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Off Key

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I’m about to sing you the saddest song in the universe, and it’s called “The Man of My Dreams Married My Sister.” It’s kinda my theme song. And trust me when I tell you, it’s heavy on the violins. Because the man in question? He’s not just any guy, he’s Rafe freakin’ Goodman. My former best friend. The boy who made my summers on Whispering Key magical. The guy who inspired I’m about to sing you the saddest song in the universe, and it’s called “The Man of My Dreams Married My Sister.” It’s kinda my theme song. And trust me when I tell you, it’s heavy on the violins. Because the man in question? He’s not just any guy, he’s Rafe freakin’ Goodman. My former best friend. The boy who made my summers on Whispering Key magical. The guy who inspired every love song that led to the chart-topping music career I have today. The man I always sort of figured would wait for me, while I pursued my dreams and finally found a way to tell the world I was gay… But instead of waiting, he married Aimee. Rafe and Aimee’s marriage has been over for a while now, but it doesn’t really matter. He doesn’t love me even though I feel like I’ll love him until the day I die. Trying to be “just friends” would tear me apart. We’re a broken chord. A blue note. Hopelessly out of tune. Or so I thought. But when circumstances throw us back together on a crazy cross-country road trip, suddenly all kinds of secrets come to light that make it seem like maybe our show’s not over yet. If I want a life with the man of my dreams, though, I’ll have to be honest--with Rafe and the rest of the world, too--and find the courage to write us a new song. One that’s exactly like us: perfectly imperfect… and a little off key.


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I’m about to sing you the saddest song in the universe, and it’s called “The Man of My Dreams Married My Sister.” It’s kinda my theme song. And trust me when I tell you, it’s heavy on the violins. Because the man in question? He’s not just any guy, he’s Rafe freakin’ Goodman. My former best friend. The boy who made my summers on Whispering Key magical. The guy who inspired I’m about to sing you the saddest song in the universe, and it’s called “The Man of My Dreams Married My Sister.” It’s kinda my theme song. And trust me when I tell you, it’s heavy on the violins. Because the man in question? He’s not just any guy, he’s Rafe freakin’ Goodman. My former best friend. The boy who made my summers on Whispering Key magical. The guy who inspired every love song that led to the chart-topping music career I have today. The man I always sort of figured would wait for me, while I pursued my dreams and finally found a way to tell the world I was gay… But instead of waiting, he married Aimee. Rafe and Aimee’s marriage has been over for a while now, but it doesn’t really matter. He doesn’t love me even though I feel like I’ll love him until the day I die. Trying to be “just friends” would tear me apart. We’re a broken chord. A blue note. Hopelessly out of tune. Or so I thought. But when circumstances throw us back together on a crazy cross-country road trip, suddenly all kinds of secrets come to light that make it seem like maybe our show’s not over yet. If I want a life with the man of my dreams, though, I’ll have to be honest--with Rafe and the rest of the world, too--and find the courage to write us a new song. One that’s exactly like us: perfectly imperfect… and a little off key.

30 review for Off Key

  1. 5 out of 5

    Florence .

    5 “you and me, partners in crime” stars “It came to my attention that if you want to grow something, you can’t keep it in the shadows. And you and I are meant for sunshine, Rafe Goodman.” I will be honest, I very much struggle with writing my review for this book, I have no clue how to gather my thoughts in a way that will make sense. I also have no clue how to explain how I spent 60% of a book wanting to yell at one of the two characters (as in the two main characters kept doing things that did n 5 “you and me, partners in crime” stars “It came to my attention that if you want to grow something, you can’t keep it in the shadows. And you and I are meant for sunshine, Rafe Goodman.” I will be honest, I very much struggle with writing my review for this book, I have no clue how to gather my thoughts in a way that will make sense. I also have no clue how to explain how I spent 60% of a book wanting to yell at one of the two characters (as in the two main characters kept doing things that did not make any sense) but i’m still madly in love with the book. I started this book at 1 am last night and told myself I would only read a little before bed, I got really into the book and forgot to look at the time and when I thought about checking the time, it was suddently 6 am and I had almost read the entire book. There is something about the books in this series that is really addictive and it pulls me in each time. I was very much waiting for this one since book 1 in the series and I am happy to report that it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Brief summary: Jay and Rafe were best friends when they were younger. Jay is a popular musician and he is gay but he had never told anyone and he doesn’t want to come out publicly. Jay has been in love with Rafe for ages but he never told him and he cut all contact with Rafe when Rafe married Jay’s sister. Rafe was also in love with Jay before. So now they’re both bitter and hate each other but they go on a roadtrip together and they confess their feelings for the other and they get together. Special mention to the best friends to enemies to lovers trope, I just love this trope so much. First, I still adore Whispering Key so much. We don’t spend the entire book in town, which is a shame, but I liked that we meet a lot of characters from other towns that are exactly like the residents of Whispering Key, so I didn’t miss my dear meddling residents too much. I just love how fleshed out the town is and all of the residents on it, it’s just the best. I really love how vivid everything was and how nicely described their surroundings were, it just felt like I was on their adventure with them. Also I love Chet, he’s just the best. And Oak too, Oak badly heeds a book and I will riot if he doesn’t get one. Second, the pining in this book was just fantastic. I loved how much Jay was pining for Rafe. Jay’s first album was all about Rafe and how he loves him and damn it was the sweetest thing ever. And Rafe did a lot of things that showed how much he loves Jay and just wants to be with him. I loved how much these two wanted to be together. Third, now on to why I wanted to yell at these characters. This entire book could have been avoided if these people sat down and had a conversation. The entire plot of the book and why they hated each other could have easily been avoided if they talked to each other. At one point I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall every 2 seconds because these guys just never talked to each other and explained their feelings, they just got mad at the other over assumptions. But for some reason, I still madly adored this book. Even when I wanted them to just talk to each other and fix their issues, I still had so much fun reading the book. These guys were fools but they were lovable fools and I loved them very much for it. Also I really liked that it was shown that they were so blinded by their hate of the other that they couldn’t see what was in front of them, that felt really realistic to me and helped explain a lot of why they just didn’t communicate and fix their issues before that moment. Fourth, I loved the relationship progression so much. I loved how they went to hating each other, to tolerating each other, to admitting that they love the other and have for years, to being in love to being a forever couple. I also really enjoyed how their friendship didn’t come back easily and how it was awkward for them at first. There was just enough time spent exploring every phase of their relationship for me and everything about it how progressed just worked for me. Special mention to the character progression, I just loved how they went from grumpy because they didn’t have the other in their life, to sunshine because they had in other in their life, that was just so perfect. Fifth, I have been experiencing a problem where I am not able to stop crying over books. This book absolutely wrecked me, I swear I shed 1 or 1342353 tears at least once during every chapter. Sixth, I often struggle with books where characters have a connection and have been in love with the other character before the book because it’s often hard for me to see their connection and why they love that character but it wasn’t the case here. I how strongly their connection from before was built, it was easy to tell that they both were in love woth the other and it showed everything they did. I also loved that even when they hated each other, you could feel how much they loved each other under the hate. Seventh, I just loved these guys together, so much. They were such a good pair and they fit together perfectly. They also just worked so well together. I loved their banter too, it was lovely. I also loved how Jay opened up about how lonely he is and how rafe just wanted to show him he’s in his corner and that he’ll never be alone again, it was just the sweetest thing. I also loved how they competed against the other, it was just so good. Also special mention to their love of stargazing and watching the stars together, that was such an important theme in the book and I absolutely loved it. Eight, I just loved how it they got together, so much. Everything about it was perfect. I loved how it was made up of a couple of moments that resulted in them realizing that the other loves them too. Special mention to Rafe singing the song that Jay wrote about him, to Jay, to show him that he loves him too. That was such a perfect scene, I just loved it so much. I very much loved that when they got together and started talking, and realized how communication is important (which thank god they realized because I would have ripped my hair out of these two didn’t communicate one more time) they were all in, that was in, nothing could break it. Also special mention to when Jay realized what he wants out of life, that moment was so so perfect and so worth the journey it took to get there. This wasn’t just a moment; it was the moment. The one I’d been working for my whole life. The one I was supposed to tell my grandkids about someday. But when I closed my eyes, all I saw were white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, busybody residents toting spaghetti casseroles, and the broad, capable shoulders of the man I loved. Also another special mention to the ending of this book. My heart was melting so much, I don’t think I have ever swooned this much in my life. The ending was all I wanted out of this book. The ending was just so satisfying and worth every minutes I spent wanting to yell at the characters. This book was pure fun, ridiculous and way over the top and I absolutely adored every seconds I spent reading it. I cannot stop thinking about this book and I probably will think about it for weeks. And i’m so excited for Gage’s book and I really really hope he ends up with a certain someone with a neck tattoo.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    ~4.5~ Welcome back to Whispering Key where hot men come to find love. In Off Key, we meet Jay (or Jayd as his fans call him), a former summer townie turned popular musician. Jay hasn't visited the island in years, not since his best friend and teenage crush, Rafe, betrayed him by marrying his sister, Aimee. When I first read the blurb, I died a little inside, because as much as I love this series, I hate the "sloppy seconds" trope more. But one of my friends reassured me that it wasn't like that a ~4.5~ Welcome back to Whispering Key where hot men come to find love. In Off Key, we meet Jay (or Jayd as his fans call him), a former summer townie turned popular musician. Jay hasn't visited the island in years, not since his best friend and teenage crush, Rafe, betrayed him by marrying his sister, Aimee. When I first read the blurb, I died a little inside, because as much as I love this series, I hate the "sloppy seconds" trope more. But one of my friends reassured me that it wasn't like that at all. Hallelujah! If Jay and Rafe had just been honest from the very beginning, they could have saved each other a lot of heartache and resentment. I wasn't sure who was the biggest culprit: Jay, Rafe, or Aimee. Regardless, the lack of communication about killed me. Even so, I adored this friends-to-enemies-to-lovers story, which features: - kidnapping, complete with an unmarked van (just like in the movies) - impromptu road trip (because Rafe is scared of flying) - pancakes vs. waffles debate (I'm Team Waffle all the way!) - friends impersonating cops and cops with ridiculous names - humor and friendship - forgiveness and passion - sexiversary - HEA for the ages It was fun visiting with the previous MCs, and the locals always crack me up. In closing, let me present my fave words of wisdom courtesy of Lorenna McKetcham: Cheap dicks work as well as expensive ones. Amen, sister, AMEN.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ariana

    3,5 stars I liked this book. It has a lot of qualities I enjoy: some cracking banter, a nice second chance romance, some enemies to lovers vibes, some good chuckles and nice feels. So, how come it never totally grabbed me or my heart? Was it that the 'rock star' trope felt a little 'the same old'? Was it that the two MCs sounded very similar to me? Or that the plot is a teeny mad and contrived (and best not taken seriously)? Saying that - the scene in which Rafe and Jay find out their true feelings 3,5 stars I liked this book. It has a lot of qualities I enjoy: some cracking banter, a nice second chance romance, some enemies to lovers vibes, some good chuckles and nice feels. So, how come it never totally grabbed me or my heart? Was it that the 'rock star' trope felt a little 'the same old'? Was it that the two MCs sounded very similar to me? Or that the plot is a teeny mad and contrived (and best not taken seriously)? Saying that - the scene in which Rafe and Jay find out their true feelings via (view spoiler)[ Jay's songs and a hitchhiker (hide spoiler)] is absolutely brilliantly written! Never read anything like it. Very clever, imo! This is, no doubt, good fun and a pleasant read, suitable for anyone looking for an angst-free, light romance. But it reminded me very much of another series by this author I never really took to.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 Stars I generally know what to expect when I pick up a May Archer book. Light and fun, not too heavy on the angst, sexy with a good balance of steam to plot, likable characters and quirky, nosy townsfolk that can try my patience because that’s not really my thing. She doesn’t go full on Lucy Lennox, except when she’s writing with Lucy Lennox, but her towns can be too much for me. Still, they have a lot of heart so I can sometimes enjoy the little busybody weirdos. It really depends on ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 Stars I generally know what to expect when I pick up a May Archer book. Light and fun, not too heavy on the angst, sexy with a good balance of steam to plot, likable characters and quirky, nosy townsfolk that can try my patience because that’s not really my thing. She doesn’t go full on Lucy Lennox, except when she’s writing with Lucy Lennox, but her towns can be too much for me. Still, they have a lot of heart so I can sometimes enjoy the little busybody weirdos. It really depends on my mood, how much I like that particular element of her books. This book didn’t spend too much time in Whispering Key. But never fear, a tiny town called Dry Hump was there to fill the void. Yes really. Which was basically a hybrid of Whispering Key and O’Leary. Only less gay guys so I don’t see a spin-off happening there and that is fine by me. Ok I got majorly distracted there. So. I’ve been waiting for Rafe and Jay’s book. I tried to not to let my expectations run wild, given my last experience of hyping a couple up in advance. It didn’t really work but I did try. 😂🤷🏻‍♀️ My thoughts? While I can’t say that I LOVED it, I did like it. The reason I didn’t love it was due to communication. Or rather the lack of it. Every hurdle, obstacle and argument these two had could have been solved with a few conversations. Not even long conversations either. Just giving each other a heads up on a few decisions would have worked wonders. A text message even. 😂 I knew when I read the first books that Rafe and Jay weren’t speaking. I expected the reason or reasons to be bigger. Ones that made sense. The above paragraph is making it seem like I am bashing the book. Which is not my intention. Just wanted to explain why this was a like not love. That being said, there were many things I did like. The writing flowed nicely. It held my interest. Sweet but not saccharine and fun! May Archer has this easy, breezy style that I can’t help but fall into. While they initially couldn’t communicate to save lives, Rafe and Jay had a love I believed in. And once they did get their acts together, they were all in and I loved that. I guess now I’ll have to read the upcoming spin-off with Rafe’s brother Gage. It involves some kind of lumberjacks and an apple orchard because of course it does. I’m ready to both complain and gush over it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ellie

    this was everything i didn’t know i needed. sunshine and grumpy trope? ✅ sunshine and grumpy are also childhood best friends secretly in love with one another? ✅ mutual pining?✅ best friends turned enemies?✅ said enemies on a road trip and forced to confront a decade’s worth of unresolved feelings?✅ sign me the fuck up. the snide remarks, petty bickering and banter, paralleled to the undertones of vulnerability and softness were just so intense. they goaded the shit out of each other while also being this was everything i didn’t know i needed. sunshine and grumpy trope? ✅ sunshine and grumpy are also childhood best friends secretly in love with one another? ✅ mutual pining?✅ best friends turned enemies?✅ said enemies on a road trip and forced to confront a decade’s worth of unresolved feelings?✅ sign me the fuck up. the snide remarks, petty bickering and banter, paralleled to the undertones of vulnerability and softness were just so intense. they goaded the shit out of each other while also being so helplessly in love with each other. both of them also pretending that they still didn’t love each other was hilariously cute— i mean, Jay wrote an entire ALBUM about his love for Rafe. even his goddamn phone password was Rafe’s birthday... even after all these years. god. and Rafe knew all of Jay’s songs word for word despite ‘hating’ him. he even SANG it at a shitty karaoke bar FOR Jay. if that’s not true love folks then idk what is. and when Rafe figures out the songs are all about him, i was teary-eyed af. these two were such big idiots for being so blind to how much they loved each other. just everything was *chef’s kiss* the simmering slow burn from enemies to lovers was soooo satisfying too. i was afraid it’d be too quick and be unsatisfying. but their stubbornness proved for some top-tier, slow-burn pining and chemistry. and it made me root for them SO hard. i was on the edge of my seat (or sofa) desperately waiting for them to finally be together. when you’re so anxious and too impatient, i think that’s a sign of a really fucking good romance. i think this quote sums up how beautiful this book was: “It came to my attention that if you want to grow something, you can’t keep it in the shadows. And you and I are meant for sunshine, Rafe Goodman.” the whole point of this is review is that best friends to enemies to lovers is god tier romance. thank u for coming to my Ted Talk.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cadiva

    Best one yet - laugh out loud funny and super sweet I LOVED this book. Big time loved it, from start to finish, there wasn't a part of the story that didn't work for me. I alternated between laughing my head off and heart-warming expressions of happiness as perennially grumpy Rafe and Jay went through the wringer. Honestly, I'm not sure which elements I loved most, Chet and the kidnap van theft, Rafe's determination to wind Jay up over another singing sensation or how Big Rafe seemed to have had Best one yet - laugh out loud funny and super sweet I LOVED this book. Big time loved it, from start to finish, there wasn't a part of the story that didn't work for me. I alternated between laughing my head off and heart-warming expressions of happiness as perennially grumpy Rafe and Jay went through the wringer. Honestly, I'm not sure which elements I loved most, Chet and the kidnap van theft, Rafe's determination to wind Jay up over another singing sensation or how Big Rafe seemed to have had it all planned out beforehand! The whole Whispering Key series is just a complete delight and I'm intrigued to see where the spin off with Gage will go.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    The only thing better than a chill weekend with a new May Archer book is the announcement of a new series at the end 😌

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia ✿

    ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ⋆⁵ // ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ⋆⁷⁵ ✰ ❝It came to my attention that if you want to grow something, you can’t keep it in the shadows. And you and I are meant for sunshine, Rafe Goodman.❞ ♫ sᴏɴɢ ʀᴇᴄ ♫ ~ Wouldn't It Be Nice (THE BEACH BOYS) -ˏ͛⑅ ᴍʏ ᴍᴀɪɴ ʀᴇᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴs ⑅ˏ͛- 1. ✿ ALL THE TROPES ✿ i'm not even gonna lie Off Key brought it with the tropes. we had - ✨ former-BFF's-to-lovers ✨ a dash of enemies-to-lovers ✨ grumpy-sunshine-grumpy (yeah both Jay and Rafe were pretty grumpy) ✨ famous musician being a musician ✨ k ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ⋆⁵ // ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ⋆⁷⁵ ✰ ❝It came to my attention that if you want to grow something, you can’t keep it in the shadows. And you and I are meant for sunshine, Rafe Goodman.❞ ♫ sᴏɴɢ ʀᴇᴄ ♫ ~ Wouldn't It Be Nice (THE BEACH BOYS) -ˏ͛⑅ ᴍʏ ᴍᴀɪɴ ʀᴇᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴs ⑅ˏ͛- 1. ✿ ALL THE TROPES ✿ i'm not even gonna lie Off Key brought it with the tropes. we had - ✨ former-BFF's-to-lovers ✨ a dash of enemies-to-lovers ✨ grumpy-sunshine-grumpy (yeah both Jay and Rafe were pretty grumpy) ✨ famous musician being a musician ✨ kooky hijinks // most entertaining fake towner ever?? ✨ ROAD-TRIP!!!! truly OFF KEY had the *chef's kiss* trifecta of tropes. 2. ✿ CHET ✿ what more is there to say other than Chet. Chet came out of nowhere and stole the whole damn show. sometimes kooky characters work for me and sometimes they don't. Chet just worked. him critiquing Jay's entire album IN FRONT OF HIM and then interpreting every song wrong expect for one was just. . . *chef's kiss* amazing. ALL THE STARS ARE FOR YOU CHET ♥️ 3. ✿ THE COVER ✿ @Matilda brought it to my attention. is the cover model for OFF KEY Ben from The Bachelorette??? cauuuuuuse it sure looks like him. hmmmm, we need some super sleuths to figure out this mystery. like we cannot sit here and pretend this man with his u-neck shirt is not on the cover of this book. . . we cannot - and if it's not him then. . . eery. 4. ✿ MY SONG RECOMMENDATION(s) ✿ this is less a point and more of a self observation. after much internal reflection and deep soul-searching i have come to the conclusion that. . . i have the musical taste of 50-something year old man who went to HS in the 1980s. i just - *sighs* seriously, it is a true struggle for me not make We Belong by PAT BENATAR BENATAR my song rec for every book i read. however, i will say The Beach Boys song i picked really fit the Whispering Key ~vibe~. *lets out a world weary sigh* i try people. . . i try. 😭✨😂

  9. 4 out of 5

    *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time

    3.5 Stars! Nice addition to the series. This one dragged a bit for me at about the mid-way point on through about 75%. But then I really enjoyed the ending. This one ticked a lot of my boxes: --good laughs --good steam --no ridiculous drama I'm thinking Gage and Oak next? 3.5 Stars! Nice addition to the series. This one dragged a bit for me at about the mid-way point on through about 75%. But then I really enjoyed the ending. This one ticked a lot of my boxes: --good laughs --good steam --no ridiculous drama I'm thinking Gage and Oak next?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Em Jay

    3.50 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ No thoughts, just vibes fun from start to finish. May Archer knows her lane, and knows it well my friends. She’s giving entertainment, laughs, and sexy goodness in every story (including this one). I enjoyed this and was happy to be back in the Whispering Key universe. That being said....I know, I know it’s like a knife in my heart writing this... this was my least favorite in the series thus far (*ducks* 😬). May’s books are Hallmark romances and I know this, and I know what I’m getti 3.50 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ No thoughts, just vibes fun from start to finish. May Archer knows her lane, and knows it well my friends. She’s giving entertainment, laughs, and sexy goodness in every story (including this one). I enjoyed this and was happy to be back in the Whispering Key universe. That being said....I know, I know it’s like a knife in my heart writing this... this was my least favorite in the series thus far (*ducks* 😬). May’s books are Hallmark romances and I know this, and I know what I’m getting with the plot, but there was just something Key (ha) missing for me. Bad puns aside, not being in Whispering Key the majority of the book made it fall a little flat for me at times. A big reason I like these books is for the band of lovable, animated weirdos in these small towns bringing comedy and ridiculousness to the story. I loved Jay and Rafe, and there was nothing in particular that I disliked, it was just lacking the je ne sais quoi the other books had. Anyway, May is an always-read author for me and that hasn’t changed. This book was still fun and I had a good time reading. I’ll be looking forward to Gage’s (and Oak’s?) book next.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ~✿ Maria ✿~

    I have been waiting for this book to come out for months and I was not disappointed. This series is my favourite by May Archer and I have loved all three books. The mystery of their relationship had been hinted at in both of the books so I was really curious how their romance would work. I think the author did a really good job of framing Rafe's marriage to Jayd's sister in a palatable way (so for those who are hesitant because of the married-to-the-sister thing, it does get explained in a way th I have been waiting for this book to come out for months and I was not disappointed. This series is my favourite by May Archer and I have loved all three books. The mystery of their relationship had been hinted at in both of the books so I was really curious how their romance would work. I think the author did a really good job of framing Rafe's marriage to Jayd's sister in a palatable way (so for those who are hesitant because of the married-to-the-sister thing, it does get explained in a way that makes it understandable). I loved how much both of them loved each other so deep that despite years apart, both were so affected by the other. Their change from grumpy guys to full-on happy in love was so sweet. I loved how once Jayd understood what was really making him happy he decided to completely change his life and prioritize Rafe. I like that the story included the crazy residents of Whispering Key and Dry Hump (lol) but it didn't overtake the story. My one gripe was that I don't think the story did enough to explain Aimee disappearing on them ( I know it was kind of a plot device to force them together but I felt like it needed more). I haven't seen anyone mention that so I think it was just a me thing 😅. (view spoiler)[ Seriously, I don't understand why a heart condition made her go AWOL on Rafe for 16 months?!?! Like after everything he did to help her, for her to just ghost him.. and letting her brother pay for an apartment for MONTHS knowing that she wasn't living there was crazy to me! I don't think a heart surgery should excuse her from causing so much worry and stress to those she cares about, she could've at least had her boyfriend hold her phone and answer any calls! I couldn't help but still be mad at her at the end lol (hide spoiler)] I really loved this couple, Beale and Toby still rule my heart but this was a wonderful addition to the series. I can't wait for the spin-off series with Gabe!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Have you been like “I’m so over the grumpy/sunshine trope, give me two grumpy MCs!”? Then do I have a book for you! Rage and Jayd are carrying around so much hurt and resentment and it bleeds into their everyday life until they walk around being such grumpy-pants people you die to just scream at them to wake up! Instead, you get a wonderful, funny, charming story where these two get out of their heads and into bed (sorry, couldn’t resist), and find a love so true. And it’s such a turn around! Ha Have you been like “I’m so over the grumpy/sunshine trope, give me two grumpy MCs!”? Then do I have a book for you! Rage and Jayd are carrying around so much hurt and resentment and it bleeds into their everyday life until they walk around being such grumpy-pants people you die to just scream at them to wake up! Instead, you get a wonderful, funny, charming story where these two get out of their heads and into bed (sorry, couldn’t resist), and find a love so true. And it’s such a turn around! Have you also been thinking “I’m so over the grumpy/sunshine trope, give me two sunshine MCs”? Then do I have a book for you! The latter portion of this book has so much love that it bleeds into everything these two do. This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions, have you in stitches, and leave you swooning. Whispering Key is a magical place that you don’t want to miss out on!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gustaf

    This should not have worked... hell, this probably shouldn't even have been a full length novel. But it really did. Half of this book is Rafe and Jay not talking to each other. Both living in their own heads. Having their own truths about what's happened to make them fall apart. HALF of the book. I should've hated that. I probably would've hated that from anyone else, but May Archer delivered. Instead of getting annoyed by their lack of communication, I slowly fell in love with them. And the sec This should not have worked... hell, this probably shouldn't even have been a full length novel. But it really did. Half of this book is Rafe and Jay not talking to each other. Both living in their own heads. Having their own truths about what's happened to make them fall apart. HALF of the book. I should've hated that. I probably would've hated that from anyone else, but May Archer delivered. Instead of getting annoyed by their lack of communication, I slowly fell in love with them. And the second part? Well it was exactly the kind of sugary sweet, hilarious read I needed right now. Looking back, maybe the first part made me love the second part much more than I would've if the whole book had been like that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ana Nimity

    May Archer has done it again. I fell so deeply in love with these characters! Jayd and Rafe are the quintessential friends-to-enemies-to-lovers couple, and I adore them for it. Off Key features May's trademark humor, familiar friends on the Key, road-tripping with new kooky characters, hot sex and swoon-worthy romance. While it's possible you could read this as a standalone, you'll enjoy it more if you read the other books in the series first. They're fun, hot, and swoonworthy, too, so you'll be May Archer has done it again. I fell so deeply in love with these characters! Jayd and Rafe are the quintessential friends-to-enemies-to-lovers couple, and I adore them for it. Off Key features May's trademark humor, familiar friends on the Key, road-tripping with new kooky characters, hot sex and swoon-worthy romance. While it's possible you could read this as a standalone, you'll enjoy it more if you read the other books in the series first. They're fun, hot, and swoonworthy, too, so you'll be glad you did. Can't wait for the next one!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This book is everything you should expect from May Archer: epic romance, genuine character growth and ridiculous supporting characters/settings. I laughed a lot, highlighted so many gorgeous passages. There is a lot of beautiful history and a lot of terrible communication between Rafe and Jay and the way they work through it all has been perfectly orchestrated by the author. What a beautiful end to the Whispering Kay series (I believe Gage Goodman's story is book 1 of a new series). I received a co This book is everything you should expect from May Archer: epic romance, genuine character growth and ridiculous supporting characters/settings. I laughed a lot, highlighted so many gorgeous passages. There is a lot of beautiful history and a lot of terrible communication between Rafe and Jay and the way they work through it all has been perfectly orchestrated by the author. What a beautiful end to the Whispering Kay series (I believe Gage Goodman's story is book 1 of a new series). I received a copy of this book from the author and I have chosen to leave an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie ✨

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a perfect friends to enemies to lovers. It killed me that there was no kissing until the latter half of the book but that’s just me liking steam 24/7 haha. ALSO: Gage is leaving the Key?! And starts off his own series?! I CANT DECIDE IF IM HEARTBROKEN OR EXCITED. Also 👀 who is his love interest? I must know this…

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    [I received a digital arc for an honest review] Is it really a surprise to anyone that I gave Off Key by May Archer 5 stars? No ? I didn't think so. It was everything I wanted from a Whispering Key novel, and it honestly exceeded my expectations. At age 15, aspiring musician Jay Rollins made the decision to keep his sexuality in the closest in order to achieve his career goals. Keeping it secret from his best friend and crush Rafe, even though Rafe was publicly out as bisexual. Cue them growing up [I received a digital arc for an honest review] Is it really a surprise to anyone that I gave Off Key by May Archer 5 stars? No ? I didn't think so. It was everything I wanted from a Whispering Key novel, and it honestly exceeded my expectations. At age 15, aspiring musician Jay Rollins made the decision to keep his sexuality in the closest in order to achieve his career goals. Keeping it secret from his best friend and crush Rafe, even though Rafe was publicly out as bisexual. Cue them growing up and his dreams coming true while back at home Rafe marries his sister, and he cuts ties because of jealousy and heartbreak. Fast-forward to the present and there is a lot of secrets, miscommunication, and animosity built up between them. The two are thrown together for Whispering Keys Labor Day Extravaganza, but plans change when Jay's sister needs help. The result is a fake kidnapping, an impromptu road trip, uncovering secrets, and two best reconnecting more than they ever imagined they could. "The guy made me feel warm all over when he looked at me like that." Made me think thoughts and dream dreams...and write songs that were all about him..." Rafe Goodman is happy enough while trying to wrangle his dad, keep an eye on his brothers and cousin and manage the town of lunatics he loves. His unhappiness shines through when his ex-best friend and the man who crushed him, Jay Don Rollins is brought up. All bets are off as he rants and raves about the man who left him behind. Rafe is forced to face his past with Jay when Aimee needs them both. Rafe cracks almost immediately when he feels the raw loneliness coming off of Jay and wants to help him, even knowing that he will be left again at the end. Once he opens to Jay all bets are off because Rafe is a man who deserves to be loved and just wants to love Jay in whatever way he can. He is a planner and takes the opportunity to put the past in the past and embrace the future whatever that may look like. “My teammate. My constant. My rock. My North Star, guiding me home. My Love. Always.” Jay Rollins has struggles with people’s perceptions since a young child, first trying to please a father who would never accept his dreams, then playing straight for the music industry and lying to those he’s closest to in order prevent his secret from getting out and finally to his fans and the media, so he can continue doing what he loves. But does he truly love it anymore knowing he’s pushing away anyone who cared about him? Rafe comes back into his life as a force of negativity towards his music and life not realizing that Rafe is hurting so deeply that lashing out is his way of self-preservation. Jay opening up about the loneliness of the rock star lifestyle broke my heart because he had so few people in his corner, although everyone claimed to love him. Jay deserves the happiness that Rafe, Aimee and the Keysters bring into his life. Once he realizes that his future is his to choose I was delighted to see what he pulled off for his family. "In everything. You and me, partners in crime. Saving the world from all manner of birds." Rafe and Jay were perfect together. Whether they are arguing over pancakes vs waffles, trying to one up each other, or declaring their feelings I never tired of the two of them together. Plus when they finally let down their walls and start communication the intimacy between them was off the charts! Their adventure was filled with ups, downs and chest clutching moments of both angst and joy. You couldn’t help but fall in love with both men and cheered every page as they got closer towards reconnecting. This wasn’t your run of the mill best friends to lovers story which I appreciated and it wasn’t an enemies to lovers story either. Falling in the middle ground made this a book I couldn’t put down. May Archer always has you falling for the side characters who support the story as much as the MCs and the addition of Oak and Chet just had me in stitches. "Kissing Rafe Goodman was main stage, sellout crowd, it was holding a note and feeling the perfection of it resonate in my chest. In short, it was everything." Overall Off Key is another top-notch 5 star addition to the Whispering Key series by May Archer. Filled with love, friendship, laughter, nosey but caring small town neighbors and happily ever afters.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kath

    3.5 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    all this could be solved if the mcs were mature and werent acting like high school students. yikes. this series pissed me off. see other authors could make this trope work. just something about this is corny.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    3.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelsie ♡

    3.75 Stars I would’ve liked a little less miscommunication and a little more steam, but it was still another fun addition to the series. Banter, town antics, and fluff galore.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    This was another enjoyable story in the series. For Rafe and Jay pining, lies, anger, regrets, and an uncomfortable, but eventually fun road trip, all bring these two former best friends back together again. It was a nice change of pace to see them living life off the Key for most of the story too, and Jay getting to meet his "close personal friend" Chet had me laughing out loud. I'm enjoying this series a lot more than the O'Leary books. While things can be a bit outlandish, these stories work This was another enjoyable story in the series. For Rafe and Jay pining, lies, anger, regrets, and an uncomfortable, but eventually fun road trip, all bring these two former best friends back together again. It was a nice change of pace to see them living life off the Key for most of the story too, and Jay getting to meet his "close personal friend" Chet had me laughing out loud. I'm enjoying this series a lot more than the O'Leary books. While things can be a bit outlandish, these stories work well for fun, sweet reads, with a quirky but not overbearing small-town vibe.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueleen the Reading Queen

    I think this book took the cake for the most amount of highlights I have ever done reading. There was just SO MUCH SWOONEY material I couldn't stop. I'm even having a hard time now picking favorites. I honestly didn't want this book to end. I loved it so much. Jay and Rafe were everything. I loved getting to see what they were like as teens, before they were embroiled in their hurt turned hate we know of from previous books. Jay was such a dreamer as a kid. He was hopeful and bright and he had a I think this book took the cake for the most amount of highlights I have ever done reading. There was just SO MUCH SWOONEY material I couldn't stop. I'm even having a hard time now picking favorites. I honestly didn't want this book to end. I loved it so much. Jay and Rafe were everything. I loved getting to see what they were like as teens, before they were embroiled in their hurt turned hate we know of from previous books. Jay was such a dreamer as a kid. He was hopeful and bright and he had a plan that he never told his best friend Rafe. Maybe if he did share it, instead of just in his head, things wouldn't have gotten so far off track. "I want to write songs about you and play them for people who love them. I want to be so big and make so much money, people will respect my choices. But most of all, I want you to want me. I want you to love me. And then I want you to wait for me… Until I’m free to love you back." Not long after, Jay decided hiding his heart was the better answer. When Rafe married his sister Aimee, instead of just hiding Jay decided it was better to disappear from Rafe's life altogether. As close as their friendship was, I don't really blame Rafe for feeling betrayed. Not only did he lose his best friend, but he also lost the man he'd loved as long as he could remember. Being his friend was better than nothing for Rafe, after all Jay was straight, and he would rather have him in his life than not at all. Unfortunately, Jay took that choice out of his hands. "Long before he was a rock star, he was the single brightest star in my sky. He always would be." All of the heartache in this book could have been avoided by one simple thing: Communication. Rafe and Jay loved each other as teens, but both were terrified to tell the other for the fear of ruining things. Needless to say, their friendship was ruined anyways. Both were guilty in different ways when it comes down to the details, but I'm gunna go with Jay being a bit more culpable seeing as Rafe thought he was crushing on his straight bestie, while Jay knew for a fact Rafe was bisexual at least. “I got myself the world, but I still wanted stars” Fortunately for us readers the truth comes to light eventually. All the love these men have for each other comes pouring out in some super hot chemistry and some seriously swoonworthy lines. Jay may be the singer/songwriter but Rafe had some lines of his own that had my heart smiling. I truly can't decide between Beale or Rafe's book being my favorite so I'm gunna have to go with a tie. The last Goodman brother left is Gage and it seems he's heading out of Whispering Key for his romance. Pick Me is the first book in a spin off series coming in October. 5 whole months. I'll bet you this, it will be worth the wait. :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy B.

    Charming second chance/friends to lovers story This was a second chance/ friends-to-enemies-to-lovers story that was based entirely on a Big Misunderstanding and it’s a credit to May Archer that I enjoyed it as much as I did, because conflict based on miscommunication is not my favorite. Rafe and Jay were childhood best friends, their friendship based on the summers Jay would come to Whispering Key for visits. Rafe is bi and secretly in love with Jay. Jay is closeted and secretly in love with Rafe Charming second chance/friends to lovers story This was a second chance/ friends-to-enemies-to-lovers story that was based entirely on a Big Misunderstanding and it’s a credit to May Archer that I enjoyed it as much as I did, because conflict based on miscommunication is not my favorite. Rafe and Jay were childhood best friends, their friendship based on the summers Jay would come to Whispering Key for visits. Rafe is bi and secretly in love with Jay. Jay is closeted and secretly in love with Rafe. Both of them, as teens and young adults, believe they have no chance with the other, which leads to a pretty epic misunderstanding and a rift three years ago that they haven’t healed. When the book starts, they haven’t spoken in almost 16 months, and haven’t been real friends in over three years. But a family emergency means that these two find themselves in a rental van, driving from Florida to Wyoming. While the story took place over about a week, this was a pretty epic slowburn since they had been in love with one another for over a decade. Both characters were appealing, and the small town hijinks enhanced the story rather than taking it over. The conflict was a bit contrived, but it resolved pretty quickly and honestly- there had to be SOME reason these two were no longer friends for the second chance plot to work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Best friends to lovers is my absolute favorite, because there's already so much history and depth to the story right from the first page. Well, Off Key had all that and more, because there was a forest's worth of pining on top of all that substance too. I'm talking EPIC levels of pining. It hurt sooo good! The chemistry between Rafe and Jay was just as tangible as it had always been, even after their friendship had fallen apart years before. Their mutual feelings of betrayal added a whole new la Best friends to lovers is my absolute favorite, because there's already so much history and depth to the story right from the first page. Well, Off Key had all that and more, because there was a forest's worth of pining on top of all that substance too. I'm talking EPIC levels of pining. It hurt sooo good! The chemistry between Rafe and Jay was just as tangible as it had always been, even after their friendship had fallen apart years before. Their mutual feelings of betrayal added a whole new layer of sarcastic banter, innuendo, and bite that hadn't been there before though. So as their truths were revealed and the misunderstandings were dispelled, it led to pure rom-com gold with a swoontastic finish. I just loved every bit of their story. The humor and competitiveness between them was perfectly on-brand for the rest of this hilarious series and I loved seeing all the other characters elbow their way into this story, too. This book and this series was so much damn fun and I'm so sad to see it end!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miriah

    This was both really good and really fucking annoying. Overall the story was great, it was a fantastic friends to enemies to lovers trope, with great chemistry between the characters. I loved the pining and the work up to Rafe and Jay getting together. What I did not love was the stupid “lie” that drove a wedge between Rafe and Jay. It was a large enough part of the story to piss me off, and I did end up skimming some parts because I was so annoyed. I still rate this highly though, because once This was both really good and really fucking annoying. Overall the story was great, it was a fantastic friends to enemies to lovers trope, with great chemistry between the characters. I loved the pining and the work up to Rafe and Jay getting together. What I did not love was the stupid “lie” that drove a wedge between Rafe and Jay. It was a large enough part of the story to piss me off, and I did end up skimming some parts because I was so annoyed. I still rate this highly though, because once the characters get together it was pure love and I ended the book with a huge grin.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cindy M. Green

    I loved returning to Whispering Key with this completely endearing and crazy cast of characters. I was waiting patiently for Rafe and Jay's story, May did not disappoint with these two ❤️❤️❤️ There was definitely baggage between these stubborn cuties. We got all the deets on the "bad blood" between them; the sexual tension was hot and their snarky banter was on point. Their slow burn reconciliation was simply delicious. I loved spending time with only them while on their journey to happiness and I loved returning to Whispering Key with this completely endearing and crazy cast of characters. I was waiting patiently for Rafe and Jay's story, May did not disappoint with these two ❤️❤️❤️ There was definitely baggage between these stubborn cuties. We got all the deets on the "bad blood" between them; the sexual tension was hot and their snarky banter was on point. Their slow burn reconciliation was simply delicious. I loved spending time with only them while on their journey to happiness and forgiveness. Jay and Rafe made up for lost time, it was worth those bumps in the road. Once they jumped those hurdles they were all in and I loved that about them. Next up...Gage! So excited.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Debbora

    This is book three in the series. Rafe Jr and Jays story is probably the best one yet. Plenty of everything for everyone. It brings romance and comedy to a whole new level. Of course there is all the secrets that stands in the way they have to wade through first. Beautiful, funny, sexy story. I’m so excited to see Gage get his HEA too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I love this series so much :') I love this series so much :')

  30. 4 out of 5

    T.L. Travis

    I’m still laughing at Chet! The amount of humor in this book quickly elevated it to Do Not Put Down status. I laughed so hard my son thought I’d lost my mind. A truly fantastic book.

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