Author: Olivia Brynn
Length: 13,797 words
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Carter Hope would do just about anything for his best friend. When Mario Gutierrez gets the bright idea to buy an old house together to flip, Carter swears he’s out of his mind. Unfortunately, Mario is hard to resist. After one weird conversation at a bar and one meaningful look across an empty beer bottle, Carter isn’t sure he’s not the one flipping for his friend. They’re both tops, so to make this work, one will have to give in and roll over.
For a friends to lovers story to work for me there has to be that realistic moment when either one of them realises that the other has been crushing on him for ages, or both realise that what they have could be so much more. With this story it’s the latter that happens and I felt the author had done a good job in showing the initial confusion of both guys as they try to comprehend what is quite a sudden shift in their friendship. There’s a specific moment – in this case a look over a beer bottle – where it’s like a switch has been flicked. It happens early in the story but before then we get a good sense of how much these guys get along and how strong their friendship is – something which is necessary to know if the rest of the story is going to work.
The weird moments after the strange look were also done well. This section was from Carter’s point of view and I could feel all his confusion over this sudden desire for his best friend. He feels awkward and out of kilter, and it’s obvious that Mario feels the same.
Another part which worked for me was in the way their affection for each other continued into the inevitable sex scene and beyond. I was expecting recriminations and a forced separation and was pleased to find a more realistic turn of events. I found Carter’s wry remarks about Mario needing to talk everything through rather amusing, and the tone in general was light and sexy, even with some darker themes.
What didn’t work so well was in the conflict between the two men both being tops. I didn’t really think this had been resolved so well by the end – I’m trying not to give away too many spoilers here so I’m being a bit vague. My main gripe was that there was no explanation about how they fitted sexually after that first weekend together. The epilogue was a lovely, tender romantic moment, cementing that their friends to lovers relationship had been very successful, but didn’t address whether the bedroom problems had been resolved.
That was only a minor issue though in what was a nicely written story of two friends who become something more. I enjoyed it and would recommend to those readers who like a friends to lovers theme to their stories.