Series: Leaning Into Stories, #7
Author: Lane Hayes
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: August 9th, 2018
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
Genre: Romance, Comfort, Healing , Heartbreak, New Beginnings, Contemporary Romance
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Geordie de la Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner.
Levi Yeager excels at the art of reinventing himself. He’s been a minor league baseball player, a college coach and now a restaurant owner. The problem is he doesn’t know a thing about the food business. And when his chef quits unexpectedly, he’s afraid his new venture is doomed. But Levi isn’t a quitter. It may be the only thing he has in common with the beautiful, sassy man from the neighboring winery who agrees to help get his new business up and running. Neither man counts on their fast friendship or the wild attraction they feel for each other. However, they know they won’t stand a chance until they let go of the past and lean into forever.
“My game is coming back. If I keep talking and you keep listening, you’ll eventually warm up to me. Where was I?”
“The psychology of alliterations,” I deadpanned.
“Right. Your tone is imperial, you use alliterations like a poet and you dress like a diva. You’re pleasant to strangers but you hold them at bay. You’re kind but controlled. Most likely you were an elite member of a royal family in a former life.”
“You’re probably right,” I said, amused in spite of myself. “Since you have me figured me, let me see if I can do the same.”
“Be my guest.” Levi made a sweeping motion with his left arm before resting it on his steering wheel. The casual gesture was ripe with potent masculinity. And I hated that I noticed.
I tore my gaze from his stubble jaw and cleared my throat. “You’re a newly out sports enthusiast at a crossroad.”
“Sports enthusiast at a crossroads,” he repeated with a laugh. “I guess that’s better than has-been athlete looking for a new gig.”
“As you said, I do have a way with words and I’m a firm believer it’s crucial to accentuate the positives.” I set my hand over his without thinking then pulled back when a familiar spark of awareness skittered along my spine.
Levi smirked. “You’re weird. I like you.”
“Thanks. I like you too. Platonically of course,” I added.
“Of course. What exactly is my crossroad?”
“I’m not sure. Perhaps you quit your job to try a new venture with this lover who dumped you and now you’re heading to LA to woo him back—”
“Not a chance,” he snapped.
I raised a brow at his vehemence. “Or…you’re going on a fact-finding mission to salvage what you can of your original idea and determine what comes next.”
Levi nodded. “Closer.”
“Have you thought about selling the diner?”
“Yes. But I’m not going to.”
“I have nothing to lose. And you know what? It’s kinda liberating. No net required ’cause I’m already free falling. Have you ever felt that way before, Geord?”
Every fucking day.
Silence fell like a blanket between us. Soft and warm and safe. I didn’t want to break the quiet but I couldn’t allow myself to be pulled under either.
I licked my lips and whispered, “Yes.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t move and I couldn’t look away. Maybe I was a sucker for ruggedly handsome men who weren’t ashamed to reveal their vulnerable sides. I admired that he made free-falling sound like an adventure. I’d been doing it for nearly four years and my outlook was nothing like Levi’s. I worked my ass off to make sure no one knew how tired and raw and afraid I felt every damn day. I clung to the best parts of my past like a lifeline, hoping my ghosts would ease the inevitable ‘splat on the concrete’ nosedive I had coming my way.
Levi’s story was certainly different, but I recognized something in him I knew too well. A desperate spirit that wasn’t quite ready to give up. I’d like to think that sense of acknowledgment was why I leaned across the console, closed my eyes and pressed my lips against his.
The vocal performance is good. Mr. Russo also performed Nick and Wes’ book and I found it interesting that I was able to recognize their voices in this book…I love the consistency with the characters’ voices.
I feel like we’ve been waiting forever for Geordie’s story and honestly it was worth the wait. This story is damn near perfect.
Ms. Hayes could not have written a more authentically flawless match for Geordie than Levi. He is sweet, patient and kind. He doesn’t try to change Geordie or ‘tone down’ Geordie’s fabulous. He is over the top silly and entertaining. I absolutely loved how quickly Levi’s able to tune into and read Geordie and be exactly what he needs to start living again.
Geordie absolutely broke my heart…over and over again. His grief is a living, breathing thing…almost a separate character in the book and my heart physically ached for him. His history was sad at times but I loved learning about him moving to LA and everything that lead him to where he is now.
Levi and Geordie have off the chart sexual chemistry but the emotional chemistry is not to be discounted. Their banter is entertaining and their sweet moments are swoon worthy. Simply put, they are perfect together.
We get appearances from Wes and Nick of course, as well as Ryan and Danny. There is also a quick mention of the rest of the crew. We meet a couple of new characters we may see again.
This is probably my favorite series by Ms. Hayes and I’d venture to say this is my favorite of the series!
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.