Title: Better Than Friends
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 11,100 words (45 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary BDSM
Hank and Jason have been best friends since before Hank even came out of the closet. They’re both busy, but they’re each other’s go-to guy when they need to unwind, and relax. At least, that’s what they think.
When Hank finally fulfills a secret dream and rounds up the money to join the Hammer Club, the first person he meets is a sexy, slinky, bratty bottom named… Jason? They spend dinner together, trying to get a handle on this new view they now have of each other.
Will their friendship be able to handle this sudden shift in their realities, or, even better, can these two best friends find a way to be better than friends?
The blurb pretty much sets up the premise of this story. Hank is thrilled to be a member of the Hammer Club and is ready to enjoy his first evening when he hears a bratty potty mouth sub approach. He recognizes the voice, and when he turns, they are both stunned. He’s faced with his best friend in the world, a sub at a BDSM club. He was clueless that Jason was into the lifestyle, as was Jason. Jason tries to make a run for it, but Hank stops him and insists they have dinner.
Jason is in full-on bratty sub-mode and Hank takes advantage of this, getting a bit of information from Jason and then making a dive for one of the private rooms to discipline him. There’s not much original here, but the author does write an appealing bratty sub character. The difference here is that Jason by day is an alpha-male businessman. He makes his demands and gets what he wants. He’s very clear that his life outside of the Hammer Club is very separate. However now that his best friend, who fell in that outside life knows about the submission, what will happen? When Jason refuses to take Hank’s calls after their night together, Hank decides to take matters into his own hands and Jason’s two worlds are about to collide.
The BDSM is sexy but fairly light, confined to spanking and talk of more. Having them both struggling to see their friend in a different light, and their fear that the new side of their relationship would ruin the best friends part was done fairly well. This can be read as a stand-alone. There are only a couple of references to other characters from previous books so it can be read by anyone, especially those who enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope and fans of the Hammer universe as it is typical of the stories you find in the series.