Better than Chance

Lane Hayes
Better than Chance
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Release Date
January 2014
Book 2 of Better Than series
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Jay Reynolds has a crush on his project leader at work, but an office romance with Peter Morgan isn't likely to happen since Peter is straight. Worse, Jay soon fears Peter is homophobic, and his initial infatuation turns to loathing. But one fateful night, Jay is forced to acknowledge things aren't quite as they seem with Peter. Suddenly, his crush is back and unbelievably, Peter is interested too.

They begin a friends with benefits arrangement, which becomes difficult for Jay when he starts falling for his sexy boss. Peter's past issues keep him from committing, and Jay has to decide if he can be satisfied with friendship if Peter isn't ready to take a chance on anything more.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Feb 10, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
103 people found the following review helpful
In the beginning of this novel, the first person narrator tells us that he's been with his boyfriend, now fiancé, for five years, and they're about to get married. The rest of the book is a flashback relating how these two mundane characters got together.

Twink DC lobbyist Jay Reynolds immediately crushes on new hire Peter Morgan, who turns out to be the team leader of their firm's new campaign. Jay's sure that Peter is straight, maybe even homophobic. Then when Peter criticizes Jay's presentations for what Jay terms petty writing errors, the egocentric Jay decides he hates Peter.

However, when he runs into Peter at a gay club, Jay does an about-face, and the two establish a friends-with-benefits relationship. This state of affairs isn't good enough for Jay, who's now decided that the reserved, often aloof, standoffish Peter is The One. So Jay goes into full court press to peel away Peter's secrets and his reason for not wanting more in a relationship, reasons that aren't uncommon to those who've read romance fiction before.

There are no surprises in this book of love blooming between two cookie cutter characters. Jay comes off like a winsome third grader, and it's often difficult to believe that he's even marginally successful as a lobbyist where slick and sophisticated are the names of the game.

Peter, the iceberg with a banal secret, is even less believable as the head of a lobbying campaign. He's said to be the guru of lobbyists and an up-and-coming phenom, but he seems more lost and befuddled by his attraction to Jay and at a crossroads in his life than anything else. He certainly doesn't have the steel spine and ruthless attitude displayed by the Capital Hill crowd.

Fortunately, Lane Hayes' writing makes these two characters palatable, even if there's no real spark between them. Unfortunately, since readers already know where the romance goes, thanks to the chapter at the beginning about the upcoming nuptials, the only surprise left is why Peter acts the way he does. Again, romance readers will be disappointed since Peter isn't all that different from thousands of other romance heroes.

True, romances rarely have anything but happily-ever-after endings. Still, readers eat up romances because they want to see the secrets of the heart, the intricate ways in which two interesting, unique people discover their lifelong compatibility, often despite overwhelming odds.

Neither Jay nor Peter is unique or interesting enough to make their by-the-book romance novel relationship shine and leap off the page. This is too bad since Lane Hayes is a good writer who needs better material.
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