Series: Starting Over #4
Author: Matthew J Metzger
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Length: 218 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Their boyfriend is the only thing these two men have in common…
Gabriel’s accident means he needs constant supervision while he recovers, and Aled can’t just quit his job. So when Gabriel refuses to stay in hospital any longer, Aled resorts to emotional blackmail and recruits Gabriel’s long-distance boyfriend, Chris Wheeler, to come and set up shop in their home as an all-in-one nurse, housekeeper and general distraction from the slow progress of recovery.
But while Aled expected to have to get used to having Gabriel’s terminally shy boyfriend around the house, he didn’t expect the effect Chris has on Gabriel—and on Aled.
Is this just two couples under one roof, or is there something bigger waiting to be discovered?
A bike ride home from work is about to shatter the life Gabe has and possibly change it forever. One rainy night Gabe is heading home just like every other night but this time a freak accident will land him in the hospital facing weeks of recovery and a torturous time trying to correct the “kindhearted” staff he is not a woman but a man. At the end of his tether, miserable and fighting off panic attacks, he puts his foot down and insists he be brought home to do his final stages of recovery. The only problem is the accident has left him with crippling vertigo and he cannot be left alone. Aled can’t stay at home to care for him but there is someone who can.
Chris may love where he lives but he hates his job and he misses his boyfriend Gabe like crazy. When Aled offers him not only a place to stay but a small salary to be Gabe’s private “nurse” he jumps at the opportunity. But can two men who both love the same man they are caring for coexist under one roof without killing each other?
In the fourth book of Matthew J. Metzger’s Starting Over series, The Third Date, the author explores the idea of a triad relationship and focuses on watching how the two men who love Gabe cope not only with each other but with their vastly different approaches to sex. Being asexual and finding the actual aftermath of sex pretty abhorrent, Chris nonetheless has urges he must tend to and the unique way he and Gabe deal with them may be a bit disturbing to some—it definitely is to Aled. But Aled has grown as a partner and lover and has truly adopted this live and let live attitude when it comes to Chris and how much he and Gabe love each other.
While there is little to no real angst in this story there is an incredible window into how Chris copes with being around Aled and dealing with the infrequent sexual urges with Gabe. Then there is the fact that Aled slowly realizes that having Chris in their lives is something he may not be willing to give up when Gabe is recovered enough to be on his own. It’s not sexual for Aled but the friendship that develops between he and Chris becomes so strong that he recognizes he doesn’t want to lose it. But Chris is a fish out of water up north where Aled and Gabe live and unless he can somehow convince them to move closer to where he calls home then the ideal living arrangements will have to end.
The strength of The Third Date lay in the way that the author narrows in on the idea that three men can live in harmony and grow to depend on each other while sex between the three is not the binding factor. Instead it is mutual respect and friendship that tightens the bonds between Aled and Chris and their mutual love for Gabe that is the lasting glue that seals their relationship. I love how Aled really encourages Chris to not overthink his sexuality or condemn himself as a freak for liking sex in the only fashion he found acceptable. Once again it was all about consent and if Gabe was okay with he and Chris’ arrangement than Aled had no qualms about it---even if it was the polar opposite to something he would be comfortable with himself.
I really enjoyed watching this threesome learn to live together and love each other—it says so much about platonic brotherly love and relationships that can exist inside the spectrum. Love is love and this author writes his stories with that truth foremost in mind.
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