Erryn reviews Risk Taker (Mixed Messages book 3) by Lily Morton. Published July 22, 2018, 286 pages. The audiobook was released February 5, 2020, is 9 hrs and 38 mins and is narrated by Joel Leslie. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read it: I gobbled up the first two books and have been waiting for this one.
Being in love with your best friend is hard.
Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the hook-up king of London seems more like a curse than a blessing, these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were 15, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal.
After all, he has no chance with Ivo. Or, does he?
Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend, and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly 20 years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.
Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change -Ivo hurt and needing assistance and Henry more than willing to provide it – the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization and a decision.
Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?
From the best-selling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been…if only they knew it. This is the third book in the Mixed Messages series, but it can be listened to as a stand-alone.
I know you’re worried about me getting stressed at work so I took your advice and started yoga. Thanks for that. Yoga does not ease stress, it causes it. For a start, what is it with all that fucking breathing? I told the lady that I’d been breathing for years and didn’t normally require assistance but she got alarmingly tense for someone who’s supposed to be chilled. She got even tenser after the stork incident. If I wanted to pretend to be a bird, I’d have stood in the garden. That wouldn’t have resulted in me taking out most of the back row. Can I just say that yoga people can get very touchy? I can’t even take the mat back to the shop because they don’t refund when there’s blood on the equipment.
It’s been a few months since I listened to Deal Maker and Rule Breaker – the first two books in Lily Morton’s Mixed Messages series. Somehow I had forgotten just how fucking funny these books are! Seriously. I was on the bus and there was no stopping the laughter. I was in the library stifling my giggles. I was in Starbucks ducking my head and snorting. In other words, I loved this book. I consumed it in just over a day which tells you just how much I wanted to get through it. And yet it was bittersweet at the end. I didn’t want to say goodbye to these men.
Let me start by saying that although this book is a stand alone, you get far more enjoyment if you’ve read the previous two. Gabe, Dylan, Asa, and Jude all have cameos in the book and I was able to make more connections because I’d listened to the two previous books. If you haven’t, though, no worries. This book is plenty funny even if you don’t get every little ‘in’ joke.
As with the previous books, this book is primarily in one point of view but then it will slip into the other man’s. I’m used to fifty-fifty splits, but Ms. Morton lets her muse carry her to which man has the most to say and it works. A good portion of this book is from Henry’s perspective and that makes sense. Not just because he was Gabe’s friend and has been in the other books, but because he’s a solid fellow who is living a perceptively boring life. Tired of pining over the one he can’t have, he’s decided to settle down. First, that means finding someone to settle down with. Ah, that’s where the fun begins. After one such date, he has a conversation with Dylan who asks,
“Was it bad?”
I groan and shake my head before tilting a glass and throwing the drink back. “I don’t think bad is a word that quite covers the experience.”
He smirks. “What happened?”
I look at him. “I think you know, Dylan. I’m becoming convinced that this is either some strange plan of yours and Gabe’s or you are the absolute worst matchmaker in history.”
He leans forwards, his eyes alight with mischief. “Tell me.”
“My date tonight didn’t come alone. His grandmother joined us.”
Dylan blinks. “Oh, that’s nice I suppose. I mean at least it shows he’s family oriented.”
“Oh, he’s that all right,” I say grimly. “She’s dead.”
Dylan spits his drink out, and I nod sternly.
“Yes, I was introduced to her urn.”
Dylan snorts and I shake my head. “He consulted her over the menu and the accompanying wine.” I pause. “Actually, she picked a good one so I can’t fault her on that.”
“Well, that sounds…nice,” he says slowly. “Weird, but nice.” He pauses. “Let’s call it quirky.”
“Let’s not,” I say boldly, “Because later on he decided to introduce her properly to get her real opinion of me.”
“Oh dear, what happened?”
“He stroked some of her ashes on my hand.”
“Oh, that’s disgusting.”
I nod. “It was. But it was also quite hurtful to my feelings because he then declared she didn’t like me.”
Dylan gapes and I nod. “Yes, bloody hell, I’m a catch, Dylan. I have all my own hair, a good job, and I paid for dinner and let me tell you, the wine she picked was not the cheapest.”
Okay, I was giggle-snorting through that one because I could see an outraged and hurt Henry. He’s a very smart man but he also has trouble seeing what is right in front of him. And while Henry is pragmatic and practical, Ivo is artistic and flighty. Well, is as likely to forget to eat as anything else when he’s in his artistic phase. He’s also seen a lot of the darker side of the world as a photojournalist. He’s taking some forced down time and it’s only a matter of time before he goes back to some other hellhole to show the deprivation of the human condition in war torn countries.
For these former step-brothers, there’s been a push and pull for years, and this time they allow the forces of nature to take over and they get together. And it works. But Henry appears to be willing to make more sacrifices to make the relationship work although at the end Ivo steps up to the plate, so to speak.
I want to say more but I’ll leave it here. Everyone who loves snark, witty dialogue, and a rollicking fun time should listen to this book. Oh, and the BJ in the coat closet’s worth the price of admission.
Joel Leslie narrated this book and it’s him at his best. He nails both men perfectly, especially with Ivo’s vaguely French accent. Henry’s prim and proper and perfect for Joel’s performance. And his comedic timing is genius, perfectly suited for Ms. Morton’s words. Yes, I loved this book and will definitely look out for more books by this author.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Lily lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she got her Kindle.
She has spent her life with her head full of daydreams, and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing because how else would she get to spend her time with hot, funny men?
And finally, she believes that love conquers all. Except the heat index in July. Nothing can conquer that bastard.