Author: Lane Hayes
Book: Leaning Into Forever
Series: Leaning Into Series, Book 7
Page/Word Count: 261
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
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 anything 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.
“I can’t decide what to sing. The Sound of Music is always a winner, but perhaps I should try—”
“Grease,” Levi suggested out of the fucking blue. He chuckled when I jumped, and then he handed me a napkin to clean the burgundy liquid that sloshed over the rim of my wineglass.
“Where the hell did you come from? And why are you always sneaking up on me?” I asked irritably as I wrapped the napkin around the stem of my glass.
“I didn’t sneak up on you. You asked for a music suggestion, and I gave you one.”
“I wasn’t asking your opinion,” I huffed without heat. “I was talking to myself.”
“I’m always talking to myself.”
I lifted my glass to my lips to hide my involuntary hum of approval. Damn, he cleaned up nicely. His slicked-back hair and close-shaven hint of a beard went well with his white oxford button-down shirt, houndstooth blazer, and snug designer jeans. And holy hell…cowboy boots.
“People are gonna think you’re weird if you keep that up,” he singsonged playfully.
“I hope so. Weird is the ultimate badge of honor.” I raised my glass in a mock toast then gave him a lascivious once-over that was too flirty to be taken seriously. “You look very handsome. I wouldn’t think to pair a sophisticated jacket with ranch chic and yet, somehow you’ve made it work.”
Levi crossed his arms and leaned against the wall with a slow-growing grin. The latent sensuality in the lazy upturn of his full lips fascinated me. Or maybe it was the cowboy boots.
“Thanks. I think.”
“Anytime. I should go.” I shoved my glass into his free hand then flung my yellow scarf over my shoulder and pinched my cheeks to add a touch of natural color before bowing theatrically. “Adieu. My audience awaits.”
“Hang on.” He stepped in front of me before I could escape. “I want to talk to you for a second.”
The billowy sleeves of my black tunic fluttered as I motioned for him to hurry. “What is it?”
“I didn’t have a chance to thank you for helping me out today. The stuffed jalapeños were a hit. And they went well with the wine.”
“You’re welcome. I know my peppers, and I know my Pinot. You were smart to print out a sample menu for La Vid. The font was all wrong, but it was still a nice touch,” I enthused. “Now excuse me while I—”
Levi grabbed my elbow to stop me. “La Vid?”
“It’s just a suggestion, of course, but I think a touch of Spanish flair would be well-received. Every other business in this town has the word vine or wine in it. La Vid would stand out. Think about it.”
“I will. What was wrong with the font?” he asked, furrowing his brow.
I grabbed my drink from his hand and took a small sip. “You used Helvetica, Levi. That’s almost as boring as Times New Roman.”
It didn’t seem possible, but his forehead creased a little more as his frown deepened. “At no point in my life did I ever think I’d ask this question at a party but…what font would you suggest?”
“Andale or Century Gothic. Or better yet, Monaco,” I replied without hesitation. “Something classy yet understated and sophisticated. That’s what you’re going for with your restaurant, correct?”
“Yes. Exactly. Wes told me you’re responsible for the overall aesthetic at Conrad Winery. Are you a budding designer on top of being a cabaret singer?”
I grinned at his teasing tone. “Yes and no. I have zero training in either endeavor, but I’m pretty damn good at both if I do say so myself.”
“And modest too,” he quipped.
“Modesty will get you nowhere. If you want something, you’d better speak up before someone else swoops in.”
“Agreed. I want something.” Levi inched closer, seeming suddenly larger than life. His shoulders were broader, and his expression was more intense.
“What do you want?”
4✨s – I haven’t read many Lane Hayes books, but the ones I have I’ve enjoyed immensely. Leaning into Forever is my favorite of the books I’ve read. Geordie is just so sweet, a lot dramatic, and one of the funnest characters I’ve read in awhile.
Levi and Geordie couldn’t be more different, on the surface at least. Geordie is bright, dramatic, and heartbroken. Levi is looking for a fresh start with a new venture, not a new man.
They seem to balance each other out. Geordie is fresh, so different than what Levi expected. Levi is kind, patient, and doesn’t let Geordie wallow in his hurt. He understands what Geordie has been through and doesn’t push him and I love that. They take things slow as they get to know each other.
This book is one of my favorite tropes. Two characters who find love when they don’t want to. It has laughter, love, and enough emotion that I was able to feel the characters enough to connect with them and their story. I want to read more of Lane Hayes now so I can get to know better all of the characters that were introduced in this book. Geordie and Levi have a great support system and friendships like that are hard to find in both life and fiction.
Lane Hayes has a fun writing style that is easy to read and connect with the characters. Her cast is diverse and they all have different personalities that balance each other out. That couldn’t be any more true for Levi and Geordie and I’m glad that though they didn’t want to, they found each other.
All around the book was entertaining and all the characters were interesting enough for me to want to read more of. Those, I find, are always some of the most important parts of reading.
4.5✨s – I’m sure anyone who’s read Leaning Into the Fall, book 3 in the series, has been waiting anxiously for Geordie’s story. He’s appeared in nearly every story since then, the diva belting out show tunes for sing-alongs, a fabulous, dramatic queen in mourning finery. I love his character, vulnerable emotionally yet confident and secure in who he is. He’s also certain that he’s already had his one chance with love. Until Levi comes along to challenge that assumption. Thrown into proximity when Levi wants to open a restaurant, he proves more than a match for Geordie’s wit and snark. I will never look at fonts or Vespas in quite the same way!
There is an Aubrey Hepburn movie influence in the narrative that fits wonderfully with Geordie’s character. The dynamics between Levi and Geordie are everything, humorous and fun, a joy to read. Levi is kind, patient, understanding and Geordie doesn’t make him compete with a ghost. He’s willing to start living fully again one step at a time but doesn’t dare look too far ahead, clinging to a state of denial for too long. It’s not a one-sided relationship though since Levi is on his own journey to fully embracing who he is as a gay man and Geordie makes a great guide. Levi’s amenable yet pragmatic personality is a perfect foil for Geordie’s more whimsical temperament.
There are no trite plot devices using the deceased lover to generate conflict and I loved that change of pace. The characters are so well balanced and have become my favorite couple of the entire series. I’d really encourage reading at least book 3 before this one but it stands alone quite well. Of course the rest of the couples appear along the way and you won’t want to miss those romances!
4✨s – This is a story that will touch your heart and make you laugh. Geordie is a complex character that draws you in and keeps you there. He broke my heart while making me laugh at the time. This is a character with brilliant resilience. His upbeat attitude in spite of his grief is inspiring. Lane Hayes creates a character you can feel for and relate to. Levi was the perfect compliment for Geordie. He is patient and very understanding. He never gets impatient or upset with Geordie as Geordie works through all of his feelings. The story flows really well, no part of it felt rushed or like something was missed. I was invested in this from the beginning to the end. I thought it was a great addition to the series.
About Lane Hayes:
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.
Where to find Lane Hayes:
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