OUT IN THE OFFENSE–Now Available in Audiobook! Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new audiobook of a New Adult M/M romance from Lane Hayes. Y’all know I totally loved OUT IN THE DEEP END and OUT IN THE OFFENSE, but the audiobook was spectacular!

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the giveaway.
About the book:
Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

How about a yummy taste?

“Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.
“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”
“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”
Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.
“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”
I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.
Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.
“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.
“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”
I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.
“Do you eat like this every night?”
“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.
“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.
“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”
“Of course.”
Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”
“Um…now?”
“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.
I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.
Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.
“Definitely not a fluke,” he said with a devilish grin.

My Review:
I just reviewed the actual book last week, so I’m going to sum it up and discuss why I liked the audiobook.

Christian Rafferty is a college football player in need of a tutor for statistics. His coach recommends Rory, a math whiz and recent college grad who fills his time doing odd tutoring and personal training. Rory is an out and proud bisexual after his closeted status lost him the love of a good man. e gets a vibe off Christian that he’s not too shy to pursue. Christian won’t resist Rory–that former wrestler is too sexy–but he’s not sure if he should come out. His teammate Evan did the season before, and Christian’s conservative parents weren’t best pleased.

Michael Pauley does the audio and he really made me feel like I was in the mix. Whoo boys! His gritty voice really suited both Rory and Christian’s masculine characters. I was not disappointed with all the yummy sexytimes in stereo. The audiobook runs about 5.5 hours, and I felt the pacing was spot on, with great accent in all the right places. Hearing Christian’s uncertainty and frustration with his meddling father was just as easy as hearing his vulnerability meeting and falling for Rory. Rory felt a little flat in the book, but he really came to life in the audio, which I liked. He seems like a better guy than the impression we had in the previous story. He’s grown up and found himself, and that was fun to experience.

If you like audiobooks, I’d recommend any of the ones in this series. They aren’t too long, and they have some great characters finding sexy lovers to satisfy them.

Interested? You can find OUT IN THE OFFENSE on Goodreads and Amazon and Audible.

You can also pick up the first two books in this series, too!
OUT IN THE DEEP is available on Goodreads, Amazon ebook, and Audible (audiobook).

OUT IN THE END ZONE is available on Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About 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.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

About the Narrator:
Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.
Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

Catch up with Michael on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud.

Learning How to Be OUT IN THE OFFENSE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new New Adult M/M romance from Lane Hayes. I totally loved OUT IN THE DEEP END, so I was looking forward to OUT IN THE OFFENSE. This is the third book in the Out in College series, but easy to pick up and read on its own.

About the book:
Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

How about a yummy taste?

“Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.
“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”
“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”
Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.
“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”
I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.
Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.
“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.
“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”
I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.
“Do you eat like this every night?”
“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.
“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.
“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”
“Of course.”
Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”
“Um…now?”
“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.
I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.
Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.
“Definitely not a fluke,” he said with a devilish grin.

My Review:
Christian Rafferty is a senior playing quarterback for his small private college. He’s closeted, and terrified that people might guess his sexuality–namely his conservative family. He’d successfully dated his high school sweetheart, Max, who is a current roommate in the house he shares with Max’s new beau, a fellow teammate on the baseball team, Sky. So, things are tense in his crash pad and Max’s also struggling with his statistics class. His coach sets him up with Rory, a recent college grad with a killer bod, tats, and a math degree. The former collegiate wrestler pushes all his buttons.

Christian is a bit startled how much he and Rory get on. Rory’s bold and brash and newly out–lamenting the time he wasted in the closet, and the sweet guy he hurt while in there. So, he’s not angling for Christian to come out. They are having some good times, and Christian’s liking the way he feels around Rory. His playing is going well, and the team’s rallying for a Division 3 playoff berth, but Christian’s getting irritated with the homophobia that’s cropped up in the wake of a fellow teammate who came out the previous season. And, his parents think it’s a bad scene, too.

Tired of living a half-life, Christian is seriously contemplating coming out. But, issues with Max and Sky have him fearing it might not be his choice. Hanging in the balance is a potential fifth-year of school, and a career-path change he won’t have to ask his father to pay for. I liked both Rory and Christian and how they fit together. They have yummy chemistry, and made for some interesting sexytimes. They are also thoughtful and considerate, with real-world issues I could connect with. The climax of the story, however, was a little lacking. Christian’s the subject of a hate-crime, but it sparks him to own his truth and stand up for himself in ways he hadn’t planned. I liked that part, though it took a little while for him to get there.

The resolution is happy with Rory and Christian being stronger than ever, out and proud and living a good life. Expect a new direction for this series to move–batter up??

Interested? You can find OUT IN THE OFFENSE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About 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.

You can reach out to Lane on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

LEANING INTO FOREVER–Audiobook review

Hi there! Going back into my WAY BACK mode, I missed this M/M romance from Lane Hayes, which came out several months back…but it recently dropped as an audiobook! LEANING INTO FOREVER is the seventh book in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Geordie, a grieving widower and partner to Wes at Conrad Winery. He’s vowed to never find another man to fill his heart, but retired baseball player, Levi, unexpectedly slides past his defenses. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, LEANING INTO ALWAYS, LEANING INTO A WISH, LEANING INTO THE LOOK, and LEANING INTO TOUCH, so I was eager to round out my experiences with these Bay-area romances.

About the book:
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.

How about a little taste?

“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.”

“Why not?”

“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.

My Review:
Geordie is a mature man who’s suffered the loss of his long-time partner, Mike. Geordie remains a partner in the Conrad Winery, that Mike and his best friend (and former lover) Wes Conrad founded together. Wes and Geordie didn’t get along at first, but Geordie’s brash, in-your-face diva role from his years as a drag queen mellowed during his ten years with Mike, and now the four years since his death. He still entertains at the winery, belting out show tunes while expertly pairing food and wine, though, and Wes volunteers Geordie to assist a new cafe owner in setting up a pairing menu–now that the cafe will feature only Conrad wines exclusively.

Levi Yeager is a retired baseball player in his late thirties, but he’s only newly out in the gay scene. His dream to return to the family cafe he grew up in is in jeopardy, now that his head chef–and former lover–has decided not to relocate to Napa from L.A. Levi’s pretty-much immediately taken with Geordie, who feels he’s a decade past his prime, but can’t help feeling flattered by the admiration of such a strong, sexy younger man. Levi proposes a partnership–Geordie helping him with translating his grandmother’s cookbook–written in Spanish–and he’ll show Geordie there’s more life to be lived.

As much as Geordie struggles to let go of his grief, he’s also aware that he is still alive, and that Levi doesn’t treat him like the broken man he’s felt like since Mike passed. It’s bittersweet how Geordie feels compelled to maintain his celibacy, and constantly talk to Mike as if he’s listening. Levi takes it all in stride, getting Geordie to open up and experience some new and old things–like riding a motorcycle for the first time, and riding a Vespa again after two decades. Geordie’s friends see the changes for the better, and this gives Geordie the confidence to let Levi in when he would not normally do so. Levi is tender, and patient. He cherishes the struggle Geordie fights to take a chance on love again. It’s kinda funny how they struggle with jealousy issues to a small degree.

I liked the audiobook, and valued the narrator’s gravitas when rendering Geordie’s voice. Both men seem to have problems with starting over, but Levi’s are centered in falling for the wrong man again, while Geordie’s stem from guilt over “forgetting” Mike. Thing is, Levi’s okay with Geordie’s love for Mike, and thinks it’s perfectly fine for him to grieve and find new love. It was so wholly accepting, and gave Geordie the courage to start again. They have a bit of sexytimes, and it’s both sad and celebratory. I really enjoyed the depth of emotions in the book, and I felt it came through is a big way because the narrator’s voice carried the pain of loss, and the hollowness of the shell he’d become to mask his grief. It was endearing to watch him open up and accept Levi’s love. I really enjoyed.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO FOREVER on Goodreads, Amazon ebook, and Audible (audiobook).

About 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.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

About the Narrator:
Nick Russo 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.

Catch up with Nick on Facebook and Twitter.

LEANING INTO TOUCH–Audiobook Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Going back into my WAY BACK mode, I missed this M/M romance from Lane Hayes, which came out several months back…but this week it dropped as an audiobook! LEANING INTO TOUCH is the fourth book in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Josh, the most sensitive of the Stanford besties, finding love with an Irishman keeping secrets. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, LEANING INTO ALWAYS, LEANING INTO A WISH, LEANING INTO THE LOOK, so I was eager to round out my experiences with these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down to catch my review and to enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.

Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.

My Review:
Josh Sheehan and Finn Gallagher met a year ago at a party and really hit it off. That started up a friends-with-benefits plan for a bit, but Josh’s friends warned him off Finn–who they said wasn’t the type to settle down. Plus, that’s exactly NOT the type of man Josh wants. He’s looking for a partner, like his pals have all found. Still, seeing Finn and his female fiance at the museum where Josh works–on his very last day of employment–seems like kismet. And running into him again twice more that week after not seeing him in months is more than a coincidence, right? Josh had swooned for Finn’s thick Irish brogue, but he’s also addicted to his touch. And Finn’s not as engaged as the world may think…

Turns out his fiance is engaged to a woman–Finn and she serve as mutual beards–and Josh is thrilled by the idea that Finn’s single, essentially, but he’s not thrilled that Finn’s comfortable in his public closet. As Josh’s world seems to implode, with new family challenges and needing to get his career back on track, Finn’s a constant support. Their attraction is intense, but they also build a friendship this time around. Josh keeps his growing relationship from his pals, though, not wanting them to warn him off–or have to explain Finn’s secrets–again. Unfortunately, Finn’s determination to be uber successful impacts his relationships, not only with Josh. He’s had some serious family troubles and has been hiding from them for more than a decade, but being with Josh opens his eyes to his guilt, and helps him move past the shame of his history.

The narration of this audiobook is fantastic, with excellent pacing and great quality. I love the different voices, and how Mr. Russo captured Finn’s lush brogue. There are plenty of steamy bits and Russo’s voice captured those just as well as Josh’s moments of acute emotional distress. He’s fells very much alone, isolated due to estrangement from friends and unexpected difficulties connecting with his father–who has made some big revelations and moved in with a new partner after a decade of bachelorhood following the divorce for Josh’s mother. I found myself really transported into the story, and was easily able to connect with Josh. I like Finn a lot, and hoped that the’d get his own life together. It ended well, with Josh taking charge and Finn making the commitments he’d feared for too long.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO TOUCH on Goodreads, Amazon ebook, and Audible (audiobook).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About 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.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

About the Narrator:
Nick Russo 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.

Catch up with Nick on Facebook and Twitter.

LEANING INTO THE LOOK–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance from Lane Hayes. LEANING INTO THE LOOK is the fifth book in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Grant, the last of the Stanford besties, finding love with an outre personal assistant. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, LEANING INTO ALWAYS and LEANING INTO A WISH, so I was eager to get back to these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
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.

How about a little taste?

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.

“Maybe.”

“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—”

“The what?”

“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.

My Review:
Gio “Grant” Kostas is the last of his pals to find love, and part of that is due to Grant’s nearly crippling shyness. His family is loud, Greek and overwhelming and Grant’s inability to deal well with conflict led to a childhood eating disorder and running away from home at age 17. He was too upset over the family’s response to his coming-out to stay. Since then, he’s grown a lot as a person. He attended Stanford where he was part of the group that included Eric and Nick, who formed EN Tech, and were MCs of previous books. His roomie was Josh, from LEANING INTO TOUCH,  who really helped Grant get past his shyness and later reconcile with his family. Grant, who did model in his younger years, now heads up the San Francisco office of Kostas Realty, and is poised to make a big contract with a huge new development. His parents are lovely, but bossy, and desperate for Grant to find a good Greek man to settle down with.  Unfortunately, the only person to catch Grant’s eye recently is Miles, Eric’s flamboyant (and a bit wacky) assistant.

Miles had been in a very long-term relationship which had recently ended in spectacular fashion. He learned his ex had a guy on the side, instead of his mind on the wedding plans, which led to some outbursts and one pool-side fight. Miles has a strong defensive manner, and it leads to outlandish behavior, like feigning a British accent with people who irritate him. Or, say, pretending Grant is his new beau when they encounter Tom, a mutual acquaintance of Miles’ ex, at a work function. Grant has been warned to “be nice” to Grant, because Eric’s sure that Miles is both still hurting over his break-up, and well, kind of pining over Grant. Miles isn’t Grant’s type, at all, but Grant admires Miles’ attitude and strength in the face of humiliation. They embark on a friendship, unexpectedly, and sexytimes are a part of that.

It’s a sweet story, actually, of two lonely souls who struggle to communicate effectively. As their friendship grows, Grant and Miles learn how to sneak past the barriers they’ve each put up to protect themselves from further hurt. Grant’s difficulty with conflict is woven throughout his relationships, but being with Miles helps him to fight his insecurities. Even if Grant can’t stand up for himself, he won’t let people make Miles feel insignificant. And, Miles is a fierce man, unwilling to let Grant make decisions that could hurt himself. When Miles needs a new apartment, Grant insists that Miles take his spare room.  Their budding friendship grows into a dependence that celebrates their mutual strengths.  Miles helps Grant relax from his stressful work-life, and Grant shows Miles how if feels to be valued as he is, quirks and all.

Naturally,  Grant’s invasive family is expecting Grant to find a Greek partner, and an enterprising acquaintance is trying to fill that role. Grant’s half-in the charade, because he’s been assured it’s necessary for the big deal he’s planning, but soon his feelings for Miles overtake his desire to win the contract. Their growing  bond is more than Miles or Grant had really wanted, but they do acknowledge it, and plan a path that makes sense for both of them–no matter what trouble it causes for family or business. I really liked how sweet Grant is, and how much he supports Miles, no matter the zaniness that Miles throws at him. Miles’ best-defence-is-a-good-offense strategy is isolating, but Grant’s patience allows him to get past Miles’ outre exterior to the sweet and vulnerable man he  falls hard for. Expect lots of sexytimes and second-guess moments on the path to love. And, some tender moments between Grant and Miles and Grant and his family–to help Grant solidify his love story and his future.

I really enjoyed it.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO THE LOOK on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About 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.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

New Love LEANING INTO A WISH–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance out today from Lane Hayes. LEANING INTO A WISH is book 3.5 in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Ryan, a viticulturalist from Wes Conrad’s winery finding love when he least expect to… I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL and LEANING INTO ALWAYS, so I was eager to get back to these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter to win a $20 GC.
About the book:
Ryan Haskell loves everything about the wine business. He’s fortunate to work at one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley doing something he enjoys with the people who are like family to him. But he could do without the good-natured intern slash former jock with the wicked grin who always seems to be in the way. Ryan isn’t sure why the new guy is under his skin when everyone else loves him. Thankfully he’ll be gone after the holidays.

Danny Meyers can’t believe his luck when he lands an internship at Conrad Winery. It’s the perfect temporary gig to wrap up his graduate studies. He’s left his dreams of tennis stardom on the court to focus on a new career and a new life. However, he didn’t count on the spark of attraction he feels for his prickly co-worker. When their tentative friendship blossoms into something more than either man counted on, they may have to change direction and lean into a holiday wish.

How about a little taste?

A vacuum-like static rang in my ears. It wasn’t until Danny nudged my arm that the typical raucous bar noises filtered through again. And when he scooted his barstool back a foot or two and raised his hand to flag down a server, everything seemed to return to normal. Sort of.

“Gin and tonic for my friend and I’ll have another martini, please. Thanks.” Danny tipped back the last of his drink then handed it over before twisting to face me. “So other than being out twenty-five bucks and possibly having an awkward conversation at work on Monday, that didn’t go so bad.”

“I—I don’t get it. What just happened?”

“We agreed to let Geordie win the bet, remember?”

“Sure, but how did I get stuck here with you?”

Danny snorted. “We’ve already established that you like me. Stop being an uptight fuddy-duddy.”

“A fuddy—? You’re…” I gritted my teeth and tried to think of a stinging insult to fit the situation. “Annoying.”

Lame. And the “That’s the best you’ve got?” twinkle in Danny’s eye told me he agreed with me. I was about to let him have it when the waiter stopped to deliver our drinks. When we were alone again, I leaned into him and kicked his shin for good measure.

“Ow. Relax, Ry. I still want to kiss you, you know.” He popped the speared olive from his martini into his mouth. “With tongue.”

“You’re reading way too much into a stick of spearmint gum, honey. Don’t flatter yourself. It was a joke,” I huffed derisively.

“It doesn’t have to be.”

“Are you fucking nuts? I’m not kissing you,” I announced primly.

“You want to though. Admit it,” he teased.

I blew out an exaggerated breath, sucked down half my cocktail, and slid off my barstool. “I’m outta here. See you Monday.”

Danny grabbed my belt loop and yanked me to his side. “You didn’t let me finish. I was about to say…”

“Yes?” I prompted with a rolling hand gesture.

“I want it too.”

We stared at each other for a heated moment. I had no clue what he was thinking, but it seemed weird to ask for clarification. When the growing tension went on a beat too long, I wanted out. “See ya, Danny boy.”

I pushed my way through the crowd and gulped for air when I finally reached the sidewalk. I didn’t dare stop to enjoy the refreshing autumn breeze. If I wanted to avoid any further confrontation, I had to boogie. Danny was the type of guy who liked having the last word, and that wasn’t happening on my watch. I fished my keys from my pocket and power-walked toward the parking lot behind the bar.

“Ryan!”

I ignored him and picked up my pace. I spotted my car and clicked my fob to unlock the door. Danny called my name again. I could tell from the sound of his footsteps behind me that he was closing in quickly. I had to hurry or—

Too late. A hand on my elbow yanked me sideways.

“What the fuck is your problem?” I fumed, pushing his chest to no avail.

He moved into my space until his nose was less than an inch from mine. He was too big and imposing, and the look in his eyes was straight-up dangerous.

My dick twitched in my jeans. Of course it did. I had a bad habit of coveting what I couldn’t have and getting turned on by the chase. My past was littered with embarrassing short-term affairs or crushes on guys like Wes and Finn. Men I admired but never had a real shot with. I didn’t want to add Danny to that list because against my better judgment…I liked him. Really liked him.

My Review:
Ryan Haskell loves his job and life within Conrad Winery. He’s been there for six years and is has developed deep friendships with Wes, Geordie and their pals–even been intimate with some of them. But, he’s still single. And that’s not so happy. He’s uncomfortably attracted to Danny Meyers, an intern who’s stayed on past harvest to finish his term with the winery as part of his graduate studies. Dannyi’s tall and built and charming, and it’s plain irritating to Ryan that he’s fallen for yeat another unattainable man. Because Danny must be straight. He’s had a girlfriend, and all.

Ryan isn’t that happy with Geordie’s assessment that Danny likes Ryan, and he’s sure the mixed messages he’s been getting from Ryan are sheer mockery. A straight dude playing with his head. Ryan blames his faulty gay-dar, but he doesn’t really want to fall for Danny, either. He’s been watching people couple up for a while now…and the idea of falling for Danny when he’s going to leave for school in a couple months doesn’t appeal. Ryan’s been left behind too many times to risk his heart again.

Thing is, Danny is bisexual. And Sexual. He has been attracted to Ryan since the summer began and it’s near Halloween. Ryan isn’t prepared for Danny’s full-charm press, and he’s needed intimacy for a while. So, while Ryan’s sure it’s a bad idea to let Danny into his defenses, he’s also so happy to have the closeness they begin to develop. As autumn edges past Thanksgiving and toward Christmas, Ryan knows he has given his heart away, but he truly wishes that Danny won’t let him down. Danny’s complications with his former career as a tennis pro and his demanding family start to intrude, however, and Ryan’s unwilling to hold him back. After all, who’d choose Ryan anyway? No one had before…

This is a sweet and tender romance for a guy I’d not been thrilled with in previous books. Ryan was a complication for Nick in LEANING INTO THE FALL, and he’d also been in a messy situation with Finn from LEANING INTO TOUCH. Still, he comes across as vulnerable and sympathetic here, and I got hooked in quick. Danny is a gregarious guy, and his signals didn’t seem all that mixed to me, but his reluctance to discuss himself was shady, and that’s where I felt the disconnect for Ryan Lay. They do get it on rather well, and I liked how Danny dealt with his family drama. It was a sweet ending to a holiday read with a HEA in time for Christmas Day.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO A WISH on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About 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.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Hard to Trust LEANING INTO ALWAYS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M romance out today from Lane Hayes. LEANING INTO ALWAYS is book 1.5 in her Leaning In series, and follows the love story of Eric and Zane, two seemingly mismatched lovers from the same place but definitely not the same life. I really liked LEANING INTO THE FALL, so I was eager to get back to these Bay-area romances.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter to win a $10 GC.
About the book:
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.

How about a little taste?

“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.”

“Try me.”

“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.”

“Thank you.”

“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.

My Review:
Eric Schuster and Zane Richards are months away from their wedding, and all is great when they can live their idyllic life in San Fransisco. That’s where Eric feels at home, despite he and Zane both growing up in Orange County. They went to the same high school, but Eric was an awkward teen, teased and bullied from early youth for his apparent “gay”-ness. And, he was gay, and he was out, because he couldn’t avoid it. Zane was strong, popular and athletic, a poster boy for Cali surfers and secretly bisexual. While Eric grew up having all his material needs met, Zane’s single mom worked overtime to provide the basic necessities. They both ended up at the same college, and gravitated toward one another as friends for years before they started dating. Most days, Eric feels like he’s dreaming; engaged to marry his teen crush who is (to Eric inexplicably) his dear friend. And, he’s over the high school mentality, until he and Zane need to return to Orange County for Zane’s work and to catch their folks up on the wedding plans.

Zane is a professional sailor who sells yachts for a living. It’s a sweet gig, but Eric’s not the first mate-type. He’s barely getting his sea legs, in all truth. One of Zane’s biggest clients is Don Carrigan, a wealthy blowhard of an investor who’d put a lot of money into Eric’s company as a start-up, and who’s not so happy that Eric’s business partner, Nick, broke off the engagement to his daughter.

Still, he wants to keep Don happy, and Don’s in the market for a new yacht. That means a trip to Orange County on the hunt for just the right boat. It also reconnects Zane with the man he’d lost his virginity to years ago: Dean. Dean was a couple of years older than Zane and Eric in school, but Zane and Dean had a lot of time to experiment. They wouldn’t have ever considered coming out as bi, then, and Dean’s not wild about the prospect now, but he seems to keep popping up and being uber-helpful in Zane’s quest for the perfect yacht. And Eric’s not convinced that Dean’s interest is all water long past a bridge.

This book is told from Eric’s point of view, and it’s really a vulnerable look into long-held insecurities. He struggles with Zane’s relationship with Dean, which is purely professional, because of the high school awe he’d placed on Zane,and to some degree Dean. They were/are the beautiful people, and he’s, well, he’s less gawky now. And he looks good in a suit. But, what if Zane thinks Dean’s a better match, because they share so many physical interests? Eric can’t surf, he’s only learning to sail and they don’t have the same shared history that Dean and Zane do. His suspicions are magnified by Dean’s constant presence, even in their home up in San Fran. It’s getting to be way to much for Eric to stay silent about. And, well, he feels pressured to stake his claim on Zane, even when it stretches his physical limits.

This is an engaging and sexy read, and I loved getting to know Eric and Zane better. I didn’t read the first book in this series, and I think I would have liked to, just to see how these guys morphed their friendship into love.

Interested? You can find LEANING INTO ALWAYS on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About 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.

Catch up with Lane on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.