as many stars coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novella

 

Blake Thornton is known around London as the Earl of Thorns, regaling the town with stories of his travels, his adventures, and his wild sexual exploits. While the public knows about the women he has bedded, Blake also has affairs with men, including a doctor in Edinburgh who gave Blake the submission he has been craving. But as much as he can’t get Cameron out of his mind, Blake’s heart has always belonged to his best friend, Ashley Linden. Ash is a poet and a scholar and all things shiny and beautiful and Blake knows there is no chance that Ashley would ever return his feelings. So Blake has been staying away from Ash and protecting his heart as much as possible.

However, Ashley has recently and unexpectedly inherited a dukedom and is overwhelmed and needing Blake’s support. When Blake gets back in town, it is clear that Ashley is quite ill, so much so that Blake is terrified he won’t survive the night. By coincidence, it happens that Cam is in town as well, and Blake reaches out in hopes he can help Ashley. Seeing Cam again reminds Blake just how much he enjoyed their time together and how much he needed the dynamic that Cam could provide. But he’s also in love with Ashley and longs for the chance to be with his best friend, even as he can’t imagine it ever happening.

As Ashley recovers, and the men endure another challenge that keeps them all together, it only reaffirms how much Blake wants both Ash and Cam. But what he never anticipated is that they would not only share his feelings, but develop a connection to one another. However, as much as Blake longs for the opportunity to be with both men, he struggles to imagine how he could fit into their lives, sure they would be happier together without him. Now, Ashley and Cam must show Blake how much he means to them both and the trio may just find their way to an unexpected happy ending all together.

As Many Stars is a lovely novella that combines both a friends-to-lovers dynamic with Blake and Ash, as well as a lovers-reunited theme with Blake and Cam. It is a rare historical that has a polyamorous relationship and I really enjoyed the way these three men found their way together. Blake is our sole POV character and he really forms the heart of the story. It is clear that while he outwardly presents as a carefree and wild traveler, cavalier and confident, he really struggles with his feelings of self worth. He can’t imagine anyone ever really wanting him or caring for him, so even as Ash and Cam share their feelings with him, Blake has trouble really believing it. He is willing to sacrifice anything for those he loves, even going so far as to offer to step back so Cam and Ash can be together without him. Of course, they love and care about him and want him as part of their lives, but it takes some work to get Blake to the point that he can trust they truly want him. So there is a nice journey here for Blake where he comes to accept he is worthy of love, that he is desired, and that he is wanted.

This is a shorter story, but Noone does a nice job establishing the connections here among the men. It is easy to see the affection and love Blake and Ashley have for one another, even as neither man has admitted his feelings. And while Ash and Cam don’t meet until after the start of the story, I think their emotional and romantic connection develops well. Given the book’s length, much of the development happens off page, but with the intense circumstances in which they find themselves, I could believe in their quick bond. I did have a harder time with Cam and Blake’s early declarations of love, however. The men shared one passionate night together, but hadn’t seen each other since, yet they indicate being in love almost immediately after reuniting. However, as the story progresses and they spend more time together, the emotions felt more earned.

The story has a kink element, as Cam and Blake have a Dom/sub dynamic in the bedroom. While Ash is new to it all, as well as fairly new to sex in general, he falls quite naturally into a more dominant role as well. This isn’t a sex heavy book, as circumstances don’t really allow for a lot of physical time between them. However, the interaction we do see has a great dynamic and I enjoyed these three men together a lot.

From the author notes at the end of the story, it sounds like there is a chance this book could expand into a series featuring POV books from Cam and Ashley and I would definitely be here for it. I enjoyed this one quite a lot and thought it was an entertaining story.

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