Review - "Always Faithful" by William Neale
Full of heart and care
***This is a sequel to "A New Normal". It would be helpful to read it first, but it is not required. But be aware, there may be spoilers from the next sentence on...***
Friends since a young age, Mark and Cade saw their relationship turn into love after their graduation from high school. After committing to each other, they spoke vows to each other at the lake house Mark's father owns. In front of the stars, Jake, his partner Cliff and each other, the two pledged their love, trust and fidelity.
Then Mark left for college, and Cade started Basic Training and a four year stint in the Army.
As "Always Faithful" begins, Mark is almost ready for graduation after four years in college, and is waiting for Cade to come home from the last leg of his tour in Afghanistan. They will have a relaxing week or so together, then Cade will spend the rest of his time in the States, safe until the two can be together.
Jake and Cliff are still together, and a happy couple. Only Jake is spending way too much time at work. As the Chief Operating Officer for the VA hospital, he has trouble delegating responsibilities. And letting go. Cliff is determined to have his man's full attention. After all, his job as owner of a growing and busy residential building contract firm keeps him busy but he makes time for what is important.
Mark is committed to his happily ever after with Cade, but Cade is withholding information from him. Information that could change their future together. And Cliff has about had enough of being second in Jake's life.
When Cade finally comes clean with Mark, and Jake blows off his commitments to Cliff one too many times, will either relationship survive? Can two men who mean well and have the hearts of lions remember what drew them to their men in the first place? And will love be enough?
I very much enjoyed "A New Normal", and was very excited to see the characters revisited. And with just cause. This is a worthy, beautifully imagined and skillfully executed tale of what happens when lovers take their eyes off of the ball. William Neale writes with his heart wide open, and always manages to draw me in with rich, full characters, romance, hot sex and believable situations.
All four of these men are worthy, loving and caring. But sometimes they forget. Forget that happiness comes from their love for each other, not from their work, excitement, other men's notice. But it is what they do with the knowledge, and how they redeem themselves that defines their characters. And these men - their characters are fine.
I appreciate Mr. Neale. He is unafraid to be sentimental, have his men express their feelings, and fight for their love.