Friday, October 4, 2019

ARC Review: Best Man by Lily Morton

Best Man (Close Proximity #1)From the Blurb:
Zeb Evans doesn’t do messy. 
The product of a disorganised and chaotic childhood, Zeb likes order and control, and as the boss of his own employment agency he can give that to himself. Life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse.
Jesse Reed is Zeb’s complete opposite. He’s chaos personified. A whirling cyclone of disorder. He’s also charming and funny and a very unwanted distraction.
Which is why it comes as a complete surprise to Zeb to find himself asking Jesse to pose as his boyfriend for a few days in the country at a wedding.
Zeb doesn’t do impulsive, but as the time away progresses, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the merry and irreverent Jesse. But can he bring himself to break the hard-won lessons he’s learnt in life? And even if he can, how could Jesse be attracted to him anyway? He’s so much older than Jesse, not to mention being his boss.

Ky's rating:

Jesse is a twenty-four year old graduate that has a CV full of odd jobs in a wide range of themes. He is funny, loud, kind and fiercely loyal. He manages to land job with an agency that people hire when they need help with something as simple as doing their weekly shopping or mowing the lawn or something more unique like needing a fake boyfriend for an event they're attending. Jesse, who loves people and is easily bored doing the same thing over and over again, turns out to be the perfect fit for the agency, even if some of his hires end up very eventfully and somewhat comically.

Zeb is forty-four and the owner of the agency. He is cntrolling, organised and socially awkward. He had a complicated relationship with his father and that, along with the way he spent his childhood, shaped him into the man he is today. He doesn't like to break his promises and that's how he ends up being the best man for his ex on his wedding with a woman. He's not very eager to attend that wedding so he puts it out of his mind. And then it's too late to actually find a date to take so he resolves to asking Jesse a favor. He is to pretend to be his boyfriend for a few days at a gathering a month before the wedding as well as his date for his ex's special day.

There's a lot of UST here since both of them are obviously attracted to the other but try not to do anything about it for a big part of the book - each of them for his own reasons. There's also a significant age gap between Jesse and Zeb that puts the breaks on anything happening between them either because Zeb is too old and Jesse can't possibly stay with him for the long run or because Jesse is too young and immature for Zeb who think of him as a kid. Which one of those is the supposed reason they don't take the next step depends on who of the two of them you ask - I'll let you figure out who thinks which.

There's also quite a bit of well-done jealousy which, as I've realised, is something of a signature of this author, along with her pentance for snarky characters that make me laugh out loud - and a misunderstanding that thankfully gets resolved very quickly. In the secondary characters I recognised two potential future couples (I think Max was my favorite of the four) and there were mentions of MCs from previous books along with a quick cameo over the phone from Eli (Gideon's book).

Partick-the-ex had mostly bad qualities and was obviously the bad guy, but thankfully not in a caricaturish way like some of Lily Morton's previous bad guys have been. He had some good moments and, even though he was very selfish, he was still very realistically portrayed and I believed he could easily exist in real life.

This new series got off to great start and I was glad to find myself enjoying the story and the humor.

*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. *

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