Friday, March 30, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: LEANING INTO THE LOOK by Lane Hayes (Leaning Into Stories #6)

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RELEASE DATE: 03.23.18

Leaning Into The Look Cover

Leaning Into The Look Graphic

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.



“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.

Carra's Review

I always like returning to this group of characters in the Leaning Into stories, they’re such a wonderful group of friends who are there for each other and support one another even when at times they might not think what you’re doing is a good idea.

This author is really good at crafting characters with depth and who are very easy to care about.  With Miles, at first glance you might just think he’s just one of those guys who is a bit over the top—campy when he’s in the mood for it, snarky when it’s needed (or when it’s not).  But often that’s really a protective mechanism for him…particularly when what he’s protecting is his heart.  He’s happy with his chaos, which is quite the opposite of Grant who is someone who needs his calm.  With his stereotypical big Greek family (if you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ve got the idea), and the pressure he feels to succeed and make his father proud—he’s really putting stress on himself, and at times he’ll just go along with his family just to keep the peace.

Miles and Grant clearly have chemistry together.  Not just physical either (though holy wow are they insanely hot in that arena!)…they also click as friends, easily becoming each other’s rock and support.  They slip into the roles of lovers and more like those roles were made for them—and they for each other.

There were some points that my attention did drift a little, and I really wish we could have had some of the story from Miles’ point of view.  I think having insight to his mind and feelings on a deeper level than what Grant saw would have helped me become more immersed in their story.

Even given that, Leaning Into the Look was still a 4.5-star read for me, and I know fans of the series will really enjoy Miles and Grant together like I did.  You could read this as a standalone, but I strongly feel you’ll enjoy their story a lot more if you read the other books in the series first since they both do appear in the other stories, but you’ll also get the background for the other couples that appear in this book.  This story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


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.

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