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.
“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.
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.
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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.