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Five-Sided Heart by Max MacGowan

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Hi there. Max MacGowan, here. Thank you, Divine Magazine for hosting my new release, Five-Sided Heart.

I love polyamory. Always have, always will. The idea of an entire group of people held together by bonds of affection, passion and friendship captured my heart from the moment I first heard of it, first realized it was an actual thing that actual people sometimes actually did. All that potential, and all that love. I had to write about it.

When it came time to blog about it, I knew I wanted to introduce my characters.

An Introduction to Noah Trevelyan

Noah Trevelyan is the first narrator in Five-Sided Heart. He’s a big man with an equally big heart and a contemplative soul. He’s done all right in the years he spent on his own—went to work, paid his bills, took pleasure in the little things—but there was always a sense of emptiness deep inside him. A yearning for affection and a craving for the comforts of a real home, a real family.

It’s too late to make things right with his father, but Noah gets the chance to make a new life in his old home when he comes back for the Old Man’s funeral. There, he meets Ian, Ty, Gabriel and Joshua. They’re as lonely and at loose ends as he is, whether or not they know it. When Noah could understandably turn away, he turns toward them instead. In helping them, he finds a way to help himself.

At the same time, the only blood family Noah has left—his sister Helena—is at war with him over the terms of their father’s will. His new lover Ian’s ex is trying to stir the pot in the hopes that Noah will sell the Old Man’s house to him. It’s old habit to always be on guard against gossip and whispers, and Noah’s not sure if he’s ready to tell the truth about why he left. If he does come out to his hometown, they’ll never see him the same way again. If he doesn’t, he stands to lose the four men that make his life worth living and his house a real home again. He could gain the world—if he dares to reach for it.

I hope you enjoy reading his story, along with those of the other men of Five-Sided Heart!


Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone.

There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.

Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.


Dreamspinner Press:

All Romance:


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Review by Janice Birnie

A beautiful polyamorous MM love story that will stay with you long after the last page.

Five-Sided Heart is my first polyamorous MM read, and my first Max MacGowan book, and what an introduction to both the sub-genre and this author! I have already one clicked their first book, and this author will absolutely be on my auto-buy list in future.

As a teenager, Noel Trevelyan was disowned, and kicked out of his home, because of his sexuality. Coming home for his father’s funeral ten years later, not much has changed in his small coastal hometown. He is greeted with hostility from his sister, and most of the town, as they have no idea why he left. Noel doesn’t care too much about the townsfolk but fixing things with his sister before he leaves again is part of his plan. Going to his father’s home on the Outer Banks to face old ghosts seems like a good idea as well.

Missing the Ferry, Noah decides to take his father’s small boat across to the house and, along the way, he gathers four other men who have also been left behind. None of them realize that each man has his own story to tell, his own loss or tragedy, that has marked him in ways few could truly understand. Their unexpected meeting and the way they respond to each other will be the start of something none of these men could have predicted, but it may just make each of them whole again.

Ian, Noel’s father’s neighbor, has an axe to grind with the son who disappeared, and makes no bones about his contempt as they make their crossing. He has just broken up with an abusive ex and is no mood for niceties. Watching on as Noel and Ian argue is Ty, a naturally sunny young man, hiding the heartache of looking after his Aunt, and surrogate mother, as she gradually succumbs to Alzheimer’s. Ty is desperately hiding his Aunt’s condition as he tries to manage their housekeeping business on the Outer Banks. Joshua, a stranger to town, has a huge secret of his own and is looking for a place as remote as possible to hide, and try to heal, and Gabriel, also a stranger, bears the scars and the stance of a man who has been almost beaten to death and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.

Max MacGowan seamlessly weaves the lives of these five men into a heartwarming story of lust, friendship, love, and ultimately, family. Five-Sided Heart is a beautifully written novel that will stay with you long after the last page. In fact, you may find yourself wanting to reread it immediately so you can stay in these men’s lives for as long as possible. It is tender and sweet, sizzling hot, funny, tragic, wonderful and uplifting. I absolutely loved every MC and every single page of their journey. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Five fabulous stars and more please Max!


When you didn’t know where the hell you were going, leaving could be problematic. On the other hand, even if Noah hadn’t set foot in Kingsport or across the water in ten years, small towns never changed much, and his memory still worked. From the church behind the town, it was a long slope down to the cluster of shops and gas stations near the water, and then one more block forward brought Noah to the boardwalk on the edge of the Sound. In season, great steel ferries made the trip from there to the Outer Banks once an hour; in the off-season, it would be every three. He would need to take it if he wanted to visit his father’s house.

Noah eyed the receding dot the ferry made as it chugged toward the other side. He’d missed it by minutes.


Footsteps behind him, ones he’d mostly ignored, picked up speed. “Noah!” someone called in a voice he didn’t know, the kind of voice that nature had created to be boisterous and ebullient and above all else loud. “Noah Trevelyan?”

Noah looked over his shoulder. He didn’t recognize the face any more than he had the voice, but both belonged to a tall kid—man?—with a fluff of sun-bleached blond curls, walnut-dark tan, and open, friendly smile. He wore a Tar Heels ball cap turned backward with the brim shading his neck, and a faded charcoal dress shirt that fit him badly.

Must have been at the memorial service with the rest.

Still, that smile… it tempted.

“I’m Noah,” he said, reserving judgment on the rest. “Problem?”

“What? No. No problem.” The blond man came to a stop, looking sheepish. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you or anything. I was going to tap you on the shoulder like a civilized person, but you walk fast, you know that?”

Noah’s mouth twitched. “Long legs.”

“No kidding,” the blond man said, casting an eye over them. “Where was I? Oh, right.” He patted his pockets until he found the one he wanted and tugged out a padded envelope folded three times to make it fit. “Here. This is yours. I was told to make sure you got it.”

Baffled, Noah took it from him. Nothing was written on the outside. “Who sent it?”

“I—” the blond man started. Whatever he meant to say got lost beneath the brisk crunch of gravel and then a thumping on the boards of the walk.

Another man dressed in black, another stranger, slammed his open palms on the top of the safety fence. “Damn it!”

Noah raised an eyebrow. “Something the matter?”

“The ferry. I assume that is the ferry disappearing into the horizon like a B-movie cowboy? Super.” The man in black—long and lean and sleek, as dark as a seal, his clothes clearly tailored to fit him—gave the railing another slap of disgust. “Damn it. And damn that lowlife, cocksucking, car-stealing son of a bitch I was ever stupid enough to sleep with.”

Noah’s eyebrows shot up.

Next to him, the blond in the hat took it all in stride. His grin widened. “Hi, Ian. I didn’t see you at the funeral.”

“Ty,” the sleek, dark man—Ian—said with a brief nod. “You didn’t see me there because I wasn’t there. I was in a taxi I caught at the airport, trying to get here in time. Why a taxi? See above, with regard to car-stealing exes.” He fixed his restless, roving gaze on Noah with a suddenness and clarity that reminded Noah of parochial school scoldings. “Who are you?”

“The Old Man’s son,” Noah said to the newcomer, who wasn’t just gay but blazingly so, and had apparently been close enough to the Old Man to give a damn about going to his funeral. “Who the hell are you?”

“I’m John Trevelyan’s nearest neighbor,” Ian said, still piercing Noah through and through with his curious stare. “For the past five years. He was a grouchy, cantankerous son of a bitch, and almost as stubborn as me, but not bad once you got past the prickly shell. I’m going to miss him. So you’re his son? Interesting.”

Before Noah could ask why that was interesting, Ian had already moved on.

“By the time I made it to the church, they’d opened the doors. But at least I was able to say hello to Helena, so there’s that. Ty, I didn’t see your great-aunt Lily there. Is she well?” Ian turned his back to Noah and faced the blond. “I need to talk to her about arrangements, now that things are the way they are with Winston and me.”

“She’s kinda under the weather, but she’ll be better soon.” Ty looked back and forth between Noah and Ian, as if not sure whom he should face. “I need to be getting back to check on her, but I missed the ferry too. If you need anything packed up and cleared out, I can probably do it myself.”

At least he’d lowered his voice. They weren’t alone on the boardwalk any longer. Locals and what looked like a few tourists were filtering down from the town and nearer to the water. One man, compact and sandy brown–haired, plunked his elbows on the railing a short distance away and projected a politely distant air of “don’t mind me; I’m trying not to listen.” Another man, closer to the parking lot, hunched his slim shoulders and crinkled up an otherwise pretty face in apparent discomfort.

Great-Aunt Lily. Noah sorted through his memory and came up with the mental image of a slight, iron-gray, iron-tough woman who ran a housekeeping service across the Sound with her nephew. That was Ty?

Good God. He’s grown up.

Well, so had Noah.

They weren’t paying a scrap of attention to him now, and Noah was inclined to ignore it. He leaned his hip against the railing and tore into the padded envelope then gave it a shake to loosen up the contents. They felt heavy, whatever they were, and they didn’t come free. Perplexed, he ran a finger down the sides of the envelope to tear open the seams. The front flap of the envelope came free; all the weight inside was attached to the back flap.

Keys. A ring of three keys, held in place with layers of clear packing tape. House key, bank key, boat key.

Terse to the last, the Old Man had written a two-word note to go with them.

For Noah.

About the Author

Max MacGowan is a work in progress. They’ve just turned forty, and are determined not to go gently into that good night.  They identify as nonbinary genderqueer, and prefer they/them pronouns. While they can be quiet, friends will tell you all that still water can’t quite hide Max’s quirky personality, Or maybe it’s the ever-present puckish twinkle in the eyes that’s really to blame.

Max has a fantastic time writing male/male romance, and is especially fond of polyamory, found families, love in unexpected places, friends who become lovers, and romantic comedies. They’re owned by two rowdy tomcats who take pains to make sure their owner doesn’t ever get the status confused.

You can find Max on Facebook at or send them an e-mail at “”. They’d love to hear from you!

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