REVIEW: The Best Men by Lauren Blakely & Sarina Bowen



* * * * * * * * * *


In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that’s no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.

If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.

I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.

Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.

Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.

Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.

Sign me up.

But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can’t happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…

* * * * * * * * * *


I’ve been pretty vocal about my Lauren Blakely fandom. Her writing is one of my happy places, especially when it’s one of her wonderful contemporaries or romcoms. I’m not as familiar with Sarina Bowen’s work, however, having read only two of her individual works, but that’s something I’m going rectify this year. I love a good M/M romance, but admittedly with a plethora of romantic fictional options to choose from, they’re just not the first type of story I reach for when deciding what to read next. I have, however, read many M/M romances, I’ve enjoyed the ones that I’ve read, and I will absolutely read more of them in the future. But when it’s a Lauren Blakely M/M romance, I’m not only going to make time, I’m going to bump it up on my TBR. Blakely’s earned this from me by consistently giving me the stories I want to read, and unsurprisingly, she’s become as one of my favorite authors as a result. But more specifically her work as an LGBTQ author has earned this attention from me for the same reasons. Her previous M/M works have consistently given me the same quality romantic reading experienced has her traditional romances. In fact, her maiden voyage into the genre, A Guy Walks Into My Bar, has became one of my all-time top favorites of Blakely’s.

I’m going to cut straight to the chase here, and come right out with it by stating The Best Men was a complete joy to read. It was passionate, it was funny, it sexy and hit all the right notes with emotion and feels. I don’t want to spoil this story, but Blakely devotion to writing gorgeous LGBTQ romances is evident on every page. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to keep saying it—this type of storytelling is a passion pursuit for Blakely. Bowen and Blakely blended their writing styles together magnificently in The Best Men, and while I’m not certain precisely how these two authors divvied up the writing in this collaboration, as a long-time Blakely reader, there was an amplification in the humor and the heat in this story that I believe could be attributed to Bowen’s voice. I absolutely loved it, so much so that I hope there will be more collaborations from the two of them.

Mark and Asher came to life entrenched in an enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract story that kept the air pods in my ears and a fully-charged spare set at the ready. Two vastly different men in a romance that genuinely took the both of them by surprise, there was a bit of an Odd Couple vibe to the pairing of Mark and Asher—well, except for the fact that they were much better looking and this was a far sexier relationship. This couple meets as a result of the upcoming wedding of Mark’s sister, Hannah, to Asher’s best friend, Flip. Right off the bat, they do not hit it off. Mark and Asher are about as different as night and day or black and white—or Felix and Oscar. Mark is a recently divorced single father who is also a virgin bisexual. Asher, well, he’s none of those things. He’s worldly and confident in his sexuality, and he’s also cocky and so dang handsome it literally drives Mark insane. It isn’t until they’re forced into close proximity during the planning phase of their loved ones’ wedding that they really get to know each other. The sparks start flying, but as Asher is about to embark on a yearlong professional assignment abroad while Mark is anchored here, practically speaking, not a whole lot can come of all their swirling chemistry.

The Best Men was everything I want in my contemporary romance reads. It was a feel-good, lighthearted love story full of hope and the kind of emotional depth that pulls at your heartstrings—not breaks them. It was sexy and romantic, and it had those wonderful will-they-or-won’t-they moments that keep me at the edge of my seat. There was an abundance of brilliantly snappy and naturally witty banter that was entertaining and its own sort of foreplay. The undeniable burn of attraction, both physical and emotional, as these two men gave into their feelings is exactly what I want to experience in my romances whether they be M/F or M/M. Blakely and Bowen brought all of this together perfectly in a story that held my attention captive from start to finish. Amusing, heart-tugging and seriously steamy, I loved every single moment and word of The Best Men. I thoroughly enjoyed this authoring pairing, and I hope for more collaborations from them. It goes without saying that I’ll be reading more of Lauren Blakely, but as a result of this book, I’ll definitely be seeking out Sarina Bowen’s individual works as well. Five smooches from me for The Best Men by Lauren Blakely and Sarina Bowen!

~Danielle Palumbo



Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  Audible