Exclusive Excerpt from Leaning Into the Look
by Lane Hayes
I turned to greet Miles and almost fell flat on my ass when he rushed forward with his arms outstretched like he was going to hug me. He halted abruptly and held his hands up in surrender instead. There was a comedic quality to his jerky movement like he was laughing at himself before I could beat him to it.
“How’s it go—” I froze midsentence when I met his gaze.
Fuck, he was…stunning. But I couldn’t say why I thought so. He wore nondescript weekend duds. Designer jeans and a black mock neck turtleneck sweater. The rolled cuffs and red loafers might garner a second glance elsewhere, but not in the Castro. It took a lot more than a colorful pair of shoes to stand out among the drag queens, fashionista twinks, and leather daddies. It might not be his wardrobe, but there was something in the way he carried himself and the proud tilt of his scruffy chin that set him apart. He exuded a manic energy I’d associated with someone who habitually ran late.
But Miles was never late. He was always on time, organized, in control, and seemingly ready to conquer the world. I’d witnessed the crack in his armor, though, and I was beginning to think that glimpse of realness was what made him impossible to ignore.
I cleared my throat then tried again. “How are you?”
Miles’s grin widened, giving his eyes a mischievous glint. “I’m well. Thank you for inquiring.”
“This is kind of weird, isn’t it? I probably should have asked one of my cousins to help you out. I panicked and—”
“I know. It’s okay. I won’t bite, and I won’t get any ideas that this was all a ruse to get me to yourself again.”
The obvious humor in his tone invited me to go with the flow and if possible, set aside any lingering weirdness from our recent encounters. If he could do it, I could do it, I mused. I straightened my shoulders and hooked my thumb toward the house behind me.
“Ready to look at your new dream home in the city?”
Miles hefted his large canvas tote bag higher on his shoulder then lifted his hand to shade his eyes as he peered up at the old Victorian. “Hmm. I know it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover, but honey, this is just plain fugly. Please tell me I’m going to be amazed by the whimsy and character and all kinds of other wondrous adjectives the second I step over the threshold.”
“Uh, well…I’ve never actually been inside any of the properties on my list today. I don’t usually show rentals, so I had to go by photographs and descriptions. Hopefully we’ll both be pleasantly surprised,” I said with a half laugh.
“Ooh! This feels like an adventure already. Lead the way, handsome.”