• Best Man

  • Close Proximity, Book 1
  • By: Lily Morton
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (255 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Zeb Evans doesn’t do messy.  

The product of a disorganized and chaotic childhood, Zeb likes order and control, and as the boss of his own employment agency he can give that to himself. Life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse. 

Jesse Reed is Zeb’s complete opposite. He’s chaos personified. A whirling cyclone of disorder. He’s also charming and funny and a very unwanted distraction. Which is why it comes as a complete surprise to Zeb to find himself asking Jesse to pose as his boyfriend for a few days in the country at a wedding.  

Zeb doesn’t do impulsive, but as the time away progresses, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the merry and irreverent Jesse. But can he bring himself to break the hard-won lessons he’s learnt in life? And even if he can, how could Jesse be attracted to him anyway? He’s so much older than Jesse, not to mention being his boss. 

From the best-selling author of the Mixed Messages and Finding Home series comes a warm and funny romance about one man’s fight for control and another man’s determination to circumvent it.

This is the first book in the Close Proximity series, but it can be listened to as a standalone.

©2019 Lily Morton (P)2021 Lily Morton

What listeners say about Best Man

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Prologe is missing

When it started with "Three years later..." I was like: three years from what? I havnt read the book, but it was obvious that wasn't right XD
Gotten a sample from the kindle now and will be back to the audio once I'm done with that... Still annoying.

7 people found this helpful

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Love this

I absolutely loved this sweet adorable romance.

Such a great book with a solid storyline and great characters.

I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author.

Loved the audio delivery and narration

A definite recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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Fun easy read with okay narrator

I love Lily Morton books and this one is no exception. Twenty-four-year-old Jesse, with a sunny disposition, zest for life, great capacity for love, loyalty, and calamity. Is in love with his boss forty-two-year-old boss Zeb, like order, making sure everyone happy at all times, a stickler for being perfect in every situation, in his deeply cramped emotions is in love with Jesse too. Fake wedding boyfriends and close proximity (I wasn’t trying to be funny, okay a little) Their feelings for each other come to a head.
The narration. I consume audiobooks almost as much I read them on my kindle. The narration for this book felt flat. Joel Leslie is very good at his job; it’s just I have heard all his voices too many times before. I own all of Lily’s books on audio and unfortunately Joel sounds the same. I have had to give re-listens a break because I am unsure what book I am listening to. Joel seems to have a softer voice and a raspy deeper voice. It also runs into secondary characters. I would recommend this audiobook because it’s Lily Morton, but not for the narration. I am hoping a change-up will happen in the future.
This my honest review. I received an free audiobook by Gay Romance Reviews

2 people found this helpful

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  • MJ
  • 10-08-21

Fun, snark, and sparkle

Lily Morton and Joel Leslie are *chef’s kiss* perfection. Leslie brings the banter, humor, and pathos like no one else. By now he’s narrated so many of Morton’s interconnected books that he’s populated an entire Gay South-of-England. And his ability to do that - to create individualized, detailed, distinct characters with emotional resonance, again and again - is what makes him one of the best narrators working today. Another sparkling performance from him, of a book which glows with life. As always with Morton, her characters are lively and funny and lovable even in their worst moments.

2 people found this helpful

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The best man to my hubby

I have said it again and again but I’ll say it again that in my opinion, contemporary romance is the most difficult type of book to write since it’s so close to reality. And Lily Morton is my favorite author when it comes to contemporary romances. I’m so so happy that she came up with a new, wonderful series.

Zeb loves disciplined, neat and everything in order. And being his own boss assures he can stay away from the messiness he so desperately afraid. Jesse is polar opposite of Zeb who’s messy personified. With a considerable age gap of 20 years between them and Zeb being Jesse boss, the two men secretly withheld their attraction to each other thinking the other man wouldn’t like him. When Zeb needed a fake boyfriend to attend the weddding of his cheating ex-boyfriend, Jessie is the first man he thought of. Two men who are secretly attracted to each other being fake boyfriends attending a destination wedding, sparks flew and attraction became irrestible and undeniable. Both men tentatively walked on a patch which will forver change their lives.

I love that we get to see the characters from previous books in Lily’s other series. I loved Eli and I’m so happy Jessie is his very best friend. Zeb can be a bit uptight and serious at times but I’m so happy that he was finally able to admit his attraction to Jessie and finally begin their wonderful realationship. Witch Lily’s brand of patented snark, wit and fun banters with Joel’s Leslie ahhhhmazing performance, this is no doubt an eargasmaic listen. Highly, highly recommended.

5 the best man to my hubby stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Audio rating

Story - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Narration - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Performance - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Overall - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

1 person found this helpful

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Love this fun but real story

This was such a fun story but also had real emotional depth. It’s hard to find those stories but this one hit both sides perfectly and it great, well worth it!!

1 person found this helpful

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Funny!

Zeb agrees to serve as best man at his ex's wedding. To avoid looking like a loser, he hires his employee, Jesse, to be his fake boyfriend. Sure, he's attracted to the guy, but who wouldn't be? Jesse is gorgeous, playful, and irreverent—the perfect foil to Zeb's more serious nature. But with a 20 year difference in their ages, nothing romantic can happen between them. Can it?

This book is so funny! It's cringey in the best way that the bisexual groom is marrying a woman to satisfy his homophobic family—and that Jesse continually calls people out for their nonsense. He and Zeb are adorable together, and it's lovely how patient Jesse is with Zeb in helping him overcome his misconceptions and insecurities.

Thanks, Gay Romance Reviews, for the audio ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • W.
  • 10-09-21

Steamy. Snarky. Sweet.

Best Man is an entertaining and funny story , full of snark and banter with very explicit and steamy intimate scenes , and minimum amount of drama and conflicts.

A light hearted , Rom-Com tale that made me laugh out loud and swooned with delight.

As for the narration - full disclosure - Joel Leslie is a hit or miss with me and for a while have stopped listening to many books narrated by him . Why? He - at times - tends to be unnecessary over dramatic in his performances.

However, because I love all Lily Morton's books I have read , - own/read them all - enjoy/prefer - listening audiobooks than reading and she seems to have Joel Leslie - exclusively- narrated all her audiobooks; I always take the chance - get the audio - and hope it will be a hit instead of a miss.

And folks, Joel Leslie narration good. He didn't over played and exaggerate his performance. His voices sounded natural not forced.

1 person found this helpful

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Utter perfection

Listening to a Lily Morton story performed by Joel Leslie is like a warm, cozy blanket, hot cocoa, and hanging out with your very best friends all at the same time. Best Man just reinforces this. Lily’s writing is hilarious, and heartfelt, and pure magic.

Joel’s performance is so incredible you forget that there is only one of him and you’re not actually listening to the characters telling you their story.

I will never have enough words to adequately recommend Lily Morton audiobooks narrated by Joel Leslie. Go Listen Now! You won’t regret it!

1 person found this helpful

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another laugh out loud HEA, from Lily Morton

This is a low angst book that has great wit and will keep you wondering just who will get their hea. The characters are great and you can't help but to fall in love with Jessie. another 5 ☆ book from Lily Morton. the narration was done by Joel Leslie, who can do snark and treat you to an array of voices so there is no problem telling everyone apart. Well done Lily and Joel

1 person found this helpful

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  • Magnus
  • 10-24-21

Brilliant

Another fantastic start to a new series by Lily Morton. Jesse and Zeb were great characters to get to know and they story kept me hooked. Joel Leslie did a super job with the narration. Have loved all of Lily Mortons stories.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Delano
  • 10-02-21

Another Brilliant book and fantastic audio

I love Jess and Zeb, I did want to hit Zeb a few times but so did Jess. Brilliant book and always fantastic audio by Joel (may accented) Leslie. Sigh now Bring me some Charlie Sunshine.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Scott
  • 02-05-22

Holy fuck! 🤩

I absolutely loved this book!!! The characters are both so interesting, smart and so damn witty, yet still different from each other.
the story is great, the dialogues are fucking epic and their chemistry is hot as hell.
it's been a while that a book had made me laugh out loud this much and feel so many different things within hours. trust me, you'll love the author, you'll hate the author, you'll want to hug her, cry with her and at her, and thank her for the laughs.
I will definitely buy more books from her 😍

the narrator was awful, he speaks as if he was paid to finish the book as fast as he could.
Also, whatever you do, DONT listen to this book with headphones because you'll hear his painting and his gasps for breath. It was so terrible I almost dropped it at the first chapter... until I slowed it down to 80 so he talks like a normal human being and I stopped listening to it on my walks so I couldn't hear his horrible gasps.
good thing I did or I would've missed such a wonderful book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-20-22

Loved it

This audiobook was great I just loved the characters and the storyline, it had wonderful snarky dialogue which made me laugh. Joel Leslie was brilliant as ever can't wait for the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-31-22

How to spoil a good book !!

So disappointed. I absolutely loved reading the book, but the audio version was ruined by the narrator. It was wooden and the accents were awful (Sorry Joel ).

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-11-22

Loved it

A beautiful story about life and opposites attraction. Jess and Zeb have a rollercoaster time

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  • Gwen
  • 10-25-21

Total opposites!

I enjoy this book, with Jesse Jesse and Zeb starting out as a fake couple. There’s age gap, close proximity and polar opposites. There’s romance, bit of comedy and adorable characters. They have some hot chemistry. Will they be able to acknowledge when the fake is not fake anymore? I love the accent… great narration by Mr Leslie.

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  • choccygrl
  • 10-25-21

Loved it just as much in audio

I adored this story when I read it but revisiting with Joel Leslie's performance was just brilliant. Took the story to a whole new level bringing the characters to life perfectly.
So many tropes: May to December, colleagues to lovers, fake boyfriends, conniving ex.
Jesse is wonderful but it is Zeb that stole my heart as he learns to trust not just Jesse's feelings but himself.
The side characters were either lovely or villainous depending on their role. The writing is excellent and there was enough angst to make my stomach flutter and enough romantic moments to make my heart soar.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 10-24-21

Laugh out loud fun

Can I just say how much I love Lily Morton? Funny, sarcastic, caustic (but in a good way) and witty as I’ll get out. Brilliant. And Lily Morton narrated by Joel Leslie? Well, frankly, perfection.

I also love there are cameos and mentions of characters from Ms. Morton’s previous books. Nothing that will detract from those who haven’t read them, but a bonus to those of us who have. I’ve devoured every audiobook she has put out, and I love them all.

This one was adorable. I loved Jesse. His enthusiasm, his boundless energy, his desire to help people…and his penchant for letting his mouth get away from him. Bit of a filter problem between his brain to mouth but nothing too bad. Or at least he’s survived most of the scrapes he’s gotten into. His job is to help LGBTQ people. Whether with gardening (those poor ferns) or being a fake date (the funeral), he’s always happy to help. His boss, Zeb, keeps Jesse on the books because when Jesse is on, he’s brilliant and when he’s not…well, it’s probably worth a laugh. Jesse has principles and will always stands up for the little guy.

Zeb has a problem. Under duress, he’s agreed to be best man at his ex’s wedding. Talk about a tricky situation. Zeb’s lovely assistant convinces him to hire Jesse to be his fake date. Classic set-up. But, of course, nothing goes as planned – for any of them. Especially because Jesse and Zeb are really attracted to each other. Despite the age difference. Despite the huge differences in temperaments. Despite the different career paths. That attraction leads to all kinds of hijinks. Broom closet, anyone?

In the end, the age gap doesn’t matter. The different upbringing doesn’t matter. That they find each other despite the obstacles speaks to their true affection for each other. And I got my HEA. Kind of swoon-worthy and I loved the list.

So, run out and get the audio. Laugh out loud. Enjoy something sweet, spicy, and snarky. Just the antidote to all that ails you. (and it’s the first in the series so try to guess who the other couples will be…)

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  • Trio
  • 10-24-21

Adorable Romance, Wonderful Performance by Leslie

Lily Morton builds such terrrifc chemistry between her characters, and I loved Zeb and Jesse together. Nice twists with the plotting ex-boyfriend, the week long house party, and the physical-romance-free dating. All the humor, British wit, sultry lovemaking, and happily ever afters that make a Lily Morton romanc so wonderful.

Lovely performance by Joel Leslie, he really was born to read this author.

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  • The Smut Librarian
  • 03-13-22

Fiery!

One of my favourite things about Lily's books is her casual environmental descriptions. In this book, it's the smell of oranges for Zeb and green tea for Jesse. These descriptions evoke such personal connotations to the characters that we as readers can't help but engage on a more personal level.
This story is fiery and passionate as well as showcasing fragile and flawed characters who appear well put together on the outside. A great read and brought to life superbly by Joel Leslie's wonderful narration.

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 10-25-21

Another smart and funny Lily Morton romance!

Jesse Reed is young, messy, snarky, and fun - the perfect foil to Zeb Evan’s older, buttoned-down politeness. When Jesse talks his way into a job with Zeb’s agency, there are sparks but both men keep things professional until Zeb asks Jesse to act as his fake boyfriend at his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. While the fake relationship, forced-proximity, and odd-couple tropes are well-trodden roads, the wit and humour were wonderfully refreshing - it was just so fun to read and I can’t wait for more in the series! Audio narrator Joel Leslie’s English voices were charming and charismatic with excellent comedic expression.