Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright grew up not that far from each other within the elite of NYC, but it took them going to Harvard to meet each other. They become fast friends and formed a bond over the years that went deeper than simple friendship. There’s attraction seen from both sides that neither man understands since they have always dated women. One drunken night, the men cross the lines of friendship, but they only continue a physical relationship when there is a woman between them. When graduation arrives, the men both return to the city to work for their fathers, but still remain the closest of friends. They both also feel a sense of loss that they can’t quite name.
The years pass and both men marry, with Carter also having kids. Riley knows there was never any passion in his marriage and while Carter loves his wife, he misses what he shared with Riley and the threesomes resume. But Riley’s feelings go so much deeper and he longs for a life with Carter where they are together each and every day without anything or anyone between them. When he finally confesses his feelings, it’s all too much for Carter and their once impenetrable friendship fractures.
As Riley takes the steps to live the life he truly wants, Carter struggles to come to terms with his feelings. Both men must make incredibly difficult choices and accept their own truth if they are going to be able to move forward toward each other.
I was quite impressed with this book. It’s unique and it took risks, but it all came together remarkably well. The book has a few different areas that all converge together, but at the heart of it is the relationship between Riley and Carter. We get point of view from both characters and the shift happens fairly smoothly, but we do get a bit more from Riley than we do from Carter. The book opens with a prologue of Riley confessing his feelings to Carter and then flashes back to their early friendship. The flashback style worked really well here and it would not have had nearly the same impact if we had not been able to see their friendship develop. The men have an epic friendship that happens immediately and they just clicked from the moment they met. They notice each other, yet don’t have a name for what they are feeling. The book doesn’t get into labels too much but tries to illuminate the fact that these guys are truly something special to each other. They simply seem inevitable. There were a few times that this part of the story read as if we were there in the moment and there were other times where it did read as if it was the past and there was just a small noticeable difference at times.
Both men know that their families would never approve of them having a relationship with each other, but neither of them are even quite there yet themselves. They have their lives sort of mapped out for them and this kind of deviation from the plan is unacceptable. So they marry women, and while Carter is happier than Riley, they both still feel a sense of loss that they can’t let themselves give a name to. So here’s the thing with this book. The men find a woman to have regular threesomes with and she’s basically the buffer between them trying to get what they want. Riley is resistant at first because he knows he will only fall harder and he truly longs for there to be no one between him and Carter. This all happens while the men are married, so if that’s a hard limit than this is not the book for you. For me, it worked exceptionally well for the story being told and highlighted the deep longing coupled with sexual tension, indecision, and their internal struggles that run deep.
I was not aware that this book is the first in a two part series. The ending is not complete and there was no mention of when the next book will be available. This story stayed on my mind for a while, yet I kept having the feeling that I didn’t finish it due to the fact that there is a second book and the men still have a long way to go. I cannot wait for the next book because when these guys get together, I am anticipating nothing short of epic.
This book took the kind of risks that I like to read and offered a fresh take on a character-driven novel with the best of friends trying to find their way to each other. If you like your books to fall a little outside of the traditional lines, definitely pick this one up.