Title ~ Better Than Safe
Author ~ Lane Hayes
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 25th September 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Paul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, and he doesn’t want to relive the heartache.
Seth Landau is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept that things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.
One of my top go to m/m contemporary romance writers in the genre, Lane Hayes always keeps me engrossed by creating engaging, three dimensional characters whose combustible chemistry never fails to deliver the type of sizzling on page sexual tension I absolutely love...as well as some mighty fine man loving! And with the pairing this time of the slightly mature, touch prickly at times, Brit Paul Fallon and part Native American Seth Landau, the gloriously unpredictable, sex on a stick, gorgeous young model/artist/musician…she's ticked all the boxes for me. I fell in love with these guys the moment they set eyes on each other and generated a palpable spark that had me totally glued to this particular instalment in the Better Than series, possibly making it my favourite Lane Hayes love story up to now.
This particular opposites attracts style romance of 'solid, more centred older character' meets 'beautiful, erratic, quirky, younger guy' has been done many times, but when it's done with style and enigmatic characters whose on page presence holds your attention, it always works its magic on me.
I adored Paul but have to say it was Seth's charismatic personality that called to me. He's that beautiful, elusive creature I think we'd all secretly love to have our lives turned upside down by. One minute exasperatingly fickle, wayward, moody and a tad immature...the next...thoughtful, funny and teasingly sensual; with flashes of fierce intelligence and a shrewdness that as we get to see more of him, shows much deeper layers to his character and past history than first impressions indicate. The sort of intriguing, contradictory character who provokes but fascinates at the same time, making everyone around him almost pale into insignificance. Gorgeous to look at and magnetic.
The attraction is instant but their first couple of get togethers don’t go well at all. To the point that despite the inexorable pull he's feeling, Paul is all too happy to put it down to experience and move on yet circumstances keep drawing them back together. The problem is, Seth is Paul's wet dream but he's also his worst nightmare; a quandary that has the thirty five year fashion advertising exec continously fighting a losing battle with the twenty something multi talented model who keeps popping up in his life, tying him in emotional knots about starting anything remotely romantic with the beautiful man.
But resistance is futile!
I totally connected with Paul while reading this, and have to admit I'd have struggled to resist the temptations of sexy, provocative Seth too. He's already been burnt in both his family and earlier love life because of his involvement with artists and the driven, temperamental life they tend to lead. His painter father and his muse, Pauls mother, an example of self absorbed parents whose unstable relationship overshadowed their parental obligations. Leaving Paul to grow up, not so much unloved but generally ignored and left to his own devices throughout his childhood. Then to fall under the influence of yet another volatile, egotistical painter…who only enforced the negative side of being with someone so immersed in their art…he's shied away from ever getting involved with that world again, until Seth enters his life and suddenly it’s a case of "unstoppable force meets immovable object!"
Wanting the solid relationship his friends have—all the couples from the previous books in the series: Aaron and Matt, Jay and Peter and Curt and Jack— Paul is looking to settle down but given the choice it wouldn't be with anyone as young, contradictory or flighty as Seth. He wants stable and uncomplicated but as the book progresses you begin to realise he's probably the perfect foil for Seth, and vice versa for Paul. When they give in to the physical pull, the sex is so hot it could melt the polar icecaps and sensual to the point that I got shivers when they were between the sheets (or wherever, Lol), and all of a doodah when the UST between them was at full force. Oooh Tingly stuff!
In terms of background drama, there are emotional obstacles and certain destructive people in both their lives to get past, but for me this was all about the seduction and subsequent surrender of a guy finally realizing that sometimes the things we think we should be running away from are actually the things we should be running towards…and I loved watching how the two of them finally came to that conclusion.
I love Lane's writing style, it's classy, sophisticated, smooth and I think it gets better with each book she writes. I've been a fan from the beginning and this story and it's clever characterisations just reinforces why I look forward so much to each Lane Hayes new release. I know everyone’s reading experience is subjective, and my love for the story and characters personal to me, but I can wholeheartedly say if you’ve never dipped a toe in a Lane Hayes novel you're missing out on something pretty special. A sublime read for yours truly, I devoured it in one sitting. Next please!