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Risk Taker

Mixed Messages, Book 3
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Series: Mixed Messages, Book 3
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 15, 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 20 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 best-selling 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 listened to as a stand-alone. 

©2018 Lily Morton (P)2020 Lily Morton

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Amazing

Joel Leslie did such an incredible job in bringing one of my favourite books to life. He bought such a wonderful vulnerability into Henry and Ivo- and his Ivo in particular was just spot on! I love, love, loved this, and it will be re listened to many times in the future! 💜

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  • Eugenia
  • 09-02-2020

The Queen of Snark Reigns Supreme!!

I read this book in one sitting, staying up until 3am to do so. Like Morton's previous books in this series, it was AWESOME! Unlike her other books, it was a bit angstier.

Joel Leslie was phenomenal in his performance of Ivo and Henry. He is my fave when doing British (or French) accents!!

There was great balance between the feels and the funny. These two MCs are ex stepbrothers and best friends. They love each other. Both are in love with the other, but will not put their friendship at risk by trying for more. Angst, angst, angst...they go for more. HEA.

Characters from the previous two books in the series make appearances and we meet Silas, brother of MC Henry, who stars in the next book , Oz (HILARIOUS!!!).

This one is a must for Lily Morton fans...and who wouldn't be? She's writing some of the BEST and FUNNIEST romance out there!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Zizawah
  • 09-02-2020

Beautiful romantic comedy with lots of heart

Story
This can be listened to as a standalone but it’s the 3rd book in the series and best if you started from book 1 of mixed messages. This story is about Henry and Ivo who briefly grew up as stepbrothers when Henry’s father married Ivo’s mother. Henry is a successful family lawyer who’s been playing the field but had finally gotten tired and ready to settle down except his deepest desire is for his best friend Ivo. However, Ivo’s vocation as photojournalist takes him to dangerous locale and his stays with Henry only lasts for a short time between assignments.

Henry may look soft but he’s tough inside. Ivo may look tough but his insecurities hold him back from taking risks with his heart. The story starts out in a melancholy tone peppered with wry humor but gets lighter progressively in the story as our two main characters find each other and ease into each other’s lives again and found an added dimension to their relationship that they’ve both been craving for and finally got the courage to risk their future.

The string of attempted dates are hilarious as was the night Henry and Dylan enjoyed Dean’s gift. There’s pain, angst, and desire to knock the MCs’ heads together but I laughed out loud at all the humor that laced through the story and I broke down and cried when Ivo brought out Henry’s photo and shared his story with a fellow passenger.

Simply, this story is a beautiful ode to love — best friends to lover, between brothers, between best friends, and between work friends.

Narration
Joel’s narration is pitch perfect and fantastic. He lives and breathes the characters into vivid life with his performance. Each character voice is distinct.

Summary
Wonderful story and narration. For anyone who’s looking for a romantic comedy that’s wonderfully written and performed, this is it. Strongly recommended.

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  • Jill K.
  • 08-02-2020

Moorreee

I want more. More books by Lily Martin please!!!! Joel Leslie’s accents are AMAZING. I love his voice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stacey Oliver
  • 06-02-2020

Fantastic!!

I can't begin to explain how wonderful this story was! There were highs, there were lows and it was so HOT! Joel Leslie Froomkin can't top this work. (or can he?) But first and foremost, it takes excellent content to make it happen. great job. I wish I could start it again for the first time.

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  • Susan Bauer
  • 20-03-2020

Sweet friends to lovers

I enjoyed this book a lot. While the second book, Deal Maker is my favorite of the 3, this is still well worth the read.

I was so happy to finally hear Henry's story since he has been such a lovely character in the other two books.

Ivo was such an interesting character, with so many faults and baggage, and I really enjoyed how Henry loved him, warts and all. The blindness of Henry to Ivo's love was hilarious to listen to, he was just so sure that Ivo would never see him as anything other than a friend, it was charming to see his little bouts of confusion.

Gabe was so funny here, and I really enjoyed the inclusion of Gabe/Dylan and Jude/Asa. But Gabe was especially funny with his knowing glances and that hug.

They both so deserved their happily ever after, and while yes, there wasn't a huge dramatic issue that came in the book, the drama was in them realizing that they were in love and the bathroom scene was hilarious and hot all at once. I agree with Henry on the standing ovation.


Lily's writing is absolutely sensory, you can feel and see the scenes, she is so descriptive with her writing that you're absolutely immersed in what ever is happening in the book. I liked that Ivo had a few more chapters than the other books had with the other half of the love interest. That is the one thing I wished about the other books is more knowledge about the other MC.

Joel did another fantastic narration, I think he does far better with English accents than American. I have heard him narrate both, and far more enjoy him with accents other than American. His voice seems to quaver more in American than any other, but that is really my only issue I have ever had with his narrations. His quivering voice, but in the 3 Lily Morton books he barely does it at all. He has load of voice inflections to support all the characters so you aren't confused, including female voices, although he has a tendency of making them all sound like an old lady. He is absolutely able to show off the characters feelings beautifully, which is the thing so many narrators can't do.


I highly recommend all three of the Mixed Messages books, especially on audio as that brings them to life. I do hope she write more, although it seems like her characters that make multiple appearances are all matched up. Perhaps she can add in more, and Dean would be funny to be matched up, but he is so ditzy I don't know if I could believe he would ever not be a bachelor.

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  • Ana Nimity
  • 03-03-2020

Perfection

I'd just recently re-read Risk Taker when the audio came out, so I was thrilled to listen to Joel Leslie's performances of Ivo and Henry. Joel does varying English dialects well, and I've heard him do Russian and Irish, but French was a first and it added to the story more than I thought it would. I didn't "hear" Ivo's accent when I read the book but listening to the audio and Joel's interpretation made Ivo that much sexier.

There are not enough superlatives to describe both the book and the narration. The book's on my re-read list and the audio is now squarely on my re-listen list.

HIGHLY recommend.

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  • Sharonica
  • 20-02-2020

Take the Risk! You Won't Regret It! 💗


Title: Risk Taker
Series: Mixed Messages #3
Author: Lily Morton
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Publisher: Lily Morton
Format: audiobook
Release Date: 2/05/2020
Genre/ Trope/ Themes(s): MM Contemporary Romance; LGBT; Best Friends to Lovers; Stepbrothers; Snark; PTSD; Family Drama
Listening Length: 9hrs 38min
SteaMMy Swordplay: 3 out of 5 ⚔
Sharonica-Stars: 4.75✨
Audible avg: 4.8⭐


MMy Thoughts and Review:

One of my favorite and most hated tropes is the best friends to lovers. Favorite because no one knows your best and worst, and still loves all of you than your best friend. Worst because I am only tolerant of about five minutes of angst and this particular trope thrives on it.

I took this ARC offering thinking I was signing up for book one when in actuality I signed up for book three. **Note to self, the numbers three and one are NOT the same. That being said, I didn't feel I was coming (that can mean two things- if one is having a good day😂) into the series in the middle. This book can very much be read on its own.

It did take me about 20 minutes or so to get acclimated to the writing style and the world being created. Listening is often different than seeing the words on-page, so it took a bit for me to realize I was seeing the past, or a memory, and the present. Once I caught on, and with the dual POVs of Ivo and Henry, I could close my eyes, see these beautiful men, now in their thirties as they once were in their teens.

I fell in love with both characters. Both men were so different, and anyone who knew them knew how fiercely loyal they were to each other. Through years of bad relationships, oceans apart, Henry becoming a lawyer and Ivo becoming a photo-journalist like his father and godfather, they remained close. No matter where they were in life they could always come home to the cottage left to them by Henry's father.

I loved the humor between these two that only best friends have. That look that says, “you're an idiot! I don't want to, but I'm in! Now, let's storm the castle and wreak some havoc,” without ever saying a word.


The restaurant antics were laugh out loud funny. Every...single...one! The group of friends and Henry's brother were also good secondary characters (the friends coupled up, I assume are from previous books).

Narration was done by Joel Leslie, who thankfully won my heart last summer when listening to books became my new norm out of health necessity and not just pleasure. Because Joel was my first (Femme), **giggle… he eased the way with his gift of voices. It helps me to feel I am not cheating on the actual books when I can still see the story in my head as it's being read to me. Joel Leslie's talented narration does this for me.

I enjoyed this ARC so much, I've added the first two audiobooks to my audible cart. Joel narrates those as well, I believe.

If you enjoy the friends to lovers trope, and romantic comedy stirs butterflies in your belly, I highly recommend this audiobook. I loved it!

The Story: 4.50⭐
The Narration: 5.00⭐
Overall: 4.75✨


I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook and in exchange, I am offering an unbiased review. 💋

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  • Clau
  • 09-02-2020

I liked it, but...

Argh! I think this is a case of too high expectations. I read the first two books in this series and loved them. And there was a lot to love here, too, don't get me wrong. But as much as I liked Henry and Ivo, I spent 80% of the book wanting to strangle them :(

Yes, I get why they were acting the way they did, but it went for too long. And when they finally have sex... it felt cheap. I know it was supposed to be hot, but for me, it wasn't. And the way they used sex to avoid talking annoyed me to no end.

It was lovely to revisit the characters from the previous books, and the banter and humour was as funny as always, and the end was really great, so, all in all, I really liked it, even with the amounts of frustration that made me feel :P

Now, Joel Leslie's narration... I still have the same problem with his narration that I always have: he has only a couple of voices, and in this book, with the characters from the other books having such a big presence, it was even more evident. You can only say who was talking by the context :( It's a real shame, because I like his voice and style.

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  • LauraSt
  • 08-02-2020

Another 5 Star Read for Lily

This series couldn’t possibly get better, Henry and Ivo are perfection incarnate. Lost souls that stuck together and never separated. I just couldn’t have wished for a better best friends to lovers book.
Definitely a MUST read; not only that but you get to know more about the couple that stole our heart initially. Gabe is amazing as always and Asa is EVERYTHING! Plus, this makes you appreciate Silas’ HEA even more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • James Nusbaum
  • 22-06-2020

Bloody good job

So enjoyed this story. Great characters and story line. Joel did marvelous job with voices and accents, esp Ivo's French. Bravo, Huzzahs and Kudos to all. Can't wait till I get another

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  • Wilkinwonder
  • 20-02-2020

Waited a long time for this - well worth it

I have waited ages for this series to be put out on audio and I was not disappointed. Joel Leslie does the most fantastic British accent..

His French one was pretty neat too. He made Henry and Ivo come to life. His posh Henry had me in stitches at times with his witty one liners Ivo is the snarky one.

Their love story starts when they are 15 and Henry’s homophobic Dad marries Ivo’s drunken gold digger Mom.

They stay the best of friends despite both of them knowing from an early age they wanted to be together.. it’s really only when Ivo’s mums current husband talks sense into Ivo that he realises that he really does love Henry.

Lily Morton did a fantastic job with this and had me in stitches and tears more than a few times. It’s a shame this was the last in the series..

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  • Emma Burbidge
  • 18-05-2020

Hooray for Henry! His turn to shine and find love

I love this mixed messages series by Lily Morton with her quirky, complex characters, so I was happy to see Henry get his turn at finding his true love/soul mate after being the friend and confidant in the previous books in the set.
Joel Leslie is one of my all-time favourite narrators and he does a wonderful job, as always, of bringing the guys to life. Highly recommended fun contemporary MM romance with a best friends/step-brothers to lovers trope.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-2020

Another brilliant love story

Again Lily Morton and Joel Leslie have the winning touch. I always enjoy Lily Morton's books and have read the series before I bought the audio books. Henry and Ivo were almost melancholic at first and I wondered if the same snark and humour in the first two books would feature, thankfully it did. Joel Leslie brings such an array of emotions to the book, he really brings the characters to life and when he does all of the previous characters in the same scene he doesnt falter in his rendition of the voices. Thanks guys, another satisfied customer...keep them coming...

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  • MaryD
  • 22-02-2020

Superb

such a great friend to loves story made even better by the fabulous narration by Joel Lesley. His French accent for Ivo made the story for me. I can’t think of anything more to say than superb

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-02-2020

Wow, even better with audio

Another massive hit. Fantastic narration, superb story. Lily certainly is on a run. Don't hesitate, you'll have no regrets, just tears and smiles, and a whole load of laughs.

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  • choccygrl
  • 21-02-2020

So good

I love this series so much.
Just like the other books in the series this book is funny, frustrating and full of feels. I've wanted Henry's story for a while and I'm so pleased he got his happy ever after. But his friends attempts at matchmaking before he finally gets his man, oh boy

The narrator does an excellent job with this performance, as usual.

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  • Trio
  • 21-02-2020

Great Relationship & a Lovely Hurt/Comfort Romance

Lily Morton's reign as writer of spectacular relationships continues with Risk Taker. Dang but this author writes some wonderful chemistry!

Didn’t we all want Henry to find his happily ever after?! Finally this wild child is ready to settle down, and the parade of nit-wits that his friends parade in front of him had me cracking up. Poor Ivo, having to sit by and watch all that go on right under his nose.

I enjoyed the hurt/comfort aspect of the story in this one. Ivo is such a tortured soul, and watching him find peace and love with the perfect guy was very heartwarming.

The audiobooks the Mixed Messages series are performed by Joel Leslie, and he’s able to showcase a nice variety of his accents in Risk Taker. Ivo’s mum is a real piece of work, and Ms. Morton gives him some wonderful supporting characters to work with.


An audio copy of Risk Taker was provided to me for the purpose of my honest review

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  • Allison's Book Corner
  • 20-02-2020

Great

I really enjoyed this audiobook.
It was a great story from Lily, brought you live wonderfully by Joel’s narration.
I can’t wait to listen to more audiobooks from them.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 20-02-2020

My beloved and reliable Henry

Ivo,

I know you’re worried about me getting stressed at work so I took your advice and started yoga. Thanks for that. Yoga does not ease stress, it causes it. For a start, what is it with all that f-ing breathing? I told the lady that I’d been breathing for years and didn’t normally require assistance but she got alarmingly tense for someone who’s supposed to be chilled. She got even tenser after the stork incident. If I wanted to pretend to be a bird, I’d have stood in the garden. That wouldn’t have resulted in me taking out most of the back row. Can I just say that yoga people can get very touchy? I can’t even take the mat back to the shop because they don’t refund when there’s blood on the equipment.

Henry

It’s been a few months since I listened to Deal Maker and Rule Breaker – the first two books in Lily Morton’s Mixed Messages series. Somehow I had forgotten just how f-ing funny these books are! Seriously. I was on the bus and there was no stopping the laughter. I was in the library stifling my giggles. I was in Starbucks ducking my head and snorting. In other words, I loved this book. I consumed it in just over a day which tells you just how much I wanted to get through it. And yet it was bittersweet at the end. I didn’t want to say goodbye to these men.

Let me start by saying that although this book is a stand alone, you get far more enjoyment if you’ve read the previous two. Gabe, Dylan, Asa, and Jude all have cameos in the book and I was able to make more connections because I’d listened to the two previous books. If you haven’t, though, no worries. This book is plenty funny even if you don’t get every little ‘in’ joke.

As with the previous books, this book is primarily in one point of view but then it will slip into the other man’s. I’m used to fifty-fifty splits, but Ms. Morton lets her muse carry her to which man has the most to say and it works. A good portion of this book is from Henry’s perspective and that makes sense. Not just because he was Gabe’s friend and has been in the other books, but because he’s a solid fellow who is living a perceptively boring life. Tired of pining over the one he can’t have, he’s decided to settle down. First, that means finding someone to settle down with. Ah, that’s where the fun begins. After one such date, he has a conversation with Dylan who asks, “Was it bad?”

I groan and shake my head before tilting a glass and throwing the drink back. “I don’t think bad is a word that quite covers the experience.”

He smirks. “What happened?”

I look at him. “I think you know, Dylan. I’m becoming convinced that this is either some strange plan of yours and Gabe’s or you are the absolute worst matchmaker in history.”

He leans forwards, his eyes alight with mischief. “Tell me.”

“My date tonight didn’t come alone. His grandmother joined us.”

Dylan blinks. “Oh, that’s nice I suppose. I mean at least it shows he’s family oriented.”

“Oh, he’s that all right,” I say grimly. “She’s dead.”

Dylan spits his drink out, and I nod sternly.

“Yes, I was introduced to her urn.”

Dylan snorts and I shake my head. “He consulted her over the menu and the accompanying wine.” I pause. “Actually, she picked a good one so I can’t fault her on that.”

“Well, that sounds…nice,” he says slowly. “Weird, but nice.” He pauses. “Let’s call it quirky.”

“Let’s not,” I say boldly, “Because later on he decided to introduce her properly to get her real opinion of me.”

“Oh dear, what happened?”

“He stroked some of her ashes on my hand.”

“Oh, that’s disgusting.”

I nod. “It was. But it was also quite hurtful to my feelings because he then declared she didn’t like me.”

Dylan gapes and I nod. “Yes, bloody hell, I’m a catch, Dylan. I have all my own hair, a good job, and I paid for dinner and let me tell you, the wine she picked was not the cheapest.”

Okay, I was giggle-snorting through that one because I could see an outraged and hurt Henry. He’s a very smart man but he also has trouble seeing what is right in front of him. And while Henry is pragmatic and practical, Evo is artistic and flighty. Well, is as likely to forget to eat as anything else when he’s in his artistic phase. He’s also seen a lot of the darker side of the world as a photojournalist. He’s taking some forced down time and it’s only a matter of time before he goes back to some other hellhole to show the deprivation of the human condition in war torn countries.

For these former step-brothers, there’s been a push and pull for years, and this time they allow the forces of nature to take over and they get together. And it works. But Henry appears to be willing to make more sacrifices to make the relationship work although at the end Evo steps up to the plate, so to speak.

I want to say more but I’ll leave it here. Everyone who loves snark, witty dialogue, and a rollicking fun time should listen to this book. Oh, and the BJ in the coat closet’s worth the price of admission.

Joel Leslie narrated this book and it’s him at his best. He nails both men perfectly, especially with Evo’s vaguely French accent. Henry’s prim and proper and perfect for Joel’s performance. And his comedic timing is genius, perfectly suited for Ms. Morton’s words. Yes, I loved this book and will definitely look out for more books by this author.

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  • Dee Slate
  • 20-02-2020

Best friends to lovers done right!

I have really enjoyed the Mixed Messages series, and this last one is just as good.
This is Henry and Ivo's story - while it has the trademark humour and banter that the auther is known for, this is a touch less sweetness and light? Henry has been pining for Ivo, and the latter has a touch of PTSD due to what he's experienced as a photojournalist. There were times I wanted to bang their heads in - it was obvious to all and sundry that they were in love with other - but they got their act together 😄
Another entertaining perfomance by Joel Leslie! You can tell he really liked the characters and embodied them with gusto.