Best Laid Plans, by Lauren Gallagher (aka Lori Witt)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Genre: Gay, M/M, Menage, M/M/F, Bisexual, Contemporary, Romance
Buy Link: Publisher
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
After yet another adoption falls through, Gabe is ready to give up, and Shahid isn’t far behind him. Apparently, being a gay couple—half of which is Muslim—is just one strike too many for the powers that be.
When their friend Kendra offers to carry their baby for them, both men balk at first, but gradually warm to the idea. Especially Gabe, whose bisexuality is open to the chemistry among the three of them.
The plan seems simple. Kendra and Gabe, foregoing the cold, impersonal IVF clinic, paperwork and red tape, will conceive the old-fashioned way. They’ll all share parenting responsibilities, and live happily baby after.
But as the heat flares between Gabe and Kendra, Shahid’s long-suppressed insecurities bubble to the surface. Then some unexpected news catches the trio off guard and derails their plans—and now one heart could be left out in the cold.
I feel like I’ve read this book before.
It’s basically the menage relationship from What He Left Behind combined with the biphobia of Stuck Landing. Since both of those novels are by the same author, I’m not surprised, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing! I don’t mind reading similar plots when they’re done well, and Best Laid Plans does differentiate itself from those other two.
If I detach myself from this novel, I can objectively say that this is a good book. The characters are strong, the writing is excellent, and the plot is intriguing and emotional.
But this one just was not my cup of tea.
Here’s what you might enjoy in this novel: a queer POC main character whose faith (Islam) is a major part of who he is; a man who is completely understanding and respectful of his husband’s beliefs; a strong woman who is willing to do what’s right, even when it’s not easy; and three characters who focus on emotions and communication… mostly.
Here’s what didn’t work for me: forcing a M/M/F menage on a relationship where one M is bisexual and the other M is gay. Because it did feel very forced to me. Gabe is bi, but committed to Shahid, who is gay. When Shahid gives him permission to sleep with Kendra, his hot co-worker, he runs for the chance, because of course he’s secretly lusting after her? And then… Shahid isn’t 100% gay after all? I’m not saying that his eventual orientation (biromantic homosexual) is in any way invalid, just that it felt like a ploy, not a natural progression of the relationship.
I also didn’t enjoy the entire baby subplot. I’ll avoid spoilers, but I will say that it had me raising an eyebrow multiple times and saying, “Really?” out loud.
A good book, but not the kind of plot that I normally enjoy. To each their own!