Author: Lane Hayes
Book: Leaning Into the Look
Series: Leaning Into, Book #6
Page/Word Count: 222 pages
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
“You and I are opposites. You like quiet and order, and I thrive on chaos. I want everything you have and more. The boisterous family with the ancient traditions and food for days. I can’t even watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding without getting jealous. And that’s your real life.”
“Times ten,” I agreed with a half laugh.
Miles chuckled. “Humans are a mystery. Why are we never happy with what we have?”
I lowered my hand to his waist and hooked my fingers through his belt loop. “We don’t see well. We don’t know when to speak and when to listen. We don’t understand the nuances in taste and touch. Take your pick.”
“Mmm. Personally, I think we rely too heavily on looks. Physical appearances and perceived appearances. It takes patience and effort to really see the person under skin and bones. The scars and insecurities. To sift through their baggage while they do the same to you and cross your fingers, hoping like mad that you pass the test. It’s so…hard.”
“I’ve heard if you find the right partner it’s worth it,” I said softly.
Miles sighed and leaned heavily against my side. We fell silent for a moment, letting the squawk of seagulls and the medley of tourists’ voices mix with the occasional bark of a sea lion. We were part of a crowd and yet separate enough to hear our own thoughts.
“Thank you for today,” he said after awhile.
“I didn’t do anything special.”
“Sure you did. You took me on a date.”
“It wasn’t a real date. I can do better,” I assured him with a wry grin.
“No complaints here. Oh, except you made me walk three miles and—”
“Hey, at least I avoided the steeper streets.”
Miles snickered. “You were probably afraid I’d get tired and demand a piggyback ride.”
“Yeah, that did cross my mind,” I agreed sarcastically. “How about if I buy you a coffee for the walk back to the car?”
“Make it a hot chocolate and promise to hold my hand the whole way, and you’ve got yourself a deal,” he countered with a straight face.
My smile was so big it hurt. I enveloped him in a giant bear hug and pulled back to kiss his forehead. “Deal.”
I laced my fingers with his and pulled him through the crowd to the boardwalk. And I didn’t let go. Block after block through familiar city streets and eclectic neighborhoods, I kept him close, marveling at how right it felt just being with him. I noted his shy, pleased smile and cautioned myself not to read too much into the look. I didn’t want to ruin the mood by saying too much. But I knew it was a matter of time before I lost myself to Miles completely.
4.5✨s – Another wonderful addition to this series, which I’ve enjoyed a lot. Grant is the last of the original group of college friends who isn’t coupled up, a quiet, rather introverted guy. Miles is Eric’s assistant, who loves unusual ties with his designer suits and lace undies, an extrovert who gets a bit campy at times. (Yes, mantie alert!) Grant often finds him intimidating because of his sharp wit and quick commentary. An unexpected hookup sets them on a path to friendship with bennies and being roommates, in spite of some disapproval from the rest of Grant’s friends. I had a hard time figuring out why it was made into such a big deal for Grant to be with Miles at the beginning. Eventually, I got it.
I really liked the progression of the story as Grant’s complicated relationship with his father and family unfolded. His own mental and emotional issues affected his reactions constantly. It wasn’t defined but I assumed he had general and social anxiety, among other difficulties. Miles’s issues were much harder to figure out. Since Lane uses a first person, single POV, it made it difficult to gauge the reason for Miles’s reticence towards actually dating Miles. Complicating Grant’s life even more is Tom, the sleaze bag, and Talia, Grant’s cousin, excellent secondary characters although some of Talia’s advice didn’t seem that great. The entire ensemble of characters kept me reading, waiting for the other shoe to drop on poor Grant.
Grant and Miles had excellent chemistry and Lane wrote deliciously steamy sex scenes without going overboard. The closing chapters are heartwarming as Grant and his father come to some realizations about each other. Grant then has to convince Miles to believe in himself too. The epilogue ties everything together perfectly. I can’t tell if Tom might be a future subject for a story since he’d have to redeem himself but perhaps in the next series? I would say this can be read as a stand-alone fairly easily but I’d recommend reading the whole 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: