Title: Leaning Into the Fall
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: March 10
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Length: Approximately 77K words
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance
Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He's made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.
Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.
Wes led me to a small room at the opposite end of the building filled with barrels. The temperature dipped at least ten degrees here and the strong scent of fermenting wine was offset by the smell of oak. I moved toward the round table in the middle and glanced up at the tower of barrels. Each was labeled and dated, but as far as I could tell, the order wasn’t chronological. I categorized and filed the numbers in my mind in an attempt to solve a mystery that probably wasn’t so mysterious after all.
“These are special reserve wines. The best of the best. Theoretically anyway,” Wes said, picking up the long-sleeved plaid shirt draped over one of the chairs at the table.
“What do the numbers mean?” I asked, running my fingers over the printed tag on the barrel.
“It’s an internal code that basically tells us exactly which vines yielded the harvest. Some have information about soil disruption or weather flux. Of course, once the wine is fermenting that information is no longer significant but—”
“Where are the dates on these labels? Isn’t timing everything in the wine business?”
“Some might argue timing is everything in every facet of life.” Wes regarded me curiously before pointing out the dates in the middle of the tag. “It’s all here. See?”
“I don’t understand your system,” I said, stuffing my hands in my back pocket and staring up at the barrels.
“It’s an internal system. You’re not meant to understand. It’s for us only. The same way you wouldn’t explain the science behind how an advanced operating system works to one of your clients. They might say they’re fascinated but they aren’t really interested in the details. Same goes for wine. People come to tour the winery every day. They want to know about grape varietals and blends and some even ask about topography, weather and the fermentation process. But the true science of wine making confounds them. At the end of the day, truth is in the bottle.”
“In vino veritas.”
Wes smiled as he pulled his shirt on. “’In wine, truth’,” he translated. “Different context, but yes… truth. Are you going to tell me why you’re here or do I have to break out a bottle of Pinot to get the real story?”
Wes’s wolfish grin spread slowly across his handsome face as he closed the distance between us. He tilted my chin with his forefinger and stared deep into my eyes as though he was trying to read my mind. Or devour me whole.
“You look like you want to eat me,” I said before I could stop myself.
“I do. I want to do lots of things to you. Is that why you’re here? You want me to eat you, Nicky?”
“You invited me.” My eyes drifted shut when he ran his fingers along my jaw then splayed his hand behind my head and tugged my hair.
“I did. I’m glad you came.”
“Well, we were in the middle of listing our all-time favorite bands or artists by decade. That’s not the kind of thing you can leave for a whole week. It’s important.”
“You’re right. What were we thinking?” He licked my bottom lip in a sensual line from one corner of my mouth to the other. “We’ll have to continue that discussion later. I want to do other things first.”
Lane Hayes Website: https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/leaning-into-the-fall
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leaning-into-the-fall-lane-hayes/1125960692?ean=2940154356739
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leaning-into-the-fall-lane-hayes/1125960692?ean=2940154356739
No matter how much an author likes a scene, some unfortunately get cut. The extra bits that don’t drive the story may make for fun reading, but sometimes they don’t really belong. I tend to overwrite so there’s always a silly deleted scene or two to share once the “real” book is released. Here’s one from my new novel, Leaning Into the Fall. This is book 2 in Leaning Into Stories. It belongs to Nick, who readers may remember from my short story, Leaning Into Love, as Eric’s best friend. He’s a quirky intellect who has a hard time communicating. Wes, however, seems to get him. And thus begins Nick’s lean into the ultimate fall. J
Lane Hayes xo
When Wes pulled into a mini-mall parking lot and steered his SUV toward the giant Target at the end, I was a little less sure.
“What are we doing here?”
“Game shopping. We’ll get a few board games and maybe a couple video games. Do you have a console?”
“No. I only stay at my condo here to shower and sleep,”
Wes gave me a dubious once-over as he led me through the sliding glass doors into the giant retail store. “So you haven’t been there in a while.”
“No. I haven’t. Look, breakfast was fun but I have to get back to work. My secretary will wonder where I am and—”
“No, she won’t. I told her you’d be gone ’til Monday.”
“Barb? No way. Did she believe you?”
“Of course. You were standing right there. Call and ask her.” He pointed toward a sign on his right. “Thataway. Oh wait. We need a cart.”
I dialed my office when Wes backtracked to find a red cart to stuff his goodies in. I moved a few paces behind him, admiring the view while I waited for Barb to answer. When her cell and office phone went directly to voice mail, I stopped called Miles.
“Oh my God, he’s hot!” Miles gushed. “If he wants to play Tarzan and kidnap me too, I won’t complain. No sirree. You don’t have any meetings scheduled and Barb told your engineers you’d be working remotely so you’re good to go, Nicky.”
“Did you really just call me Nicky?”
“That’s what your boyfriend calls you,” he singsonged.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I hissed.
“Whatever you say. Barb and I can handle things here ’til Eric gets back from Dallas.”
“When does he get in?”
“This afternoon. He has a meeting with the gruesome twosome tomorrow. Don’t worry. Everything is under control. Enjoy yourself. We’ll see you Monday!”
I scowled at my cell when Miles hung up. The mere thought of Finn and Norm darkening the doorway at EN Tech made me anxious to get back to my lab. What the hell was I doing wasting time at a Target? I shoved my phone in my suit pocket and took in my surroundings. I was standing in the middle of a wide aisle in the next to a shelf overburdened with cleaning supplies. Across the way, an employee in a red smock was restacking boxes of shoes. The incongruous sections were delineated throughout the area by the width of the aisle and overhead signage. Baby clothes were next to women’s workout clothes. Dog food was next to kitchen gadgets. If there was a rhyme or reason to the layout, I didn’t get it. I just had to find Wes and get the hell out. I had too much to do to be wandering in a super store emporium like a lost kid.
A pair of sturdy-looking winter boots with a rubber toe and fur lining caught my eye. I picked one up to inspect. It was a size too small. I scanned the boxes and found my size on the lowest shelf. Then I sat on the red metal bench nearby and toed off my loafers before yanking the boots on. The hiked up pant legs on my suit had a clownish look but I liked them. I struck a pose in the full-length mirror against the back wall and gave myself a thumbs up. Cool.
There had to be coats around here too. I put my loafers in the box and trudged into the next section. Women’s bras and pajamas bled into men’s socks and underwear and beyond that, a whole area dedicated to guy stuff. Shirts, shorts, pants, swim trunks…you name it, it was all there. I perused the jackets and tried a few on over my suit coat. The olive green one with puffy sleeves went well the boots. Done. I turned toward the main aisle and gasped in wonder at the Star Wars onesies for grownups. Holy fuck. I had to have it. Wes needed one too. I grabbed two along with matching beanies and resumed my search for the toy aisle.
I found Wes standing in front of a Legos display with his phone glued to his ear. He frowned when he saw me and waved his cell accusingly.
“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been calling you!”
“Looking for you. And shopping. Check out what I got!” I tossed a onesie at him and chuckled at his astounded expression. “One for me, one for you. We don’t have to match. I think there’s a storm trooper one back there but I’m definitely Darth Vader.”
“O-kay…what’s with the winter ensemble, Darth? Do you have any idea how goofy you look?” he snickered, stepping backward to get a good look at me.
“Who cares? I can’t remember the last time I was in one of these stores. They have everything! The pajamas are on me. What else do you want? Name it, I’m buying!”
“Relax, big spender. We aren’t buying the store. We’re looking for a couple games, remember?” Wes pulled my elbow and led me to a row filled with familiar logos of games I played when I was a kid. “Clue, Sorry…what do you think?”
“I think games are a bad idea.”
“Why? I thought we agreed on this.”
“No. I change my mind. I’m a poor sport. If I lose, it won’t be pretty. We need to rethink this. Board games are a disaster waiting to happen. What other kind of games are there?”
“It’s hard to concentrate with you looking like,” he commented with a grin, grabbing one of the beanie caps and pulling it over my ears. “Better. Let’s see…there’s outdoor games like badminton, volleyball and Frisbee.”
“My coordination is suspect. I dunno.”
“Anyone can catch a Frisbee. I’m getting one. What else?”
“You said you liked those video games from the 80s, but I don’t where we’d find—”
“An arcade! There’s one in the city by Pier 39. Want to go?”
My ear-to-ear grin was my answer. “Yeah. But take me home first. It looks like I’m really going to play hooky for the first time in my life.”
4.5 out of 5 stars
Leaning Into The Fall is the second book in the contemporary Leaning Into series by author Lane Hayes. This book features Nick, who is a part of the first novella, Leaning Into Love. I highly recommend reading this series in order since Nick is a large part of the first book.
When we first met Nick in Leaning Into Love, I wasn't sure if I liked him at all. In that story he came across as a man who does think without thinking to make things easier for their company. Now in Leaning Into The Fall, we see deeper into who Nick actually is, and we also see that there is a deeper reason behind his impetuosity. While the start of the book showcases Nick as a bit of an ass, the further into the story we get the more his personality and his history is revealed.
We also meet his match, Wes Conrad, the owner of the winery where Nick and his ex-fiancee got engaged. Wes is truly the perfect foil for Nick and his quirks. He's a little bit older but he also doesn't let Nick get away with anything. He is able to stop Nick, redirect his energies, or get him to focus on things outside of work and his new tech, and he's also able to make Nick feel. Something that Nick has admitted he doesn't feel able to do. And we get to see the journey and Nick's discovery that he's not just the sum of his equations and that he can feel and fall in love. He just needed the right impetus to get him to that place.
This is a solid, well told story featuring two complex characters that are very different, with one of those characters considering himself broken and not able to be 'fixed'. This story redeemed the vision of Nick as impetuous and showed that there is more to it then you can see. It's after his layers are peeled back that you find the reasons, and then HE finds his reasons for being a better version of himself. There's a scene where he comforts another character in the story, which is rather pivotal because that shows his ability to feel, and his change in character.
Leaning Into the Fall is one of this author's best books, at least for this reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the characters, and the pacing is spot on. I highly recommend picking up this book, and even this series, both for fans of Lane Hayes and even for those who've never read her before.
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.
3/15 - Love Bytes Reviews - http://lovebytesreviews.com/
3/15 - MM Book Escape - www.mmbookescape.com
3/15 - Zipper Rippers - http://zipperrippers.blogspot.co.uk/
3/17- Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words - http://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.com/
3/17 - Books, Dreams, Life - http://staceyschneller06.wordpress.com
3/21 - Joyfully Jay - http://joyfullyjay.com
3/21 - V's Reads - http://vsreads.com/
3/21 - Divine Magazine - http://divinemagazine.biz/
3/21 - The Novel Approach - http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/
3/23 - Prism Book Alliance - http://prismbookalliance.com/
3/23 - Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews - http://wickedfaeriesreviews.blogspot.com/
3/23 - BFD Book Blog - http://bfdbookblog.net/
3/29 - Alpha Book Club - http://www.alphabookclub.org
3/29 - Bayou Book Junkie - http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/
3/29 - Boy Meets Boy Reviews - http://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com
3/31 - MM Good Book Reviews - https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/
3/31 - Dog-Eared Daydreams - http://www.dogeareddaydreams.com
3/31 - Reviews by Tammy and Kim - http://tammyandkimreviews.blogspot.com/
3/31 - Happily Ever Chapter - https://www.facebook.com/happilyeverchapter
3/31 - Top 2 Bottom Reviews - https://top2bottomreviews.wordpress.com/
3/31 – Sinfully - http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk
$25 Amazon Gift Card