Sarah loves a good friends-to-lovers. She also loves a good bisexual awakening. Ex-Beefcake not only fits both categories, but surpasses expectations in both categories.  See if Miki J. agrees with her in their reviews below:

From the Author:

Halston Stern

When my best friend Sam invites me to be his platonic plus-one for his friends’ destination wedding, I jump at the chance since we live in different cities now. I shouldn’t be nervous, but I’m not exactly the beefcake action movie star he teases me for being anymore. 

Sam Radcliffe

Even though I haven’t found my forever man and don’t think he’s out there, I have the greatest friends in the world. I can’t wait to spend a week celebrating this wedding with all of them. It’s been awhile since I saw Halston, but he’s the sweetest, most thoughtful man and he’s never let me down.

As soon as I see Halston, I’m a little bit awkward… and maybe a whole lot attracted. Something as shallow as looking different for a movie role shouldn’t change how I feel about him, but it does. I can’t lose his friendship, so how can I figure out if he feels this new spark like I do? If he does, then how do we seize this chance when we have to go back to our real lives? 

This is a best friends to lovers, bi awakening MM romance featuring a top who looks like a twink, an ex-beefcake action star, and a hotel room with only one bed. It is the fourth book in the Local Beats series, which can all be read as standalones, but this one is even better if you’ve read the others! It has a guaranteed HEA.

Sarah C.'s Review and Rating:

Ex-Beefcake is the story of Halston and Sam, two best friends who met after a hockey game twelve years prior to the start of the story. Sam won tickets to a hockey game and took a date, someone he met from college. Halston was on the hockey team. They met at the bar after and bonded, becoming best friends over the course of the twelve years. At the start of the story, Sam is in a job that's changed dramatically since he started, thanks to a corporate buy out, and Halston has left hockey to pursue acting.

When Sam needs a plus one to one of his best friends' wedding, he invites Halston. A week in Aspen sounds great to both of them, as they haven't seen each other in person for several years. What Sam doesn't expect is for Halston to show up with a different physique, one that is more to his liking.

The great part about the new physique part of the plot is that Halston hasn't suddenly become more fit, more cut, or more 'stereotypically' attractive. Instead, he's put on weight for a role, softening his overly muscled image that made him famous.

What neither was expecting was the sudden flare of physical attraction between them. My favorite thing about this was that neither man shied away from it. Halston didn't go through a long period of questioning his sexuality. He realized what he felt, took a short period to examine it, and then that was it. The communication between Halston and Sam, the fact that they already had a built in love and trust for one another, made the fact that a good portion of the story takes place over one week not feel like an insta-love story. Instead, it felt more real.

That is not to say that the story is without obstacles, because where would be the fun in that? Instead, Zoe Lee offers up a low angst love story with hurdles that feel realistic for the two men and also like something that they can realistically overcome based on the years of friendship between them. The entire love story just feels real.

And the side characters, who I'm assuming are the main characters of other books, felt real. Without having read their stories (because I read this as a standalone and now feel the desire to go back and read the rest of this series), I felt that I knew enough about them to enjoy their presence. And let's not even get into my love of the found family trope the friendship group had. It was chef's kiss.

So yes, I highly recommend this book. Its a quick and light read and exactly what I needed.

Rating: 5 Stars

Miki J.'s Review and Rating

I haven't read the first 3 books in this series and it did throw me out a bit but I still enjoyed this book immensely. This is about 2 guys who have been friends for years and how they support each other and help each other when needed. And then they discover each other in a whole different way and it throws one out for a loop but the other guy is just sooooo chill - love that mindset he has !! Anyhoo - Ex- Beefcake is romantic, sweet, funny, angsty, heart wrenching and loving. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars