I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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Back in 2014 at GRL in Chicago, when Ben and I first met and talked about the first two books I'd already read, and my thoughts about books three and four, I already knew that Wyatt's book would in parts break my heart and in other parts make me super happy.
You see, I hated Howard, Wyatt's "husband" of ten years, from the start. I hated him when I got the first glimpse of him in Summer Lover, when he treats Wyatt worse than the dirt on his feet, and I hated him even more when he's caught cheating and nearly raping Blue, that sweet young boy who totally needs his own book.
I hated Howard all the way through Autumn Changes, and I raged and ranted when he dumps Wyatt so callously halfway through after being caught mid-fuck.
Wyatt deserved so much better than Howard. I had shared my thoughts with Ben on how Howard must have been a different man when they first met, how he must have been someone Wyatt could have looked up to, and how down and out Wyatt must have been to have fallen for the lies, to stay with him for so long.
I saw clearly how this despicable man had over time browbeaten Wyatt into believing himself less than he actually is, and how this jerk had convinced Wyatt that he'd be nothing without him. That people only liked him because he was with Howard.
Lies, all lies. I once knew a man like that. I was married to a man like that. And I divorced a man like that. I know exactly what Wyatt felt like.
Wyatt is my favorite of the Fab Four. He's the heart of the group, he's the glue that binds them, that keeps them together, bad jokes and all. He's inherently kind, albeit a bit naive at times, but he's deeply spiritual too, and he believes in nature and the gods.
When we meet Wyatt again in this final book to round out the series, he's sad, lonely and unsure how to move forward.
It's porch night, and he's preparing a feast to celebrate Asher and Peni's return from Samoa where Peni got his pe'a done, and the Fab Four, plus three significant others, descend on Wyatt's house (Sloan's house, where Wyatt lives for now) to eat, drink and be merry.
The Winter Solstice is shortly thereafter, and Wyatt asks his friends, his true friends, who love him no matter what (as he's finally come to realize), to celebrate Yule with him, and to perform the ritual of that night.
Many, many miles away, in New York City, another man sits with his former lover and still-friend who's dying of complications from AIDS, and their female friend, to also celebrate that same night.
Magick happens during the rituals being performed, and both Wyatt and this other man catch a glimpse of what might be.
Then Wyatt gets a call from his mother - his father, a hateful man, had a stroke and asks to see him. Wyatt, being the dutiful son to the man who threw him out of the house at barely eighteen for being pagan and gay, drives the many miles to his hometown to visit. It does not go well, as expected.
On his way home, the land calls to Wyatt, as he passes by the location of the Heartland Men's Festival, and he decides to spend a few days in one of the cabins to center himself and find his spirit again.
The man in New York City, upon his friend's death, decides the same.
I won't tell you, other than that his name is Kevin, who the man in NYC is. You've met him in a previous book. Wyatt knows him, and Kevin knows Wyatt.
I also won't tell you what happens next, or whether Howard gets what's coming to him, but I will urge you to read this book. It's not a standalone. To get the full impact, to really know the Fab Four, you have to read the series, starting with Spring Affair.
B.G. (Ben) Thomas created four stories of lasting friendship, of finding the one you're meant to be with, of renewal, of love, of coming into your own.
Each book spans a season. Pay good attention during the Yule Ritual when you read about the story that Wyatt tells about the Holly King and the Oak King, and how the Winter Solstice is the turning point, when one King loses and one King wins, when the days get longer and the darkness recedes. It's a parallel to what Wyatt goes through in this book - how he emerges from the darkness to see the light, to find his way, to forge his own path. How he begins to believe in himself again, how he realizes the lies Howard told for so many years.
And Kevin too finds new meaning to his life, gets a chance to love again, and find the one meant for him.
The author draws such complex and fully formed characters, and they became part of me. Even though the romance is slow burn and there is but little steam, it shines ever so brightly because of how well the characters are done, how completely we get to know them inside and out. Ben has a knack for writing the Grand Romance, where emotions rank first and foremost, and you cannot help but be swept away by the depth of feelings inside. I cried, I smiled, I feared, and I rejoiced at their very happily ever after.
Kevin turns out to be exactly what Wyatt needs and deserves. And Wyatt too is perfect for Kevin.
A fitting end for this gorgeous series, I highly recommend you read them all.
When this post goes live on the last day of GRL 2016, you can betcha that I'll have hugged Ben a few times, and probably gushed to him about this fabulous book. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
** I received a free copy from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **