Title: Leaning Into Always
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #1, Part 2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Self Pub
Release Date: September 5
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, San Fran, Beach, Surfer, Geek, Opposites Attract, Friends to lovers
Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.
Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.
“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”
“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.
I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.
“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”
“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”
“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.
“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.
I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”
“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”
I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”
“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”
“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.
“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.
“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”
I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”
“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”
I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.
4 out of 5 stars
Leaning Into Always is the continuation of Zane and Eric's story from Leaning Into Love. This is tied into that story so it is important to read them in order.
This story is focused on Eric and Zane as they're preparing for their wedding and decide to take a trip back to their home town to visit their families. Zane is also combining a bit of work with their trip as he has a client who wants a specific type of boat for his personal use. Unfortunately this trip puts Zane in contact with his 'first' sexual partner. Now they weren't boyfriends because at the time neither were out of the closet, and Dean still isn't out and most likely never would be. However Dean attempts to drive a wedge between Zane and Eric by focusing on Eric's insecurities from high school.
I enjoyed this continuation of their story but the addition of the 'evil ex' from high school didn't really add much to the story for me. Not with an established couple but that didn't really detract from the really sweet and sexy moments between Eric and Zane. And while the conflict was a bit much it also showed how these two would work out issues now that they've been together for a while.
This is the 'same' Eric and Zane we fell in love with in Leaning Into Love so there are no major surprises here, nor is the conflict a major conflict in the story. It's more of self-doubt on Eric's side because they're back in their home town. It was overall a nice little visit with these two as they got closer to their wedding date. I recommend this one for anyone that's read the first book in the series as this ties up their story a little more.
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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.
Books by Lane Hayes:
Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man & The Right Time, Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into the Fall, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home AND A Way with Words