Review: One Plus One (Maths, #2) by P.A. Friday

James Cape has been in love with his mother’s best friend Laurie since James was sixteen and Laurie an inaccessible twenty-six. When he’s turned down flat by the older man just after his nineteenth birthday, James’s best friend Al encourages him to forget Laurie and find someone else. And James tries, he really does. But can he cope with his feelings for Laurie, his best friend’s home-life problems, and the deteriorating health of his father, all at the same time? And will Laurie ever notice the young man who’s right in front of him?

Wow. This book has a lot of emotion in it that I wasn’t prepared for. Honestly, when I looked at the blurb I didn’t realize it was the second book in the series and that it deals with the past that becomes the present in Love Plus One. Being of an organized mind when it comes to reading, I am happy that I have read this series out of order because knowing the context of the first book I needed to know how Al becomes a frequent third for Laurie and James.

Told in the POV of James Cape, we meet him as a young teen who has a crush on his mother’s best friend Laurie. Laurie and Gillie, James’ mom, meet through classes and though they have an age difference it doesn’t hinder their friendship at all. Laurie becomes a constant at the Cape home being a friend to Gillie and James’ father Terry. Laurie is ten years older than James and is quite frankly the guy who helped James realize that he’s gay and James crushes hard on Laurie. The crush and his sexuality are kept quiet with only James’ best friend, since age 10, Al knowing the truth. Al teases James about his crush but being the ultimate best friend, commiserates with James on the unrequited love and faithfully treats Laurie with disdain when James is hurt.

When James officially becomes an adult and Laurie is finally single, James decides to lay his love on the line with the truth and lays a kiss on Laurie. Ugh. Laurie rejects James with the classics “this isn’t right” and “you’re young” and “our age difference” and “I’m the only gay guy you know so…” and “you need to experiment at uni” bullshit so James takes off to school and tries to sow his wild oats. That doesn’t work for James who consistently wants Laurie to want him back and makes a decision that if he does hook up he will only top, saving himself for Laurie.

Years pass at Uni with James having a few flings but no one compares to Laurie and seeing Laurie at home over the summers doesn’t help the infatuation. When James confesses his sexual frustration to Al – who is openly bisexual – James is offered a no strings sexual relationship with Al. At first this seemed odd to me with how close they are (Gillie refers to Al as her other son) but Al’s offer is so real to their friendship, I agreed right along with James to move forward.

I know this book is supposed to be about James and Laurie and how they will come to be an established couple in Love Plus One but let me tell you, James and Al together are hot. Goodness. There was more than one time I totally forgot about Laurie and the hopeless romantic in me wanting declarations falling from the mouths of these two best friends but it doesn’t happen. James and Al really are best friends who just happen to have passionate and off the charts hot sex together but keep everything else in the friend zone. They need and use one another without jealousy and honestly, it was quite beautiful to see.

So, when it comes times for more James pining for Laurie and Laurie keeping him at arm’s length, I was glad that James always had Al for whatever he needed. But that end? That admission from Laurie to Gillie about fantasizing about fucking her son and the swoon worthy moments that follow and then the intimacy? Yeah, this was a slow burn for sure between James and Laurie with a side of Al to be there for mutual, moral and sexual support.

Now, I am needy for Love Plus One and thank goodness it’s already out seeing how again, I read this series out of order. I hope we get to learn how Al becomes a third and how Laurie dealt with learning that Al and James had been fucking throughout the years Laurie was in love with James but trying to do the right thing.

A review copy was provided.

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