Keenan Underwood is senior sales manager for a pharmaceutical firm in San Francisco. He’s good at what he does, meeting his sales goal two months early. After closing a big sale with another company, Keenan’s friend David tells him they’ll be going to a new bar that night whether he wants to or not. David starts telling Keenan about the bar’s hot owner, and when Keenan asks the man’s name, he’s told it’s Pablo Cotilla. Keenan can hardly believe his ears. His childhood best friend is named Pablo Cotilla. Now, he’s excited about going out that night because he wants to see if this man is indeed his friend.
Pablo owns a bar called the Overrated Llama. It’s only been open less than a month, and things are going well. One night, while helping to tend the bar, he winds up looking into a familiar pair of blue eyes. It’s his long lost friend Keenan. Pablo is so excited and he joins Keenan and his friends for the evening. A great time is had by all, and Pablo is overjoyed when Keenan asks him to have lunch the next day.
Soon, the men begin spending more time together and become close once again. Eventually, they realize they’ve both fallen for each other, but they’re scared to admit their feelings for fear of being rejected. Once they finally do confess, their lives become entwined. Now, as a couple, Keenan and Pablo have to deal with jealousy, mixed signals, and arguments about money. Will they be able to get past these issues and live happily ever after? Or will they wind up in the friend zone forever?
I love best friends to lovers stories. It’s one of my favorite tropes, which is why I decided to give Falling for His Best Friend a shot. I’m sorry to say I didn’t care for this one at all. The story itself has good bones, but the rest…plot, characters, and writing didn’t catch or hold me through the whole book.
First things first, I want to tell you that I felt like I was always being told rather than shown. Descriptions feel clinical. The same goes for the dialogue. It’s stilted and overly formal and the conversations don’t really sound real. Here is an example. The scene is Keenan and his friend David. David is trying to tell Keenan he has a “type.”
“You like them much shorter than your own height of six feet and three inches. I noticed you rejecting men with huge, bulky muscles. Instead, you would chase after those men with (sic) leaner build. I have a strong feeling you prefer men who weigh less than your own two hundred and twenty pounds. Most importantly, all your one-night stands had dark features. The colors of their hair and eyes ranged from dark brown to black. There were only three occasions when you ended up with men who had dark blue eyes and dark green eyes. How am I doing so far?”
There were actually several occasions where Keenan’s height and weight are mentioned in exactly the same way…unnecessary repetition. There is also a sex scene where the words “his boyfriend” is written six times in one paragraph. It’s frustrating to see that. I want to actually be able to picture what’s happening in a story rather than be bogged down with details that have already been mentioned.
I didn’t feel like I connected with Keenan or Pablo. They didn’t seem kind or loving at all on a lot of occasions. There were times when they laughed at each other, rather than laughing with each other. Toward the end, Pablo says something that is completely out of character, and I’m pretty sure it was meant to bring a sort of conflict to the story, but it turned me off Pablo completely. The scene is Keenan and Pablo arriving at Pablo’s father’s birthday party. Their gift is large, so Keenan decides to carry it, and Pablo melts down.
“‘The gift,” Keenan explained and winced a little at how gruff his voice sounded like at the moment. ‘I’ll carry it into the house.”
Pablo narrowed his eyes at Keenan. “Excuse me?”
“It’s heavy, and I–”
“Are you implying I’m too weak to lift it up all the way into the house?”
Keenan was both flabbergasted and bewildered by Pablo’s fury toward him. “No. I was just–”
“Is it because I’m a fucking bottom?”
A few lines later, Pablo is still angry.
“Pablo abruptly jabbed his index finger against Keenan’s chest, startling him into silence and causing him to take a couple of steps backward. “No! You listen to me. Just because you’re the top in this relationship, it doesn’t make me any less of a man. The fact that I enjoy getting fucked by a dick doesn’t automatically make me the weaker one in this relationship. Got it?”
Once this was over, even after Pablo realizes his mistake and apologizes to Keenan, I lost any respect for the character.
I know this is turning into quite a long winded review, but I did want to mention one more issue between the men. Pablo’s parents are very wealthy, and when they were children, Keenan didn’t really realize that, but now as adults he does. He feels like he’s a lesser man because he’s not rich than they are. He makes snarky comments about them being “rich and famous” and such. It’s obvious Pablo doesn’t care one bit, bit it’s a real sticking point with Keenan. He even feels sloppy because his suit isn’t as expensive as the other guests’. He calls it “shabby.” However, in the first two pages of the book, it was made known Keenan was the top sales manager at the pharmaceutical company he works for. He had just closed a 500 million dollar deal with another company, and he had met his personal sales goal two months early. I may be mistaken, but I think if his sales are that high, his salary should be more than enough to have a nice suit (Wouldn’t he need one anyway if he’s meeting with high dollar people?) and be able to pay for dinner.
All in all, I came away disappointed with Falling for His Best Friend. The details were overwhelming and the writing was repetitive. I wanted to like/love this one, but unfortunately, I can’t in good conscience recommend it.