Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review: Better Than Chance (Better Than, #2) by Lane Hayes

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.

Jewel's rating:

I'm pretty new to the writing of Lane Hayes. I quite enjoyed book 1 of this series, Better Than Good, and we met Peter and Jay in that book. As of Better Than Good, they have been together for about 5 years and are gloriously happy.

Better Than Chance is kind of a prequel of the series, because it goes back to when Jay Reynolds first meets Peter Morgan and tells the story of how they started out. The whole story, except the prologue and epilogue, is a flash back to their early relationship.

Jay and Peter both work for the same lobbyist firm in Washington, DC, and they meet when Peter is put in charge of a project that Jay is working on. Their work relationship is strained, though, because from Jay's point of view, Peter is always nitpicking Jay's work, asking his to change really minor things. And this frustrates Jay to no end because Peter doesn't seem to be doing this to anyone else. Jay concludes that Peter is being a homophobic jerk.

After the project is done, we do find out more about Peter. He is not homophobic in the least. In fact, he is gay and out. He is also very attracted to Jay, but they work together, and Peter doesn't do relationships, so Peter is cautious and Jay is stubborn.

My frustration with this story is that for the first half of the book, Peter is barely even in it. For the first 30% we mostly only get Jay's judgmental assumptions that Peter is singling him out because Peter is homophobic - in spite of the fact that Peter has never once mentioned anything in regards to Jay's - or anyone else's - sexuality, and never once made any kind of homophobic gesture.

After the halfway point, though, I really enjoyed the story (until Jay played the martyr, anyway). Peter is more likable than Jay is, and Jay is a likable guy when he's with Peter. It worked. And their sexy times were luscious and I loved how they were able to laugh together, too.

Even then, though, there were some issues. I wish they would have talked more - or at all, really - about where their relationship was going, instead of avoiding all relationship talk, and when Jay figured out that he needed to speak up <spoiler removed> Jay took the coward's way out, and I'm just not fond of that plot device. Thankfully, they do manage to get their HEA, but it's all due to Peter not giving up. That doesn't sound like the actions of a man who is afraid of commitment.

Though I didn't like Better Than Chance nearly as much as I did Better Than Good, I'm still glad I read it, if for no other reason, we meet Jack, who is one of the MC's for book 3, here and we get some background. I'm sure that background will be repeated in the next book, at least somewhat, but my reading OCD demands I read all the books. ;-)


Review copy of Better Than Chance was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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