Better Than Friends Audiobook (Better Than Book 3) by Lane Hayes Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents

better than friendsBlurb

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 each other. 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 that reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their shares of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in the future if they are to have one together.


This is book three in the series. We met Curt in book one, he was Matt’s roomie. Now he is a lawyer and that’s about it.

Jack is an older man, he owns a Leather Bar, he drives a motorcycle, he smokes, he has tattoos… in other words he is everything Curt is not.

At first they become friends, but they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Curt’s low self-esteem keeps him from thinking this is a “relationship” and Jack has buckets of personal issues that keep him from getting involved too deeply.

Because Curt thinks he and Jack are only “friends” he agrees to go out with Paul. Of course it makes Jack jealous, but not enough to really push them forward, relationship-wise.

Eventually there is a confrontation and they end up with a HFN, probable HEA.


This was by far the weakest of the series. There were a couple of things that made me review this lower than books 1 and 2.

First, the ending. Let’s just say it’s too fast and not believable.

Second, Paul. Why was he in this story? His role didn’t make sense. Why would Curt jump into bed with Jack then move at glacial speeds with Paul? If he really thought there was a relationship to be had with Paul, he needed to stop sleeping with Jack. If he thought Paul wasn’t going to match up to Jack, he needed to drop Paul. It made me like him less as a character/person.

Third, chemistry. They could have had should have been this ultra-hot, bad-boy, opposite-attracts sort of thing going, but it never flared for me. I didn’t quite understand the motivations and actions so I didn’t feel the same wonderful “feels” I did for Matt and Aaron or even Jay and Peter.

So, for me, this story did not trip my switches as much as the previous books did, though the writing was still very good.


Again, Tyler Stevens does a great job with the narration. I love his narration and thought Jack was super sexy! He definitely adds to the experience.

Writing/Editing 4.5

Romance 3.5

Sex/Heat  4

Storyline   2

World Building/Characterizations 3

Audio 5


Overall 3.6 of 5 hearts



Emergency Contact by Elle Brownlee

Dreamspinner present:

emergency contactBlurb

When Liam’s best friend has to leave town on business, he asks for a favor—be an emergency contact for his cousin who is new in town. Liam doesn’t think twice before he accepts. He’s great with numbers and confidently plays the odds, because nobody ever uses those emergency contacts, right? Wrong. The very next Sunday, cousin Garrett shows up at Liam’s apartment, fresh-faced, devastatingly gorgeous, and nothing like Liam had dismissively assumed.

Garrett arrived in New York City hoping to make it in the modeling world, and Liam isn’t sure what to do with him. While he eventually warms to welcome the distraction, he’s not prepared to have his steady, predictable world overturned. Liam is sure Garrett will soon tire of him and find someone closer in age and less eager for the quiet, settled life Liam prefers. But Garrett is too sweet-natured and naïve to recognize Liam’s dismissal, and he’s not as shallow as Liam presumes.

Although Garrett sees a future for the two of them, Liam manages to push him away. It is only then Liam sees the Garrett-shaped hole in his life.


Liam is an old man in a young, hot body. He doesn’t do the club scene anymore and he’s set in his ways. His buddy sees the opportunity to play matchmaker and sets Liam up with his younger, also hot (model hot) cousin, Garrett.

Garrett is from Iowa, new to New York, here for a modeling job for extra cash between stints at college. He meets Liam pretty much on day one in the city and the two instantly hit it off.

Though Liam and Garrett are pretty immediately a couple, some questions remain. Can Liam open up and form a long term relationship? Is Garrett prepared to live in New York forever? Can Liam share Garrett with the admiring public now that his modeling career has taken off? Is Garrett too young for Liam and too young for a permanent relationship?

Things get dicey when Liam gives up hope and takes a job in Seattle, abruptly abandoning Garrett, but true love prevails and we end up with a solid HEA in the end.


I loved the promise of this story and was captivated by the first chapter. Liam is sort of a curmudgeonly character, set in his ways, quiet, always doing a puzzle, very in-his-own-head type of guy. Garrett is Pollyanna – very open, sunny and a great foil to Liam.

I got a bit nervous when the couple became a couple within the first chapters. There wasn’t a lot of build up to them becoming lovers and the anticipation that can bring was definitely missed.

As the story progressed it became more about the established couple dealing with Garrett’s fame and Liam’s insecurities. Because of this, it was not exactly the story I was anticipating by reading the blurb. It was almost more of an established couple book, and as the book references, a “Dreamgirls” type story, where Liam has to deal with Garrett’s fame more than I was expecting.

On the one hand I really appreciated the care and skill the author took with her writing. It is clear that she chose her words carefully. However, I sometimes had trouble with the flow and struggled to stay fully engaged. One thing that kept throwing me out of the story was the dialog. I thought that Liam sounded like an old man, and that fit his character. But so did Garrett … and everyone else. The language used felt very formal and high-brow and though it’s a stereotype, I just never saw the Iowan in Garrett. His character just never rang true.

Because the simmer of anticipation was blown out so early in the story, I found myself slogging through the remaining angst of the story with a minimum of interest.  Neither MC had a past to get over, hurt to heal, former lovers to remember… the story felt a bit flat.  And though I really liked the MCs, toward the end I just wasn’t that invested in their HEA.

Writing/Editing 3.5
Romance 2
Sex/Heat 3
Storyline 2
World Building/Characterizations 3.5

Overall 2.8 of 5 hearts



Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye

Dreamspinner Presents:


Shawn is a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law. Can he and Harley stumble toward love despite insecurity and epic bad luck? Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’sstricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams? Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind. The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books.


Shawn is a HOT MESS. If you can think of someone who’s a klutz, that’s Shawn… times a thousand. He’s so accident prone the ER staff knows him by name. He’s got the auto club on speed dial and the Ambulance driver’s are his friends.

But he’s also super adorable with a giant heart. He loves his mother and cares for her as she suffers the last stages of Alzheimer’s. He helps his sister with her budding family and he thinks nobody could want to (or should want to) be involved with him in a boyfriend-type-way.

Harley, aka “Hippy Hotpants” is Shawn’s new “neighbor”. He’s actually going out of his way when he takes his daily walks to be seen by and to see Shawn working in the garden and when yet another accident throws Shawn literally at Harley’s feet, it’s the start of a wonderful, if rocky, relationship.

Between Shawn’s own insecurities, his numerous accidents, his family and his need to “protect” Harley from Shawn’s law they don’t exactly have smooth sailing … but when they do connect it’s mind blowing.

Finally, after what seems like the true and final last straw, they do manage to come together at last for a very, very HEA – well a well-bandaged HEA.


As you know I’m a huge Renae Kaye fan. Her writing keeps improving with each book she puts out. This story is definitely a bit different from her others in that it relies far more heavily on humor than her other books, but it still provides us with the tenderness and a loving relationship that we have come to expect.

As usual, she also gives us a host of amazing secondary characters, fully developed, who are rich additions to the story – Shawn’s mother with the Alzheimer’s, his sister- with no verbal filter, Harley’s dad- a true ex-hippy, and Shawn’s best friend- who talks to Shawn in verbal short hand as though they share a brain. To name a few.

I devoured this in one afternoon, I couldn’t put it down. The humor was contagious and Shawn and Harley just had me wrapped around their proverbial little fingers right from the start.

If you’re looking for a book with almost no angst, but plenty of substance, this is the book for you. It’ll brighten your day and lighten your heart.

5 of 5 hearts