Review: Lane Hayes – Leaning Into Always (Leaning Into Stories 1.5)

Author: Lane Hayes
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Mm Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: 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.

Review: I will admit, Eric and Zane, best friends turned lovers, make me happy. I loved their story of getting together in Leaning Into Love and I was really happy to get a chance to revisit them. The couple is now engaged and heading into wedding planning. Eric’s company is doing very well, Zane is winning regattas and selling luxury boats, their friends are supportive and wonderful. “So, here’s the thing – Zane wasn’t just my roommate. He was my best friend, my lover, and in four months, he’d be my husband. The thought alone made me dizzy.” Life is amazing.

And it is. Except that Zane wants to go home to see his parents and while there he’s going to meet up with an ex-boyfriend to find the perfect yacht for a client. A client who just happens to dislike Eric because of Nick, Eric’s partner. While this is a stand-alone book, there are some aspects from Leaning Into Love that come up. They are explained, so you don’t lose the plot.

It was so interesting how Eric, this successful, happy man becomes an insecure teenage geek when he returns to his hometown. When he is faced with Zane’s overly friendly, former bully of Eric, ex, Dean, things go from insecure to very insecure. He feels left out, doesn’t know what to say and starts to act out of character – such as “surprising” Zane surfing. “No. You’re clinging for dear life on that thing like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.” Color Zane angry. I loved that Eric knows Zane is upset because he calls him, shockingly enough, Eric. That was such a couple thing. “If this was what fighting felt like, I wasn’t a fan. This sucked.”

I found it interesting as well that while Eric is feeling insecure and being jealous, Zane doesn’t see it. He sees his ex as just that, an ex, and doesn’t realize what might be happening behind the scenes. When Dean reverts to form, “It took me a second to recover from the attack. It was unexpected and casually vicious” it brings back Eric’s torment in high school. I really felt bad for him. Add in some seasickness and Dean being a jerk yet again and it just isn’t Eric’s week.

Getting more of Eric and Zane, getting to see past the initial HEA, was wonderful. I cared about these guys in the first book and I was so happy for them in this one.



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  1. Okay, have to get ths one I really liked Leaning into Love!

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