Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6
Author: Lane Hayes
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: March 23
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Genre: Romance, friends to lovers, san francisco, humor, businessmen
Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.
Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.
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I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.
“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”
He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”
“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.
“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”
I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”
“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.
“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.
“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”
“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.
“Look, Mi. I’m not—”
“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”
Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?
But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.
But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”
Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.
“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”
“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—”
“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”
“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.
I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.
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4 of 5 Stars
The vocal performance is decent (although I’m super picky). Shows good emotion and had somewhat different voices for most of the characters. I did have an issue with ‘drawings’ becoming drawlings’ several times but other than that no major complaints.
I like Grant and Miles together…but for as long as this book is it felt incomplete. Both characters are extremely complex. Both characters have self-confidence issues they handle differently – one wears a shield and one hides.
Miles is afraid to be Miles. Is that solely because his ex-boyfriend constantly made him feel unworthy? I don’t feel like we got the full picture of his and Andy’s relationship. We get a couple of glimpses but not enough to fully understand where his insecurities started. I wanted in his head; I wanted his thoughts; I wanted to know why he was so hesitant to be in the relationship Grant so clearly wanted. He tried to shock Grant into walking away time and time again and each time Grant just grabbed onto him tighter. I love his snark. I love how he reads Grant and calms him when he feels overwhelmed. I absolutely love that he’s a ginger. He broke my heart and I’m glad he found someone who accepts him as is.
Grant is a bit of a mess. We learn quite a bit about him and his history. His overbearing, overwhelming, loving family is more than he can handle sometimes. He often struggles to speak. He is not quick on his feet or at making rash decisions. His negative self-worth leads to a lack of self-confidence. I love that he accepts Miles as is and encourages him to be true to himself. I love that he sees through Miles shiny veneer to the beautiful, broken boy underneath. His quirks completely endeared me to him, even while they broke my heart.
Miles and Grant are good for each other…maybe even made for each other. They definitely make each other stronger. They are two halves that make a whole.
Now that all the ‘brothers’ – Zane, Eric, Nick, Josh and Grant – have all found their mates, I’m wondering what’s next. Ms. Hayes is one of my go-to, feel good authors and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
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 won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.
Meet the Narrator
Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane’s books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review’s Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he’s not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.