Danny Marshal has always lived his life out loud, but his androgynous appearance is only a small part of who he is. One night at a frat party, Danny meets Lance Lenard, football jock and apparent straight guy. Lance is shocked when he’s immediately attracted to Danny’s feminine side. Danny is happy to be the subject of Lance’s first man-on-man experiment—until Lance begins to struggle with the fact that despite his appearance, Danny is indeed a man.
Lance’s whole life has been focused on his goal of playing in the NFL, and he knows those dreams will be smashed if anyone finds out about his little secret. Although Lance has grown to crave Danny’s touch, he’s not willing to give Danny what he’s grown to crave: a boyfriend who’s proud to love him for every flamboyant and snarky cell in his body.
Life sends Danny and Lance in different directions, each of them focused on his respective Plan A. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
I have two words for this novel: smoking hot.
I have to admit that the cover blurb didn’t quite catch me, but on the recommendation of a friend, I gave this book a try. Boiled down to its premise, it’s pretty basic: an out and proud young twink falls for a supposedly straight jock. But, as I’ve often found, the best of novels can come from the simplest of premises. The key is how it’s carried out. And SJD Peterson carries it out extremely well.
The budding relationship between Danny and Lance is a joy to read — they are lifelike and their dialogue is realistic. The sexual tension (and the romance bubbling beneath) is evident on every page. As it grows and grows, and eventually reaches a head, the dramatic and difficult decisions Danny must make evoked very real emotional responses from me — something that doesn’t happen too often with a book.
The narrative is told in first person through Danny’s perspective and I think this is the one weak point of the book (but it’s only a minor weakness) — because we’ve got Danny telling us everything, he tends to get a little over-analytical at points. It could really be down to personal taste, though, as I have a strong dislike of first person narrative. All that being said, if the same over-analytical discussion were to happen in third person, it would likely be a lot more annoying to me — so the first person choice was really the saving grace for me.
The cover blurb also seems to imply there is a lot of the dual lives of Lance — gay lover and straight jock — but it really didn’t come up much in the book. I think the tension would have been increased nicely with a bit more of that going on. I found that the dual lives often came up in Danny’s thoughts — so it was told to the reader rather than shown. I kept expecting them to be seen in public and Lance totally dissing Danny — but I don’t recall that happening.
However, back to the positives. The only thing that was more enjoyable than the dialogue and budding romance was the sex. Of the gay erotica romance and gay erotica I’ve read over the past year, I’ve often felt that some of the sex scenes were a bit off… like something wasn’t quite ringing true. This is definitely one of Peterson’s strongest points — she writes smoking hot sex scenes that are very deep in emotion and sensation. They build up nicely, too, in the individual scenes and over the course of the novel.
Plan B was an emotional roller coaster — for the characters and for the reader. The joy of their relationship brought a smile to my face, the sex made my heart beat fast, and the rough scenes had me worried over how the characters would work it out in the end… and when things take a very bad turn and the next chapter jumps ahead three years, I distinctly remember saying “three years later??? What???” I didn’t want to make that time jump, I wanted to see how things would develop. (In hindsight, the time jump was a very effective move, as it made the ending so much stronger.)
Plan B by SJD Peterson is definitely one of my top gay erotic romance reads — enjoyable from cover to cover. It was steamy, turbulent, and enjoyable.