As the oldest of five brothers, Charlie Motel is used to shouldering a lot of responsibility. With his mother passed away and his father mostly absentee, it fell on Charlie to help look out for his brothers and he practically raised the youngest, Cameron. Now, four of them are living in Cherry Creek, jumping through hoops for their father as part of his will by running a resort together for a year. The year is almost up, and Charlie has no idea what next steps will be for everyone, but he feels continued pressure to keep an eye on his brothers.
Eddie Alexander just got kicked out of college for sleeping with a teacher. Eddie never really had much interest in going to school, but he also knows his father, Luke, is not going to be happy to learn that Eddie was kicked out. Still, with no money and no job, Eddie doesn’t have much choice but to head to Cherry Creek where his father lives with his much younger boyfriend (and Eddie’s former best friend), Cameron. When he arrives in town, Eddie learns that Luke and Cameron are on vacation, so he has a two-week reprieve. He finds himself reconnecting with Charlie (on whom he has long harbored a crush).
It is clear to Eddie right away that Charlie is feeling crushed under the burden of responsibility he takes on — and the burden his brothers are often happy to let him assume. Despite being much younger than Charlie, Eddie has no problem taking some control and helping steer Charlie to think of himself first and to step back from some of his family responsibilities. For the first time in years, Charlie finds himself able to breathe. The sexual connection between the men is strong, but as much as Eddie wants to be with Charlie, he wants to help him first. Charlie is super attracted to Eddie as well, but he worries about Cameron’s reaction to Charlie dating his best friend, and the age difference gives him pause. Still, the men can’t stop the feelings they have for one another, and once they begin to act on them, the emotional connection ramps up as well. But Eddie’s future plans are uncertain and Charlie still doesn’t know what’s happening next for the hotel. On top of that, when Cameron and Luke return, it’s clear they aren’t thrilled about the relationship. But Eddie and Charlie are too good together to let their relationship go and, with a little work, they may just be able to find their way to a future together.
Faultless is the third book in Kate Hawthorne’s great Room for Love series and I think it is my favorite so far. I am already a big fan of age gap romance, as well as the younger partner being the more dominant of the pair. But here we get the added bonus of Eddie dating his best friend Cameron’s older brother… while Cameron is dating Eddie’s dad. This storyline is Kate Hawthorne in all the best ways, and the set up just delighted me and was so much fun. From a relationship end, this book may work on its own in the series, but with all the brothers showing up here, and the Cam/Luke connection in particular, you are going to be better off reading the series, or at the very least, Reckless.
I think Hawthorne does something interesting here in the way this relationship develops. Both these men have a strong attraction to one another, but both are also in a place where they really need something from the relationship. Eddie is sort of adrift, and with Cam and Luke together, and his other father dropping Eddie from his life, Eddie feels like he need someone to be there for him. Charlie is suffering under the weight of too much responsibility, and Eddie is able to come in and give him that nudge (and sometimes a shove) to get him to stand up for himself and take a break. But in the early stages of the relationship, though they are both falling fast and hard, there is sort of a co-dependence between them that they realize isn’t totally healthy. Eddie needs to find his way and to work things through with Luke and Cameron, and Charlie needs to figure out how to take what he needs without Eddie there to push. So the guys take a step back and work through their own issues first, and then are able to move forward with more individual strength, as well as a stronger relationship bond. I think the way the relationship progresses here is so well done and really enhanced the story.
I also really liked how this story ties back together with Reckless and the fallout of Cam and Luke’s relationship on Eddie. In the first book, we see things from Cam and Luke’s POVs and, naturally, are rooting for them to make things work. So the effect of their relationship on Eddie isn’t really the focus. Here, however, we see how things have impacted Eddie, leaving him feeling like he has lost his place with both men. With his other father basically abandoning him, Eddie is really having a hard time with the idea that both his best friend and his father have found someone more important in their lives (or at least that is how he perceives it). We also see Cam being quite bratty, as while he wants everyone to accept him and Luke, he is not at all happy about Charlie and Eddie being together and is quite hypocritical and, at times, nasty about it all. So l like that this story took a look at that dynamic from another perspective and brought some closure to all three men.
Overall, I found this one to be a great installment in this series that I am really enjoying. I am very much looking forward to the next two books (Brad is up next) and can’t wait to see what is in store for these men.
P.S. And we have an Andy sighting! I’ll admit, I squeed a bit at that…