Paul Alcott has become a success in the publishing world. After his father passed away, he modernized the family company and made a name for himself as a ruthless editor that can turn any manuscript into a best seller. When Paul’s former love, best friend, and best selling author, Mick Henley, contacts him after seven years, just hearing the sound of Mick’s voice has Paul knowing there is nothing former about his love for the man.
Paul has all kinds of thoughts in mind when Mick invites him for dinner, only it’s not quite what Paul thought as Mick has brought Tono, his boyfriend of six years with him. Tono is a professional Jai alai player, but has written a book, a love story, for Mick and he wants Paul to edit it. Paul refuses, but is swayed back when Mick reveals that he has been diagnosed with ALS. The book is Tono’s way of giving something back to Mick, but an author he is not, and he needs Paul’s help.
Paul is reeling from Mick’s news and his jealousy of Tono holds him back at first. But Mick and Paul can’t deny their history and the attraction they feel for one another, even though Mick still has no idea why Paul ended their relationship all those years ago. Paul and Tono also can’t seem to fight the attraction that is flaring between the two of them and Mick wants nothing more than to spend his final days with the two men he loves most. But a collision of the past and present may be too much for all three men to secure any kind of future.
The setup for this book just called to me. I mean a past love, a current love, a new attraction, a terminal diagnosis, so many possibilities. While some of it most certainly did work for me, there were areas that equally didn’t work and they are all layered together in this one.
For starters we have Paul. He’s wealthy and educated and well read. He wanted to be a writer, but his skills weren’t even close to Mick’s and his father’s disapproval, as well as his own jealousy, were factors in ending his relationship with Mick. But for all of Paul’s worldliness, and while he knows who Lou Gehrig is, he’s never heard of Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is later referred to as ALS, and it didn’t fit in with his character. What it did allow for was the so called info dump of exactly what ALS is. So information has to be given somewhere, but there were three info dumps right in a row. First was one about the disease, next was on the rules of Jai alai, and then finally on the attributes of Tono’s home in Spain. It was way too much all in a row.
Then there is Mick. He loved Paul with everything he had and never knew why Paul ended things so abruptly and cut him off. He never tried to find out and still when he sees Paul again he lets him tell him, maybe, in his own time. He loves Tono completely but didn’t expect the longing for Paul to still be there and it catches him off guard. Mick may have been my favorite of the three characters here as he’s coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis. He’s open with his feelings and he makes it clear exactly what he feels for both Paul and Tono and what he needs from each of them to live out his final days. During his relationship with Paul, they would bring a third into their bed on occasion, but it was just sex without either of them becoming emotionally involved. Mick then introduced this practice to Tono who was initially much more hesitant about the idea. This situation now is completely different as there are all the feelings involved from all three of the men.
Tono is hesitant about the whole thing. Mick never had a nice thing to say about Paul after their breakup so he was not expecting to like him and his intense attraction catches him off guard. He’s not as open as Mick and Paul, lives a partially closeted life, and really struggles with sharing Mick and then wanting Paul.
So maybe it sounds complicated, but it really wasn’t. Bottom line is that Mick wants all three of them to be together and there is a serious attraction between Paul and Tono. What didn’t work as well for me was some of the execution. There of course has to be a balance between the illness and the relationships. But when intense things were happening physically to Mick, Paul and Tono are checking each other out and the timing didn’t all work out for me. The dialogue was often stiff and choppy and for an emotional story on paper, it lacked that emotional punch for me. While I could get behind Paul and Tono’s attraction, the love declarations seemed way too much way too soon given how their relationship evolved.
Loving Edits had a strong premise, but it didn’t meet my expectations for character development, dialogue, or emotion. It is also the first in a trilogy so the story is not completely finished here. It did have a more unique storyline and while I did have issues, it might work better for you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.