Title ~ Better Than Friends (Better Than #3)
Author ~ Lane Hayes
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 16th June 2014
Genre ~ M/M Romance, Contemporary
When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.
Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.
Aww Lane, you've done it again. Made me fall in love with two of your guys to the point where I didn't want their story to end. Annnnd.... just like Curt Townsend, who first appeared as one of Matts best mates in book one, I had a bit of an epiphany when you introduced us both to 'Him with a capitol H'. My oh my! I swear my jaw dropped and I think I actually did dribble a bit when he walked on page:
"Tall like Peter, maybe six feet three or four with dark wavy hair worn long enough to brush the collar of his black tuxedo coat. He had sharp even features and the muscular build of a linebacker, but the longish hair made me think rock star or pirate. I wondered if he had any tattoo's...."
Meet older sexy Mo Fo Jack Farinelli. As for the tattoo's? YES!!!!! He has tatts, wears leather because he owns a gay leather club (not BDSM) and rides Harley's, in fact he sells the bloody things too from his own motorcycle shop! OMG! This man is Gorgeous (I'm giving that a capitol letter too), and he's not just sex on legs, he's really funny and touchy feely and just plain scrumptious. But that's the problem for Curtis, how in gods name could a man like that ever be interested in an ordinary, eminent domain lawyer who, okay, isn't bad looking but in terms of sex appeal and charisma doesn't hold a candle to this beautiful man. Then there's also the small but significant fact that he's also the ex of extraordinarily handsome and also yummy Peter, who if you've been reading this excellent series is one of the main characters from the last book and is marrying his lover Jay at the beginning of this story. In fact that’s how Curt and Jack meet as they're both guests at the wedding.
So begins a really enjoyable, fun, sexy, opposites attract, friends with benefits style romance that fulfilled all my expectations and kept me happily stuck to my kindle till the end, where I got pouty because it had actually finished! You'll noticed I said friends with benefits? Well that's the type of relationship these two end up having because of course they don't make it easy for themselves do they! But that's what I loved about this particular pairing. The attraction is obviously mutual for them both from the moment they meet but Curt's inability to accept that he's good enough for Jack, and Jack's insistence that he doesn't 'date' for reasons that we get to know as both Curt and ourselves start to learn more about him, puts obstacles in the way of them getting together as a proper romantic couple but whenever they are in each other's company they can't keep their hands off each other and that generates some awesome (and I mean awesome) sex. Over time, as well as the sex they begin to settle into a true friendship because one thing they do both share is a love of sports, baseball in particular so they have that in common and we get the pleasure of watching their relationship twist and turn until the inevitable happens.
As you can tell I had the major hots for the lovely Jack but I have to also say that I fell just as hard for Curt, who in his own way is a real character, in fact he's actually the type of character who could, if not written well, be the sort to grate on your nerves at times because he gets pissy when things don't go his way, talks himself into things and see's obstacles that aren't really there, holds things inside and of course refuses to see his own hotness and worth. Never once though did I find myself getting annoyed at him because under all that I just found him adorable. I wanted to shake him sometimes when he got it wrong but like Jack —who as well as being Mr Gorgeous is also Mr Thoughtful and Funny — he made me laugh too and that's another thing I loved when these two were together. Despite the blinkers stopping them from taking their relationship to the next level, they still bantered, had great conversations, laughed, smexed and sparked off each other because of the sexual tension that gave me more than a few tummy churning moments and I love when I get that sort of a connection with a book. Plus the underlying romantic feel was never far away...Simmering and bubbling under the surface. I really connected with these guys because as well as loving the sexiness of them, I honestly liked them as people too.
"There would be no trying to convince myself of all the reasons we were wrong for each other. He was fourteen years older, he owned a bar and a motorcycle shop, he had tattoos and a strange penchant for keeping things neat and tidy. None of it mattered and it wouldn't change the fact that simply being near him made everything okay."
I have to make a special mention of the sex/love scenes I said were awesome earlier. I love hot sex as much as anybody who reads this genre, or any erotic romance for that matter but after a while they can get repetitive and I think a lot of us, at some time or another do a bit of page skipping when that happens. No page skipping for me in this — AT. ALL! I'm a big fan of well written foreplay and kisses and the way that Jack kisses Curt; the licks, the nibbles, the softly brushed lip against lip... Ooh it was just delicious and the follow up action was definitely not so shabby either. The chemistry was perfect and when an author gets that right, that's when the love scenes become a joy to read for me and not just an obligatory part of the romance.
"Jack was an expert kisser. I could have happily stood in the circle of his arms all night with his lips sealed against my own, his tongue prodding, licking and taking everything on offer and then some."
Jack owns a leather club but this is nothing to do with BDSM as he explains to Curt who's usual outlook on sex is a bit vanilla, but after a few sessions with Jack he realises what he's missing out on. There is however a very sensual, sizzling love scene which while I wouldn't class it as domination, Jack does 'Take Control' of a suited and booted Curt and the result is steamy, seductive and just plain lush!
I've looked forward to reading this for a long time and sometimes the expectation outweighs what you actually get but in this case my anticipation that this would be a really great read remained intact. The overall feelings I'm left with are pure enjoyment, romantic escapism and sweet satisfaction. I rode the ups and downs with them, rooted all the way through and came away with a great big smile on my face. Oh and as well as seeing Peter and Jay from Better Than Chance it was also great to spend time with Matt and Aaron again from Better Than Good. I think even if you haven't read the first two books you could easily read this as a standalone but I think I'd definitely advise reading the full series because each story is a real delight! One of my faves.
Now I'm wondering if a certain British character, who lucked out slightly in this book will get his man in the next one...or will it be someone completely different? Here come those expectations again...no pressure Lane! **winks**
Series Reading Order
Better Than Friends
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.
Lane will be gifting one lucky reader an eBook of Better Than Friends… all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.