Title and Link: The Best Man
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher URL: Carnal Passions
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (233 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Summary Review: Another well written, well plotted romance from the pen of author L.A. Witt that will engage her fans and win her new ones.
Jon Beatty thought he had the best man in his ex, Craig. But in the six months since their break up, Craig’s managed to find a new lover—a woman—and wants Jon to be a different kind of best man…at his wedding.
Reasoning that the only way to get over one man is to get under another, Jon heads for a local club to get drunk and laid. Bartender Liam Sable is more than willing to help with both.
Their one night stand turns into a rebound fling which enables Jon to move on. Craig, however, is having second thoughts about the break-up. While inconvenient and annoying, Craig’s antics are nothing compared to the danger posed to Jon and Liam’s relationship by another, more sinister threat…
I’ll start off this review by saying that I like this author; she writes well, her characters are engaging and for the most part the plots are not over the top. She does a good job of wrapping up her stories, and so far the endings of two of her three M/M stories are credible. I loved Nine-Tenths of the Law reviewed here but Rules of Engagement reviewed here had some flaws which I guess were understandable since this was her first M/M book.
In The Best Man Jon is trying to get over his breakup with his lover Craig with whom he has lived for a year and thought they really had a chance to make it as a couple. However Craig, who is bisexual, had other ideas and decided that the gay lifestyle was not for him – he wanted the white picket fence - so he broke it off with Jon and six months later announced that he was getting married to a woman. He then heaped insult upon the injury by asking him to be his best man at the wedding. What’s a good friend to do? Of course Jon said ‘yes’ even though it killed him to do so. The night he found out about the wedding he was so despondent he decided to drown his sorrows in drink and went to a local upscale bar where he met Liam Sable, a bartender, who had broken up with his boyfriend 2 weeks prior. They hit it off because there’s nothing like misery to draw people together, and they went home together that first night and had such great sex they spent the night together.
If there’s one thing that L.A. Witt does well, it’s her ability to write wonderful sex scenes that make my toes curl and raise the goose bumps on my skin, and The Best Man is no exception. Those readers who love a lot of sex in their M/M contemporary romances will have their fill. The other thing I like about this writer is that her plots are not the usual old themes, and even when they are she manages to put a twist or two on the tried and true storylines. In Nine-Tenths of the Law two men who were cheated on by the same man decided that maybe falling into bed together would help them get over the scumbag who had been moving from bed to bed, and this fresh take on the old plot worked exceedingly well. The Best Man offers the theme of two men who had been wronged, and in trying to get over their hurt find THE man of their dreams. Because both men were on the rebound they decided that they would date casually with no commitment on either side, and that worked for a little while, but their feelings wouldn’t give them an easy fix as more and more they are drawn to each other and can’t stay away. But there was a major wrinkle in the story. Liam was running scared and it seemed that he had a lot issues that were unrelated to the usual angst over a cheating ex boyfriend.
Although I personally don’t like a lot of sex in M/M romances because I’m one of those readers who prefers more plot and the characters interacting away from the bedroom, I recognize that these books, for the most part, are supposed to be erotic, so although it may not be my personal taste I try to read these stories from the perspective of most of the readers of this sub genre. My point here is that there’s mucho sex in The Best Man but it is novel length therefore it’s not as overwhelming as if all of the action between the sheets were crammed into a 100 page novella. The redeeming aspect for me of all the sex was the tenderness and intimacy between Liam and Jon which was so palpable I could feel it and sometimes it so was intense the characters’ emotions were leaking all over the page. I also loved the excellent dialogue and prose, another trademark of this author, and she’s very funny too. She also had Liam and Jon travel to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada for a short vacation which was a nice change for me, being Canadian.
One of the plot points in the story involved something we don’t read a lot about in M/M novels – partner abuse – and it was another twist which is something I’ve come to expect from this author. Although I thought that some aspects were exaggerated, there was an element of believability as it could have happened in real life. L.A. Witt’s characterization of Liam in The Best Man needed a bit of work because on the one hand he was strong, and then he would become unrecognizable as a weak shadow of his other self, but I suppose that was understandable given his past. However, his extended family who were very supportive and loving, disappeared off the landscape after one scene which I thought was a pity as they could have been used to greater advantage in the book (you have to read The Best Man to understand what I mean). Craig, who wanted to have his cake and eat it too, got his comeuppance and I was happy to see him with egg all over his face. Jon, who tells the story from his 1st person POV, came off the best of the two protagonists, and his emotions and weak moments were well done in the book.
Overall I really liked this story. This author’s writing continues to be engaging and fresh which is something I find very appealing, and I look forward to her other M/M releases. In case you were wondering, the story did have an appropriate ending for all of you “romance” readers. Definitely recommended.