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The Right and Wrong series is all right in my book. Lane Hayes crafted likable and quirky characters that readers can easily connect with and enjoy. While the series sticks with the same group of friends, each pairing is unique. Readers will fall in love with these men as they fall in love with each other. In audiobook, the story takes on a life of its own.
It took me a while to get into this story and warm to the main characters. Brandon immediately comes across as a rather flamboyant but whiny princess, who’s obsessed with his designer clothes and wrapped up in his own thoughts and his life in West Hollywood. I didn’t think I’d grow to like him, especially as the story is told in first person and focuses on his somewhat superficial point of view. But as the story unfolds, we see a different side to him as his character grows and he develops into a nice young man. By the end, he is definitely more fabulous than shallow, and that is the result of his relationship with Jake.
Jake is presented as the hunky yet charming fireman who had broken Brandon’s heart back when they were secret sweethearts in high school. There’s some awkwardness as they reconnect after twelve years, but because it is via Jake’s dog it makes things easier for them. Jake’s own backstory is heartbreaking and gradually revealed, as is the reason why he left Brandon high and dry all that time ago. We don’t get to hear much about his work apart from his long work hours, his irregular shift pattern, and a sad incident involving a cat.
Jake, along with Mack—his adorable yet elderly dog who dominates many scenes—gently ease their way into Brandon’s life until he is falling for them both. Brandon is fearful of having his heart broken by them. Mack is old and has health issues that seem to be rapidly deteriorating. From the outset, Brandon tries to convince himself that he can’t be more than friends with Jake and denies his feelings which have been rekindled. He’s understandably frightened of getting involved again. Jake wants to forget about the past and move on in the here and now, but Bran can’t quite forget how his heart was broken by Jake all those years ago and is fearful the same thing will happen now as he’s falling for Jake all over again, and the heartache this time around would be even more devastating.
There are several scenes where the two men share a kiss or some positive connection occurs, but then the story jumps forward to the next day or several days later and I was left a little puzzled as to where their relationship stood and what was going to happen next, but it wasn’t really explored. Perhaps because the two guys themselves were unsure. They didn’t really commit to a relationship at first and slip into being friends with benefits.
The ex boyfriends are still very much on the scene to cause added conflict, but I enjoyed the jealousy and slight angst triggered by slimy Trevor and gorgeous Derek’s occasional appearances.
The second half of this story was fabulous and I would award 5* to that section. The chemistry sizzles away nicely and there’s more of an emotional connection between these two very different people. The lovemaking scenes are beautifully written, especially the one on Jake’s birthday. As the story progresses, this unlikely couple fit together delightfully. Brandon’s humor comes across as he teases Jake and Jake encourages Brandon to do things out of his comfort zone.
Michael Ferraiuolo conveys Brandon’s personality and emotions particularly well through his spot on narration. His voice for Jake is smoking hot and he captures the personalities of the characters admirably.