Title: Leaning Into Love
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #1
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: August 16th
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Friends to lovers, surfer, white collar, San Francisco, bisexual
Eric Schuster is a successful guy. He’s part owner of a highly successful tech firm, he has a supportive family and a great group of close friends. But something is missing. Or maybe he’s reacting to his business partner and ex’s wedding news. He knows his former lover is making a big mistake but he also knows it’s time to move on. And hopefully avoid falling for another friend.
Zane Richards is an avid sailor and surfer with a laid-back approach to life. He firmly believes there’s a time and place for everything if you’re willing to take a chance. Like letting his best friend know he’s interested in being much more than friends. Eric has always been half in love with Zane but going from friends to lovers isn’t an easy sell for someone protecting his heart. Eric will have to decide if he’s willing to risk it all by leaning into love.
Listen to a Sample
Zane refilled my glass and returned it to me with a naughty smirk. “You get kinda corny when you’re tipsy, Schuster. It’s cute.”
“Yeah. You get goofy. Your ears turn red and it makes the freckles on your nose stand out. Then you do that thing with your hair where you swipe your hand through it so many times that it looks like you just rolled out of bed.”
“Uh…okay. That’s embarrassing.” I searched for a reflective surface as I attempted to pat my unruly brown hair into some semblance of order. “I was going for debonair and I got bar mitzvah kid chic,” I grumbled.
Zane leaned forward and gave me an intense look I didn’t understand.
“You don’t have to be anyone but yourself with me, Eric. I like you just the way you are.” He sat back again and cocked his head. “So let’s talk about this stupid engagement party. What’s the dress code?”
“Um… it’s probably dressy casual,” I replied with a furrowed brow. I wanted to back up a sentence or two and analyze his words and dissect the meaning of “I like you just the way you are”.
“The usual oxymoron,” he snarked. “You are going with me, right?”
“Sure. If you want.”
“I want. It’ll save us both the trouble of finding some poor unsuspecting sucker to drag to a fancy shindig.”
“True. Speaking of suckers, don’t you have a date tonight?”
Zane glanced at his watch and then stretched his legs out on the bench so his shoe nudged my thigh. “I’ve got time. Talk to me. What else have you been up to lately? I noticed there’s a new exhibit at the Modern Museum. Have you gone? I think it’s a midcentury retrospective with Motherwell and de Kooning. I know you like the scribbly art and…”
His conversation was easy. The gentrified version of his former surfer dude accent had a lilting quality I could have listened to for hours. I felt myself truly begin to relax and let go of the invisible hold I’d had on my emotions, like a swimmer grasping onto a ledge who finally realizes he can reach the bottom of the pool. Being with someone who knew quirky details about me and accepted them without judgment or reservation was a gift.
I treasured all of my friends, but Zane was special. Our friendship was rooted in geography and history and now time. He wasn’t making a romantic advance when he asked me to attend Nick’s engagement party with him. That was latent wishful thinking on my part. Zane was simply being who he always was. My oldest and best friend.
Available at Amazon
4 of 5 Stars
This vocal performance was just ok for me. The performer did use good inflection but his voice wasn’t what I pictured for these guys. There is nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t care for it (although I’m an EXTREMELY picky audiobook listener).
I love Layne Hayes’ stories…always. I love friends-to-lovers stories. I’m torn on novellas – quick resolution and quick escalation of heat but too fast on the getting to know the characters and over too soon. This is the start of a series which I’m super excited about. We briefly met several characters. Grant and Josh we don’t know much about yet but I’m guessing we’ll see more of them as the series unfolds. Nick is a big player in this book. I don’t like him at all but Zane and Eric seem to love him as a brother. I’m hoping we’ll know why they love him in a future book because right now I just think he’s an a$$hole.
One of my issues with novellas is I don’t feel connected to the characters since there isn’t much time to get to know them. We do get to know Zane and Eric a little bit but I would like a deeper dive with them. They are opposites but balance each other. Zane is larger than life and living life to its fullest. Eric is a shy, nerdy, take the safe road kind of guy. They work well together. Their banter is entertaining. Their chemistry is off the charts. I just want more of them!
We’re left with a couple of big pieces at the end of the story that are not wrapped up so I really, really hope we get a glimpse of those in the next book (or a full book with Zane and Eric).
This will definitely be another must read series from Ms. Hayes!
Meet the Author
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.