If you enjoy friends-to-lovers romances, The Last Boyfriend will probably hit the sweet spot for you. Not only have the hero and heroine been friends for years, they were also each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend. Of course, the heroine was five when they first liplocked, but that just makes it even cuter.
This is the second book in the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy. In the first book, The Next Always, we were introduced to the Montgomery family and watched them and a few other characters (aka future heroines) work on the inn and prepare it for opening. A frequent complaint that I heard about that book was how much the details of the inn remodel felt like a dry instruction manual. I am pleased to say that this book did not have any of that quality to it. Yes, there was a lot of focus on the inn and the grand opening, but it didn’t have the same feel to it that it did in the last book.
I really enjoyed the familial dynamic of the book. There was the always wonderful camaraderie of the brothers, of course, but we also got to see more of Justine, their mom, and some of the heroine, Avery’s, father. I found the parts with them particularly hilarious. The resulting shock and horror in those scenes, from Owen in particular, had me giggling. I don’t want to explain too much and spoil anything, but rest assured that it was funny.
One of my favorite things about friends-to-lovers romances is the rich sense of history you have between the characters. They’re so entwined in each other’s lives that it’s easy to see why they like, and then eventually love, each other. I love the inside jokes and embarrassing old stories that usually comes with it.
“And just how did you see me naked when I was thirteen?”
“Remember that summer we all rented that house up in Pennsylvania for a couple weeks? In the Laurel Highlands, on the lake?”
“Yeah.” The summer her mother had walked out. She remembered it very well.
“You snuck out of the house a few times, to go skinny-dipping in the middle of the night.”
“I…did. You spied on me?”
“It’s not my fault I happened to be sitting at the window, stargazing through that little telescope I had when you did your Lady of the Lake deal.”
“Yeah. I charged Ry and Beck a buck a minute to use it.” Now that was a fond memory. “I seem to recall I made about twenty-eight dollars.”
“You charged them by the minute so you could all spy on me.”
“Spy’s a hard word. Let’s say observe.”
You just don’t get those quality memories if you’re new to someone’s life. LOL.
The ghost thing is pretty heavy in this book, so if you didn’t like it in the first book, be warned. I’m pretty ambivalent about it, myself, but I’ve got to be honest and say it worked for me much better in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy. That had the whole Irish/mythical/faerie thing going for it so it really fit. The ghost doesn’t play quite the same role that she did before, but we do see a lot of her as she hints at a past love that she’s waiting for. It’s clear that resolving their love story will feature heavily in Ryder and Hope’s book. Speaking of Ryder…what does it say about me that the mean, cranky brother is the one that interests me the most?
I enjoyed the friendship between Avery and Owen and thought their romance had a nice setup, but I felt that the actual execution of it was rather sluggish. Owen’s mother, Justine, made a comment that really resonated with me. I was feeling a little restless with the pace of the relationship and she helped me realize why.
”It was easier for you and me, wasn’t it, Tommy? We didn’t do all that thinking.”
That, right there, was my whole problem with their relationship. There was entirely too much thinking going on. Isn’t that a completely odd complaint? But it really slowed down the pace of their romance. There was no sense of urgency or passion to be together. They spent so much time thinking and making sure that what they were doing wasn’t going to wreck their friendship that I became a bit bored. They talked it out with each other. They talked it out with their friends and family. Talk, talk, talk. How about some action?
The overthinking was really my only complaint. It was a significant one, though. I had fun reading the book and laughed quite frequently since NR was on point with the humor, but I didn’t feel any drive in the romance. It remained lukewarm for me and left me with the ‘sweet’ vibe instead of the ‘engrossing’ one I was hoping for.
“Kissed her, right on the mouth,” Beckett remembered.
“It just happened! That honeysuckle-smelling, short-tempered ghost of yours shoved the porch door back open when Avery was leaning against it. The next thing I know she’s wrapped around me, and…”
Brows lifted, Beckett angled his head as he studied Owen’s face. “I was talking about when she was five.”
“But bring us up to date,” Ryder insisted. “You laid one on the Little Red Machine?”
“It just happened,” he insisted. “The door knocked her into me.”
“Yeah, anytime a woman trips, I’m all over them.”
“Suck me,” Owen said to Ryder.