Emory Edgewood doesn’t do relationships. As one of the wealthy and powerful Edgewood family, no one ever wants Emory for him, but for his money and what he can do for them. After escaping his overbearing father for college, Emory is now unhappily back in Edgewood in a job his dad determined for him, biding his time until he can leave again. When Emory meets Graham, it seems like it could be a hot hookup, but Graham clearly has too much baggage by way of a recently failed 11-year relationship to be ready for casual sex with Emory.
When Emory starts his new job as a paralegal, he meets Calvin and the attraction is definitely mutual. Of course, with the men working together, things are complicated. But it does seem like there could be some potential between them. That is, until Emory realizes that the man Graham just got out of a relationship with is none other than Calvin.
Emory is devastated by the betrayal, not having realized that the men are still married, not to mention that it is clear neither one is fully ready to move on. But it soon becomes clear that Calvin and Graham don’t work on their own any more. And both of them still want Emory. Now there is a chance that with Emory in the mix, the spark that has long gone out of Calvin and Graham’s marriage can be reignited, and he is beginning to believe that a relationship may actually be something he wants. But if things are ever going to work among the three of them, both Calvin and Graham are going to have to be willing to make changes to their past ways of doing things, and Emory must trust that there is a place for him among the men he has grown to love.
A Love Made Whole is the third book in Kate Hawthorne’s Secrets in Edgewood series and it is definitely my favorite so far. As with the other books, the story stands alone perfectly fine. If you read the The Cost of Desire, you may remember Emory as Jordan’s failed hookup, and Calvin works with Monica, who Jordan fake dated. But otherwise, there isn’t crossover and you can jump in here easily.
Hawthorne explores a really interesting and complicated set of relationships in this story and it is done quite well. I liked that we begin focused on Emory as he meets both Calvin and Graham. As readers we quickly know that the men are married but separated, but Emory doesn’t realize the connection between them. It is clear that as much as both men care for each other, they can’t figure out a way to keep their marriage going. The emotion here is really palpable as we can feel the longing, frustration, anger, and sadness as Calvin and Graham recognize that the life they built together just isn’t working and they don’t know how to fix it. I enjoyed watching Emory explore the early stages of things with both men and Hawthorne does a nice job giving us enough of a sense of background on their marriage to understand Calvin and Graham and their dynamic, without overly focusing on the couple and their history.
The pacing here works really well as it takes some time for all of these men to be ready for something real. Graham, in particular, is not over his marriage and as much as he is hot for Emory, he is also not ready to move on. So the first portion of this book really builds up the emotional connection and the physical attraction among them, but gives everyone time to figure out what they want and need. Once the guys finally realize that what isn’t working for just two of them could be perfect as a threesome, they are explosive together. The story is super sexy and there is a really nice connection among all three men that made me believe that this relationship could thrive.
My only real note is that I felt like Emory’s relationship with his father needed a little more development. We know he hates his dad and they have a bad relationship, but there is not a lot of explanation as to why. I also was confused why Emory has even returned to Edgewood when he hates it there. We are told he returned on his father’s “behest,” but why Emory feels compelled to listen, or to take a job his father chooses for him, is not clear. He is not motivated by money, nor does it seem his father has power over him, so I was confused and would have liked more background. On a personal preference note, I’ll also say I found Emory’s nicknames of “tiger” and “boss” for Graham and Calvin to be too frequent and sort of jarring. Calling Calvin “boss” wasn’t as bad, though it reminded me that Emory works for Calvin and somehow this is never addressed or an issue for anyone. But “tiger” makes me think 1950s dad talking to his kid and I had trouble finding that appealing, especially during sex scenes. Again, this is totally personal preference and your milage will most likely vary.
So I really enjoyed A Love Made Whole and found it a well developed story with really nice character growth. I loved how these three men worked together and how they navigated a relationship among them.