Kit and Adam Jacobs know what their marriage needs—Gavan Karik. He's the one man they both want and the only one who can make their relationship complete.
Making Gav part of the family comes with a price. Family, infidelity and self-worth issues plague Gav, but Adam and Kit are willing to tackle those issues if Gav is willing to commit.
For every problem they conquer, another one pops up. Not only are the three adults working to meld a broken family into one, they're also struggling with a blackmailer threatening to out the two men's sexuality and issues with the kids being mistreated at school. With each battle all three have to decide if the vision each sees for the future can match and if the reward is worth the fight.
Content Warning: Strong language, graphic sex, and explicit incidents of laundry washing within.
Adam knew this question had been weighing on the other man. Gav had played thirds in relationships before. Usually, the third was a plaything, in for pleasure, out for the intimacy.
"You'd be in our room. The 'our' would include you," Adam told him. "I'll steal your t-shirts to wear to bed, and we'll share the task of warming Kit's cold toes every night. We'll have amazing sex when we're all in the mood together. We'll have nearly as amazing sex in pairs if the third is in the mood to watch or sleep. There won't be favorites, but, because we've been together so long, Kit and I might slip up there on occasion. You'll have to be patient with us, Gav."
"And once our open relationship includes you," Kit said, "it turns into a closed one. We don't cheat or lie, and we tell each other if our needs change."
Adam watched to see what Gav's reaction to that big rule would be. It was one he supported wholeheartedly. Within the terms of their relationship, he and Kit had never once cheated. They were open, honest, and made the decisions and compromises needed to keep them happy. But his heart was hers. Always. If Gav decided to take the plunge, Adam's heart would grow to include him, and he would never cheat on him either.
Loyalty and faithfulness in an open relationship seemed like oxymorons, but not the way he and Kit worked. They were a unit, a family. If Gav chose, he could be the piece that had been missing from the start.
Gav covered his face and rubbed much harder than Adam would have rubbed any place on his lover's body. He didn't like to see Gav being so rough with himself. He hated when the other man treated his body harshly. It was because no one else had cared for him. He saw himself as worth less than most and acted on that vision. If he'd quit being stubborn, Adam would try every day to prove him wrong. There would be fabric softener for Gav's clothes and something sweet for him when he wanted a treat. It was the little things Adam knew he and Kit took for granted that would make the most difference with Gav.
"I don't know." Gav didn't look past his hands at either of them as he spoke. "I'll think about it. There's nothing in there I don't think I can do, I just…I need to think."
"That's fine, Gav," Kit said gently. "Time is something we have, and we'd never rush you."
"I know that." His sigh was heavy and haggard. "I know all the good things about you guys, and Kit, it's nothing in you that's missing. It's me. You have to know that. No matter what happens, it's not you. It's me."
"But I love you just the way you are," she replied. "So that means there's something amazing in you if you'll let it out."