Dana and Erryn review the audiobook, Better Than Home (Better Than Stories Book 6) by Lane Hayes. ( Audiobook released August 8, 2022. Narrated by Nick J Russo. 3 hours and 55 minutes. Ebook released April 18, 2022, 159 pages.) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
The lawyer, the diva, and a new adventure…
Life is good. A few years ago, I met someone special, came out as bi, fell head over heels, and married the love of my life. A man. But not just any man.
Aaron is a confident, unapologetically fabulous diva who isn’t afraid to take chances. I love that about him. New state, new career path…no problem.
Except things don’t always go according to plan. That’s okay. It might be the perfect time to get back to basics and check off a few items on our original list…like buy a house and start a family. Whoa! House first.
However, house hunting isn’t glamorous at all, and with my partnership at the law firm in the balance, it’s kind of stressful. Everything we’ve dreamed of is within reach—if we can just find a place that feels like home, we’ll be better than good.
Better Than Home is a sweet and sexy novella featuring Matt and Aaron from my International Bestselling book, Better Than Good. The lawyer, the diva, and the happy ever after of a lifetime. For readers who know the real love story happens after the first “I love you.”
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Chandler went quiet for a moment in what I was sure was a calculated sales technique. When he spoke again, his voice was gentle and sincere.
“Let me show you one more older home next weekend. It’s outside of Bethesda. Great property, lots of land, very private, but in a great neighborhood. It’s not even on the market yet. The listing is supposed to be up by next week. However, I can give you an early pass at it. If you hate it, we’ll go back to the drawing board. Thoughts?”
Aaron shot a quick sideways glance my way. “It’s a date.”
“Not a real date,” I qualified like a real dumbass. “I mean…yes. That sounds good.”
Chandler grinned, then led us through the green-carpeted maze of the house. We said another round of good-byes before heading to our car.
I pulled away from the curb and scowled. “A date?”
“Hmm?” Aaron scrolled the playlist on his cell before fastening his seat belt. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to date Chandler,” I groused.
“A house-hunting date.” He snickered.
I tore my gaze from the road for a second and did a double take. “Are you smiling?”
“Yep. What’s wrong with smiling?”
I slowed at the stop sign on the corner. “Theoretically, nothing. But you look amused.”
“And what’s wrong with being amused?” Aaron countered, more amused and smiley than ever.
“Hmph. I’m getting sick of Chandler. And now…you’re really smiling.”
Aaron pursed his lips as if in an effort to keep his grin from spreading like wildfire across his face. He captured my hand and kissed my knuckles.
“I am. You’re cute when you’re pretend jealous.”
“I’m not pretend jealous or real jealous,” I protested.
“Maybe a smidge?” he teased, biting my thumb.
I yanked my hand away and fixed him with a mock glare that had him howling as I shifted gears and pulled into traffic again. “Okay, fine. Chandler has a crush on you and I don’t like it.”
“No, he doesn’t. But I suppose this is a good time to remind you that you are quite literally the best thing that ever happened to me,” he hummed dreamily.
I stole a peek at him. “Uh…thanks. What does that have to do with our infatuated real estate agent?”
“Chandler is straight. His ex-girlfriend is an editorial assistant at the magazine. And he isn’t the problem anyway. You’re not having fun.”
“No, I’m not. I don’t enjoy spending every Saturday with a hunky agent who drools over my husband like he’s the last brownie at a family picnic.”
Aaron chortled merrily. “I’m saving myself for you. Corner and middle pieces…all yours.”
I chuckled along with him. “So…what are we gonna do about this house dilemma? There’s no way we’re moving into a fixer-upper. We are not those people.”
“But…what if we learned to be those people?” he asked in a careful tone.
“Huh? How? When?” I shot another sideways glance in his direction before turning down an idyllic road with green fields dotted with massive trees, wild flowers, and horses in the distance.
He circled his wrist in that way he did when he was excited about an idea. “Hear me out. I’m just thinking aloud…what if we were the general contractors?”
“If we were the contractors, the house would fall around our ears,” I snarked.
“I’m serious, Matty. Listen, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’m not suggesting doing anything crazy ourselves, but we can certainly piece a few minor repairs and updates together to make a tired old house into a fabulous new home.”
“No, we can’t. We work. The last thing we’re going to want to do is sand floors or paint. We’ve done the painting thing before and—”
“And it was great! Our walls are perfection. Every color was chosen with love and applied with care. We can do it again.”
Matt and Aaron’s origin story was my first Lane Hayes book and among my first audiobooks back in 2014. Since it has been eight years, I did a relisten of that story before going into Better Than Home. I loved the bi-awakening of Matt and Aaron’s assuredness in who he was in that first book, and it was neat to see how they grew into their lives in this new book. I definitely have to say that it’s important to have read Better Than Good before reading or listening to this book. And if you can catch the short stories that might even be better, because there were a few things that I felt like I missed in their journey between the two books.
With Matt and Aaron being an established, married couple, this is the story of what happens after the first handful of years together. Matt and Aaron had devoted this time to their careers and Matt was especially doing well, with a partnership up for grabs at his law firm. Aaron’s job had been good but he missed being around friends and family and now they are looking for a new home together.
Matt is definitely the more conservative of two when it comes to spending money and making big decisions but they finally find a place just as Matt learns that the firm he works for wants him to transfer. This story could have gone in a couple of directions but it was a relief to me that the Aaron and Matt were mature and communicated with each other properly over what was happening in their lives. It definitely wasn’t easy for them between moving, their job choices, meddling mothers/family/friends, and *gasp* the possibility of their future family. Matt and Aaron made it through this book with flying colors because their love was strong and they were honest with each other, and they found ways to make all their dreams come true.
I really enjoyed listening to this next step for Matt and Aaron, I don’t know if they will be revisited but I hope they are. The narrator for this book is different, and Nick J. Russo does a great job taking over Matt and Aaron’s story. I definitely recommend this story to fans of the Better Than series and the author Lane Hayes.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Erryn’s review –
When I listened to Better Than Good recently, I’d know Better Than Home would be next up. I’ve owned the older audio for years but had never listened to it. The new book provided the incentive I needed to get up off my duff and listen to it. I did…and I really enjoyed it. Opposites attract is one of my favorite tropes – Matt and Aaron couldn’t be more different. Aaron is artistic. He’s got a good career with a magazine going. Things aren’t perfect, but he’s doing okay. Matt is a lawyer who’s on the verge of making partner – even at such a young age. He’s ambitious. He knows what he wants. Only he gets an offer out of left field that has him rethinking everything.
This book is what happens AFTER the happily ever after. We saw, at the end of the first book, Matt and Aaron ride off into the sunset. We assumed we, as readers, knew what was going to happen. But the author wanted to remind us that life isn’t all sunshine and roses. That real couples face real challenges. That life isn’t always as simple as we’d wish.
I wasn’t sure which way things were going to go for the couple. Matt’s ambitious and knows what he wants with his career. Aaron’s at a loss and floundering. Oh, and the house. Practically a character in and of itself.
This was the perfect book, for me, at the perfect time. And Nick J. Russo’s narration was the cherry on top of a delicious sundae. I needed all the feels, and this book delivered. I plan to go back and listen to all the books in the series. I can recommend this book. That being said, listening to Better Than Good first definitely increases the enjoyment of this one.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, 2018-2019, and 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.
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