Posts Tagged With: Series – Leaning Into

Leaning Into the Look by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Leaning Into the Look

by Lane Hayes

“Yoo-hoo!”

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.”

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Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Leaning Into Forever

by Lane Hayes

I held his hand as we climbed the stairs then led him down a wide hallway toward the master suite. I didn’t stop to wonder if I should choose a different room. I’d gone to a lot of effort to make this mine again, and there was no reason not to invite him in. I unbuttoned my shirt as I moved through the doorway then pulled it over my head. I could feel Levi behind me, eyeing the space as he kicked off his shoes and dealt with his own buttons. I wondered if he was listening for ghosts. I smiled at the fanciful thought and went perfectly still for a moment.

“Are you all right?” Levi asked. He ran his fingers down my spine as he nuzzled my neck and licked a trail along my jaw.

“Yes.” I pushed his shirt off his shoulders then reached for his belt.

“Good. Is it okay to be in here?”

I stilled my fingers and met his gaze. “Yes. I want to be here with you.”

Levi lifted my hands to his lips and kissed my knuckles. Then he nipped playfully at my bottom lip before crashing his mouth over mine in a possessive kiss that went from sweet to hungry in seconds flat. Our tongues twisted and danced in a frenzy, leaving us breathless and panting for more.

“Get naked,” he commanded.

I quickly obeyed then pulled back the white duvet and sat on the edge of the mattress to watch Levi undress. He was so beautiful…and fit. With his broad shoulders, trim waist, muscular thighs, and the perfect amount of fur on his toned chest, it was easy to tell he’d been an athlete. In other words, my complete opposite. I looked like a hairless Chihuahua next to him.

“Don’t let this go to your head, but you’re super sexy,” I commented idly.

Levi stepped out of his jeans and underwear then shot a devilish grin at me before sauntering to stand between my legs.

“Super sexy,” he repeated, cradling my face lovingly. “Are you nervous, baby?”

“I’m not. Well, maybe I am a little bit, but I think that’s normal.”

“We’ll go slow, and we can stop whenever you want. If you have second thoughts at all, I can—”

“I won’t. I want you.”

He brushed his thumb over my bottom lip and lifted my chin. “Say my name.”

I knew what he meant immediately. This wasn’t an idle request or a silly attempt at humor. Quoting a Destiny’s Child song wasn’t really Levi’s style anyway. No, this was something else.

“I want you, Levi. Only you.”

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Leaning Into the Look by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Leaning Into the Look

by Lane Hayes

Whatever I was about to say was reduced to static when Miles smiled. It was no ordinary smile. This one had impact. It hit me smack in the middle of my chest. I couldn’t help returning the gesture times ten. We stood there grinning at each other like a couple of fools for a long moment until his cell buzzed.

Miles pulled his phone from his pocket and read his text.

“Eric needs something from his bag.” He responded to the message and then waited for a response before reading aloud, “ ‘It’s at the house, in the blue guest room.’ I suppose I’d better get back to work. I’ll walk with you till the path ends then head up the hill. You can entertain me on the way.”

“What kind of entertainment did you have in mind?”

“Tell me about your love life,” he suggested, batting his eyelashes when I gave him a funny look.

I huffed. “It’s good it’s a short walk back, because I have nothing to share.”

“No sordid affairs, clingy lovers, or troublesome conquests?”

I snickered at his faux-serious tone. “Nothing. Sorry to disappoint you. At the moment, I’m kinda grateful. I’ll have my hands full dealing with my folks next week. I can’t imagine adding boyfriend-level stress to the mix.”

“Understandable. However, I didn’t use the word ‘boyfriend.’ Who was the last person who made your pulse race?”

I furrowed my brow as though giving his lighthearted query serious thought. Then I stopped abruptly before we neared the gravel path leading to the winery and snapped my fingers. “You.”

Miles went perfectly still. I couldn’t tell if he was breathing either, which of course only proved the point that he was, in fact, guilty of giving me heart palpitations.

It was a known fact that on top of my inability to hold my liquor and effectively handle overbearing family members, I had terrible comic timing. I couldn’t tell a joke to save my life or pull off witty banter without it coming across as awkward flirtation. My satisfaction at rendering him temporarily speechless was ruined when I opened my mouth a moment later, and nothing came out. This was why I stuck close to guys like Josh and Eric, who seemed to know how to extricate themselves from sticky situations. When I was a kid, I would literally run for the hills to find a quiet place to hide until my anxiety faded.

Now I had no idea how to get myself out of this. I didn’t want to give Miles the wrong impression but I didn’t—

“Relax, Grant,” Miles said kindly. “I get it. A racing pulse can be caused by indigestion too. Is that what you were saying?”

“Of course not. I would never—”

“Oh, please.” He raised his hands in exasperation and then stalked ahead of me. Then he spun around and pointed a finger at me. “Why can’t anyone say what they think anymore? I’m not talking about crackpots spouting inflammatory BS on social media. I’m talking about honest, face-to-face communication. If everyone only says what they think others want to hear instead of the truth, how will we know what’s real or who can be trusted?”

“I wasn’t lying. You really are the last person to make my pulse race,” I admitted with a weak smile. “You make me nervous.”

“I do? Why?” he asked, tilting his chin curiously.

And this was exactly why I avoided Miles. One minute we seemed to be on the same page and the next, I was scrambling to keep up with him or I was dragging my feet, hoping he’d move on without me.

“I don’t—I mean…I—don’t know.”

Before I could add a quick good-bye and get the hell out, Miles pivoted on his heels in a half circle then moved back to my side. His eyes lit with easy humor. “If it’s any consolation, you make me nervous too. See you later, handsome.”

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Leaning Into the Fall by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Deleted Scene & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Deleted Scene from Leaning Into the Fall

by Lane Hayes

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. This one 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.

Happy Reading!

Lane Hayes xo

Deleted Scene:

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.” Continue reading

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A Kind of Home & Leaning Into Always by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Excerpts & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from A Kind of Home

by Lane Hayes

“I’ve got it!” Adam sprang to his feet and waved his hand excitedly.

I gave him a weary sideways glance. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop.”

“No, it’s perfect. You teach me guitar and I’ll teach you how to bake something.”

“Tonight?”

“Not necessarily. When we can. The point is I’ll be here if you don’t feel like being alone. We can keep each other sane with wholesome diversions without having to ask ‘What do you feel like doing, roomie?’”

“‘Wholesome diversions’? You’ve been mainlining confectioner’s sugar again, haven’t you?” I quipped.

“Ha. Ha. Don’t overthink. I’ll keep my hands to myself. You’re safe with me. I promise. I just—we’re both adjusting to change. It might be helpful to lean on each other. That’s all.”

“Platonically?”

“Sure. Boston cream pie for a tip or two on how to play a couple Guns N’ Roses classics. What do you think?”

I lowered my eyes as I worked on the row of buttons on my navy shirt. I was touched. I couldn’t remember the last time someone stopped to notice my state of mental well-being and offered to ease my mind. I knew my friends cared, but they were going through the same things I was. All they could say was “Hang on. It’ll get easier.” Adam was offering something more—himself and his time. Platonically.

I wasn’t sure I trusted myself to keep us in the friend zone. Even now I wanted to tackle him to the bed and grind against him. He was solid, familiar, and trustworthy. Just what I needed to keep my mind off my troubles.

“Okay. You’re on.” I chuckled when he let out a whoop before I continued. “But we each get to choose what we want to learn.”

Adam mulled over my suggestion for a moment, then inclined his head. “As long as you know we aren’t making anything from a box.”

“And as long as you know I can only take so many run-throughs of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ before I’ll strangle you.”

Adam gave me a megawatt grin and then held up his hand for a high five. I slapped his hand and then rolled my eyes when he broke into a decent impression of Axl Rose’s version of “Patience.”

“Go,” I said, shooing him out of my bedroom. “I’ve got real-life bullshit to deal with. No more nonsense.”

“A little nonsense is good for you, Isaac. It’s what keeps you afloat so the bad stuff doesn’t drag you under.” He reached for my wrist and pulled me against him so our chests collided.

It was a slapstick maneuver that was too rough to be taken as a sensual overture. Until he backed me against the wall and lowered his head a fraction of an inch, stopping when his nose brushed mine. I held my breath, aware of my thundering heart. My world constricted to the smallest fragment of space. I occupied a place against a wall, covered by a man I’d known most of my life. Someone I cared about and, yeah, lusted after too.

Adam lowered his head again, and this time he didn’t stop. He pressed his lips to mine and went perfectly still as though testing my response. When I didn’t protest, he melded his mouth over mine, careful to keep the connection light. I reached out and ran a tentative hand along his cheek. Adam trembled and leaned into my touch, deepening the kiss ever so slightly. Then he licked my lips in a silent request for entry. I groaned when our tongues glided together and let him pull me under.

I broke for air and pushed his chest. This was ridiculous. We were friends only, and we were destined for heartache if we tried to be something else. “We can’t do this. I told you, I—”

Adam tugged at my belt loop and drew me against him. Then he rested his forehead against mine and went still as though he was wordlessly giving me control. I should have pushed him away, but I couldn’t. I fused my lips to his and moaned into the connection. I shivered when he moved his hands up my chest, then placed them on the wall on either side of my head. He nudged my chin with his nose until I exposed my neck. He traced my jawline with the tip of his tongue and then bit my earlobe before whispering in a raspy voice, “No repeats. I’ll behave. But I gotta admit… I really want to change your mind.”

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Exclusive Excerpt from A Kind of Home

by Lane Hayes

“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.

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Leaning Into a Wish by Lane Hayes: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Leaning Into a Wish

by Lane Hayes

I sat on the metal bench and swiped my wrist across my forehead before uncapping my water bottle and taking a healthy swig. I sensed Danny’s stare in my periphery, but I was too tired and thirsty to ask what he was looking at. I set my half-empty bottle aside and stretched my legs in front of me before glancing up just as Danny peeled his polo shirt over his head, revealing his smooth, toned torso and the most incredible six-pack I’d ever seen on a man up close. The hint of ink south of his belly button that looked something like the wings of a phoenix completed the picture. The man was seriously drool-worthy.

“Whatcha looking at, Ry?” he teased, shoving his sweaty shirt into his tennis bag and pulling out a fresh white tee.

“Nothing,” I lied. “Aren’t you going to put a shirt on? It’s getting cool.” I pointed to the clouds gathering overhead lamely, unsurprised when he chuckled.

“I’ll take my chance with the sixty-eight-degree cold spell,” he said with a wolfish grin.

And that was when I realized the little fucker was baiting me. He’d caught me staring at him and he liked it. In fact, he might have orchestrated that striptease at the optimal moment to ensure I saw the whole show. Hmm. This was an interesting twist. What kind of idiot purposely taunted a gay man with his sexy bod without expecting some sort of retaliation?

“You’re trying to turn me on, aren’t you?” I asked in a raspier than usual tone.

Danny’s faux-shocked expression cracked me up. “Well…”

“Maybe that wasn’t your intention but I’m warning you, I’m going through a tragic dry spell in the sex department. Even you look kinda hot to me.”

I expected him to throw his clean T-shirt over his head in seconds flat. Instead, his wide-eyed look of surprise slowly morphed into a radiant grin that clearly said, “Bring it on.”

        “Even me, eh?”

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