Bennet and Aiden have loved each other since they were teens. They are the best of friends and have shared all of the firsts together on the way to being lovers. They cannot imagine life without the other, but despite the intense love they share, their relationship is coming apart. They have distinct differences and needs in bed and they have reached a point where they cannot satisfy each other.
Bennet doesn’t see a way out and breaks up with Aiden and even though both men are miserable, they do not know how to give each other what they need. Bennet isn’t comfortable giving Aiden the pain he needs and Aiden was so wrapped up in his own needs, he hadn’t even been aware of what Bennet needed and how much Bennet was trying to give him. When Aiden meets Chris, he thinks he has the answer to their problems.
For the past three years, Chris has maintained only casual relationships. Nothing serious, no emotions, and no kissing. His battered heart cannot take it after the loss he suffered. He sees men as playthings until the night he meets Aiden and Bennet and Chris is asked to bridge the divide between the two men. Chris gets way more than he bargained for as he tries to navigate the complicated relationship between Aiden and Bennet and he is drawn to both men on every level. But, Chris getting in the middle of the men opens up more heartbreak than any of them expected and if Chris doesn’t tell the men how he feels, they all might be left on their own.
Kate Hawthorne took a really interesting premise here and absolutely made it work. The way the characters and the storyline came together could have been a difficult thing to pull off, but Hawthorne played all three characters against each other and with each other while ultimately giving them their forever together.
Aiden and Bennet love each other, there is no question about that. But their sexual needs do not match up at all and they are starting to resent each other. Aiden wants pain while Bennet isn’t at all comfortable hurting Aiden and Bennet has needs he has never put into words because he’s been so busy trying to satisfy Aiden. The author does a great job of catching us up with how the men became sexually active together for the first time in their teens and then as they evolved, they never got around to having an adult conversation about their needs and they are left in a not so great place.
I could see this storyline not being for everyone as the men decide to bring a third into their bedroom. They don’t want someone to be a true partner in their relationship and Chris seems to fit that just fine. You have to go with the initial set up when the men meet and Aiden and Bennet tell Chris about their most intimate moments and needs in a parking lot during their first meeting.
Chris feels like he hit the jackpot with these two men and gets off on giving them what they want. Hawthorne walks the line of having Chris fulfill all of their needs, but also getting off on the fact that he is the one that can satisfy both men. Yet, there is little jealousy here and Aiden and Bennet also get off on seeing the other get exactly what they need. It could have been completely uncomfortable to read, but Hawthorne skillfully directs the scenes where they need to go as the three men become better acquainted. Aiden and Bennet both have kinks, but the exploration of the specifics is on the milder side while it’s the execution of the three of them together that hits the hardest. Chris also has his own backstory for being the way he is and he has the ability to hurt both of the men before they settle in.
The relationship between the men is mostly sexual and the men explore deep desires that have been left unfulfilled. There are moments of them saying they want to get to know each other better, but the intimate moments do play out the most. All of the men (that aren’t already in love) do fall in love quickly, although we do not see them spend that much time together outside of the bedroom. I could have used more in this area to see how the men would evolve their every day relationship outside of the sex.
This book is part of Hawthorne’s Lonely Hearts series but mostly stood alone until a scene in the epilogue where characters from book two make an appearance. I have read book two and I will say the connection would have been lost had I not experienced it, but overall it shouldn’t detract from this story. Love Comes After is definitely recommended for the many heated encounters with a unique storyline for three men.