Leaning into the Fall (Renée’s review)

Title: Leaning into the Fall (Leaning Into, #2)
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary/May-December
Page Length: 228
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level:  4 flames out of 5
Rating:  4 stars out of 5


Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He’s made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.

Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.

After reading the short, Leaning Into Love, there were a few things not to like about Nick Jorgensen. I honestly couldn’t fathom how Hayes would pull off his “redemption.”

Nick isn’t a bad guy, per se. He’s just…..different. He doesn’t think the same way others do. He’s a genius with code and math, and he doesn’t do consideration of others’ thoughts/feelings because his brain just doesn’t go there. It made a big difference to me because he isn’t malicious, he’s just not thinking about it. It’s not the way his brain works.

A chance run in (or two) with Wes Conrad leave Nick feeling very off-balance. The chemistry between them is off the charts, but it’s a little too coincidental for Nick. He’s willing to go with it, because the pull is that strong, but he’s a little paranoid about the multiple overlapping people in common that the two of them seem to have. It’s borderline paranoid, but his brain just doesn’t think anything happens “just because” and “for no reason.” His life’s work is code and equations. Everything has a cause and effect to him.

“I don’t think you’re an asshole, but you don’t mind if everyone thinks you are. You do careless and aloof well, but…I don’t buy the act. I’m not sure who you are or what you need, Nick, but I have a feeling it’ll take more than a stolen hour on a random night to figure you out.”


“You don’t do anything that isn’t attached to an outcome that might benefit you.”

That second part isn’t entirely true, though that’s certainly what I believed after Book 1. The truth is that Nick doesn’t do anything attached to an outcome that he can see benefitting anyone, including his friends. Cause and effect, nothing “just because.”

And Wes, well, he figures Nick out pretty quickly. He has a magic touch that (both figuratively and literally) quiets Nick’s mind. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a gorgeous older man, who is too mature and set in his ways to let Nick get away with anything.

The book spans several months of time with Nick and Wes, from beginning, to the messy relationship “stuff.” A relationship is tricky for Nick. If there isn’t a reason for Wes to like him, with clear cause and effect, it just doesn’t compute. He just can’t wrap his brain around it.

[…] there were no numbers taunting me in my periphery, reminding me that every moment without a solution spelled failure. Wes had chased them away.

Wes had to learn to trust that, at forty-five, he’s finally found the one for him, and that Nick wanted to stick around. Nick had to let go of reason, and learn that love isn’t logical. Love just is.

“Live your life your way and smile as often as possible. Nothing makes your enemies crazier than your happiness.”

Although Wes, and to a greater extent, Nick, weren’t entirely relatable for me, this story is told so well, the writing just gorgeous, that I ate it up. It’s Lane’s talent as a writer that I could fall in love with Nick, his overactive mind and all.

I really, really hope Josh’s book is next. He stole a lot of scenes for me in this book, and I need his story.

Leaning Into Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into #2) provided by Lane Hayes in exchange of an honest review.


I love boys who love boys! I'm in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.