Bishop has been in love with both of his best friends since his teen years, but a relationship with either of them has never seemed possible. He and Hudson hook up frequently, but Bishop knows Hudson isn’t interested in more. And Leo has been living in New York since college. While Leo is now returning to California and crashing with Bishop until he finds his own place, Bishop doesn’t think Leo sees him as more than a friend. Not to mention things are complicated by a decade-long fight between Hudson and Leo.
When Bishop meets the gorgeous Riot, he is eager for a night with the sexy bartender. The guys have great chemistry and it seems like they might have a chance at something more, but Bishop’s feelings about his two friends leave him struggling to figure out where Riot might fit in. Bishop feels guilty that he is crushing on three guys, and knows he needs to make some decisions about what he wants.
That is, until Riot mentions he is polyamorous and opens Bishop’s eyes to a whole new way to understand himself. He comes to realize that he is polyamorous as well, that his love for both his friends isn’t selfishness, but in fact his ability to love multiple people at once. As Bishop begins to build more of a connection with Riot, he also starts to explore things with Hudson and Leo. And to his surprise, Riot connects with both of those men as well. It seems like Bishop might have a chance for all that he ever dreamed about with a relationship with all three men he has grown to love. But with Hudson and Leo still fighting, not to mention the complications of a four-person relationship, his perfect fantasy might be hard to make reality.
Four Letter Word totally caught me up from the beginning and I just loved this story! It is the second book in K.M. Neuhold’s Love Logic series, following the fabulous Rocket Science. While we met Bishop and Hudson in that story, and Pax and Elijah have cameos here, this one stands alone completely so you can jump right in easily.
I’ll admit, I was really curious to see how Neuhold would navigate the four-person dynamic in this story. Sometimes large poly/menage relationships in romance can lean hard toward the erotica/porny side, but I have to say, Neuhold has really crafted a story with a lot of depth and some great character and relationship development. One thing that makes the story work so well is that in many ways it rotates around Bishop. He is sort of the pivot point between all three men, having been best friends for years with Leo and Hudson, and being the first one to connect with Riot. While the book gives us POV chapters from all the men, the structure of the story allows us to see the relationships in many ways through Bishop’s eyes, which I think helps to focus the plot.
Neuhold also does an excellent job really letting us see the individual relationships develop between each of the couples before they become a foursome. Neuhold makes the men distinct, and each of these individual relationships distinct as well, with the connections built upon different foundations. After Riot meets Bishop, he befriends both Hudson and Leo, and (after some communication with Bishop) begins exploring things with each of them as well. While Bishop may be the pivot point among them, Riot is the guide. He is the one with experience with poly relationships and he helps the men navigate the process and figure out how to make it work. The flow from individual couples having separate relationships to a four-person joint relationship happens really fluidly and feels very natural. These men all connect so well and love one another and Neuhold made me believe in how well they fit.
The story is not heavy on conflict, I think mostly because there are so many characters and relationships to develop that the story flows well without it. But there is the big issue of Leo and Hudson fighting. Even as it looks like all the other twosomes are working out, they are barely able to speak to each other. Neuhold does a nice job of showing Bishop’s stress as the pieces are falling into place, but two of the men he loves are still at odds. Hudson made a big mistake years ago, and while he wants to apologize, Leo barely wants to speak with him. I appreciated that the roots of the fight have some serious stakes. Hudson’s mistake was made of negligence and irresponsibility, not cruelty or callousness. But it was still a big mistake that could justify the lengthy coldness between them.
So I really loved this one and got totally drawn into the romance. Neuhold just does such a great job with these characters and building the relationships. I loved watching each of the men fall for the others. There is a lot happening here, but Neuhold really pulls it all together brilliantly. I loved this one and can highly recommend it.