Review: Three's the Charm (Maths #3) by P.A. Friday

James, Laurie, and Al are settling into a surprisingly easily life as a triad. Finally, things seem to be going well for them. But when an unscrupulous journalist takes advantage of Al’s blossoming film career and the men’s unusual relationship to write an exposé article, cracks begin to show. Can the three survive with their love, their careers, and even their sanity intact?


I have a strong bias when it comes to the Maths series. I’ve said it before in my reviews for the first two books, you must read them out of order to really get the emotional and romantic depth of these characters. Read One Plus One, then Love Plus One and then this one to meet James, his best friend Al and the love of their lives Laurie long before this story happens. Just trust me, it makes more sense that way and you need to know their story fully.

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way.
Seven weeks. Had it really only been seven weeks since the three of them ‘officially’ became a triad? Their lives had been so complicatedly bound up together for so long that it was difficult to work out where one stage had ended and another begun.
The book is told through the three POV’s of our triad, James, Laure and Al and that first chapter starts off so hot with these men doing what they do best, getting it on and making Al submit. I agree with James and Al that Laurie is fuckhot when he gets all dominant with Al. For someone who is quiet and reserved, Laurie knows how to make Al beg for what he wants and then give it to him until he can’t talk straight. It’s so freaking hot to read but while they are good at sex, it’s not what the book is about.

This book really goes into what these three meant one another as friends and lovers. When the question comes up on when and how do they tell Gillie – James’ mother, Al’s “adopted” mother and Laurie’s best friend – they are in fact a triad they men talk it out and decide it’s time they owned up to what their relationship means outside of their home. Of course, Gillie is Gillie and that whole conversation is amazing even if the three men were nervous as heck. It was great seeing them squirm and then wonderful for them to be able to show affection openly.

But while the triad is committed and yes in love, they accept each other for who they are and they know Al still has sexual partners outside their committed relationship. This has always been the case and Al never sleeps with anyone Laurie and James don’t know about and the men and women Al sleeps with know about his relationship with James and Laurie. But when Al misjudges a date and the date comes off with homophobic remarks, he forgets himself and mouths off to the woman. That woman happens to be a journalist and decides to take her rejection and her hate for homosexuals out on Al and his lovers in the worst way.
“We can do this. […] you’re not alone.”
“That’s the problem, isn’t it?”
“Would you rather be?”
“No,” he admitted softly. “You know I wouldn’t. […] My boys. My men. My blokes. Whatever. Even if the worst happens. They’re worth it.”
This article hurt to read and it hurt to have Al, then James and Laurie read it. This woman spins the truth into terrible lies that hurt this triad and made them question what they feel for themselves and each other. This book hurt and it hurt in that good way only angst can. Goodness. I knew that these three had a tendency to tug at my heartstrings but they go far beyond that and actually made me put my hand to my chest it hurt so much. There is so much self-examination in this and examination of the three as a triad that I loved it. I know some readers have a hard time understanding how a polyamorous relationship would or could work and this obstacle the three men face really give them an opportunity to dissect who they are and what they want. Make no mistake, Laurie, Al and James are in love with one another but the dynamic of their love and their relationship is tested by the damaging article and I loved how each of them took time to be truly cerebral about themselves and their relationship.
“You’re not very good at being loved, Al, are you?”
I adore the bones off of Al. I have from the beginning with his passion for living his truth and being who he is without apology. His parents were awful and left him alone when they moved to the States and his friendship with James has always beautiful. Al is a talented filmmaker and while being promiscuous, it dedicated to this new relationship with his boyfriends. But people need to stop hurting our Al. First, he was raped and though the horrific act brought him to James and Laurie in this new way, it hurt our Al and it’s unacceptable. Now, this bitch and a bad journalist takes shots at Al and his lovers that cuts Al deeply and this makes this ginger ragey. Al, though slight in stature, can handle his own criticism but when the journalist aims for his lovers, Al takes the blame and wants to do whatever he can to save the hurt off James and Laurie, even if it means leaving. But neither of the three could have predicted who would be the one to walk out the door after reading the article.
It had mattered so much from the very beginning. It mattered so much still. Laurie mattered so much.
Laurie, Laurie, Laurie. You broke me in the book and if it weren’t for what you gave James and then Al at the end, I am not sure where we would be. You always seemed to be the strong one, the oldest of the three who put his wants off for James so long to be respectful and then falling for Al was never supposed to be on your radar but you did. You love both of your men in ways you never expected and life without them is impossible to imagine. But what you go through, all that you thought you were was heartbreaking to read. Just thoughts of whiskey, broken glasses and a hard slap brings tears to my eyes. I am thankful it was all worked out but you put me heart through the ringer, Sir.
James loved Al to bits, and couldn’t even begin to imagine living without him, but Laurie was… Laurie.
James, dear sweet guitar playing James you started all of this. First having a crush on your mother’s best friend and then finding sexual release with your best friend to falling for both men, you began this triad with simply being you and you could resist you or your arse? You became so strong in this book, being there for both your lovers with compassion, affection and justification beyond what anyone could have imagined. I loved watching you grow and I loved watching you ask for something you never thought you’d want and get it. Your desperation for a resolution made you think clearly and gave reason to the situation both Laurie and Al faced. You are simply stunning.

Wow. Yeah, this book was good and I loved every word of it, even the ones that made me cry. Three’s the Charm shows the success of James, Laurie and Al becoming a strong triad in and out of the bedroom. The men have seen what they could lose and know all of it is worth fighting for. I got so lost in this story and loved how each man craved the other for support and comfort and… and… sigh.

Good book, was good.

Happy ginger, is happy.

Long review is done.

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