Review - "Foundation of Love (Love #4)" - by Scotty Cade and Z.B. Marshall
Fine story of a man discovering his attraction to a man
"Make a choice to live an authentic life."
Wes Stanhope left Charleston, his family and friends years before to escape his father's control. The Colonel insisted Wes attend The Citadel and join the family business. Instead, Wes went to medical school, became a pediatric oncologist and settled down in the Pacific Northwest to practice. His practice and the demanding life of a doctor makes relationships difficult, and he never really connects with the women he dates. No big loss, right? Then his mother dies, and he is forced to return to Charleston for the funeral. And to a new opportunity.
It seems his father wants to leave a legacy for his mother's memory - a children's hospital to be funded with family money. To be designed, built and overseen by Wes. While the idea excites him, he is unsure he wants to be back home again, and under the eye of The Colonel. But the more he considers it, the better it sounds, and as he explores it, he discovers he wants to honor his mother. So he accepts the job and calls in his old friend and colleague Brad, who now lives in Alaska with his partner Mac, to ask advise and to consult. Brad introduces him to Tyler Williams, up and coming architect, who agrees to consult on the project also. So the four head to Charleston to check out the site.
"I deserve the same opportunity for happiness as anyone else."
During the week the four stay in Charleston, Wes reconnects with friends and family, particularly old friend Alicia and her father, The Colonel's best friend. Alicia has always had a crush on Wes, and welcomes the opportunity to see if it is reciprocated. But Wes finds himself oddly attracted to the openly gay Ty. So attracted that he imagines the two of them together. And when he discovers the attraction is mutual, he decides to see if Ty will date him. But Ty won't be an experiment, or go back in the closet. For anyone. As they explore their feelings, will Wes be able to find the strength to come out? Or will he let this opportunity for happiness pass him by?
"How could I have spent half my life without this, without you? How could I have not known?"
This is a gently written, solid and meaningful exploration of how one man can discover an attraction to another man later in life. Wes was so clearly drawn - all of his strengths and flaws so slowly and lovingly uncovered, his awakening attraction so very sweet and realistic. And Ty struck just the right notes. Solid, strong yet sure of himself without arrogance. The two of them make a very good pair, and I appreciated the bond that was allowed to grow between the two of them before they became physical. A very nice foundation of support, attraction and friendship.
The supporting characters in this fourth chapter of Scotty Cade's "Love" were well written - seeing Mac and Brad from "Wings of Love" is always nice, and Mac's support as a man who was married before his relationship with Brad happened was a great touch. Alicia was a difficult character to portray sympathetically, I am sure. She could have easily been a shrill caricature, but her forgiveness and care came through. The Charleston characters were so very true to the city. A native Southerner and frequent traveler to the city, I can personally attest to the "Old South" feel and ways.
This is a fine, fine addition to Mr. Cade's collection, and I can see the touches Z.B. Marshall brought with her. Good collaboration and good job.