Best Man (Book 1)
Lily Morton came as a highly recommended author from various sources. I recently read and enjoyed her newest novel, a paranormal romance, and was pointed here as an excellent intro to her contemporary romance. Zeb and Jesse immediately captured my heart with their distinctive personalities, which are large enough to be memorable but subtle enough not to fall into stereotype.
The story and overarching plot are evident from a mile away, but I adored the journey nonetheless. The premise itself is a bit bonkers, but it once again plays to Zeb’s character (and those of the “villains”). How Jesse handles the situation of a house party filled with people who appear to hate his friend is an utter delight, and I giggled out loud many times while reading.
I may be a sucker for weddings, but not quite in this context. Zeb’s disruption of set expectations (and his obvious character development moment) was all the more satisfying in this regard, as were his encounters with others about his feelings for Jesse. Honestly, Zeb was the only one concerned about the age gap between them, which is an element to this story but not the entire premise. Overall, this is a medium angst book that felt very low angst because of every character interaction’s humorous tone, even when the discussion itself is meant to be on the more serious side.
We’re introduced to two other potential couples in this book, and I look forward to reading their stories as well. While I didn’t mind the obvious plot arc to this book, I hope the others in this series feature more unique storylines.
Charlie Sunshine (Book 2)
This plot’s trajectory is pretty evident from the get-go in this adorable “friends-to-lovers” story. Charlie and Misha have such a close friendship that it’s no wonder neither man has much luck with relationships; they already get all of their emotional needs met by each other. However, their personality differences are what prompt the problems with this scenario. Misha might be content with a never-ending string of random hookups, but Charlie has no idea why he can’t seem to manage a full-fledged romance.
Part of this is also because Misha has functionally ruined him for other men, and thus Charlie ends up settling for less than he deserves. Then, it’s easy for the potential partners to let Charlie’s epilepsy chase them off when Misha is always nearby to swoop into caretaker mode. As an added wrinkle, the roommates-in-love trope is a mere step away from “there’s only one bed!” so it’s no wonder the two men eventually do end up in said bed together.
Morton brings her characters to life with clever dialogue that feels almost too smart to be authentic. However, it easily adds to the escapism of her writing, so I find myself leaning into it with an easy suspension of disbelief. The dark moment of this book also does not fall out the way I expected, which was a bonus. Clever, adorable characters plus delightful supporting characters (since no one exists in a vacuum) made this book a fun read that was an excellent follow-up to the first in the trilogy. I look forward to reading the final installment now that Morton has teased that particular relationship for two books.
After Felix (Book 3)
First of all, I was extremely pleased to see that Morton includes the first half of Felix and Max’s relationship in this book. We get to experience every moment of their first brush with happiness (and every moment of the pain caused by their lack of communication and Max’s lack of self-awareness). These characters are unique enough that the experience is necessary for this second-chance romance, rather than some hand-wavy references to “oh, we dated once, and it didn’t work out.”
The way the two men circled each other each time we saw them together in the previous books of this trilogy only heightened the anticipation, especially since we already know that both men regretted (to some extent) the first breakup. The encounter that forces the two men back into close proximity (hey, the series title is there for a reason) is ridiculous enough to fit right in with Morton’s storytelling, even if the way Max takes advantage of it would not ring true if we weren’t already familiar with how the greater cast of characters connect to each other.
For a trilogy with such dynamic personalities, these two fit right in. I thoroughly enjoyed both versions of their relationship, the fun and sexy time together and the sarcastic yet still vaguely affectionate time apart. Max more than makes up for his past transgressions when he sets out to woo Felix back, finally letting the other man in now that he’s gotten his act together. Even though I think the story is better with the slow burn element of the previous two installments, I whole-heartedly recommend this book as an excellent example of the second chance trope, featuring two memorable and enjoyable characters in their own right.