I love a series. As a reader, if I finish a book and know there are another two or more waiting for me to devour, I am beside myself with excitement. What could be better? I don’t want to necessarily read about the same boys over and over (though some exceptions apply), but there is a level of comfort in revisiting a familiar place with quirky characters you know will make you smile and whose address you know before the author even mentions it. (Anyone remember who lives in #5E?) 😉 Throw in a new pair of interesting, sexy men with depth and a whole lot of chemistry and bam…I’m sold!
Better Than Friends is the third book in the Better Than Stories series. In a way, this was the hardest book to write because as much as I’m not a fan of angst, these guys had some to deal with. Everyone has a past. Everyone has demons and regrets no matter how much we tell ourselves we’ve moved on. Curt and Jack are no different.
When they first meet at a wedding, alcohol is flowing freely and inhibitions are low. There is no mistaking the mutual attraction. It’s primal. The kind of attraction that dares you to step outside your comfort zone. Do something crazy. Be someone else. Even if it’s just for the night. Curt isn’t that guy. At all. Whether it’s copious amounts of gin or some kind of magic, he knows Jack isn’t someone he’ll forget any time soon.
But in the light of day, things no longer seem so magical. Jack may be charming, funny and crazy hot, but he’s Curt’s polar opposite. He’s older and he’s much more worldly. The man owns a gay bar and rides a Harley, for crying out loud…so not Curt’s style. Unexpectedly, he learns Jack and he do share a common interest. One that oddly allows them opportunity to find out maybe there is more to the other than meets the eye.
This isn’t a story about baseball, however. It’s about friendship. It’s about discovering a wealth of beauty and compassion in another person when it’s least expected and quite possibly, when it’s needed the most. Curt knows how to be a good friend. Hanging out with a buddy watching a game is his idea of a good time. Things get complicated for Curt when he realizes he’s falling hard for his new friend. After all, friendship is easy. Falling in love is the scary part.
Thank you for having me at the Novel Approach on release day, Lisa!
Blurb from Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes: When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.
Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.
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Excerpt from Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes:
Most of the patrons in Jack’s were in their late twenties like me or well into their thirties. And while quite a few were clad in the ubiquitous leather, many were dressed in jeans too. What seemed to be the biggest common denominator were muscles. Seriously. I was a khaki wearing, under muscled wannabe who’d wandered into a hotbed of hunky gay men. I made myself keep walking toward the bar. I was there. No sense chickening out now.
I noticed the bar wasn’t a perfect circle as I got closer. It was squared off at the shorter sides closer to the walls and a few nearby high tables. I decided my best bet was sit in the darker corner to stay under the radar and do a little quiet people watching. I was there to observe. At least that’s what I told myself. The truth was that I had no fucking idea what I was doing.
Miraculously I found an unoccupied stool and ordered a gin and tonic from a good-looking bartender wearing an extra snug black T-shirt and tight leather pants. Both of his heavily muscled arms were covered in colored ink. I looked away quickly not wanting to get caught gawking, but my eyes were drawn to the vibrant color and design. That must have been done over a few years. Wasn’t that shit supposed to hurt?
What was I doing here? I couldn’t have begun to answer my own rhetorical question so I decided to concentrate on my drink and get the hell out. I didn’t belong. The music was loud and I recognized the song blaring through the sound system as a King of Leon tune I’d heard many times before. The lead singer’s scratchy seductive vocals with a haunting melody singing about sex, sex, sex seemed like the perfect background music.
“Is that really you?”
I glanced up to see Jack smiling widely at me, his eyes twinkling with merriment. I was completely unprepared for how hot he looked in his “natural environment”. The song couldn’t have been more fitting because the guy literally looked like “sex on fire”. Jack was stunning. Darkly handsome, heavily muscled and yeah, heavily tattooed. I gulped and looked away for a moment. I was stupidly unprepared for this encounter. And Jack was obviously surprised to find me hiding in a dark corner at his bar on a Saturday night nursing a gin and tonic while I stole curious voyeuristic looks at the patrons. I wasn’t sure what to say now that he was standing in front of me.
“Um… hi. Believe it or not, I was in the neighborhood and…”
Jack threw his head back and let out a hearty laugh. His hand was back on my shoulder but this time maybe he needed the support since he was practically doubled over with mirth.
“What’s so funny?” I narrowed my eyes and gave him my best dirty look. He was decidedly nonplussed.
“You. Welcome to Jack’s, Curtis. I’m glad your khakis didn’t keep you from coming inside. Although I should probably go talk to the bouncers at the front door. We can’t have them letting too many conservative looking lawyer types in tonight. You’ll upset the balance.” I thought I spied a dimple in his left cheek when he grinned. Damn. I already knew Jack was sexy but the dimple sealed the deal.
“Ha ha. Well, thanks for the warm welcome. I’m just going to finish my drink and then beat it. Nice seeing you Jack.”
“Oh no you don’t. Were you coming by to pick me up for the game? You’re a little early, honey.” He teased. Before I could say a word he looked at my drink with concern. “Where is your lime? Tim!” Jack signaled to the bartender, who politely but immediately ended the conversation he was in at the other end of the bar and rush over to do his boss’ bidding. “Hey man, grab my friend a lime. He’s always forgetting he needs a little twist of something, aren’t you honey?”
Tim gave a quick salute and was back in a flash with a twist of lime on a tiny plate. Jack thanked him with a wink and I swear even in the dimly lit bar, Tim blushed. I turned to observe him while he fussed with the wedge of lime for my drink. Jack’s longish dark hair curled almost sweetly around his ears and at the nape of his neck. He was wearing a very snug fitted dark T-shirt that showcased his bulging biceps and covered a portion of an intricately designed tattoo covering most of his left arm. Without thinking, I reached out almost instinctively to touch the artwork. Even in the darkened bar lighting, it struck me as being exquisite. Jack watched me bemused as I traced the pattern of knots and flourished lines.
“Sorry.” I snatched my hand back at the warm feel of his flesh under my fingertips. What was wrong with me?
“Don’t be. I don’t mind.”
Author Bio: Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is spending more time these days doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids, and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.
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