Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ARC Review - Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton

Risk Taker (Mixed Messages, #3)
Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo - or does he? 

Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged. 

Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both? 

From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been - if only they knew it.

Todd's rating:

Let me first say that I absolutely *LOVED* the first two books in this series. They were funny and had tons of feels.

This book, well, there were parts that I completely adored, but also parts that drove me bat shit crazy.

The story started out well enough, with Henry deciding that he needed to move past his decades-long feelings for Ivo and look for love elsewhere -- just in time for Ivo to return home.

Then seeing the hilarious series of horrible first dates that Henry embarked upon thanks to his best friends' terrible matchmaking attempts, ahhhh, that's the stuff right there!

Except after a while, Henry's silent mooning over Ivo, and Ivo's unvoiced mooning over Henry started to grate on my nerves. And when they finally began hooking up, but avoided having "the talk" about defining what they both wanted at all costs, GAH!

Don't get me wrong, I love a good slow-burn, which this story started out being. However, I also like characters with not only a bit of emotional maturity, but enough guts to go after what they want -- without endlessly waffling about.

Henry and Ivo were *not* those types of MC's.

Here's one on-page example of that infuriating behavior, which lasted until about 80% into the book.

(This passage almost made me throw my eReader at a wall, true story.)

“You’re right,” I say quietly and with a fair amount of dread. “I need to talk to him.”

... [Todd sees a *glimmer* of hope, but then this] ...

Three days later I still haven’t managed it. Every time I get close, Ivo distracts me with sex or lively discussions on whatever is in his quicksilver mind at that moment and then more sex. I’ve gone along with him, only to wake up the next morning determined to have this out this time before I fail again. It’s been rinse and repeat.

I even tried this morning, but now I’m lying on the floor of the studio panting hard as he levers off my cock and rolls to my side. We’re covered in come and sweat and his hair is sticking up like he’s put his finger in a socket. He coils around me and I hug him automatically. Needless to say, we haven’t had any form of conversation apart from “fuck, that’s good” and “fuck me harder.”

And the fact that they constantly used sex as an avoidance measure made me start skimming pages the moment that clothes began hitting the floor.

But once they did finally divulge their feelings, there was *still* the elephant in the room of when, not if, Ivo would leave again, returning to the job that got him shot last time out.

The ending of the book turns out nearly perfect, but OMG, by that time, it was a bit too little, too late for me to completely forget my extreme levels of frustration just prior to the ending.

Overall, I did enjoy the story, but I also wanted to punch a couple of MC's in the throat chapter after chapter, so I'd rate this one at around 3.5 stars.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


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