Oscar Kennedy is doing his best to raise his late-husband’s four daughters. It’s been three years since Emmett died, and just over a year since Oscar’s own father passed away. Oscar and the girls live in Emmett’s house along with Emmett’s mother, Rose, who helps manage the care of these young ladies. With the eldest of the girls preparing for college, Oscar knows he needs to cut costs and that means selling his dad’s horse farm, Stable Hill, even as it breaks his own heart. He contacts Jeffrey Stokes, a realtor with a history of selling farms intact, hoping to preserve his heritage and the job of Stable Hill’s farm manager, Russell White.
Russ is a young man who grew up farming in South Carolina. Knowing his folks wouldn’t abide his sexuality, Russ left home young, taking jobs in ranches and horse farms for more than a decade. He became farm manager at Stable Hill just after Emmett died, and he was really close with Oscar’s father, learning all the history of the farm and Oscar’s small family. Russ has quietly admired Oscar since their first meeting, and he’s torn up about the plan to sell. Feeling he’s losing everything anyway, Emmett finally finds the courage to let Oscar know how he truly feels.
Jeffrey and Russ have met before as their paths crossed a few times when they were both in need of an anonymous partner. So, Jeff’s ecstatic that his sexy new client, Oscar, has put him in direct contact with his sexy stranger, Russ. The sexual tension is pretty high from the start, with all three men experiencing a great deal of attraction. Oscar’s rather troubled by this, at first. He had walled himself off in grief for so long he isn’t really expecting to encounter two very different men with whom he shares such unexpected chemistry. At first, the shock is too great, and Oscar rebuffs Russ’s attempt at seduction, but Jeffrey helps Oscar see that it’s okay to want a man after so much celibacy, and Rose is ready to push Oscar after a good man, too. She knows her son would have wanted Oscar to move on with love.
Jeff actually has had experience as a long-term third to a couple, but what he’s feeling right now isn’t interest as an accessory. He wants both Russ and Oscar, and is willing to negotiate for all of them. Unfortunately, selling Stable Hill is a huge stumbling block as they work their way forward romantically. Russ will have to leave the area if it’s sold to a developer and Oscar is beyond frustrated that this seems like the only option. However, in the staging and renovation that’s been done to make the property sellable, Oscar and his family have fallen in love with the place. The girls had hardly spent time there as youngsters, but now the horses seem a balm to Oscar’s second daughter who is having social trouble at school. It’s sweet how both Russ and Jeff bond with the girls, especially once Oscar reveals that he’s falling for not one, but two younger men. It’s a sexy read, but has a lot of heart, too. The interactions between the three men, Rose, and the girls all felt genuine, and there’s plenty of room for them to contemplate their present and dream about their futures. I really enjoyed both Russ and Jeffrey, who are so smitten with Oscar they are willing to really step outside of their comfort zones to help him find a way back from his grief. The ménage aspect was handled well, with each man building bonds with each other that are solidified by couple dates and triad trysts.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the book, which seemed to be rural Pennsylvania. The story behind Stable Hill was tender, and the romance that bloomed there between Oscar, Jeffrey and Russ was tender, too. It’s a very engaging read with lots of fatherly moments and a great family dynamic that only bolstered the big love development.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.