A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton


Rating: 5 stars out of 6

Henry goes through men faster than his friends can count. None of them have been worth an effort to get to know, and he doesn’t need them anyway, because he loves his best friend, Ivo, maybe more than he should. But his other friends (from Rule Breaker and Deal Maker) are so happy together, settled, with plans for children and a long-term future that it makes him yearn for stability. He decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. Of course, his friends are full of suggestions, and so begins a parade of calamity dates that Henry most definitely isn’t interested in.

In the meantime, Ivo has come home, but he’s wounded and knocked down, suffering from nightmares and PTSD and wanting nothing more than comfort from his best friend, Henry, the man he loves. Yes, this is one of those stories with unrequited best friend love. I would normally think, ho-hum, not my cuppa, but the author has injected humor with the angst and provided readers with a heartwarming story of two emotionally damaged, yet sweet and perfect for each other, young men. The characters are well-developed and each has enough unique charm to hold readers’ interest on their own. But together, they make a terrific package deal.

The story progresses through the time Ivo is recuperating at the home they share, and he and Henry are growing closer, yet each still thinks he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by going one step further. Ivo steams as he awaits Henry’s return each time he goes on a blind date, but he still can’t take the first step to stop him. Though this portion of the story could have dragged, it actually went quickly because some of the dates were hysterically funny.  The author also wove Henry’s and Ivo’s back story in by opening each chapter with a note or letter from one to the other, most from the time they were schoolboys separated by holidays or vacations.

The revisits from characters featured in the earlier stories will be appreciated by those who’ve read the series, but their presence does not take away from this story being a standalone. In fact, the highest praise I can give this story is to say that I am going to purchase the first two books in the series so I can catch up because the author’s writing style, sense of pace, and touches of humor have dug into my subconscious, which is now begging me for more.

This story was, in a nutshell, an unexpected gift, and I highly recommend it to those who love MM romance with a touch of humor and a very happy ending.

The cover by Natasha Snow features a handsome young man wearing a suit coat and glasses with an intense look on his face. The coloration is a faded black and white with some gold and purple splashes. It ties nicely in with other books in the series.

Sales Links:    Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 22nd 2018
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMixed Messages #3

Release Day Blitz for Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton (excerpt and giveaway)


 Risk Taker RDB banner

Risk Taker

Mixed Messages Series, Book 3

Lily Morton

M/M Romance

Release Date: 07.22.18


Cover Design: Natasha Snow

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2Oal9WI

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2LD9u0F



Being in love with your best friend is hard.

Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo – or does he?

Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.

Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?

From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been – if only they knew it.

This is the third book in the Mixed Messages series, but it can be read as a standalone.




The bell in the shop rings as the door opens, and I smile as I feel his presence behind me.

“Is there a particular reason, Henry, why I am standing in an art supply shop rather than sitting in a perfectly good restaurant eating lunch?”

I shift the basket over my arm and turn to face one of my best friends. “Gabe, you really should be a bit more highbrow. Otherwise, you’ll never keep that pretty totty you’ve got.”

His perfect-looking face scrunches up in disgust. “Totty. What an utterly disgusting word.”

“I know,” I say cheerfully, turning back to the shelf I was perusing and chucking in another tube of Rose Gold oil paint.

“Makes you sound like your father,” he says snippily, and I nudge him.

“Now that’s petty. Anyway, I’m nothing like him. I have all my own teeth, and my complexion is milky-white perfection, if I do say so myself.”

He snorts. “Apart from those freckles.”

I shake my head and touch a finger to my face and my bête noire, the multitude of freckles that span my nose. “I wish that cream I got off the internet at uni had worked,” I say forlornly, and he laughs loudly, making it echo around the shop.

“I did so enjoy the way your face turned that shade of green. Made you look like Grotbags from The Rod Hull and Emu Show.” He reaches over and grabs a tube of paint. “It was this shade precisely. Hmm, Pistachio Green.” He chucks it into my basket, and I patiently remove it and put it back on the shelf.

I toss a couple of tubes of Prussian Blue into the basket while he leans casually against the shelf looking like the perfect picture of a lawyer in his dark grey, hand-tailored suit.

“Why are we here, Henry? Because if you’re thinking of giving up the law and becoming an artist, I really will have to stage an intervention.”

I laugh. “I think I’d make a very good artist.”

“Piss artist, more likely,” he says, poking my arm with one long finger. “So, if we’re not shopping for what would be the shortest career in art history, who are we shopping for?” His gaze sharpens, and I mentally groan because aside from Ivo there is no one who knows me better. “Hmm. Would we be shopping for a six foot four blond photographer who a certain red-headed lawyer has had the hots for, for years?”

“That’s such a non-Gabe expression,” I sneer. “Has Dylan been influencing you?”

He looks startled and shakes his head. “Those fucking phrases of his and Jude’s. They’re messing up my vocabulary. Yesterday one of the senior partners asked me if I was okay and I said I was cool. He went out and asked his assistant to tell maintenance that the building heating needed to be turned up.”

I laugh helplessly, and he gives me a rueful grin. “Don’t distract me, Henry. Is Ivo back?” I nod slowly and his expression darkens. “Is he okay?”

I shrug, picking up a brush and studying it intently so I don’t have to look at him. “Not really. He’s got a hole from a fucking bullet in his side, and broken ribs and bruises all over him from being near a car bomb when it went off.”

“What?” he says instantly. “Is he okay?” Gabe has always had a complicated relationship with Ivo. He loves being with him, and they can talk for hours, but he hates the effect that he unknowingly has on my life.

“He’s fine. Silas checked him over.”

He checks with his hand out to grab the brush from me. “Henry, isn’t Silas a vet?”

I shrug. “He was very good at biology at school.”

“I was good at it too. You don’t see me turning up at St Bart’s Hospital and performing a few appendectomies during my lunch hour though, do you?”

“The only biology you were any good at was the male anatomy kind,” I say tartly, and chuck the brush in the basket.

He smiles. “That I was. I’m a very learned man in that area.”

I snort. “You’re practically PhD material.”

Lily Morton Logo

Lily writes contemporary romance novels, and specialises in hot love stories with a good dose of humour.

Lily lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she bought her first Kindle.

She has spent her life with her head full of daydreams and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else could she get to spend her time with hot, funny men!

She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – chocolate Baileys! Her lifetime’s ambition is to have a bath in peace without being shouted by one of her family.

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