Book Title: The Wingman
Author: A. Poland
Publisher: NineStar Press LLC
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: July 26, 2021
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, Romantic comedy, New Adult
Tropes: Friends to lovers, love triangle, childhood best friends, slow burn, sharing a bed (tent)
Themes: humor, friendship, family, communication
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 69 762 words
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Always the wingman, never the “one”.
Nathan, a college student with a thing for funky hats and a definite not-thing for the great outdoors, has been a wingman extraordinaire for his lifelong best friend Lorcan for as long as either can remember. With his innate ability to talk endlessly about how great Lorcan is to anyone who’ll listen, Nathan has always been the best man for the job—even if he’s secretly waiting for the day when Lorcan will realize that Nathan is the only guy for him.
But then, Lorcan sets his sights on Miles, the suave, leather-jacket-wearing musician with a love of mountaineering and a family of six overprotective sisters, and Nathan must once again put his wingman skills to work.
Trouble is, Nathan is getting tired of the old routine, and Miles is the only human being on the planet immune to Lorcan’s charm. Not to mention that Miles’s interest is immediately piqued by the outspoken and completely oblivious wingman.
Nathan blinked blankly at his best friend.
“My help?” he parroted, not quite getting what Lorcan was suggesting. It wasn’t as though he could go up to this Miles guy and talk his ear off about Lorcan to encourage him to make the first move. They’d already met; they’d spoken. If Miles was interested, he’d make a move.
Hope stirred in Nathan’s chest.
If Miles was interested, why hadn’t he already made a move?
“Yeah, I need you to do your thing.” Lorcan nodded, looking at Nathan expectantly, as though that would make Nathan whip out a ready-made action plan on how to get into Miles’s pants.
“Dude, I do that so you can talk to them without doing the awkward introductions yourself.” Nathan spoke slowly, as though explaining how to draw a straight line to a child. “You’ve already covered that.”
“Well, then think of this as a part two,” Lorcan allowed with a huff, probably because Nathan was making very valid points. “I don’t know if he’s even into guys.”
Nathan frowned thoughtfully. Normally, it was easy to tell if someone was into Lorcan. Or at least to Nathan. He liked to think his dad’s perceptiveness had been inherited—to a lesser extent, of course, because Nathan was good, but he wasn’t that good—enough that he made a great wingman to other people, not just Lorcan. Hell, a few of the people in their friend group had asked for his help before.
It wasn’t as easy, sure. But Nathan had a pretty high success rate. A few of them in happy, long-term relationships to boot.
Maybe he should have business cards made.
Nathan Reed—will get you laid.
Nathan shook off that thought as quickly as it had come because that made him sound like a matchmaker, and he was decidedly not experienced enough to consider that as a career path.
“So you…what? Want me to meet him and suss out if he’s interested?” Nathan tried talking slowly, one brow apprehensively raised.
“Yeah!” Lorcan grinned. “Exactly. Work your magic.”
Nathan huffed out a laugh, rolling his eyes at Lorcan’s enthusiasm about Nathan’s apparent “magic.” It wasn’t magic; it was just knowing how to talk to people. Specifically, talking to people about Lorcan. Who, in Nathan’s opinion, was the easiest thing in the world to talk about.
Sometimes, on very good nights, Nathan didn’t have to do as much. Sometimes, the woman would know exactly why he was approaching and just cut to the chase. He always appreciated those; they made his life a lot easier.
“Okay, I’ll do you this one favor.” Nathan sighed, clearly teasing. There were no favors between them. No one kept tabs over who owed the other what. “Now drive me somewhere to get food. I’m starving.”
Lorcan laughed, his mood clearly elevated from earlier. Even that was enough to settle Nathan a bit more. Sure, his brain might still be working overtime on limited sleep, but Lorcan’s coming-out experience had been painless for him, and that was something at least.
“Your wish is my command,” he quipped back, starting up the car and taking them to their usual haunt.
There was nothing better than getting food with Lorcan.
Lorcan was a picky eater, while Nathan happily consumed anything deemed edible. Which meant Nathan tended to get extra of whatever Lorcan didn’t like, and no food was wasted.
Win-win all around.
But this time, the experience was different.
Nathan hadn’t been worried about any uncomfortable silences or lapses in conversation after being away for so long, and he’d been right not to.
But he never thought to be worried about Lorcan never shutting up.
Which, under normal circumstances, would have been fine. But these weren’t normal circumstances.
Lorcan wouldn’t stop talking about Miles.
In the last half an hour, Nathan learned more about the guy than he ever wished to. His gut twisted with each and every new fun fact presented to him, his shoulders drawn tighter and smile more strained.
So far, Nathan learned the following:
Miles was a musician.
A lot of people were musicians, especially in LA; it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, Nathan had taken piano lessons for an entire week and could still successfully play “Twinkle Twinkle.”
Miles was a graduate from Juilliard.
Nathan might have asked Lorcan to repeat himself because there was no way he’d said Juilliard.
But he had. And that was fine. Juilliard was a college just like any other. Saint Andrews was nothing to scoff at either.
Miles was adopted.
It made sense. Probably adopted into a wealthy family with plenty of connections, considering the Juilliard thing (fucking Juilliard).
Miles’s eyes were this unusual gray color.
Lorcan spent a great deal of time talking about the color of Miles’s eyes. (There were only so many ways to describe stormy gray with flecks of brown, Nathan groused, please move on.) Anyway, Nathan had been told that he had unique eyes. Granted, they’d been compared to a swamp before. But still. Swamps had a bad rap—they had frogs.
But no, Lorcan clearly had a thing for smoke-colored eyes now, not gunky-green.
Miles was hugely involved in environmental activism.
The Wingman by A. Poland surprised me! I enjoyed it… let me tell you about that.
Nathan is the best possible friend and wingman to Lorcan. He is fantastic at going out with Lorcan and hooking him up with women while he pines secretly for his best friend. Things change suddenly when Nathan returns from a year away to find out that Lorcan is interested in a man.
Lorcan enlists Nathan’s help to get to Miles. Miles is a musician who loves hiking and the outdoors. He comes from a family with several over-protective sisters and at first, Lorcan doesn’t even know if Miles is interested in men.
For the first time ever…things don’t go as expected. Miles seems immune to the usual heart-stopping charm of Lorcan. In fact, maybe he’s interested in Nathan. The more time the three of them spend together, the clearer it becomes that it’s time for Nathan to make some changes.
Now, I really disliked Lorcan. Let me explain. This isn’t a bad thing. I always applaud authors when they write a character that rubs me the wrong way. Lorcan takes his friendship with Nathan for granted and he’s quite entitled throughout a lot of the story. He got under my skin, and I found myself rooting for Nathan to get out from under the friendship.
Nathan was easy to love. He’s clumsy, bright, funny and a dedicated friend. I enjoyed the way he progressed throughout the novel. At first, he didn’t seem to think there was anything unhealthy about his friendship with Lorcan, but slowly he came around to realizing that he deserved better.
The relationship between Nathan and his father was a joy to read. It was very authentic, and I loved the fact that they communicated in ASL. As someone who is fluent in ASL, I love to see it in books when it’s just another thing that characters do.
This story felt good. It had a great pace and was fun to read. There were some humorous moments and incidents peppered throughout even though there were some very serious moments. I really enjoyed it!
About the Author
Fuelled by a worrying tea addiction (with a tattoo to prove it), A. Poland is a rom-com writer from Ireland who delights in telling stories that make you fall in love with the characters and give you that squee feeling in your chest.
Three words A. would use to describe her writing are funky, silly, and spicy. Which, coincidentally, is also their dancing style.
When they’re not daydreaming of the next meet-cute, A. works as a video producer and a full-time dog mom to her pride and joy, Gizmo.
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