Gabriel and Aled have been together for a few years now and their relationship is on their own terms. Aled loves having a home with Gabriel and completely understands Gabriel’s need for other partners. Aled knows all the things he can give Gabriel, but also acknowledges the things he can’t. The lines of communication are completely open and their relationship is stronger for it.
When Gabriel is in an accident and has a head injury, he needs constant supervision for an extended period of time. Gabriel is completely done with the hospital and the way he has been treated as a trans patient during his stay there. Aled can’t take any more time off of work and he calls Gabriel’s long-distance boyfriend, Chris, to come stay with them and help Gabriel with his recovery. They think the set up will be awkward, at least at first, but Chris fits well into their lives. Chris and Gabriel have their own special relationship and Aled sees that it’s something he can get used to on a more permanent basis. Aled and Gabriel’s relationship has been a work in progress from the start and there may be more changes within reach for them.
The Starting Over series is character driven and relationship driven and I’ve gotten attached to finding out what happens with Gabriel and Aled and now Chris. The heart of this relationship is Gabriel, since everyone else orbits around him in a way, but Aled has the strongest voice. Gabriel has strong needs that have been a focus throughout the entire series and Aled not only accepts all of Gabriel, but thrives when Gabriel is happy.
The end of the last book showed how deep the commitment went between Aled and Gabriel. This book is a little tamer as Gabriel is injured and since everything is a struggle, hard core play is completely off the schedule. Chris has been a subtle character who was slowly introduced. He lives a distance from Gabriel and the men don’t get to see each other often. Chris falls on the asexual spectrum and he doesn’t understand himself, loathes his physical needs, and has had no one to talk to about it. Gabriel, and then Aled not only accept him, but listen to him and want him to be comfortable in his own skin. There is a positive vibe that is woven through this series as while the men all have different needs and question themselves at time, everyone is fully accepted.
While I still would like more from Gabriel as I still feel there is more to him that we haven’t been told, he provides great balance to Aled and Chris. Aled and Chris develop their own friendship and while there is no physical attraction between them, there is something more developing and Gabriel would be happiest with all of his men together. There is one book left on this series and I am certainly looking forward to where and how this intriguing story will finish.