Successful owner of an upscale boutique in fabulous West Hollywood, Brandon Good swears by his personal edict to "live in the present". After a bad breakup, he agrees to dog-sit to keep his mind off his ex. Never did he expect the dog to belong to a man from his past, the only man to ever truly break his heart.
When Jake Westley relocates to join the WeHo fire department, the last thing he anticipates is reuniting with his secret high school love. Thrilled with the prospect of reconnecting with Bran, Jake feels no guilt in using his charming old dog as an unwitting matchmaker. As he and Bran rekindle their friendship, it becomes clear the intense attraction they once felt is stronger than ever. But as hard as they try to leave the past behind, painful memories resurface. Bran will have to confront his fears and consider the possibility that the man he swore was absolutely the wrong one might be perfect after all.
©2015 Lane Hayes (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
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"The Wrong Man is the Right Book!"
The Right and Wrong series is all right in my book. Lane Hayes crafted likable and quirky characters that readers can easily connect with and enjoy. While the series sticks with the same group of friends, each pairing is unique. Readers will fall in love with these men as they fall in love with each other. In audiobook, the story takes on a life of its own.
It took me a while to get into this story and warm to the main characters. Brandon immediately comes across as a rather flamboyant but whiny princess, who’s obsessed with his designer clothes and wrapped up in his own thoughts and his life in West Hollywood. I didn’t think I’d grow to like him, especially as the story is told in first person and focuses on his somewhat superficial point of view. But as the story unfolds, we see a different side to him as his character grows and he develops into a nice young man. By the end, he is definitely more fabulous than shallow, and that is the result of his relationship with Jake.
Jake is presented as the hunky yet charming fireman who had broken Brandon’s heart back when they were secret sweethearts in high school. There’s some awkwardness as they reconnect after twelve years, but because it is via Jake’s dog it makes things easier for them. Jake’s own backstory is heartbreaking and gradually revealed, as is the reason why he left Brandon high and dry all that time ago. We don’t get to hear much about his work apart from his long work hours, his irregular shift pattern, and a sad incident involving a cat.
Jake, along with Mack—his adorable yet elderly dog who dominates many scenes—gently ease their way into Brandon’s life until he is falling for them both. Brandon is fearful of having his heart broken by them. Mack is old and has health issues that seem to be rapidly deteriorating. From the outset, Brandon tries to convince himself that he can’t be more than friends with Jake and denies his feelings which have been rekindled. He’s understandably frightened of getting involved again. Jake wants to forget about the past and move on in the here and now, but Bran can’t quite forget how his heart was broken by Jake all those years ago and is fearful the same thing will happen now as he’s falling for Jake all over again, and the heartache this time around would be even more devastating.
There are several scenes where the two men share a kiss or some positive connection occurs, but then the story jumps forward to the next day or several days later and I was left a little puzzled as to where their relationship stood and what was going to happen next, but it wasn’t really explored. Perhaps because the two guys themselves were unsure. They didn’t really commit to a relationship at first and slip into being friends with benefits.
The ex boyfriends are still very much on the scene to cause added conflict, but I enjoyed the jealousy and slight angst triggered by slimy Trevor and gorgeous Derek’s occasional appearances.
The second half of this story was fabulous and I would award 5* to that section. The chemistry sizzles away nicely and there’s more of an emotional connection between these two very different people. The lovemaking scenes are beautifully written, especially the one on Jake’s birthday. As the story progresses, this unlikely couple fit together delightfully. Brandon’s humor comes across as he teases Jake and Jake encourages Brandon to do things out of his comfort zone.
Michael Ferraiuolo conveys Brandon’s personality and emotions particularly well through his spot on narration. His voice for Jake is smoking hot and he captures the personalities of the characters admirably.
"A beautifully narrated story of second chances"
I had the pleasure of experiencing The Wrong Man through Michael Ferraiuolo’s excellent audio performance. He is a gifted narrator; fast becoming one of my favorites. Being as this book is told in Brandon’s POV, the narrator needed to nail his traits, and I felt he did. Brandon’s personality, including his self -proclaimed “fabulosity,” came through loud and clear. A portrayal of Brandon could have easily derailed into all out effeminate — something Brandon was not. Kudos go to Mr. Ferraiuolo for presenting Brandon as Brandon, and not as some caricature. He does a marvelous take on Jake as well, representing the man’s sexy, easy going, yet determined and genuine persona.
This was my first story by Lane Hayes, but it won’t be the last! Her colorful characters of Brandon , Jake and Mack, immediately lured me in and won me over. This book is number two in a series. Having not read the first one, I didn’t feel as though I was in the dark about anything here. Each book features a different main couple. The guys from the other stories provide the supporting cast here, and they are all fun and interesting.
This is a sweet story of rediscovery featuring a couple of battered, hopeful guys and a loyal dog. The beginning flowed well, and had me hook, line and sinker. Being inside Brandon’s head was fun, but also a bit sad. He was successful yet guarded; he was fun-loving, yet had walls firmly in place around his heart. I needed to know more about Brandon. Yes, he was basically content and was running B Goods, his successful boutique shop, but I wanted to see him with a forever man. His WeHo décor shop/business sounded divine, someplace I felt I wanted to visit, and such a great backdrop for the story.
As the story progressed and Jake walked into B Goods and back into Brandon’s life, events from the past were disclosed and re-examined. Brandon’s façade of control: his sassy, confident demeanor, his success at the shop, his nice home etc., started to fall away. Jake was Brandon’s high school lover, and coming face to face with him again was shocking. Brandon had been out as gay back in high school (utilizing his façade of bravado), and was also dealing with being a mixed-race kid who had moved to California from out of state. Jake was a star athlete. When push came to shove, Jake had left Brandon hanging out to dry back in senior year.
Brandon and Jake’s renewed acquaintance was facilitated by Jake’s dog, Mack. Seems an employee of Brandon’s was pet-sitting Mack during Jake’s three day stints at the firehouse. I really liked this set up. Jake had just relocated to WeHo, and had no clue his neighbor worked for Brandon. Mack wormed his way into Brandon’s life and heart, and gave Jake a platform to have a second chance with Brandon.
This story was relatively angst free. Most of the conflict involved Brandon’s warring inner dialogue of “do I or don’t I trust, love, commit.” There were also several health scares involving twelve year old Mack. In fact, my heart was in my throat a few times wondering what Mack’s fate might be. He’s a truly special dog. Having a soft spot for dogs as focal points in stories, I couldn’t have been more pleased with how integral sweet Mack is to the story.
The pacing was good, I appreciated finding out exactly what had happened in high school over time via Brandon and Jake’s conversations. It was satisfying to watch Brandon push some of his comfort zones of his own volition, and not because he was pressured by Jake. Jake was lovely with his patience, he simply loved Brandon for Brandon and was amazed at their renewed romance. The author did a great job of presenting realistic scenarios of attraction, resistance, indulgence, second thoughts, and dealing with past issues. Both men were rebounding from other relationships, which added to the mix. The guys had to work through all of this, separately and together.
A few things that took me out of the story a bit. Jake’s serious personal issues were something I would have liked to have seen explored in more depth. He had dealt with a lot of crap since Brandon had last seen him a dozen years previously, and Brandon didn’t seem as surprised and disconcerted by this as I would have thought. This story also contains a personal niggle for me: a character (Brandon) going quite far in a relationship and then pulling way, way back. I found this especially frustrating considering Brandon was having huge doubts in his own head the entire time, yet he plowed ahead with Jake. Brandon and Jake were 30. They had each had other relationships. The pair dated for months and then Brandon blew one innocent incident out of proportion and freaked. Yeah, they worked it through, but somehow Brandon started to irritate me as the story progressed. Even though his fears were clearly presented, I couldn’t quite get my head around him still not learning over several months that he could now trust Jake, or at least trust that he could discuss anything with him. Brandon seemed willing to use Jake for sex and companionship, but not willing to examine his own deepest feelings. It made me feel bad for Jake. The presence of the ex-boyfriends seemed a bit contrived and superfluous. Finally, the overuse of all forms of the word “chuckle” had me wincing. It was painfully noticeable on this audio version. Quite possibly this would not have been as noticeable reading the book vs. listening.
Overall this is an enjoyable, well written, sweet story of newfound confidence revolving around a second chance at a first love. The superb job by the audio narrator complements it beautifully.
"Not my personal favorite"
Second book in the series. I would say you could do these as stand alone. I went ahead and purchased the first audio and listen to it before starting in on this. Simply because I enjoyed the book(s) and wanted to get reacquainted with everyone.
Problem is I forgot how much I didn’t enjoy Brandon, as a person. And in audio form he came over so much more whiny than he did in book, I found myself rolling my eyes way too often. I get and understood the walls he had to build because of his birth, past etc. And the fake persona that goes with that, the insecurity that does as well. But this whole me, I, instead of how does that make other ppl feel was tiring.
On the flip side, I simple loved Jake, the fact that he was able (with help) get himself sorted out. Accept the help. thrive off said help. But still be humble.
And of course in the end, was able to so Brandon, he is worth the bother, heartache and joy.
The narrator does a wonderful job capturing all the voices, from the deep of Jake to the Latin of the friends.
"definitely adds to the overall enjoyment of the st"
Jake was Brandon’s closeted high school boyfriend who was too young and scared to come out back then, so he gave Brandon up.
Now, 12 years later, Brandon is out and proud, a fireman with a great old dog, and an ex.
They begin their second-time-around as friends. Brandon helps Jake with his dog, Mack, and Brandon (Bran) gets some help with his ex, Trevor.
But… they don’t stay “friends” for long. It gets steamy and more involved from there fairly quickly.
And… it’s not easy. Bran is pretty walled off. He’s been hurt before and is wary of letting anyone in. Jake, however, is more than ready for the challenge.
Call me a sucker, but the dog totally did it for me. He was wonderful. He acted as a catalyst for these guys in more ways than one. First, he was the entrée for Jake back into Bran’s life. Then, he was the four legged chaperone that gave them common ground and an excuse to be together without pressure. Finally, he represented that age-old dilemma that to have love, you have to be prepared for potential loss and complications and that nothing great comes without risk.
We get to see the boys from book one, but this is definitely a stand-alone novel. The writing is excellent and the sex is really hot.
I really enjoyed this book.
4.5 of 5 stars for the story
Michael Ferraiulo is a really good narrator. He has a good sense of pacing and emoting and he does a nice job of giving everyone a unique voice to really make you feel involved in the story. This definitely adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.75 of 5 stars
"Thank you Lane"
I loved Brandon and Jake, but Mack really stole my heart. The story was a good one and I loved this whole series when I read it on my kindle last year. I thought I'd give the audio version a try. I'd forgotten many of the details. When Mack got sick, I sobbed. I don't know if that's because I love animals so much or because his 'character' was so endearing. I suspect part of it was because the narrator was so awesome at conveying the emotions of Brandon and Jake. Wow! Awesome narration Michael.
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