Gay romance authors have one singular advantage over writers of straight romance, and that is the author has the ability to take the ideal man, split his characteristics up into two parts, add a few imperfections and come up with a perfect couple. Lane Hayes created such a couple in Better Than Chance, her sequel to Better Than Good. Jay Reynolds and Peter Morgan were introduced to the reader as a couple in the first book of Hayes' "Better Than" series, but she didn't delve much into their relationship. In Better Than Chance, we get to see how their relationship evolved:
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.
There’s something about the characters in Better Than Chance that makes you like them instantly. Jay and Peter are both beautiful, successful and they have great chemistry. This story is basically a beautiful ‘friends with benefits’ story, but with a twist because from the beginning of the book, you know that they become so much more than 'friends with benefits' since it takes place five years before Better Than Good when we meet Jay and Peter are a solid couple. Better Than Chance is not your usual romance, but the characters are just what I want in an ideal man.
I have to admit, I have a thing for well-dressed southern men. Jay is from Virginia, and Peter is from Georgia. Both are successful, intelligent, and handsome southern gentlemen. In many ways, I see a lot of myself in Peter, though I lack the successful job. However, his job is one in which he fights for what is right, which I think I do with teaching. He loves to cook and enjoys science fiction. He also has some of the same family issues that I have. It makes him come across as quiet and a bit gruff, but he doesn't let anyone get too close. Jay, though, is comfortable in his own skin (at least outwardly); he has great friends; and he has a family that fully supports his sexuality. Basically, Jay is light, open, and proud, whereas, Peter is the quiet, dark brooding type.
Better Than Chance is told purely from Jay's point of view, and therefore, Peter and all his hang ups are only seen through the eyes of one person which works really well for this story because Peter is a very complex person whose character unfolds slowly as the story progresses, and Jay finds this out as he tries to read Peter's actions. Jay, of course, isn't nearly as simple as he wants everyone to believe, and Peter often finds himself totally perplexed as he tries to understand Jay.
I highly recommend this book, even if you don't read the first in the series, I think you can easily read this one, but whichever of the books you read first, you'll want to read the other one. I can't wait to read the third book in the "Better Than" series, Better Than Friends.
I hope my readers don't mind my rash of book reviews lately. This tends to happen at times when I read several books in a row that I enjoy, and have the time to sit down and write a book review that will do justice for the book. I often don't have time to read a lot, but lately I have been listening to audiobooks on the drive to and from school each day. I used to always listen to NPR. But sometimes you just need a break from the real world, and you desperately need an escape.