Erryn and Dana review ‘Four Ever’ by Sloane Kennedy. The ebook is 357 pages and was published January 16, 2019. A complimentary copy was provided to Erryn in exchange for an honest review.
Why Erryn read this book: A book about 4 men by Sloane Kennedy? No brainer.
Why Dana read this book: This author does a great job letting the reader connect with the characters so I am a fan. I definitely wanted to see how the four men connected with each other and how well I connected with each of them.
Surrounded by a group of devoted four-footed and two-winged family members, Zak and Killian have built what should have been a dream life in their countryside farmhouse. But a cruel twist of fate and the re-emergence of old demons has frayed the edges of the men’s seven-year relationship until just one wrong move could end up severing their bond for good.
Seemingly content to walk on eggshells around one another, things come to a head when ER nurse Zak brings his work home with him… literally.
After being forced to leave their posh Southern California lives, homeless stepbrothers Liam and Noah are slowly losing themselves to the streets they can’t seem to escape. When twenty-one-year-old Liam is beaten up while protecting his younger “brother,” the pair find themselves being welcomed into a home where being a stray is considered a good thing. But Liam and nineteen-year-old Noah have learned the hard way that nothing is given for free and there’s no such thing as the kindness of strangers. Survival means only counting on and trusting in each other.
Will Zak and Killian’s offer of a no-strings-attached place to heal end up being more than any of the four men bargained for? Especially when feelings between Liam and Noah begin to crawl to the surface and the truth of what Zak and Killian’s relationship has turned into becomes harder to deny?
And what happens when lines begin to blur and needs start to change? Will Zak, Killian, Liam, and Noah end up going their separate ways?
Or will they learn that love doesn’t always come in twos?
*This is a novel about a foursome relationship, not just a story of two separate couples in physical relationships with one another. Thus, there is no “cheating” in this story. This is a standalone novel.
Trigger Warning: The trigger warnings in this book may be considered “spoilerish” so they can be found by using the “Look Inside” feature or by downloading the sample and going to the section entitled “Trigger Warning.”
I love this quote from the book that I think explains things beautifully in just a few words:
I kissed each man just as softly as I’d kissed Zak. “Our bed’s bigger, but we don’t care where we end up or what we do tonight…as long as we’re with you. Both of you.”
Liam and Noah exchanged a brief look, then Noah was stepping into the house and taking Zak’s hand in his. Liam kissed me. “Your room,” he whispered. His fingers closed around mine as he led me into the house.
As I locked the door behind me and followed my men – yes, because that’s what they were tonight…my men – all I could think was fuck complicated.
Complicated was just going to have to take the night off.
This is Killian’s reflection of the relationship between the two pairs of men. He’s been in a committed relationship with Zak that was at first very simple but after a tragic event more than a year ago has become fraught with landmines. They’ve been reduced to walking around on eggshells waiting for the each other to pull the plug on the failing partnership. Their menagerie of stray animals is the glue holding things together.
Then Zak brings home a human stray and their lives will never be the same.
Noah’s life has been chaotic and painful since he was a young boy and lost his only parent. Things had stabilized when Liam came into his life, vowing to protect his younger ‘brother’. Finding themselves homeless and fighting for their lives, the relationship has deepened but neither step-brother is able to share his true feelings.
Zak and Killian’s offer of shelter and a place to recover comes at the perfect time but the young men are perilously close to losing what little independence they’ve held on to. They risk becoming too comfortable and soft, holed up in an old farmhouse with animals of every kind. Nana the mini-horse and Waldo the toucan were, of course, two of my favorites. I’ve been known to bring home a few strays in my time, so I understood Zak’s need to open his home and heart, and Killian’s soft spot for those in need.
Be warned – this book is full of angst and the trigger warnings are important to understand. I’m not someone who needs to worry about those things, but I was reduced to tears several times. Whether that’s because of my own state of being or Ms. Kennedy’s writing…oh, who am I kidding? Sloane is an amazing writer who brings heartbreaking characters together and gives them the man to heal them. Or, in this case, men.
As Noah reflects:
I’d loved watching Zak and Liam together. And him and Killian too. There was something about how the men treated him that made it feel like he was getting something I couldn’t give him…or that I didn’t know how to yet.
The possible titillation of four men together is quickly dispelled. Oh, it’s hot, but the reader is also given the opportunity of being voyeur in a journey these four men go on. The point-of-view switches between the four pretty evenly and it works. I wanted to be inside each man’s head to understand where he was coming from and why he did the questionable things he was doing. Each man had demons to slay and it was really only with the support of the three others that each man defeats the demons.
They all get their happy ending, but they have to work for it. Good thing Waldo is so patient because he has more happiness in store for him as well.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I have read several books by this author in the past, and I mentioned above that I am a fan. Her characters are usually complicated human beings and often have pasts that I cannot relate to, but oh, the feels. I love how emotionally attached I can become to the characters she writes. I am also a fan of multiple partners (preferably committed) and polyamorous relationships. In all the mmm,mmf, or mmmm books I’ve read in the past, I have had no complaints to how the multiple characters have connected, but at the same time there is a the worry that they won’t all feel equally involved. At least it’s my worry. Zak, Liam, Killian, and Noah’s worry at times, too. Feeling something for three people instead of one is something each one of them struggles with.
Noah and Liam are not an established couple at the beginning of this story. When Liam’s dad married Noah’s aunt, Liam looked upon Noah as a step-brother. Or tried too, anyway. Hiding his attraction, he only wanted to make the young man with selective mutism feel safe. They might not have given into their mutual attraction for each other or called themselves a couple, but there is no doubt about their affection and commitment to each other. Killian and Zak are a committed couple but there is a distance between them that is painful to see (read about). All four men have been through something in the past that has led them to this point where love exists but communication does not.
It’s kind of a formula. The lack of communication between two or more characters, especially male characters. It is so frustrating as a reader, because you feel like if they would just say something instead of averting their eyes or walking away, that everything could right itself, but the words won’t come for them. It is easy to get annoyed, but who hasn’t avoided talking about their feelings at one time or another? For these four men, sometimes it is easier to talk to someone they just met and slowly the secrets and hurts are revealed. It is definitely the hardest for Noah, and not just because of his mutism, but because the horrors of his past are more intense.
I admit, like Erryn, there was a part of me that wanted to read the book just because of the four men, but the book is obviously more than just hot sex. Opening themselves up and releasing their ghosts is quite the job for Liam, Noah, Killian, and Zak. There aren’t really a lot of secondary characters in the book to talk about, but there are plenty of animals. At the risk of sounding like a horrible person, I am really not an animal person. However the role that the animals play is important. Not only the way they help the characters heal with their own brand of comfort, but also to show the character of the characters. The way each man in this story interacts with the animals is a statement about their kindness and caring. Seeing how they want to help the abused strays, especially the broken-beaked toucan, Waldo, was amazing. There is such an emotional journey in this book and memorable characters that I fell in love with. I definitely would recommend this read.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars