by Rob Browatzke
Publisher: Sisyphus Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza
Release Date: Halloween
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope. Friends to lovers
Themes: Found family
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 70 000 words/ 245 pages
It is a standalone story within a series
Mitch Morris is a nice guy – and you know what they say about them.
Mitch Morris is starting over in a new apartment when he meets a handsome new neighbor. Dan Murphy is starting over in a new city when he meets a handsome new neighbor.
They DON’T hook up.
Instead, they become friends, and slowly, more than friends. But when they both start dating other people, it’s increasingly obvious there’s something between them. Nice guys don’t cheat though, and besides, who would risk a friendship on the chance of something more?
“It doesn’t matter,” he told Dan. “We are not running Sunday —and I don’t care how many times you say Kyle McFall,” he added, sticking his fingers in his ears. “Sunday is Halloween, and that means we will both be far too hungover from Saturday’s Halloween parties to even think about running.”
“We could just not get drunk, you know. That’s a thing. That people do.”
“Not my people!” Mitch said. “Halloween Saturday is my literal favorite day of the year.”
“That’s what you said about Gay Day,” Dan said. “And about Pride. And about the day Duncan had his two-for-one special.”
“You know, I get that we’re friends, but sometimes, I really wish you didn’t pay so much attention to everything I say. You’ve got this annoying habit of throwing my own words back in my face, and it really is the most unattractive thing you do.”
Dan shrugged, grinning. “What’s so special about Halloween?”
“What’s so special about Halloween? What’s so special about Halloween?” Mitch forced his voice to screech.
“I don’t know. That’s why I asked.”
“Oh, you little tiny gayby,” Mitch said. “What did they teach you back in that backwater town of yours?”
“Isn’t your hometown like five hundred people?”
“Yes,” Mitch said, “and every single one of them celebrates Halloween. But that doesn’t even matter, because you see, Halloween is something more for gay people. It’s like Christmas and your birthday and the best blowjob ever all rolled into one.”
“Do you ever worry that your constant exaggerating ever builds things up to a point where people are let down?”
“Did I let you down about Pride?” Mitch asked. Dan shook his head. “Or about that two for one special?” Dan let out a laugh. “See? I never steer you wrong. Now, what are you being?”
“Like, for my costume? I have no idea.” “Daniel! It is only two weeks away.”
“Do you already know what you’re doing?”
“Since July,” Mitch said. “I have to say, I’m outdoing even myself this year.”
“What are you doing then?”
“No! A magician never reveals his secrets.”
“But, you just asked me!”
Mitch chuckled. “Oh, Dan,” he said. “Poor little gayby Dan. You are many things but you’re not a magician.”
It was a brave front that Mitch was putting on, because the truth was, he had no idea what he was going to be. He and Kent had normally done a pair of costumes, which hit a brilliant new level a few years before when they’d actually gone as a pair of pears. But this year, Kent and Dylan were doing a couples costumes, because of course they were that kind of couple, and it was probably going to be something super lame, like Romeo and Julien or some sh*t. But Mitch was idealess.
He was never idealess on Halloween. He had suggested to Ellis that they do a couples costume, which he normally hated; best friends together was fine, but boyfriends matching was just gay, and not in the good buttsex sense of the word. But Ellis was going as Black Panther.
“Why don’t you tell me what to go as?” Dan asked suddenly. “Since you’re the expert and all.”
Intrigued, Mitch gave that a ponder. Sometimes it was easier to dress someone else, and maybe that would give Mitch the inspiration he needed for himself. It had to be different. Most of the people at The Torch were just going to be slutty superheroes or slutty animals or slutty somethings, anything for an excuse to be out for a night in as little clothing as possible. This wasn’t something Mitch minded, overly. In fact, he looked forward to the beautiful men, but when it came to his own, he usually wanted a bit of commentary. After all, there was a thousand dollar grand prize on the line, and who couldn’t use that?
Finishing Last is a very slow burn romance that follows Mitch and Dan in the River City Romance series. While it’s the third book in the series, it definitely can be read as a standalone.
Mitch and Dan meet as Mitch is moving in to his new place and while at first it may seem like they’d get entangled from the start, things ease back into them starting as just friends. They do become best friends over time with glimpses here and there of stirring feelings, but they both continue on their own romantic paths through much of the book.
This results in some emotional turmoil along the way, particularly for Dan with the relationship in which he finds himself. It’s a long while until things change, so be prepared to read a lot of everyday life for the guys with those hints of pining along the way before the situation eventually develops into more.
If this type of long-time-coming friends to lovers tale is your jam, you’ll feel right at home with Finishing Last. There are some great supporting characters that round things out as well, and if you haven’t already read the first two books of the series you can find some of them featured in those with their own stories (I’ll bet Kent and Dylan will pique your interest for sure!). Finishing Last is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.
About the Author
Rob Browatzke doesn’t believe in writing what he knows – that’s why he delivers gay romance with happy endings! Equal parts sarcasm and kindness, he has been writing as long as he can remember. When not writing, he can be found actively involved in local queer nightlife, where he has made a career since the late 1900s. He lives in Edmonton Alberta, but don’t hold that against him. Feel free to stalk him on social media.