Book Reviews

The Best Friend (Red's Tavern 1) by Raleigh Ruebins

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 25-March-2020

Book Blurb

My best friend’s a former quarterback, and I’m a nerdy math teacher. 
He has no idea how badly I want him.

Back in high school, Mitch protected me from bullies and was at my side through tragedy. It didn’t matter that he was a football star and I was a mathlete, or that I was gay and he was straight. We stuck together like glue--until he married a girl and ran away.

Now Mitch is back home, and he’s a divorced single dad. His son is in my math class, and I collide with Mitch everywhere in this small town. When he starts bartending at the only local gay bar, I’m screwed. Red’s Tavern is my haven, but how can I fake it for other guys when I’m in love with the big jock behind the bar?

Then Mitch invites me into his bed, saying it's just for fun. But I’m addicted to him the second his body is on mine. 

I’ve done the math a million times. I know the odds are bad, but I know I want him. 

And now that he’s given me a taste, I can’t stop begging for more.

Book Review

Here is a man-on-man tale that is, in form, quite typical – probably because it represents a fantasy for so many gay men. You lust for your hunky best friend. Eventually, though straight (and that may be a major part of your attraction!) he responds. The sex is off the charts and life marches apace to the HEA. In some form, this trope has long been present in literature throughout the ages – Victoriana, bodice ripper, porn. And it works!


Ms. Reubens, prolific in output, knows how to deliver. Her characters in ‘The Best Friend’ are all so nice and deserving. Childhood friends reunite, adolescents come of age, secondary characters are interesting and even amusing. There are no villains, as they are unnecessary to stir the plot’s pot.


The story generally is well paced; the use of language is cleverly engaging. Evan: “It was like my dick had gone on strike for anyone other than Mitchell. Which was bad, because my best friend wanted nothing to do with my penis.” Everything afterward is either commentary on, or counter proof of, that hypothesis. 


And, if in our current historically challenging period, like Evan “You’re doing the thing where you tunnel into your own head.” time spent reading will pass most enjoyably. These two men are so obviously necessary to the fulfillment of the other: “I’d also dreamed about him last night.  His tongue on mine, then his tongue . . . other places.”  Reader, please forgive me, and let us welcome this little foreshadowing in the form of foreskin. Hooray for Ms. Reuben. Using the popular style of writing in the antiphonal voices of Evan and Mitchell, it works wonderfully at maintaining the novel’s rhythm. If I am forced to provide a criticism (and that’s the name of the game!) it’s that the author seems so taken with her main characters that, unable to shut the door on them, the ending is constructed, in seriatim pieces, with too many sweet coda. A little cloying!        






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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 281 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-March-2020
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link