out what he can do to help Hugh. At the same time, Truman knows he is not getting what he needs from Hugh, that he needs someone to talk to him and lean on him and share his burdens. Most of the story is told from Truman’s POV (we get Will’s here as well), and I did wish for some time in Hugh’s head. Although we get a little more explanation toward the end, I would have like to better understand the situation from his viewpoint. But I do think it was also interesting to see things mostly from the outside, and how the people who love Hugh react to what is happening with him.
I really enjoy this series and these characters. I love the way Hugh and Truman’s relationship has developed, as well as their connection to Will. I liked that we see Truman leading things, but that Will clearly has a huge role in their lives, and in some ways knows Hugh even better than Truman. It is such an interesting relationship dynamic and I think it plays out well here.
So this continues to be a really enjoyable series and I love following along as the relationships among these guys continue to develop. If you haven’t given the series a try, I would definitely check out Catalysts, the first book, and see what you think.
P.S. I listed this as the fourth book in the series since Catalysts was originally two separate books and Goodreads still lists this as book four. However, other places might now show this as the third book in the series.