Title ~ Better Than Chance
Author ~ Lane Hayes
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Genre ~ M/M Romance
Release ~ 22nd January 2014
Rating ~ 5 Stars
A Better Than Story
Jay Reynolds has a crush on his project leader at work, but an office romance with Peter Morgan isn't likely to happen since Peter is straight. Worse, Jay soon fears Peter is homophobic, and his initial infatuation turns to loathing. But one fateful night, Jay is forced to acknowledge things aren't quite as they seem with Peter. Suddenly, his crush is back and unbelievably, Peter is interested too.
They begin a friends with benefits arrangement, which becomes difficult for Jay when he starts falling for his sexy boss. Peter’s past issues keep him from committing, and Jay has to decide if he can be satisfied with friendship if Peter isn’t ready to take a chance on anything more.
I read Lane's first book, Better Than Good, in July 2013, absolutely loved it and gave it 5 stars, so when I was offered a chance of reviewing this one I jumped at it! I must admit I was surprised to find it was Peter and Jays story because in book one they're already an established couple and obviously very much in love so I was expecting a new couple and the build up to a new romance, but that's so not the case and I'm really happy with the outcome.
The book actually begins in the timeline of book one with Jay informing us that he and Peter are about to get married after being together for five years so its pretty much a foregone conclusion that this is going to have a HEA, no spoilers there. However, when Jay starts to tell us how the two of them got together and the book goes into flashback, that's when the fun and games really starts!
"Obviously there is a story here or I wouldn't be on the verge of agreeing to a lifetime commitment. I feel compelled to relate it because I have learned so much over these past few years from this man and our relationship. One important lesson is an age old one. Never judge a book by its cover."
And that, my friends, is the whole basis of this story....
Everything is told from Jays POV, so Peter and all his hang ups are only seen through the eyes of one person which I think works really well for this story because Peter is a very complex person whose character unfolds slowly as the story progresses and definitely not an easy man to read as Jay finds out. Mind you that works both ways as Jay can be just as complicated in his own way, totally messing with Peters views on relationships and his life in general!
They both work at the same lobbying firm in Washington, but generally only in passing until they're paired up on a new project and it turns out that Peter is going to be project leader. Jay has a huge crush on him, so is excited to be finally working up close and personal with the guy. At this point he's convinced Peter's straight but he's drop dead gorgeous and everything Jay finds attractive in a man so he's wallowing in pure lust. Unfortunately that soon turns sour when Peter starts nitpicking at his presentations over the course of the project and pretty soon there's a real love/hate thing happening on Jays side so of course this is where the misunderstandings start.
These two guys dance around each other, making assumptions that aren't always true and hitting one brick wall after another until they finally settle into a friends with benefits relationship that you know from the word go isn't going to stay that way as its so obvious that the attraction they feel for each other is deepening by the day but true love never runs smooth and because of Peters complexities and Jays habit of jumping to conclusions when he's nervous, their relationship goes through some bumps until they finally wake up and smell the coffee... with the help of their wise friends who are always around to help them see the light. No Matt in this because its pre book one but the lovely Aaron is around to do what BFF's do best and he's just as gorgeous as ever. I Love him as a supporting character just as much as I did when he was a MC.
"... you were only looking at the surface. You weren't listening. You saw this gorgeous man you thought was unobtainable, you made assumptions at every turn, and never in your favour. You assumed he was straight and taken. You assumed he was an asshole until he did something to make you reconsider. Maybe Katie's right. Maybe where Peters concerned you are playing it safe because you're assuming he's going to reject you. Maybe you need to take a chance."
This is good old fashioned romance at its best. Yes, it uses all the tried and tested tropes that appear in every m/m romance to move the story along to its satisfying conclusion but the difference here is that whereas some writers just feel flat, formulaic and samey, for me, Lane Hayes gets it oh so right as she puts her own spin on it, with her easy writing style, endearing, loveable characters, delicious sexual tension, great chemistry, sizzling love scenes and best of all that instant connection you get when you become grabbed straight away by the characters voice. What is it they say? If it ain't broke, don't fix it! I knew within minutes I was going to thoroughly enjoy my journey with Jay and I was never disappointed. She already had me with Aaron and Matts story and she pulled me into Jay and Peters with ease! Ms Hayes tells a great story.
My ratings are always based on the pure escapism and enjoyment I get as a reader from a book and this one ticked all my boxes and definitely floated my boat so that's why its 5 stars from me. I loved it! I’m just hoping there's more from the Better Than series, if there is then I can't wait.
Book # 1 ~ Better Than Good
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About Lane Hayes
Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is spending more time these days doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids, and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.
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