About Big Enough for Five
by Willa Okati
Ryan and Baz and Marcus and Aidan figure they have it good. They have their own business, a thriving gay and lesbian publishing company. They have a huge bed. And they have each other. It works for them perfectly well, at least until Nicholas starts...watching.
Nicholas has been working at the press a while when Ryan notices that Nicholas is looking more, and looking with intent. But Nicholas is too shy to mention it, and the others haven’t decided what to do about it. They had enough trouble accepting the dynamic of four. So it takes a lot of dancing to admit that might want to bring in someone else.
The guys struggle through hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and lots of hot loving, all the while refining the relationships that make them what they are. Maybe they'll find that their bed, and their hearts, are big enough for five after all.
Tory Temple, author of Heat and Flashover, writes:
Marcus. Aidan. Baz. Ryan. A functional, happy foursome that lives, laughs, works, and plays together. So what happens when they find themselves attracted to Nicholas, who would make them five instead of four?
They make room, of course.
Big Enough for Five is the story of five men, different as different can be, drawn together by their love for each other and the small publishing company that binds them. From Baz’s playfulness to Aidan’s quiet humor, from Nicholas’s love for anything to do with books to Marcus’s rigid stubbornness, and then Ryan, who has easy tolerance and patience for them all, these men are not to be forgotten.
Willa Okati does a truly amazing job of winding these men and their lives together, showing how they affect and are affected by their partners and the others who work with them. I was truly captivated by the descriptions of their personalities and how they managed to shift from four men to five with barely a ripple in their relationship.
Not to say, however, that their road always runs smooth. One of the many reasons I loved this story so much was the way Willa illustrates the difficulties the men have when there are five different voices that need different things, both emotionally and sexually. Their problems are real, their solutions are heartwarming and believable, and by the last page, I was a little in love with all five of them.
Electrically charged sex scenes and snappy dialogue made this book a compelling, erotic read and added to my overall enjoyment. Big Enough for Five definitely goes on my recommended reading list and has earned a permanent place on my shelf.
Sometimes, life can be free and easy at ''PrideWorks Publications''. Nobody at the small gay and lesbian e-publishing house has to work on Saturdays, especially in the mornings. Marcus, AKA ''The Boss'', gets the whole weekend concept. People like to sleep in, sleep it off, read the paper, go to the mall or a park or a movie. Besides, there's plenty of times he'd just as soon stay downstairs in his apartment where it's cozy, crowded and warm, indulging in... the finer things.
Anyway, no one's required to come in between Friday night and Monday morning. They're mostly good at disregarding normal hours anyway. But somehow, it always happens.
One by one, like stragglers on the Ark, they drift in and make themselves at home. There's reasons. It's lonely where they are, or there's no action on the streets. Maybe they're looking for a ride to the shops, or it could be they just stayed there and worked the night through.
Or they slept downstairs. Like Marcus, Ryan, Baz or Aidan.
One Saturday morning down below, Ryan crawls out from under the embroidered duvet in a bed he's still getting used to, opens one sleepy eye, and can already tell it's happened again. The alarm clock glares a baleful ''9:00'' at him, and he's pretty sure that's not P.M. He can smell the richness and slightly burned taint of Madison's coffee drifting down the stairwell, along with a hint of sugar and cinnamon that suggests she stopped off for pastries. Enrico, their token straight man, is talking quietly to someone – Marcus? – and he hears the creak of what has to be Nicholas on his stepladder, getting a beat-up volume down from the highest top shelf in the office library.
Ryan crawls – hell, nearly swims, this bed is huge – to the edge of the mattress and swings his legs over. No worries about cold toes; the floor's padded with thick rugs that send your soles to heaven. Blearily, he bats at the alarm clock so it won't go off later and wake anyone else up.
That is, if he's not the only one left. A glance over his shoulder at the various tangles of sheets and covers, lumps and bumps, and he spies one body still fast asleep in there, hugged tight to the wall under a heating vent. Baz. Ryan's first lover, and in many ways, his favorite. Poor guy, he looks pitiful. Did he get cold when Ryan rolled away in his sleep? That's unusual. Baz has more arms and legs than a squid has tentacles when he really wants to latch on. They must have passed out before the customary death lock.
It's an arduous trek back over the soft squishiness of the bed, but Ryan makes the sacrifice, kicking duvet out of the way in his travels. He'll make the thing up later. Maybe rope Aidan into helping. He'll complain, but end up helping. Ryan doesn't even think about asking the others because it's so not worth it. He's learned the hard way. Bitching from Baz and woeful put-upon looks from Marcus. Ugh.
Speaking of bitching, bitchers, and the bitch-ee in question... Ryan folds himself up Indian-style at Baz's feet and lifts them into his lap. Oh, the temptation to tickle... but a quick eyeballing calculates the first thrashing kick would catch him square in his nose. No thanks. Beside, he has better things in mind.
He runs one finger up the length of a lithely muscled, tanned leg, over the fine frosting of dark-brown hair. It's growing back in nicely. He thinks Baz has almost forgiven Madison for just ''testing'' out her new ''it's painless, really - I just want to get the consumer reaction first'' leg wax, and, well...
Baz could be really, really loud at certain times. Ryan didn't realize anyone had that much lung-power. He'd scared off an ad man from a full floor down.
Good legs, Ryan decides, sliding his finger up to the thigh. Baz twitches slightly, murmuring something. ''Sleepyhead,'' Ryan whispers. ''Hey, you, snoozing the day away...''
Baz groans. ''Unless that's Ryan, you're getting your ass kicked.''
''It's me and you know it.'' One finger becomes a full palm splayed out on Baz's thigh, and is joined by a matching hand on his other leg. Balancing himself thus, Ryan leans forward and nudges at the covers over Baz's head with nose and chin. ''Hey, Sleeping Beauty. C'mon. I want a good-morning kiss.''
''No, what you want is a kick in the nuts,'' Baz grumbles. His face emerges, squinty-eyed in the near-darkness. ''It's not even ten a.m., and on a Saturday? That's a crime.''
''So? When has the time of day ever stopped you from getting up and taking what you want?''
''Well, it hasn't ever, really,'' Baz admits. ''I was just having the most lovely dreams. You and me in New Orleans on a nice warm summer night...''
Ryan kisses him softly, mouths closed, sweet touches across his lips. ''Sounds great,'' he murmurs as he withdraws.
''Hey! Where do you think you're going?''
''Me?'' Ryan gives Baz his patented innocent stare. ''I'm hungry. I was thinking breakfast.''
''I'll show you breakfast,'' Baz growls. An arm snakes around Ryan's waist and pulls him down flush against Baz's body. He thrusts up, letting Ryan feel a morning erection hard in the crease of his hip. His grin is savage. ''How would you like some of that instead?''
Ryan undulates against him. ''I'd love some, and you know it.'' He kisses Baz again, mouths open this time. Baz's tongue sweeps his palate, cat-licking over his lips. He makes such a satisfied noise that Ryan has to ask:
''What the hell, Baz? Am I suddenly made of chocolate or something?''
''Nah.'' Baz lies back on the pillow and reaches up to card his fingers through Ryan's hair, fingering the long, tousled locks tipped with purple. ''It's just the taste of you. Last night's toothpaste and pure Ryan.'' He pushes his erection gently against Ryan a second time. ''No Aidan, no Marky-Mark, just you and me. You know how good that feels, how much I love it, love you...'' Through with being gentle, he grabs Ryan's hips and grinds against him in the best, nastiest way imaginable.
When the little birdies stop flying around Ryan's head, he takes Baz by the shoulders and kisses him back with all his might. ''Glad you like it.''
''Best of all.''