Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 234 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: A charming story of two completely different men, who are nothing alike but just may be exactly what the other needs.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.
Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.
Review: A Kind of Romance is the second book in the Kind of series by Lane Hayes. The book can be read without reading the first, but I recommend reading it as you get a little more background into Zeke’s dad.
Zeke is ruthless and always needs to be top dog. He is forever trying to prove himself and doesn’t lose well. Benny is flamboyant, colorful and insightful. He is confident in who he is and chooses to embrace life as it comes at him. He is honest with himself and his feelings.
Their romance doesn’t really start as a romance, but builds to it. The story, told from Zeke’s perspective, is an inspiring one. After meeting in the hospital when Zeke’s dad, George, is injured, Zeke thinks he knows exactly the kind of gay Benny is, and he is not impressed. George believes Zeke is wrong, and begins to bug the crap out of both Zeke and Benny to go on a date. Benny finally proposes to Zeke the best way to get George off their backs is to finally go out on a non-date/date. What starts off as an hour of putting up with each other to get George to back off turns into hours of conversation and the beginning of possible friendship.
As they spend more time together, attraction makes itself known and Zeke acts on it, changing the dynamic. But still Zeke refuses to give in to the idea the two of them are compatible in any kind of long-term relationship, so he keeps rules in place and tries to keep distance.
I am always a fan of reading stories where the characters mature in positive ways, especially ones that I initially dislike (and boy, did I dislike Zeke) becoming someone I admire. What I don’t like is when the change happens quickly, or is rushed. Thank goodness the change was not quick and was realistic in its flow. It takes time for someone to undergo extreme personality changes. Zeke has a long road ahead of him. His relationship with his father is really at the heart of a lot of Zeke’s ire and the cold and ruthless person he has become, and since his dad is the one who is pushing for Benny, Zeke fights the budding relationship for that reason alone.
Benny says what others have said (like Carter, Zeke’s best friend) to Zeke, but his delivery, his understanding, and his refusal to allow Zeke to hide from the truth somehow—finally—gets Zeke to start actually looking at himself and thinking about things in a different light. It doesn’t happen overnight and there are a few bumps in the road before he eventually gets it.
Benny is such an inspiring character. He hasn’t had the easiest time in life, and there are some aspects that are still difficult, but he refuses to dwell on that which cannot be changed. Instead, he is confident in who he is and what he enjoys. He knows he is high maintenance and makes no apologies. At the same time, he is patient and doesn’t push Zeke too quickly, making a perceptive statement and letting Zeke think it over. Benny is independent and comfortable in his skin, and as Zeke gets to know him we see how much Zeke admires Benny.
Lane Hayes has quickly become one of my go-to writers for contemporary romance in this genre. Zeke is not likeable in the beginning, but yet I still found myself hoping he found something to break down the walls. I was invested in seeing Zeke figure it out, and hoping he would grow a pair and see what was staring at him in the face, to say the words he knew he felt but refused to acknowledge verbally. I hoped Zeke and Benny would find their way to happiness, but I also desired to see Zeke start to let go of his past so he can embrace what could be in his future, if only he would work to acknowledge his feelings and the reasons for them.
Another wonderful book by this author, and I look forward to reading more in the series.
You can buy A Kind of Romance here: