Title: Leaning Into Always (Leaning Into Series #1B)
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 100 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 3.75 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.
Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.
Entertaining and Lighthearted
I was pleasantly surprised by this title. I generally steer away from novellas and short stories, mostly because I haven’t read many that were worth the time when it was all said and done. It has to be hard to create well-developed characters with believable chemistry and/or a tangible connection when page time is limited, but Lane Hayes does it well. In this story, the MCs were sweet without being sickening, lusty without being lecherous (or gross), appropriately and engagingly comedic, and generally just a joy to take the journey with.
I was immediately drawn to both Eric and Zane, and I could feel the pull they had going on between them. The storyline progressed from friendship to slow burn to inferno, and it. Was. HOT! I usually prefer—in stories like these with low angst and MCs with strong personalities—for the guys to be versatile, but since it was never mentioned in the narrative, I was okay without it. There was no tease and no discussion of that aspect of their sexual dynamic, so it didn’t feel like anything was missing. And let’s face it, the combination of intimacy and sheer lust these guys had going in the ‘bedroom’ was fans self phew! Fantastic.
A mental rewind doesn’t bring to mind any overt editing issues, “Ewww!” moments, or problems with the plot. This title was smooth sailing all the way. I highly recommend Leaning Into Always to anyone who is especially fond of Lucy Lennox or Stella Starling’s works, but any fan of M/M romance is likely to enjoy it … particularly if you’re looking for something true-to-life without any triggers, trauma, melodrama, or severe angst. This book is part of a series and is the second installment involving these characters. I do not recommend this title be read as a standalone.
Leaning Into Series