Tag Team Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton

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

combined average

Lost in a Book - 4.25 Hearts



I’ve been waiting my whole life forever since Rule Breaker for Henry to FINALLY get his chance to come alive. Let me just tell you that Henry did NOT disappoint. Henry and Ivo together are FIYAHHHHH!

Henry’s a family lawyer, great friend, hook-up champion, and in love with his best friend Ivo. He’s stable, loyal, comfortable with the routine of his life, and has decided to find love… or at least something close to it since he can’t have who he truly wants. Did I mention he's a ginger? Lots of good things going for Henry.

Ivo is an artist and photojournalist. He travels more than he's at home in London with his roommate, Henry.

"Over the years he has danced in and out of my life, chasing his dreams of being a photojournalist and running from his demons in faraway lands."

After an injury, Ivo has to stay put for a bit and that’s when the "friendship" changes. I adore Henry and Ivo together. Their back and forth had me laughing out loud. The antics they get up to with their friends had me cackling. This book has a much heavier feel than I was expecting. Ivo and Henry have a lot of baggage from the past that prevents them from moving forward and leaving readers with a major case of feels. There’s lotssssssss of pining y’all. It takes a million years (well, it seemed like it in booklandia) for them to move forward.

Henry and Ivo have a natural intimacy that goes beyond being best friends. Once the seal is broken on the physical aspect of their relationship, it’s game on. They have sex on lock down. Communication about their relationship?? Not so much. Who needs to talk when there's sex? The restaurant scene… *bites fist* Hot AF. Ivo is a master at keeping them on one track filled with orgasms. I love Ivo with his quick wit and humor. I’ll forgive him for his interesting takes on some of my favorite stories. Let's talk about Chutter sandwiches. *gag* Is that an actual thing? I'm too afraid to Google it. 🤢

Much of the MCs foundation happens off page from their childhood. We are privy to glimpses through flashbacks but not a lot. However, I didn’t need more. I felt their connection, friendship, and love.

Risk Taker *could* be read as a stand alone but both couples from previous books are still very much a part of the story. Lily Morton’s writing is always refreshing and I appreciate the dual POVs with how different Ivo and Henry are. There is one little critique that I had but it’s a preference thing. The way the conflict was resolved through the end felt a little off. I was waiting for something epic and walked away feeling happy with the HEA but slightly disappointed with how everything came to fruition.

A trigger warning should be added for flashbacks that depict verbal and physical abuse. I really enjoyed Risk Taker and definitely recommend it.

Is it too soon to demand request Silas’ story? Asking for a friend…

“‘You don’t have to be anything other than yourself with me,’ I say steadily. ‘That’s always been our truth, and it always will be.’”

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 2.5 Hearts

Before I get into what didn't work for me let me just say how much I adored the first two books in this series. I actually pestered other people to read them because I loved them and wanted to share the love by force if necessary. I also pestered this author for a this book, so it actually pains me that I didn't love it as much as many other people, my co-reviewer included. Lastly, I will ABSOLUTELY read another book by Lily Morton even another one in this series. Especially if said book features Silas.

Risk Taker features Henry and his longtime best friend and ex-stepbrother, Ivo. Henry's been in love with Ivo since he first set eyes on him when they were boys but he's convinced himself that Ivo harbors only platonic feelings for him. Ivo and Henry have grown up together (something we get flashback glimpses of throughout the narrative) which typically is a trope that works for me. They know each other better than anyone else in the world, yet they cannot see the other's feelings? The feelings that were aliens to land and observe them would be like, ‘they’re into each other, no?’ or whatever the alien equivalent is. Maybe it’s a case of being too close to the situation to see it clearly but something about it didn't jive for me.

We get both of their perspectives and Ivo mirrors Henry's feelings. On top of that he's quite possessive and jealous particularly when Henry begins a series of horrific dates set up by his best friend Gabe who arranges a plethora of awful blokes for Henry to go out with in an effort to force Ivo’s hand. Henry is unaware of Gabe's ulterior motives and is subjected to a couple of truly humiliating experiences; however, he's making a good faith effort to put Ivo behind him so he soldiers on despite Ivo's increasingly bad mood and glowering.

Ivo is a photojournalist who's narrowly missed being killed by a car bomb and subsequent shoot-out when he returns to his and Henry's shared home. Expect a heavier feel to this installment due to Ivo's mental health issues; I would classify this as new adult and hurt/comfort. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting the heaviness and I missed the comedic elements found in the first two. The mental health aspects were handled well, not magically cured. But I didn't care for how Ivo, and Henry to a lesser extent, seemed to use Ivo's job as reason enough to continue the push/pull between them nor did I care for how this storyline abruptly played out. It was sweet and the sappy marshmallow in me responded, but it felt too convenient, too easy.

Henry and Ivo are opposites in many ways excepting their stubbornness. Both have atrocious communication skills which ordinarily doesn't bother me but it really became too much for me when coupled with the fact that both of them have, at one point or another, declared their feelings for the other yet they both continue to cling to this notion that they're piloting their love boats solo. It seemed contrived when literally all evidence points to the contrary.

Once they add sex into the mix and continued to hold firm to this non-communication track until a highly awkward and seemingly unnecessarily catty confrontation in a crowded club with Henry's ex-boyfriend forces both of their hands was the straw that broke my back. I hate dramatics in my life and in my reads so take that with a grain of salt. I need for people to use their words. I understand that’s scary sometimes but two supposed best friends since childhood who are closer than any two people can be should be able to have an adult conversation.

Dramatics aside they have chemistry galore and I thoroughly enjoyed their newly discovered kink for semi-public sex. I also enjoyed Henry's clotheshorseness and how much of his time is spent on sartorial matters.

Few authors are more capable of showing a connection between protagonists than Lily Morton and she did so again here. I never doubted their feelings for each other and there were parts of this story that I found emotional, but overall I wish both of them had been more willing to take a risk on each other a helluva a lot sooner.

Risk Taker could be read as a standalone though I wouldn't recommend it since both prior couples from the series make appearances and you don’t want to miss their stories! This I promise you. I loved catching up with them and seeing how happy they still are.

As always, my opinions are my own and YMMV.

ARCs were provided by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

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