Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Tyler Stevens
Length: 7 hours, 25 minutes
Curt is a little nervous about attending his first gay wedding solo, but the guys are his friends and his plan is just to enjoy the day out. Work keeps him busy with not much time for dating and as a lawyer he’s confident, but in his social life not as much. His lack of confidence becomes more evident when his eyes land upon Jack, who Curt immediately knows is completely out of his league.
Jack is older and successful and absolutely gorgeous. Jack moves comfortably through life and thoroughly enjoys all that it has to offer. Curt thinks they can’t have anything in common, but Jack is at once attracted to Curt and they bond over baseball.
The men develop a friendship that only deepens with shared intimacy, but Curt still can’t believe Jack would ever want him for anything more. Jack has had plenty of relationships, has been hurt one time too many, and doesn’t date in the traditional sense. But Curt may just be the exception and if the guys can get out of their own heads, they just might be able to have the future that neither of them saw coming.
Better Than Friends continues Hayes’ Better Than series. This time it’s Curt, who was Matt’s roommate in book one, and Jack, who was Peter’s ex and was introduced in book two. For the most part, this book can be read as a stand alone, although we get to revisit briefly with a few characters from the previous books, and having read those books it was fun to catch up with the lives of those characters.
So Curt, man that guy is hard on himself. He sees himself as just an average guy and really nothing special. His social life has been non-existent for a while and then all of a sudden he finds himself with not one, but two men interested in him. Well, yeah, during the course of the book while Curt is lusting after and spending time with Jack, he is also platonically dating Paul. Paul, who is described as “nice” and is a sort of a safety net for Curt since he thinks Jack will realize Curt is not good enough for him, but Curt feels zero chemistry with Paul.
The book is told solely from Curt’s point of view and we get to know him, his family issues, and his self esteem issues fairly well. Jack was more of an interesting character for me here and I certainly would have liked to have known even more about him. He is Curt’s opposite with his tattoos and his businesses of owning a motorcycle shop and a gay bar. He’s been hurt and felt left behind in life and relationships and, while he certainly enjoys taking men to bed, he just can’t let himself get emotionally closer. But when he meets Curt, well, that becomes a different story.
The guys balanced each other out really well with Curt’s insecurities and Jack’s overall confidence and, well, hotness. While I did understand to a point what Curt was doing with Paul and it fit into Curt’s way of thinking, he also could have handled the entire situation much better. But it then also did open the opportunity for conflict between Curt and Jack. This wasn’t my absolute favorite of the series and the format felt similar to book two, but it was definitely a worthwhile read of two guys looking to feel not so alone in the world.
Tyler Stevens continues to narrate this series and continues put forth a spectacular performance. I really enjoy the smooth, addictive quality to his voice. There is a definite distinction to both Curt and Jack and his inflections and timing were spot on. Paul has a British accent and Stevens handles that with ease as well. The voices of the characters from the previous books in the series remain consistent and instantly recognizable and this entire series is one that definitely should be put on your audio list.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.