**advance reader copy received via NetGalley**
The Best Laid Plans by multi-genre author Lauren Gallagher (aka L.A. Witt/Lori Gallagher) is a contemporary romance with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual and asexual romance (LGBTQIA). The story focuses on a M/M couple – Shahid, a gay Muslim man, and Gabe who is a bisexual man that was raised Catholic. After years together the two have been trying to adopt, but the doors keep closing once people find out about the same sex couple or Shahid’s religion. Gabe’s best friend Kendra is still a little burned after divorcing her cheating husband, and while she does not think she is ready to have children she definitely wants to help Shahid and Gabe.
I had definite doubts about how book this would work out after reading the description. The author stacked a lot of different conflicts within the story – a same sex mixed religion married couple that evolves into a ménage. I felt that the author either did an appropriate amount of research on the religions or had enough knowledge beforehand to prevent conflict or misrepresent issues with sexuality and the religions. Instead of ignoring the potential issues with the relationships and the religions, she made a point of addressing them. She touched on issues with acceptance of Middle Easterners, Muslims, non-traditional sexed couples, and even ménage couples. In addition, she managed to not only retain the friendship between all the members of the romance throughout the conflict, but strengthened the relationship as a whole. With steamy scenes, genuine life conflicts, and likeable characters this book is a win.