Mishyjo reviews the third book in Lane Hayes’ Better Than Series
- Better Than Good (Better Than #1)
- Better Than Chance (Better Than #2)
- Better Than Friends (Better Than #3) – in this review.
Better Than Friends
When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.
Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.
Better than Friends is book 3 in Lane Hayes’s Better Than series. Although I liked it well enough, it wasn’t quite a good as books 1 and 2 in my opinion.
I loved Jack. Although the story was told from Curtis’s first person point of view, I felt that we got to know Jack really well. There was a strong sense of who he was and how he had gotten there without a huge information dump. His character here was nicely different than what I expected from the little bit we knew of him from book 2. The real Jack and his prior relationship with Peter was far more complex and Jack was far more likable than the glimpse of him we got from Jay’s perspective in Better than Chance.
But I also felt a little misled about Jack through much of the book. He owned a leather bar. Was he a leather daddy? I kinda hoped so. He was a biker and owned a bike repair shop as well. Was there gonna be an MC in the background? That would have been fun too. There were hints that he had a bit of a Dom thing going on. Was a D/s type of relationship going to develop between the MCs? That would have been awesome. I suppose we were figuring Jack out as Curtis was, but in the end I was a bit let down about how these various assumptions played out.
Curtis I liked less. I understood his insecurities. To the extent there was a love triangle, it didn’t bother me although the fallout was predictable. But there were moments that he was downright whiny. Those moments were not only annoying but didn’t seem consistent with who Curtis was and I couldn’t see why Jack tolerated him at those times.
The romance itself was pretty good. I liked the chemistry between the two and the way that Jack and Curtis played off of each other. At times the relationship development felt somewhat similar to that in Better than Chance, however, and the two story lines are now a bit confused in my mind.
I think that writing books in a series can be a double edged sword for an author. Although there is already a built-in audience by the time book 3 rolls around, there are also expectations that have to be met, including the dueling expectations that the story be as strong as the prior entries and consistent in their feel while not so similar as to become predictable formulaic.
I am both hopeful for a book 4 in this series and optimistic that it will carry it’s own weight in this series and not ride on the coattails of the first 3.
Hope you enjoy – Mishyjo x