Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Birthday Suit
Author: Lauren Blakely
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads

There is no rule in the Man Code as unbreakable as this: no matter how beautiful, smart, clever, and witty she is, do not—under any circumstances—fall in love with your best friend’s woman.
Yeah. So there’s that. Look, it’s not like I didn’t know I screwed up by falling for her. 
Also, for the record, unrequited love sucks big time.
And, I might have cut myself some slack by now, given everything that went down in the last few years, but Lulu just walked back into my life in a big way.

There are three things I’ve never been able to resist—my friends, my family, and chocolate.
Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He’s been a true friend—a friend who walked through hell and back with me.
Now, I’m stepping into my new future. I didn’t expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City.
With Leo.
Suddenly, I’m looking at this man with new eyes…
But my life spun out because of a man once before, and I can’t risk my fresh start, no matter what the temptation. And Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety. 
More irresistibly delicious than chocolate…

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I feel I have to write what would amount to a disclaimer at the start of my review for Birthday Suit because of the references to alcoholism within the narrative. Due to my personal experience with my Ex and his relationship with alcohol I have zero tolerance or sympathy for characters that share this trait. Yes, I know it is an addiction and therefore classed as a mental health problem BUT it is also a choice, a choice that can cost a family their home, their marriage and ultimately their dignity. So there you have it, zero empathy for the character who is an alcoholic within Birthday Suit 😁

Leo and Lulu met in college where Leo fell hard at their first meeting only to be usurped by his best friend when he joined their conversation. I have to be honest and say I felt this was a deliberate move on Tripp’s part, sneaking in before Leo had a chance to declare his intent. Leo being the amazing person he is, buried his feelings and stood by as Tripp and Lulu became an item. Although no-one else ever elicited the same kind of reaction within him as Lulu had.

I completely adored Lulu and her quirky, unique style and warm personality. Although her obliviousness was a little shocking.

Leo is a dreamboat and as solid as a rock. Can you imagine being loved in the way Leo loves Lulu *le sigh*

A lot has changed within the ten years of their friendship. The narrative alternates both the perspective and mixes in the time frames between the past and the present, unravelling the events little by little although the pieces of the puzzle are easy to pick up on.

The timing for Leo and Lulu falls into place as does the way in which their lives and viewpoints completely intertwine. However, Leo is unable to let go of the residual guilt accompanying beginning a relationship that goes against bro-code 🤦‍♀️ Creating a barrier to the couple reaching their HEA.

I adored so much about Birthday Suit, from the use of art to aid the imagery within the narrative to the chocolate to the peripheral characters. Birthday Suit is an immersive read encompassing the senses as well as the heart.

Check out some of the art mentioned in Birthday Suit by clicking the picture