Title: Leaning Into Touch (Leaning Into Stories, #3)
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: October 5, 2017
Page Count: 235
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.
Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.
I’ve been dying for Josh’s book ever since he was introduced in Book 1 of this series. He was just such a good guy, but funny and snarky too. His story can be read as a standalone, however.
Josh is an art museum operations guy, and his current stint at a museum is coming to an end. While he figures out what to do next, in walks Finn Gallagher.
I hadn’t seen Finn in over a year. In fact, I was pretty sure the last time was the morning I crept out of his bed to avoid a repeat of the “you know we’re only friends” chat we’d had the night before. I knew we weren’t destined for forever, but I’d wanted more and I’d gotten the impression that under his polished and sinfully handsome exterior, he’d felt the same. I’d been wrong.
This set up had me perking up in my seat. Scorned lover? Second chance? And the mother of them all (my Kryptonite), angst within the relationship? SIGN. ME. UP.
Finn is at the museum with a beautiful woman on his arm. Certainly a punch to Josh’s gut. He plays it cool, as we all would with our pride intact, and figures he’ll go on without seeing Finn again. His one that got away.
Finn wasn’t the love of my life. He was just a guy I used to know.
Told entirely in Josh’s POV, I loved being able to be inside Josh’s head. His outlook on life is so refreshing. He has his jaded moments:
A bottle of tequila was calling my name somewhere and much like my experience with men, I knew exactly what to expect. A good time followed by a headache, an upset stomach, and a short-term promise to myself to never do it again.
His subtle snark had me smiling more than once. But Josh doesn’t let anything get him down for long. He’s an overall positive person. He lets himself vent for a short while, and then it’s back to life. He chastises himself for getting hurt, angry, or whatever other emotion he felt, and he’s moving on.
His blurty honesty was awesome. It’s like, if he’s feeling it, he just can’t keep it inside. So cute!
But he runs into Finn again on his way home from a night with friends. And, this time, he can’t stay aloof. His crush is alive and well, and he can’t turn the feelings off no matter how hard he tries.
It doesn’t help that Finn is giving off some seriously mixed signals. He insists that Josh knows that nothing serious can happen, while at the same time letting Josh know how strong a pull he has over him.
“Fuck. I forgot how bloody difficult it is to walk away from you.”
Oh, did I mention Finn has a sexy Irish accent? If he said that to me, in that accent, I wouldn’t be able to resist, either.
Finn didn’t come across as a player, just messing with Josh’s feelings. He came across as someone who wanted so badly to belong to someone, but had “issues”. So I could forgive him a lot and give a lot of leeway when I could see how much he wanted Josh, even without his POV.
Thus begins their repeat love affair.
Finn opens up and shares some of his issues. Josh knows that Finn isn’t entirely out, and has a beard for important social functions (the blond from the museum).
But Josh also knows that Finn isn’t sharing everything. As much as Finn gives, and lets Josh know how much he wants him, he is still holding back. And while that may be ok for a casual relationship, once Josh is in deep, it’s just not enough anymore.
I called this the refreshing moment when Josh steeled his spine and demanded better. Damn, I love a character that refuses to be walked over.
The ensuing events were delicious. Relationship angst is my crack. Throw in some good grovel, and I’m putty in an author’s hands.
Written in one POV, the author has to work extra hard to bring the second MC to life. Hayes did a great job with Finn. I felt like I understood him, even when I was yelling at him.
This was my favorite in the series so far, and I highly recommend it!