Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Summary: Ryan Haskell loves everything about the wine business. He’s fortunate to work at one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley doing something he enjoys with the people who are like family to him. But he could do without the good-natured intern slash former jock with the wicked grin who always seems to be in the way. Ryan isn’t sure why the new guy is under his skin when everyone else loves him. Thankfully he’ll be gone after the holidays.
Danny Meyers can’t believe his luck when he lands an internship at Conrad Winery. It’s the perfect temporary gig to wrap up his graduate studies. He’s left his dreams of tennis stardom on the court to focus on a new career and a new life. However, he didn’t count on the spark of attraction he feels for his prickly co-worker. When their tentative friendship blossoms into something more than either man counted on, they may have to change direction and lean into a holiday wish.
Review: Ryan was a side character in Wes and Nick’s story, “Leaning Into Touch” and he wasn’t particularly likable then. As the story opens, he’s still kind of a snot, since his inner third-grader is kinda mean to Danny, the hot intern, just to disguise his attraction. Luckily Danny is smarter than Ryan, works his way past his defenses by wearing him down at a tennis match and into a friends with benefits relationship. Friends, because he his internship will end in a couple months. Naturally, the attraction doesn’t stop there, and makes for a romantic tale culminating at Christmas.
For a novella, this reads more like a full novel. Lots of characterization, obstacles to a future together, and scenes revisiting Geordie, Wes and Nick. I had some niggles with the initial presentation of Danny and how he was being so coy about his sexuality. Some remarks by Danny’s father were rather objectionable and not directly addressed in the dialogue, as I would have preferred. Ryan did become someone I really liked and enjoyed how he and Danny were written to show exchanging mature conversations and decisions. I’m quite happy there was minimal drama. The “Leaning Into” series has been very enjoyable and this was a nice addition to the series. I’m hoping this is leading to Geordie’s story next, or Grant’s, or both together maybe?! Can’t wait.