Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
What do you get when you mix a very in control, single dad bi$exual Mister Spreadsheets with a Mr. Floofy Haired Adonis of a former footballer and present-day photographer with having fun in the present as his mantra? (Whew…that was a long sentence.) You get the fun-loving, smexy, and sweet The Best Men by two of my favorite romance authors, Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely.
Is there a seriousness to this story? Absolutely. Bowen and Blakely’s heroes complement each other. They are the yin to the other’s yang, so to speak. Mark Banks requires the transitory, yet spirited way that Asher St. James lives his life. Mark is too serious, too in control, too focused. He isn’t unkind or mean or even grumpy. He’s simply a single dad, discouraged by his former ex-wife, who wants to provide his daughter with all of himself. Add to that an incredibly fast-paced, potentially high-risk job as a trader, and his life is complicated. This makes him serious. When he meets Asher, however, he’s cowed. On the one hand, Asher isn’t buttoned-up. He’s free-spirited and the life of the party. He isn’t into the details; he’s into the “big picture” of situations. For a controlled person such as Mark, this can be frustrating. Add in that he’s the best friend of a man who has won over Mark’s sister a bit too quickly, and Mark becomes even more annoyed. Sadly, he is incredibly attracted to Asher. This causes all kinds of emotional complications for Mark which leads to him, on a drunken night, sending a group text laying out all of his concerns and truth. It’s at that moment you know this book is going to be a good one.
What is there to love most about The Best Men?
- For one, you should know that Mark is bi$exual, and he’s open about it, so Bowen and Blakely’s story doesn’t have the angst of a closeted man entering into an open relationship. The strife of this story lies in the differences of personality between Mark and Asher and the complications of their very different lifestyles. I think some readers might want to know that.
- Mark is buttoned-up and controlled, but he knows it. One of the things I loved most about Bowen and Blakely’s characterization of him is how much Mark could actually make fun of himself or, rather, embrace his idiosyncrasies. The chemistry (beyond their physical attraction) is built in their banter. When Asher pokes fun at Mark as part of their developing coupling, Mark responds with acceptance and wit. He accepts who he is; therefore, he can respond with his own jests about himself…and Asher. There is a maturity to their banter that, honestly, made me love the book even more. I know it’s strange to love that, but it was refreshing to have a character in full acceptance of himself.
- Every time Asher and Mark exist on the page, it is the best part of the book. These two are ravenous for each other, and Bowen and Blakely make the reader work for the consummation of their pairing physically, but it’s done in such a timely manner that they don’t string their readers along too much. They build the attraction and chemistry of their characters to a point that when it tips it is explosive and perfect. As the story goes, the hardest parts of the book are the moments when they aren’t together because the best parts of the story exist when they’re together. From their banter to their eroticism, you cannot help but ADORE Asher and Mark together.
Honestly, I gobbled up Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely’s The Best Men. It’s fun and funny and fantastic. It’s meant to entertain as much as it’s meant to titillate. I recommend jumping into it today.
In love and romance,