Colin is searching the hills of Northern England, trying to track down his missing best friend and co-worker, Shaun. Shaun was acting weird at work for days and then just disappeared and it has been weeks since Colin has heard from him. Given that the two often hike the area together, Colin figures he might find Shaun there. When Colin stumbles upon Shaun, he is surprised to find him at a cabin with a stranger named Zach. And when he learns the truth about why Shaun disappeared, as well as more about Zach, Colin is even more surprised. But as Zach and Shaun share their secrets with Colin, an old attraction between him and Shaun continues to burn, plus a new one with Zach begins to flare.
While Shaun and Colin spend time in Zach’s cabin, they meet another pair of hikers, Dane and Wes. When Dane gets hurt, the other men rush to help him. Dane and Wes are close friends as well, and Dane harbors feelings for Wes that he has never shared. The five men begin a friendship that then grows into an attraction among them. But even if they can work out a five-way romantic connection, they still face hurdles. Dane is having health problems he fears are serious. Shaun and Zach still haven’t shared their big secret with Wes and Dane. And someone is after Shaun and all of their safety is threatened. Now the men must open up with their secrets so they are able to better fight against those who want to do them harm.
When I first grabbed this book for review, I was intrigued by the blurb, but didn’t realize it was a paranormal story. But it turns out it is a great choice for Paranormal Week, with some interesting supernatural aspects blended in to this five-man menage.
Any time you are dealing with a menage story, particularly one featuring so many men, it can be difficult to manage all of them and to feel like you are getting to know everyone. The first part of this book does go somewhat slowly as we get introduced to each of the guys, as well as get the set up on their existing relationships, the paranormal aspects, and the current issues that they face. However, once we get past the initial chapters, the pace of the story does pick up. I was pleased that Blunt does a nice job giving us a sense of each of the men and making them distinguishable from one another. The set up with both Wes/Dane and Colin/Shaun being close friends who were afraid to share their feelings for each other did feel a little repetitive. But generally I think each of these guys is distinct enough to make it easy to follow their stories, and even if we don’t get to know them in depth, I did feel like I got a reasonable sense of them.
On the relationship end, I enjoyed the men together as they are all pretty likable guys. They move from casual friendship to romance together on the faster end, but we do see their relationship build over time. Blunt does a nice job showing the attraction that exists among the various combinations of guys and I think it works. The men end up together not as a set of open, individual relationships, but as a five-person committed group, but I found Blunt made it work, even if I could have used more depth about the feelings of some of these guys for one another. I also sometimes found Zach a bit harder to fit in with everyone. This may be because he is the only one at the start of the book not part of a pair, or maybe because as we meet him, he is described with such an otherworldly air. But while I felt the connection with the others, sometimes Zach felt a little less “regular guy” in a way that made it harder to see him as part of the group.
Along with developing the relationship among the men, there is also somewhat of a suspense plot involving Shaun and someone who appears to be after him. I don’t want to get into too much detail here for fear of spoilers, but I’ll say that the bad guy here is pretty clearly telegraphed, which took away a lot of the intensity for me. It also resolves so neatly and easily after the initial crisis is over, it just seemed too simple after the build up. So this isn’t the strongest part of the plot, but it does serve to further cement the connection among the men.
Overall I found this to be a fun, interesting menage story. I think the relationship end of things develops nicely and we get time to see these guys building their connection and getting to know each other. The paranormal element adds some interesting dimension to the story, though I could have used a little more depth on the world building. And while the suspense part of things felt a little on the weaker side, overall I think this one works nicely. If you are looking for a big, multi-person menage with some paranormal thrown in, this is a nice one to try.