OUT IN THE DEEP is Live on Audio Now!

OutInTheDeep-audiopromoIt’s a big month for the Out in College boys. Out in the Deep  (Book 1 in the series) is live on Audible now. It should be followed very shortly by Out in the End Zone. I can’t wait for listeners to hear Michael Pauley’s narration of Derek and Gabe’s story! I may be biased, but I think he did a fabulous job! Check out the sample here.

And of course, don’t forget…OUT IN THE OFFENSE is available on Amazon KU. Michael is currently working on this audio, so hopefully we’ll have it next month!

Happy Reading and Happy Listening! Lane xo

OUT IN THE OFFENSE is LIVE on Amazon!!

OutInTheOffense-1400x2100Woohoo!! It’s true! Out in the Offense came out a few days earlier than expected! Happy Monday! LOL. The long wait is over…Book 3 in my Out in College series is here and this one belongs to Rory and Christian. Rory is the tattooed bad boy slash math genius and Christian is the talented quarterback who happens to need a tutor. However, Rory is unexpected in more ways than one. He doesn’t look, act, or seem like a brainiac. But under his rough-edged and sometimes intimidating exterior, Rory might just be exactly what Christian needs. *sigh…

Rory is my new book boyfriend. No joke. He’s funny, self-deprecating, patient, and sexy as hell. I can’t wait for readers to meet these two young men! ❤

As with all of my series, Out in the Offense can be read as a standalone. However, you may want to check out Books 1 and Books 2, Out in the Deep and Out in the End Zone. Both will be available in audiobook format this month! Out in the Offense will follow shortly on audio in February. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Happy Reading! Lane xo

Blurb from Out in the Offense.

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

Coming Soon Page Updated & Just 10 More Days till OUT IN THE OFFENSE is Here!

After six months, I’d say it was more than time to update my Coming Soon page! LOL. Take a peek for my upcoming release info and plans for 2019.  First up is Out in the Offense. Woohoo! It will be here January 10, which crazy enough, is next week! Mark your calendars!OutInTheOffense-teaser2-1000x750It’s hard to believe we’re at the final day of 2018. This year has flown by. Ultimately, it’s been a good year of growth and learning for me. Professionally, I challenged myself with books like Leaning Into Forever and the Out in College stories. I knew Geordie’s story would be difficult but I didn’t think I’d cry over my computer as often as I did. He wrecked me! I thought Out in the Deep would be a nice change of pace and an easier book to write. Yes and no. Writing books about college aged characters takes a different approach, but it’s not easier at all. LOL. I’m excited to continue the series into 2019 and begin a new one as well.

On to RL New Year’s preparations. The big plan at our house is lasagna, a family card game or two, and a plate of homemade cookies. A movie may happen too. As long as I can be in PJs, I’m in!

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019 filled with laughter, love and LOTS of amazing books! Cheers!  Lane xonew-year-2019-celebration-gold-foil-balloons-royalty-free-image-1019228852-1543876863

Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 4 (NSFW)

2014-12-21-17-29-41-1000x1500-56a388455f9b58b7d0d275b1Here is the final chapter of my holiday short story featuring the boys from Leaning Into!  And yes… it’s a bit NSFW. 😉 For those of you who may have missed it, Leaning Into Forever, will be available soon at all online retailers! Also, be sure to mark your calendars for Book 3 in my Out in College series. Out in the Offense will be here January 10!

I’m off to wrap gifts!! Merry Christmas, everyone!! Have a safe and very happy holiday.  Love, Lane xo

Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 4

Eric’s POV

Conrad Winery had become a second home amongst our group of friends. Nick moved to Napa less than a year after he met Wes Conrad. The vineyard, tasting room, processing plant, and various storage and supply warehouses were located on a gorgeous property with sweeping views of the valley. It was more of a compound than a simple business location. Wes and Nick’s ranch-style home was within walking distance of the tasting room. Wes’s business partner, Geordie, lived up the hill from them with his boyfriend, Levi who owned a popular restaurant in town. And there was even talk of Ryan and Danny, long-time employees and good friends of Wes and Geordie’s, building a small bungalow on the far edge of the estate too.

It was funny how seamlessly our lives had intertwined over the past few years. It felt like yesterday that I was yelling at Nick to return the personalized bottles of Conrad wine stacked in my office. Who knew that fateful trip to Napa on a rainy afternoon would introduce Nick to his future husband and the rest of us to an extended family of friends?

“What’s your favorite animal?” Zane asked as he navigated our Range Rover along the quiet ribbon of highway toward the winery on Christmas Eve afternoon.

I snorted a laugh, twisting in my seat to face him. “Spirit animal, wild animal, pet? Where are you going with this one?”

“Okay, smartass, let’s go with spirit animal first.”

“Hmm. That’s tricky. I want to say something fierce like a lion or a grizzly bear, but I’m probably an elephant,” I said.

“Ha! Why an elephant?”

“What’s wrong with elephants?”

“There’s nothing wrong with them. I happen to love elephants. They’re pretty cute. Didn’t you make me watch a documentary on the National Geographic Channel about them a couple of months ago? The things I do for you,” Zane sighed playfully.

I huffed. “I didn’t make you watch it. You could have left the room. And don’t pretend you weren’t fascinated. You liked it as much as I did.”

“That’s debatable,” he teased. “Okay. I guess it was interesting. They said elephants are extraordinarily attentive and sociable, and loyal. So yeah…that could be you. I just don’t think of them as a sexy animal, and baby, you’re sexy beast.”

“Who me?”

“Yeah, you. Fuck, this morning was hot.” Zane made a production of adjusting himself before returning both hands to the steering wheel.

That was an understatement. It began with a normal morning chat over a cup of coffee. I stood behind the island while Zane lounged on a barstool. We’d been discussing his mother’s sudden plan to go out of town for the holidays. It caught Zane by surprise and spurred a few changes in our schedule. Originally, we were going to spend Christmas with her and tell her our news. But if she wasn’t going to be in town, there was no reason for us to fly to Orange County until my parents got home from their cruise on the twenty-seventh. Supposedly Wendy would be home that day too. The whole concept of her not being there bothered Zane more than I realized it would. I quickly switched the topic to house-hunting.

Thankfully, he took the bait. His zoned out expression faded as I talked about our home and whether or not it was ideal for raising a child. We loved our place and we knew we wanted to stay in the Marina district. But our townhouse had a ton of stairs. Too many for my peace of mind. Zane suggested putting up gates, but I wasn’t sure that would be enough. We had an open floor plan with a family-style kitchen and generous bay windows with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

I suppose I got caught up pontificating the amazing amenities in the area. I didn’t think anything of it when he skirted the island to rinse out his coffee cup before coming to stand beside me. And when he slipped his warm hands under the elastic of my pajama bottoms and gripped my cock as he nuzzled my neck and murmured “mmhmm”, I figured he was trying to distract me. It didn’t necessarily mean he wanted to act on it. Zane had a habit of casually sticking his hands down my pants when we were home doing mundane things, like watching TV or brushing our teeth. Sometimes it led to more, but not always. I was too worked up about school districts and property taxes to think twice he might have an ulterior motive. And frankly, I was glad he’d stopped thinking about his mom. But then he lowered my PJs and briefs and sank to his knees behind me.

He bit my left cheek and smacked my right one, then pulled my ass open and licked my entrance. And suddenly, nothing else mattered. It happened so fast, I didn’t have a chance to do much more than grip the countertop and reach for my dick when he darted his tongue inside. Zane was an expert at the art of rimming. He licked, sucked, and flicked his tongue over the sensitive skin until I was a whimpering, needy mess. When my chant of “fuck me, fuck me” escalated, he stood abruptly and unzipped his jeans.

He opened a drawer in the island, and fished around in the back for one of the many bottles of lube he insisted should be stored all over the house…in case of emergency. He flashed a devilish grin my way and kissed me hard before instructing me to stay where I was and bend over. I hummed in appreciation as I turned my head to watch him pull his jeans and boxer briefs over his rigid pole and then apply a liberal amount of lube. He moved behind me and wrapped his arms around my chest before molding his length against my crack as he whispered sweet nothings. The dirty version he knew always turned me on. When he slid his middle finger alongside the sensitive skin, I might have gone a little crazy. I held my ass open and begged him to fuck me. He didn’t hesitate.

Zane lined his cock at my entrance and pushed, slowly making his way inside me. He didn’t stop until he was balls deep. He rested his forehead on my shoulder and kissed my neck before reaching for my aching cock. And then he moved. Sweet and steady. Not too fast and not too slow. At least that was how it started. He probably knew I’d want it harder and faster the second he rubbed his thumb over my slit and sucked the precum from his digit. And when he whispered how fucking amazing I tasted…that was when the tempo changed.

Zane’s calloused hands roamed along my spine. He pistoned hips with growing urgency and picked up speed. When he clutched my left shoulder for purchase and smacked my ass, it was over. I shot ropes of cum over my fist and across the countertop and Zane was with me a moment later. He lost his rhythm and roared my name as his orgasm slammed into him and held me close, trembling wildly in the aftermath.

We didn’t move immediately. He was probably trying to catch his breath and me?…I wanted him inside me for as long as possible. I loved this connection. I loved the feel of his body against mine and his cum dripping from me. And if I complained about the mess we made later, he knew I was kidding. I loved him more than I could say and I’d do anything to keep him close.

I stared at his profile in the SUV and linked our fingers before kissing his hand as the memory faded. “It’s always hot.”

“True. Now quit talking about sex. I gotta concentrate on the road,” he grumbled playfully.

I threw my head back and laughed. “I didn’t say a word.”

“You were thinking about it.”

“Guilty,” I admitted with a chuckle. “So what were you saying about elephants?”

Zane snorted. “I really don’t know.”
“Spirit animals, favorite animals…” I reminded him.

“Oh yeah. Have you ever had that conversation with Geordie? Josh told me that’s what led to their super-size bunny. I’m kinda wondering what giant stuffed animal we’re going to be carting home tomorrow. Elephant sounds about right. It just better not be life-size.”

I chuckled. “It could be some kind of a water animal for you. A sting ray or a dolphin or a—”

“Shark,” Zane said, lifting my hand to his mouth and nipping my thumb.

“Ouch. We’ll see soon enough.” I pulled my hand away and reached for my cell just as we neared the gated entrance to the winery.

“Did Geordie say how many people are coming tonight?” he asked.

“Just family…or friends who’re like family. Josh said his dad and Lars were going to swing by at some point too. We’re all staying at Nick and Wes’s, but Geordie and Levi have room for extra guests.”

Zane parked the Range Rover and unbuckled his seat belt. “Like who?”

“Does it matter?” My reply was carefully flippant.

“No. I hope it’s small though. Just us and the guys.”

“What about Lauren? She might stay for dinner too.”

“Sure. Lauren’s cool, but it would be nice not to have to make small talk with thirty people we don’t know well,” he sighed before opening his door.

“Hang on. You love these gatherings. We’ve spent plenty of holidays here. It’s always beautiful. Geordie makes sure of it and—”

“I know. And…hey, I’m sorry. I’m happy to be here. That’s not it. I just—I don’t get why my mom didn’t tell me at the beginning of December that she’d made plans for the holidays. It’s not like her. We could have gone up last weekend to see her and told her about the baby. Honestly, I’m worried about her. Did she tell you who she was going to be with? She said ‘friends’ to me. Very generic. Do you think she’s seeing someone?”
“She didn’t say, but maybe. I don’t know. Zane…” I caressed his cheek and brushed his hair away from his face. “She’s fine. We’ll see her very soon. We’re going to have a great time with people we love tonight and on Christmas day. And we’ll see our families right after. I’m sorry the plans changed, but—”

“Don’t apologize,” he assured me with a grin. “You’re here. That’s I care about. Come on, babe.”

My smile faded when he stepped outside. The sooner we were surrounded by our friends in the winery, the better. Fuck. I should have known this might not go smoothly.

Zane’s POV-

Conrad Winery was decked out for the holidays. As in a team of elves had descended and made sure every nook and cranny in the main tasting room had a touch of Christmas. Sprigs of holly and fresh garland were draped along the bar and along the mantle of the stone fireplace on the opposite end. A massive tree twinkled in the corner and mistletoe hung from the spherical iron chandelier delineating the tasting and lounge areas. Holiday music was playing in the background. “Silver Bells”, I thought. I couldn’t tell over the din of laughter and the sweet sound of familiar voices. When Danny yelled a greeting, the room erupted in a resounding. I was immediately overcome with a feeling of joy and gratitude. Eric was right. This was where we belonged tonight.

I dropped our overnight bags and a bag of gifts in the middle of the room and waited for Eric to meet me under the mistletoe. He set the presents he’d carried in on one of the high tables then slipped his arm around my waist and glanced up at the bough of green tied with an ornate red ribbon. “Are you going to kiss me or what?”

I chuckled and ran my hands down his back before sealing my lips to his. He hummed into the connection, oblivious of our friends’ cat calls and wolf whistles a few feet away. I broke the kiss then whispered something slightly lascivious in his ear that made him laugh. Then I yanked him against me in a playful embrace and felt the edge of a something like a small box in his coat pocket. I stepped back and was about to ask what it was, but we were surrounded before I had a chance.

“Merry Christmas, darlings!” Geordie effused with his arms outstretched. “What would you like to drink? Levi my love made a rum eggnog concoction. Heavy on the rum. I assured him it’s the only way to drink eggnog.”

“Sure, I’ll try some,” Eric said. “And thank you for hosting again. You must be exhausted, Geord. Was the winery open today?”

“We closed at two o’clock today. More than enough time to prepare for tonight. Besides, it’s just family.” Geordie beamed. “Look at how handsome you two are, decked in your holiday finest!”

He snickered at our Christmas sweaters. Mine had a moose with light bulbs on its antlers while Eric’s featured Santa stuck in a chimney, ass up. The chimney was wrapped in lights and yes… both of our sweaters blinked obnoxiously. They were seriously ugly, but it was tradition. Just like it was tradition for Geordie to be the only one who never participated. When we first met him, he was mourning the death of his long-time partner, Mike, who’d started the winery with Wes fifteen or more years ago. He dressed only in black with the exception of eye-catching jewel-toned shoes until he met Levi. Nowadays, he didn’t participate because according to him, he wasn’t made for tacky sweaters.

There was no denying Geordie was a beautiful man. He was six foot four with a lean, willowy build, dark hair, and olive skin. He emanated warmth with a serious dose of fabulous. The combination drew people in. To be included in Geordie’s orbit of those he considered family felt like an honor. I was glad he’d met someone like Levi, who seemed to get that without having been told. They were complete opposites. Levi was a former baseball player turned restaurant owner. He had the athletic physique of a former athlete and the patience of a saint.

I laughed when he nodded at Geordie’s rapid-fire instructions about cocktail orders and where the luggage should go, rolling his eyes playfully.

“…to our house. Eric and Zane are staying in our blue room.”

Levi set his hand on Geordie’s hip and pulled him against his side. “Got it. What time do you want everyone at the house?”

“Five sharp. We have plenty of time for…”

Everyone was talking at once now. I could see Eric hugging Grant and Miles then crouching low to greet Anna while Josh and Finn smiled nearby. Nick and Wes stood with Ryan and Danny behind the bar. Lauren sat at one of the barstools chatting with Jeff, Josh’s dad and his husband, Lars. A young man I didn’t recognize and a woman with her back us hovered nearby. Maybe Lauren’s friends. A couple of extras, but everyone I cared about was accounted for.

If the holiday went according to plan, we’d have appetizers in the tasting room then head to Nick and Wes’s for dinner. At some point, Geordie would lead a sing-along and insist on watching Christmas movies until we all pleaded exhaustion. Then we’d retire for the night in the rooms we always slept in when we stayed at Conrad Winery. And Eric and I always stayed at Nick and Wes’s.

“Excuse me.” I held my hand up to interrupt Geordie before he spun away to oversee official holiday duties. “We’re happy to stay at your place, but—”

“Wonderful! We’re thrilled to have you. I was going to have Jeff and Lars stay with us, but we have an extra guest and I think this will work out better.” He patted my arm sweetly and stepped backward with a wink. “I hate to give away too many secrets at once, but Levi and I have a very large gift for you both.”

I smiled. “We’re prepared. I drove the Range Rover.”

“Smart man. Have I told you how happy we are for you?”

“You did, Geord. Thank you.”

He’d sent a giant bouquet of pink and blue flowers to our house and made a big mushy toast at the annual holiday party he’d hosted at Conrad Winery a couple of weekends ago. Part of me wanted to beg him not to give us a stuffed animal too, but I didn’t want to rain on his parade. Family was important to Geordie. I hoped he and Levi had kids one day too. They’d be amazing dads.

“Don’t thank me. It’s my pleasure. I never thought we’d host family parties with a kids’ table. Look at us now. Things have certainly changed….and in a very good way.”

Eric returned to my side and looped his arm through mine. “Are you thirsty?”

“No, I’m okay.”

“Are you sure?” he prodded.

“Positive.”

“Glass of wine or a beer? Maybe we should try that eggnog or—”

“Zane, my darling…Go to the damn bar,” Geordie sighed theatrically before turning away, singing “Santa Baby” at top volume.

Levi snickered at my confused expression. “Come on. I’ll get you a beer.”

I frowned at Eric. “Is something going on?”

“I don’t think so. Why?” he asked, gently tugging at my sweater.

“’Cause everyone’s acting weird.”

“Don’t be silly.”

I greeted our friends with fist bumps and hugs, and razzed Josh about his tacky sweater before bending to scoop Anna in my arms. She was almost three years old now and super chatty. I complimented her beautiful dress and pretty blonde hair and got an earful of toddler chatter. I nodded and bounced her in my arms until she giggled. Then I ramped it up a notch and tossed her in the air, accidently bumping the barstool behind me. I tucked Anna on my hip and turned to apologize…and froze.

“Mom?”

“Hi honey.”

She launched herself into my arms just as Josh pulled Anna from me. I pushed back slightly and stared at her in wonder. Wendy Richards was a beautiful woman. She was a quintessential California girl with blonde hair and blue eyes who exuded health and a sense of well being. She was a true free spirit and the best woman I knew.

“What are you doing here? I thought you said you were going out of town.”

“Yes. This is out of town for me! Eric wanted to surprise you and…well, surprise!”

I looked over at my husband in wonder. Eric hurried forward and hugged my mom tightly then motioned for me to join in. I obeyed automatically. I couldn’t speak though. I knew exactly what he’d done now and I was overwhelmed by the gesture.

“Let’s go by the fireplace,” Eric said, stepping backward. “It’s kind of loud over here.”

Our friends gave us high fives and raised their glasses as we walked into the adjoining space. Eric grabbed our bags of gifts and handed one to me, then went directly to the tree. He knelt and signaled for me to come close, then whispered, “Are you okay?”

“Yes. Thank you. You’ve got some big plan going here, don’t you?”

Eric smiled bashfully. “I thought it would be nice to have all the people we love the most in one spot tonight.”

“What about your family?”

“We’ll see them after Christmas. They’ll be excited for sure. But they’re out of town anyway, and this is your favorite day. I want you to have everything you want.”

“Er…baby, I do.” I bit the inside of my cheek to keep my emotions in check. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He rested his forehead against mine and kissed me. “Come on. We have to tell her now before anyone slips up. Unless you have anything special you want to say or do, I have a gift for her that should tell her everything. Your call, Daddy.”

I stood slowly and inclined my head toward my mother, standing in front of the fireplace. “Go on. Give her the gift.”

Eric pulled a small red box with a white satin bow from his pocket. I set my hand on his shoulder. He smiled at me, and then presented the gift to my mom.

“Are we opening gifts now? Yours are at Geordie’s house. Maybe we should wait until later,” she suggested, fiddling with a tassel on her wacky penguin-themed Christmas sweater. It looked like she got the sweater memo, I mused as I pushed the box into her palm.

“We’re doing things out of order tonight, Ma,” I said with a laugh. “I’m really happy you’re here and I’m pretty sure I married the coolest fuckin’ guy on the planet…excuse my language. He found a way to fix something I’ve wished I could address for a long time, and—Look, I can’t explain. You just need to open that.”

She knit her brow as she pulled at the end of the ribbon then tore the paper back, revealing a plain white box. She glanced between us before lifting the lid.

Silence. I actually thought I could hear “Silent Night” in the background now. That was almost a little too perfect.

Then my mom set her hand over her mouth and burst into tears. “Oh, my God! A baby? A real baby? I’m going to be a grandmother?”

“Yeah. You are.” I pulled her into my arms and held her for a moment. When I thought I could speak, I reached for Eric’s hand and cleared my throat. “We’re gonna be dads. And…it’s a big deal. We’re scared out of our minds, but we’re ready at the same time, if that makes any sense.”

“Trust me, I know exactly what you mean,” she said in a half laugh, half cry.

“I know you do. Sometimes, I think about how it was always just me and you. You probably weren’t ready for me, and I know that being a single parent wasn’t easy. I used to wish we had more family around. The non-judgmental kind who just want to be part of your life. Especially around the holidays. But as I got older I realized how lucky I was to have someone in my corner who devoted every resource she had to make my life richer. Not with money, but with experience. With opportunity.

“You made it possible for me to meet every person in this room, including the man I love. I didn’t have a dad, but I had…have an amazing mom. Even though I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, I think Eric and I are gonna be okay. And spending this holiday with my amazing mom, my husband, and the family we chose…this is the best Christmas ever.”

She sobbed as hugged Eric and me. I kissed their heads and then looked up at the faces of our friends looking on in the next room. I beckoned them over and laughed like a loon when Grant put Anna on his shoulders and raced to our sides. Everyone followed. Nick and Wes, Miles, Josh and Finn, Jeff and Lars, Danny and Ryan, Geordie and Levi… and even Lauren and her date.

“Gather round, everyone. Merry Christmas, my friends, my brothers… I love you guys. Group hug!”

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

bead

Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 3

Ta da! Part 3 is finally here! I apologize for the delay.  Somewhere between traveling and holiday preparations, I caught a cold. Not fun at all, and definitely not convenient during the holiday season. On the upside, this chapter is longer than the others. There’s one more installment coming. My plan is to post it before Christmas. *Fingers crossed… In the meantime, enjoy! And stay healthy!

*PS- Just 3 weeks until Out in the Offense is here!!! Woohoo!!

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays, Lane xo2014-12-21-17-29-41-1000x1500-56a388455f9b58b7d0d275b1Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 3

Eric’s POV-

Our friends stared at us as though they couldn’t quite process what Zane was saying. Of course, once the initial surprise wore off, it was a race to the finish to see who could come up with the expected hilarious quip.

“Eric, are you pregnant?” Nick and Josh asked at the same time.

A collective groan broke the silence, followed quickly by enthusiastic congratulations and a million questions of the basic “how, what and when” variety.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” “Surrogate or adoption?” “When, how, where?”

“We’re telling you now and you’re officially the first to know.” Zane raised his hands to high-five everyone like the winning contestant on Wheel of Fortune. “We haven’t even told our parents yet.”

“So keep talking,” Nick prodded, “When is the baby due? When do you find out what you’re having? Or is the baby already born and—”

Wes put his hand over Nick’s mouth and pressed a sloppy kiss on his fiancé’s cheek. “Let them tell us, Nicky.”

I squeezed Zane’s hand then set my wineglass on the island, and took a deep breath before launching into our story. “We have a surrogate. Her name is Darcy. She’s twenty-nine, unmarried and has a kid of her own. She’s sweet and smart and she’s been incredible. We’ve been working through this process for over a year. We wanted to adopt first and we thought we were close once, but everything fell through at the last second and it was…hard.”

“Very hard,” Zane agreed, pulling me close when my voiced cracked.

“We haven’t given up hope on adoption,” I said. “Maybe something will happen eventually, but we didn’t want to wait any longer. We opted to try the surrogate route and well,…Darcy’s pregnant!”

The room erupted in a new round of congratulations. And more questions.

“Do you trust her? I mean, this a big deal. She’s not going to change her mind and take all of your money and run, is she?” Nick asked.

“I seriously doubt it. She’s a good person and we trust her, but this is a huge decision that’s going to impact our lives forever. We aren’t going into this lightly. Besides, you know Eric. The contract is iron-clad and has been triple checked,” Zane teased, mussing my hair playfully.

“True.” Josh and Nick said in unison, followed by a sophomoric round of “jinx” that made everyone laugh and groan at the same time.

“You two are idiots,” I huffed without heat. “Hey, I admit it. I’m cautious. We’ve talked this decision through over and over. As in every day, multiple times a day. Believe me, we’re ready and we’re so fucking excited about this. We wanted to tell you sooner, but we decided to wait until we heard the baby’s heartbeat, so it felt super official.”

“You heard the heartbeat?” Grant asked excitedly.

“Actually no. I thought our appointment was Friday, but it’s Monday. I had big plans involving a video of the ultrasound and the baby waving to his or her guncles, but…I screwed up.” I flashed a sheepish glance at Miles before adding, “That probably wouldn’t have happened if you known.”

“I should have guessed, shouldn’t I? It’s my job as your secretary to know everything about you.” Miles frowned. “I noticed things, but I couldn’t figure it out.”

“What kind of things?” Zane asked.

“Little things. Every once in a while, Eric seemed withdrawn or upset for no particular reason. If I didn’t know him so well, I’d have thought you were having marital problems. But you guys seemed closer than ever, so yeah…this makes a lot of sense.” He smiled warmly at Zane and me and then bit his bottom lip as if to hold back emotion. “Wow. I’m so happy for you both.”

When Miles’s eyes welled with tears, I moved to his side and hugged him impulsively. “Thanks, Mi.”

I had a soft spot for Miles. He was kind of like the younger brother I was supposed to mentor who always seemed to be a step or two ahead of me. He effortlessly paired his sassy, in-your-face persona with an innate kindness that drew people to him. Or maybe it was his sense of fun and his ability to find humor in odd times. In a lot of ways, he was Grant’s exact opposite. Miles was tall and very lean with a shock of auburn hair and a quirky sense of fashion while Grant was model handsome with dark hair, olive skin and hazel eyes. They might be an unexpected couple to some, but I knew them both well and I couldn’t help noticing that they brought out the best in each other.  The same way Wes understood Nick’s idiosyncrasies and Finn and Josh balanced out one another.

Grant perched on the barstool nearby and gently tugged on Miles’s belt loop until he stepped back and leaned against Grant’s knee.

“So, do you know what you’re having? And what about the due date?” Grant prodded insistently.

“Damn Grantster. Are you guys next?” Josh asked with a half laugh.

“Maybe,” he replied with a shrug.

Miles flashed an amused sideways glance at his fiancé. “Honey, you gotta put a ring on it before we’re having any kids.”

“Oh, I will,” Grant singsonged.

I chuckled at their antics as I reached for my Chardonnay. “To answer your question, we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl until mid-February. And…he or she will be here mid-July.”

“When are you telling your parents?” Finn asked.

“At Christmas. My mom is gonna flip. This is much better than that yoga mat she wanted.” Zack skirted the island and set a slice of pizza on a plate and slid it toward me. “Eat up, babe.”

I smiled my thanks before taking a sip of wine. “Mine will be over the moon too. I just have to mentally prepare myself for the questions about whether or not we’re raising our child in the Jewish faith.”

“Well, are you?” Nick asked as he popped the top off a beer and leaned against the counter.

“Yes,” I replied quickly. “But we’ll celebrate all the holidays that are important to Zane too. They’ll think it’s weird to have a menorah and a Christmas tree, but they’ll get over it. Evenutally. I hope.”

“They will,” Zane assured me around a bite of pizza. “And maybe they’ll even want to help us decorate it.”

I snorted in amusement. “Yeah, I don’t think so. But that’s okay. This is our tradition. Some day in the not too distant future I can see us gathered around a giant tree with all of our kids running around us, jacked up on too much sugar while Mariah Carey sings about what she really wants for Christmas. Anna Banana will be the head elf in charge. Being the oldest should come with perks, right?”

“Right.” Josh beamed proudly.

“And what are we going to be doing?” Grant asked.

“We’ll be watching them and reminiscing about days like today when we knew everything was about to change. Somehow I think it’s about to get better.” I stood abruptly and raised my glass. “Let’s drink to that. To friendship. To our beginning when everything was new and nothing seemed impossible. To the people we’ve met along the way who’ve made our lives richer. And to our future generation. I can’t wait to see where we go, boys. Cheers.”

Everyone lifted their glasses…or beer or water bottles, in a toast. I was about to suggest that we get started decorating the tree when Nick waved his free hand above his head to get everyone’s attention.

“Wait. I want to say something.” Nick raised his beer bottle and fixed with an earnest look.  “To Eric and Zane. And to your incredibly lucky son or daughter. Congratulations. On behalf of all of us, baby Schuster Richards has…” He paused to scan the group gathered around the island before continuing. “…Six uncles who can’t wait to spoil him or her rotten.”

“Ten,” Wes corrected. “Don’t forget the boys in Napa. Geordie and Levi, and Ryan and Danny. By the way, Geordie is gonna go crazy when he hears your news. Prepare yourselves for an enthusiastic congratulations at the winery party next weekend.”

“And take your Range Rover. The oversized stuffed bunny he bought when we were expecting Anna didn’t fit in my car,” Finn advised with a laugh.

“Oh boy. I remember that. And thank you, Nick.”

“We appreciate it,” Zane slipped his arms around my waist and pointed at the tree in the bay window. “Now it’s time to decorate that bad boy. If I catch anyone hanging all the balls in clumps or on the bottom, I’m gonna kick some ass. I don’t want to spend my night fixing the tree after you yahoos leave later and Eric isn’t happy with the ball placement.”

“That sounds like a personal problem, Z,” Josh quipped.

“Ha ha…or ho ho. Let’s fuckin’ do this!”

“And on that note, cheers!” We clinked our drinks noisily against Nick’s and then shuffled around the island, piling pizza and salads onto our plate before moving into the living area to gather around the tree.

The sound of familiar voice, chatting above the strains of George Michael’s “This Christmas” warmed my heart. This was a good home. A safe place filled with love and laughter. I loved my husband and I love these people. I was grateful to have friends who truly felt like family. And I couldn’t wait for our son or daughter to meet them.

 

Today was a big day and I was nervous as hell. I wished I hadn’t poured that fourth cup of coffee. My heart raced and my palms were sweaty. The only thing keeping me from spirally out of control was knowing Zane felt the same way. My normally easygoing husband looked anxious and uncomfortable. Other than greeting Darcy in the chic lobby of at the doctor’s office, he hadn’t said a word.

I leaned against his side as though I couldn’t hear our peppy surrogate highlight the details of her ongoing battle with morning sickness. Truthfully, I wanted an excuse to touch Zane, but I was also desperate for every little scrap of information she gave us. I wanted to know that she was eating well and getting enough sleep. If she felt even a twinge of discomfort, I wanted to know  how we could help. I thought about asking her to move into our Marina townhouse for the duration of her pregnancy, but Zane hadn’t liked the idea.

“First of all, we don’t really have the room and secondly, I don’t want to be on my best behavior for nine whole months,” he groused.

“She knows we’re married. I’m sure she knows we sleep in the same bed and do stuff.”

Zane threw back his head and laughed. “Do stuff. See? You can’t even say ‘fuck’ without blushing. And that’s at the idea of someone overhearing us. Besides, she has a kid and a routine of her own. Our job is to be supportive. Not to smother her. We’ve been very clear that if she needs anything…even if it’s just someone to talk to, we’re always available.”

Except he wasn’t particularly ‘available’ at the moment. He was internally freaking out. When we embarked on this journey, we agreed that if one of us was overwhelmed by the specter of parenthood, the other should step up. It was my turn.

“…woke up feeling fine. I had a light breakfast, took Jack to preschool and barely made it home before I puked,” Darcy reported matter-of-factly.

“Do you think it was something you ate?” I asked.

Darcy pushed her long blonde hair behind her ear and grinned. She was a naturally pretty young woman with big blue eyes and high cheekbones who rarely wore makeup. She claimed it was a big day if she bothered with mascara. She taught yoga at a studio in Pacific Heights and worked part time selling olive oil at a kiosk in the Ferry Building. It was a family-owned business she’d helped expand with her older sister after they’d graduated from college. In some ways, she reminded me a lot of Zane’s mom. She had a sunny demeanor and seemed to read people well. Like now.

“I’m fine now. In fact, I’m hungry. I could go for three quarter pounders from McDonald’s, two orders of fries, a chocolate milk shake. What d’ya say, Zane? Are you in?” she asked.

The twinkle in her eyes gave her away, but Zane wasn’t quick on the uptake this morning. He jolted and shot a panicky glance at her. “I thought you didn’t eat fast food.”

“Oh, I don’t. Usually.” She snapped her fingers and grinned. “Ice cream sounds better. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s Double Fudge Brownie. Make it two pints. And a jar of pickles. I love pickles.”

Zane opened his mouth and closed it twice before turning to me. “Is that normal?”

I shrugged. “Maybe. But I also think she’s playing with you, honey.”

Zane frowned at Darcy and huffed. “Play with Eric. He’s smarter than me, and he’s cool and collected. I’m a mess.”

“Relax, Zane. Everything is fine.” She smiled at him kindly and set her hand over his. “I promise. You don’t have to—”

“Darcy Malecki?”

“Yay! That’s us. Come on, Dads.”

I watched Darcy head to the reception desk to check in before nudging Zane’s elbow. “This is it. Are you ready?”

“No. Fuck, Er. I’m not ready at all. What if something’s wrong? What if there’s no heartbeat? What if we have to start from zero all over again and—”

“Zane, baby, look at me.” I waited for him to obey. “Whatever happens, we’re in this together. You aren’t doing this alone. We’re family.”

He nodded mutely then looked into my eyes. “I don’t know if I told you this today, but…I love you so much.”

My heart was close to bursting. I bit the inside of my cheek and whispered, “I love you too. Come on. She’s waiting for us.”

We were escorted to a small room with a wide window overlooking a parking structure and a slew of equipment including a monitor stationed next the paper-covered bed or lounge or whatever it was called. I swiped my damp hands on my suit pants and studied the chart of female reproductive system above the petite sink in the corner. Nothing put a gay man back into neutral faster, I mused, starting when a nurse knocked on the door.

She greeted us warmly and asked Darcy a few general questions about how she was feeling as she took her vitals. “Pretty good. Morning sickness isn’t fun, but it doesn’t last long.”

“Lucky you. Well, your blood pressure and heart rate are normal. I’ll back in a sec with Dr. Wu. I’m sure you’re all ready to meet your baby,” she said.

“Perfect. Thank you,” I replied.

I set my hand on Zane’s hip and smiled at Darcy. “It’s kind of nice that you’ve been through this before. You’re so calm and we’re…not.”

“If you’re nervous, it means you care. And it makes me think this kid is going to be very well taken care of. But like I told you, I really am fine. Today, is when things get fun. You’ll get your first chance to meet your new person.” Darcy’s grin was contagious.

“Thanks.” Zane met her gaze as he laced his fingers in mine. “For everything.”

“It’s just the beginning, Zane. We’ve got a ways to go still,” she reminded him with a chuckle.

Another knock interrupted us. This time a tall woman with short dark hair and a lab coat joined the nurse. She introduced herself as Dr. Wu, made idle chitchat that basically covered all the same general health questions the nurse had asked, and then instructed Darcy to lift her shirt and expose her stomach. She turned to the ultrasound equipment and liberally gelled Darcy’s lower belly before moving a wand-like instrument over the slick skin. She didn’t speak for a long moment. She kept her eyes locked on the monitor with an intensity that worried me.

“Do you see anything?” I asked anxiously.

Dr. Wu smiled. “I do indeed. Look here.”

“Where? That little pea shape?”

“Yes. That little pea is your baby. He or she is actually closer to a strawberry in size right now.”

“And that’s good, right?” Zane asked.

“It’s very good. And right here, we have the heart. Can you hear?” She turned up the volume and gave Zane and me an expectant nod. “That’s a nice, strong sound.”

I furrowed my brow as a whoosh of static broke the silence followed by a distinctive beat. I opened my mouth and stared at Zane with a wild-eyed look as the sound echoed in the room.

Zane brushed at the tears welling in his eyes and grinned at me. “That’s our kid, Er. Our baby.”

To be continued…

OUT IN THE OFFENSE COVER REVEAL!

It’s here! The cover and blurb for Out in the Offense is revealed! Check out this gorgeous new cover by Reese Dante for Book 3 in my Out in College series, coming January 10.OutInTheOffense-1400x2100

Out in the Offense is Book 3 in my new Out in Sports series set at a Southern California university. This one belongs to Christian and Rory and the sport…football! If you’ve read Out in the End Zone  you might remember that Christian is the quarterback and undisputed leader of the offense. He has a very big secret he’d like to keep at least until  graduation, but he has to pass statistics first. Math has always been Christians’s most dreaded school subject (I can relate!), but his new tutor makes things very interesting. Rory is tattooed bad boy slash former wrestler who happens to be a genius. When an unexpected friendship leads to something more, Christian realizes he has a lot to learn from the former wrestler about bravery, honesty and finding his own truth. Something tells him he can have it all if he finds the courage to come out on offense. Including love.

Out in the Offense will be released January 10. Be sure to mark your calendars and Goodreads pages! Also, Joyfully Jay is hosting the exclusive cover reveal today. Be sure to stop for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Blurb for Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes:

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 2 NSFW

We’re mixing up the POV in this short holiday story featuring my San Fran boys from the Leaning Into Series. Next up is Zane…and yes, this one is NSFW. 😉

Be sure to check in tomorrow for the Cover/Blurb Reveal for Out in the Offense! Book 3 in my Out in College series will be released January 10! In the meantime, back to Eric and Zane and the boys!

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays! Lane xo2014-12-21-17-29-41-1000x1500-56a388455f9b58b7d0d275b1Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 2 (NSFW)

Zane’s POV

We stumbled into our room, pulling off clothes in a desperate attempt to get naked and horizontal as quickly as possible. I chuckled softly when Eric checked to make sure the blinds were drawn before shoving the duvet to the end of our king-size bed. It didn’t matter where we were, he had a thing for locked doors and covered windows. I didn’t bother mentioning that everyone he’d invited over tonight either had the key to our front door or knew the code to the security system. I was far too distracted by the sight his bare ass when he climbed onto the mattress on his hands and knees, presenting himself to me like a fucking gift.

I squeezed my cock at the base and shivered with need and desire. Damn, he was beautiful. It amazed me sometimes that Eric didn’t see himself the way I did. Under his Mr. Reliable façade, my husband was a sexy fucker with a naughty streak that drove me wild. And when he widened his knees and swayed his ass in invitation, I had to be inside him. Now.

I grabbed the lube from the nightstand and poured a generous amount onto my palm, stroking myself as I stepped between his legs from behind.

“Wait. Give me a little,” he said, extending his arm backward.

I obeyed but captured his wrist just as he slid his middle finger along his crack. “Not yet.”

Eric shot a puzzled glance over his shoulder. It morphed into a blissed out expression with a needy moan the second I pulled his cheeks apart and bent to lick his entrance. I flattened my tongue and worked him over while I jacked myself with my right hand and held his ass open with my left. He hummed my name as he gripped the sheets. His “that feels so good” became a plea for me to fuck him the second I pushed a finger inside him. When I added another, he became almost manic.

Eric was so responsive. It was one of the many things I loved about my man. I knew what he liked and how to make him whimper with need. But I swore he read me just as easily. He had to know without looking that I was barely in control. It took serious willpower not to jump on top of him and fuck him like an animal. When my precum dripped onto the sheets, I knew I couldn’t wait. I smeared it over the tip then pulled back to add lube before lining my cock at his hole and slowly pushing inside my man.

“Oh, fuck,” Eric sighed.

He collapsed onto his elbows and arched his back in a wordless signal to proceed. I ran my fingers along his spine and massaged his shoulders as I inched forward. I didn’t stop until my balls rested against his. I rocked my hips slowly, loving the sexy noises he made.

“You okay?”

“Yes. Fuck me.”

I set a steady pace at first with long strokes and sweet nothings. When I felt him relax around me, I upped the tempo. He responded immediately, meeting me thrust for thrust. His throaty grunts sounded like sex personified. I couldn’t help egging him on, whispering dirty promises designed to make him crazy.

“I wanna fuck you hard, baby. I want to pound your—”

Eric grabbed the side of my thigh and growled. “Do it!”

He didn’t have to ask twice. I draped myself over his back and wrapped my arms around him and drove into him hard. One major advantage to being with the same man for years was knowing what his version of “hard and fast” meant. Eric liked it rough and a little kinky, but in moderation. And when he begged for more, he didn’t want it all at once. And his sense of propriety was more rigid than mine. I certainly didn’t care if our friends waltzed into our house and heard me spank his ass while I asked if he’d been a bad boy, but Eric would be mortified. Unless of course, we were strapped for time.

Needless to say, I cranked it up a notch. I reached for his cock and stroked him while I pistoned my hips. We moved in perfect unison. He pushed back as I thrust forward, over and over, moaning softly when I quickened the pace and licked his neck. He shivered slightly and collapsed on his stomach. I covered him immediately, flattening myself over him and curling my legs around his before completely letting go. My balls bounced against his as I fucked him relentlessly. He felt so good. So warm and tight..and so mine.The second that thought crossed my mind, I knew I wouldn’t last.

“Er, I’m gonna come.”

“Yes. Come inside me,” he commanded.

I did, and fuck, it was fierce. I roared with the force of my orgasm, gasping for air as it rolled over me in giant waves. When I felt Eric tense underneath me, I slipped my hand between him and the mattress and reached for his dick.

“I’ve got you, baby. Does that feel good?”

“Fuck, yes!” he cried out as his release hit him a moment later.

Which funny enough, coincided with a muffled guffaw and the sound of a door closing somewhere in the house.

Great. We had company.

I gently disengaged and flopped onto my back, chuckling at Eric’s panicky expression.

“Gee, do you think they heard us?” I joked.

Eric snorted a half laugh. “Oh, I think that’s a safe assumption. I think we should place a side bet and see who comments first. My guess is Josh.”

“It’s always Josh. Although it could be Miles.”

“True. It sounds like everyone’s here. Who’s bright idea was it to give our friends easy access to our house?” Eric sat up gingerly and winced.

“Yours.” I rubbed his back then bit him playfully before hopping out of bed and extending my hand. “Come on. Let’s take a quick shower.”

“But they’re out there,” he protested, widening his eyes comically when I strode toward the door and flung it open. “Wait. What are you doing?”

I winked at my husband before yelling, “Hey, make yourselves at home. We’ll be right out.”

Josh appeared at the end of the hallway. He leaned on the column and gave me a thorough once over then chuckled.

“Take your time, Romeo. The pizza is here. The poor delivery guy may have heard that last “fuck me harder”. He probably thinks you’re hosting an orgy now, which may or may not work in your favor when you place your next order. Want a beer?” Josh asked with a knowing grin that made me chuckle.

“Yeah. And wine for Eric. A healthy pour,” I added before closing the door.

Eric opened his mouth and closed it twice. “Did he see you naked?”

I glanced down at my sweaty chest and spent junk, then shrugged. “Yeah. So what? The pizza’s getting cold. Let’s get movin’.”

Eric joined me in the master bath. He rested his cheek on my shoulder and smiled at my reflection in the mirror while we waited for the water to warm up. “I’m nervous to tell them. I know they’ll be excited for us. It just feels so…big and important.”

“It is big and important. The biggest and most important thing we’ve ever done.”

“Are you nervous? You seem so calm about this.”

I shook my head ruefully. “No way. I’m scared out of my mind. I think about it constantly. I’m so afraid of screwing up that I swear there’ve been days I wanted to tell you I couldn’t go through with it.”

Eric cocked his head curiously and frowned. “Why would you doubt yourself? You’re going to be the best dad ever.”

I bit the inside of my cheek to hold back the sudden flood of emotion. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time ’cause damn it… how did I get this lucky? How could he possibly look at me…the surfer dude he remembered for being a hopeless case in high school, and believe in me so completely?

“Thank you, but I never had a dad, Er. I don’t know how to do this. Josh and Finn are awesome parents and I’m sure they’ll give us lots of pointers but every day, real life, minute by minute…it’s going to be up to us to make sure we give our kid everything he or she needs. Changing diapers and feeding a baby seems easy compared to all the stuff you have to deal with later. You know this kid is going to grow into an actual teenager at some point, right? That’s fucking frightening. I was one of those once and I was a nightmare!”

Eric chuckled softly and fixed me with an adoring gaze. “I knew you then. You weren’t so bad. Besides, our kid might be a geek.”

“Like you?” I teased, nipping his bottom lip.

“Yep.”

“That’s fine by me, baby.” I kissed him then smacked his ass before stepping aside to turn on the shower. “Come on. Hop in before they coming looking for us.”

 

We walked into a party in progress in our great room ten minutes later. Our friends congregated around an extra large pizza on the kitchen island, sipping beers and catching up while Nat King Cole’s “Silver Bells” played in the background. The room was festive and warm and filled with some of my favorite people on the planet. Nick and Wes, Grant and Miles, and Josh and Finn. They whistled and whooped our names in greeting.

Josh handed Eric a glass of chardonnay with an arched eyebrow and gave both of us a look of mock censure. “You two might be the horniest married couple I’ve ever met.”

“Cheers, boys.” Finn raised his beer bottle in a toast then slung his arm around his husband’s shoulders. “Let them be, Joshy. We don’t do too badly ourselves.”

Josh grinned. “You’re right. A toddler puts a damper on spontaneous sex though.”

The gooey ‘proud papa’ look they shared indicated they didn’t mind at all. I glanced at Eric, wondering if this was our opening. I knew what he meant now about feeling nervous to tell them. Sure, these guys were our family in every way that counted, but this wasn’t ordinary news.

Eric caught my eye and inclined his head. “You’ll have to tell us all about that,” he said before taking a sip of wine.

“It’s pretty simple. One second you’re hot and heavy and ready to go. But before you can uncap the lube, your daughter coos your name through the baby monitor and you’re scrambling to redress and get back into “daddy” mode,” Josh griped playfully.

“I’m kinda looking forward to that,” Eric said in a low voice.

“To what? Getting cock blocked?” Nick asked incredulously. “No thanks. Wes and I are cool with being uncles. But if you’re going to be dads some day too, it sounds like you better have all the sex now.”

“Hmm.” Eric tossed a bashful glance at me. “I guess we’d better.”

“Yeah.” I nuzzled his neck and kissed him impulsively, setting off another chorus of good-natured teasing.

The only one who didn’t participate was Miles. He folded his arms and narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What’s going on with you two?”

Eric bit his bottom lip nervously and shot a glance my way that clearly said, “this is it”. When I nodded in agreement, he turned to our friends and announced, “We have something to tell you. We’re…um…”

“What?” Grant prodded.

I slipped my hand in Eric’s back pocket and grinned before announcing, “We’re going to have a baby.”

To be continued…

 

 

Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 1 (A Leaning Into Short Story!)

If you’re a member of my Facebook group, Lane’s Lovers, you know I’ve been intending to write a short story featuring my Leaning Into boys for a while. The holidays seem like a perfect occasion to get the San Fran boys together! My intention is to post a chapter once a week throughout the month of December. The story will told from different POVs. First up is Eric (with Zane) from Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into Always. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays! Happy Reading! Lane xo2014-12-21-17-29-41-1000x1500-56a388455f9b58b7d0d275b1Leaning Into the Holidays- Part 1

Eric’s POV

The seven foot tree in the middle of the living room needed immediate attention. It was out of place, crooked and probably should have been placed in water. Or maybe it was already in water. I crouched low and squinted at the tree holder attached to the trunk under the lush branches of the Nobel fir. I couldn’t be sure, so I slid in my stomach and dipped my hand inside and—

“Er, I got the box with lights but I can’t find the ornaments and—what are you doing?”

I slithered out from under the tree and sat up on my knees before fixing Zane with a puzzled look. “I was checking the water but…what do you mean you can’t find the ornaments? They should be right next to the lights. They’re color coded. The box is red.”

“Yeah. I remember. Maybe we misplaced it. It’ll turn up. Let’s pop some popcorn and string it up with cranberries. The guys will help. It’ll be fun. Then we can buy some cheap bulbs tomorrow and finish up. What do you say?”

I stared at my handsome husband until he cracked. His pretty blue eyes crinkled at the corners and then a slow growing grin took over his face before he burst into laughter.

“You’re hysterical,” I huffed as I stood and moved to inspect the green box he set on the coffee table in our living area.

“What makes you think I’m joking?” he asked, pulling me against him before I opened the box.

“Because you know me too well to suggest stringing popcorn and cranberries with a straight face. Besides, teasing me is your second favorite pastime.”

“What’s my first?”

“Sex.”

“True.” Zane nuzzled my neck and then captured my mouth in a toe-curling kiss. He squeezed my ass and rocked his hips suggestively before sliding his tongue between my lips.

I was dizzy when we broke for air and I honestly couldn’t remember what we were talking about. Oh yeah, the Christmas tree.

“So where’s the other box, funny guy?”

“On the stairs.” He unbuckled my belt and threaded the leather through the loop before I could protest. “Let’s forget about the tree, baby. I wanna be inside you.”

“Mmm. The guys are going to be here soon.” I whispered a dirty promise in his ear, chuckling when he shivered theatrically.

“Fuck. I hope no one’s early. I’m so hard it hurts. Maybe you can help me out a little bit.”

“I’ll help you out a lot after they leave,” I assured him with a smile.

I traced Zane’s jaw and stared into his beautiful blue eyes. Fuck, he was gorgeous. Inside and out. Sometimes it amazed me that this all-encompassing feeling of love and gratitude seemed stronger than ever. Four years ago I’d married my best friend and it was easily the best decision I’d ever made. Sure, we were complete opposites but we worked.

Zane was a professional sailor and elite boat broker with sun-streaked longish blond hair and lean, swimmer’s physique. In many ways, he still resembled the sophisticated version of the surfer boy he’d been when we first met in high school. Of course, he was quick to remind me that we didn’t actually become friends until we met again at orientation our freshman year at Stanford. The romance part came later but damn, I was grateful it did. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. And when I thought about the journey we were about to embark on, I got a tingly feeling inside that made me want to pinch myself.

Zane sighed then kissed my nose. “Fine. Who’s coming and what exactly are we doing?”

“The guys…Nick and Wes, Josh and Finn, and Grant and Miles. And we’re supposed to be decorating this thing.” I pointed at the lopsided tree behind me. “I invited Geordie and Levi, but they had an event at the restaurant and Ryan and Danny are closing at the winery tonight. So, it’s the original gang and our husbands…or fiancés.”

Zane, Nick, Josh, Grant, and I met in college and had formed a strong bond over the years based on shared experiences, respect and friendship. We were like family. Closer than our actual families in some cases. I was grateful we all still lived in the Bay Area and were able to get together often. And I was thankful our significant others fit in well.

“Is it ironic that the only Jewish guy in our group of friends hosts the annual tree trimming party?” I joked. I kept my gaze locked on Zane’s ass when he turned to fetch the box of ornaments. The guy made basic denim look like designer wear.

“You started this tradition after we got married. You insisted that we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, remember? It’s not necessary anymore, Er. We can stick to Hanukkah and let the other guys take over the tree stuff. Miles is good at decorating. Let him do it. And Geordie loves hosting and—” Zane furrowed his brow and cocked his head. “Uh oh…why are you looking at me like that? What’d I say?”

I tossed an irritated scowl at him before opening the box of Christmas lights. “This is our thing. We’re keeping it and the Hanukkah dinner. Miles and Grant have the Greek feast, Josh and Finn do the cookie decorating deal and Nick and Wes have the holiday party Geordie and Levi host at the winery. Everyone has a special thing and now more than ever, we need these traditions.”

“Now more than ever, eh?” Zane tugged at my elbow then pulled me close again, resting his forehead on mine. “So, what’s the plan? How should we tell them?”

“I don’t know.” I bit my bottom lip and swallowed hard. “I’m kinda nervous. Are you?”

“A little. It feels funny, but in a good way,” he said softly.

“A really good way,” I agreed. We shared a conspiratorial grin and kissed again. After a few moments, I stepped out of his hold and pointed at the tree. “We have to fix that thing. It’s leaning precariously. Do you want to move it in front of the bay window first?”

“Yeah, I can’t wait to move it the bay window,” he snarked.

Zane picked up the tree and set it in the designated corner. To prove he was easily the best husband ever, he adjusted it to the left…then the right and back again until I declared it was perfect.

“Great! Let’s water it and throw the lights on and—fuck! Did I order the pizza?”

“I did. Everything is taken care of. Don’t worry.” He hefted the boxes closer to the tree then pulled a strand of white lights out and plugged them in to test the bulbs.

“What kind of pizza did you get?” I asked, popping the lid off the box containing ornaments.

“The usual,” he replied absently.

“Hmm. Do you need my help with the lights?”

“Nah. I got it.”

“You know I’m gonna go crazy if you don’t give me something to do. Maybe I should organize the ornaments.”

Zane widened his eyes comically. “Er, I think you organized the hell out of those things when you packed them away last year. Just sit on the sofa and talk to me. Tell me about your day.”

“We were together all day.”

“Right. Well…tell me what you’re thinking about this very second,” he said in a calming voice as he wrapped the lights around the bottom portion of the tree trunk.

“I’m thinking about Christmas traditions, and how it must be different for every family. Everyone is celebrating the same thing but doing it with their own style. Did you and your mom do anything special when you were a kid?” I asked conversationally.

Zane must have heard something in my voice. He stopped what he was doing and smiled. “We did this.”

“What do you mean?”

“We brought our tree home, pulled the decorations from storage. I was in charge of the lights because I was taller and way more patient when it came to making sure they were evenly distributed. She’d watch me while she unpacked the ornaments.” He winked then added, “Like you’re doing now.”

“Is this a weird “I married my mom” moment for you?” I held up a silver bulb and snickered at his horrified expression.

“Fuck, I hope not. Anyway, back to ‘Christmas with Richards’…once the lights were up, we got to work. There was always holiday music on in the background and she always made hot chocolate. I have to admit, when I was little, it felt pretty magical. In my teen years, it was torture, but she insisted on the tradition. She told me I could invite friends to join us if I wanted. I never did. Even though I was sure I was too old and too cool to drink hot cocoa with my mom while “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” played on the radio, it felt like something special that only belonged to us. We kept it up even when I was in college. And other than adding some Bailey’s to the hot chocolate, it was the same. The same ornaments, the same music. And it was always just us. We were a team. I didn’t have a dad or any siblings. And even when she had a boyfriend, she didn’t invite him.”

“But she invited me. Remember that year? We were in our twenties. I think you’d just come out as bi. We weren’t together then. In fact, I think I was still with Nick.”

I frowned at the decade-old memory. Nick was one of my best friends and my business partner at EN Tech, the successful tech firm we’d started after graduation. And for a short time, we were lovers. It seemed like a lifetime ago. We were thirty-five now. I wouldn’t say it was a total disaster, but Nick and I needed our friendship more than sex. With Zane, I had both.

“Of course I remember. You laughed at the star of David I made out of popsicle sticks when I was in first grade. You know my mom still hangs that on her tree every year,” he said proudly.

“I didn’t laugh. Okay, fine. Maybe I did a little. It was cute. And I guess I was surprised to see it on a tree. I’m sure my mom didn’t keep the holiday Santas I made when I was in grade school. Unless she put them in storage,” I mused thoughtfully. “I’m going to hang every piece of art our kids bring home. Handprint turkeys, paper menorahs, hand-crafted ornaments…everything.”

“We’re going to need a bigger house,” he teased.

“Probably.” I glanced down at the festive bulbs before asking, “Was I the only one your mom invited to help decorate the tree?”

“Yep.”

“Why?”

“You were the only one I wanted, baby. You always were,” he said softly.

I opened and closed my mouth, torn between surprise and pleasure, as his words wrapped around me like a gossamer veil.

“God, I love you,” I whispered.

“I love you too, Er.” When he motioned for me to come to his side, I didn’t hesitate. I pushed the ornament box aside and dropped to my knees before throwing myself into his outstretched arms.

I clutched at his blue oxford shirt in a quest to be as close to him as possible. “I can’t wait to start a family with you.”

“We already are family. We have been for years. I think my mom sensed it before we did.”

“She’s pretty smart.” I pulled back and brushed my nose against his. “We can’t uninvited our friends now, but maybe next year we should have our own tree trimming party and continue your old family tradition.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary. Our friends are part of our family too, just in a different way. We don’t need old traditions. We can make up new rules as we go. The only thing that matters is that we’re together.”

Zane rubbed his thumb across my lips before sealing his mouth over mine. White lights twinkled on the tree branches next to us and reflected against the window lending a festive mood to the moment. I wished I’d turned on holiday music to complete the scene. But Zane was right. We didn’t need to recreate old memories…we were going to make our own.

I licked the seam of his mouth, humming my approval when he pushed his tongue between my lips. He cupped the back of my neck and tilted his head to deepen the connection then slid his free hand around my waist. I moaned when he squeezed my ass and bucked his hips against mine. The sensuous friction of our jean-clad cocks and the feel of his warm hands made me want so much more. I wanted to feel his bare skin. I wanted to taste him and pull him close as he moved inside me.

I broke for air and tried to catch my breath. “Zane, I want you.”

He gave me a hungry look then furrowed his brows. “They’re gonna be here soon.”

“Then we better hurry.”

To be continued…bead

Out in the Deep Will Soon be Available Everywhere!

That’s right! For those of you who’ve been waiting for the Out in the Deep to come to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etcetera, the wait is nearly over! Look for Book 1 in the Out in College series at your preferred online retailer. It should be released everywhere (including Amazon) by tomorrow. Out in the End Zone will be released to all ebook retailers by the end of December too. The price of $2.99 is good through the end of 2018. Make sure to take advantage of the lower price!OutInTheDeep-600x900And don’t forget…the cover and blurb reveal for Out in the Offense will be happening December 10. Woohoo!

This news is coming to you from the island of Maui in Hawaii… family vacation in progress. LOL

Happy Reading and Aloha!  Lane xo

IMG_3586

Happy Thanksgiving! And Deleted Scene Surprise & Updates!

Text placeholder 2
Happy Thanksgiving!! November has been such a busy month and now that the holidays are officially here, it’s about to get even busier! I wanted to update you on a few new happenings before the madness begins. LOL.

First up, Leaning Into a Wish, my first ever published holiday novella, is now available on audio. And yes, I may be a bit biased but Nick J. Russo does a brilliant job narrating Ryan and Danny’s story. Check out the sample and purchase link here. And beginning next week, look for a Leaning Into free holiday short story to be posted here in approximately four installments…one a week throughout December. Any guesses on who the new short will feature?

Last but definitely not least!… I have an official release date for Book 3 in Out in College. Out in the Offense will be here January 10. Look for the cover/blurb reveal on December 10. Just two weeks away!! Mark your calendars!

So this is kind of fun. A reader asked me about other Better Than shorts, which reminded me of a scene I’d deleted from Better Than Safe. It involves a short conversation with Jack and Curt and then Curt and Paul about age differences. The timing is good for me because Book 1 in my WIP features a May/December romance. 😍 ❤️❤️ I shared it in my FB group yesterday, but I thought I’d share it here as well.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Reading!  Lane xounknown-9**DELETED SCENE from Better Than Safe by Lane Hayes: (Paul’s POV)

When Curt asked me to swing by his house to pick him up before lunch, I didn’t think anything of it. Until I’d remembered he no longer lived in Georgetown. He was fifteen minutes away in Dupont where he lived with the very sexy Jack above his motor bike shop I’d never been to their home. Curt and I always usually met at whatever destination we’d agreed upon for lunch, a cocktail or coffee. I was curious to see how the conservative lawyer and his gay bar, Harley shop owner boyfriend had blended their very diverse lives.

Miraculously I found a parking spot on their street. The neighborhood was upscale avant garde with hip cafes, small art galleries and exclusive boutiques. Many of the well maintained Federal-style buildings on the block were mixed-use storefront and residence, which was charming but made parking a challenge. I surveyed the neat hedge-lined path and double checked the address as I made my way toward the large black door. There was no indication this was a shop of any sort. It looked like a well-maintained home with bright red flowers planted along the hedges and in tasteful pots on either side of the entrance. I knocked once and opened the door when I heard a low voice invite me to “come on in”.

Wow. I stood in the well-lit entry ogling the enormous Palladian window on one end of the stark gallery-like space and the photographs artfully hung on the white walls around the large space. There were a couple motor bikes on display around the room but they were elevated show pieces with highly polished chrome, supple black leather and colorful accents. Not the type I occasionally noticed around town. These looked special. Even a novice couldn’t help but admire the clean lines of these bikes and their elegant setting.

“Hey, how’s it going, Paul?”

Jack stood behind a sleek maple and concrete reception desk next to a thin young man with bright auburn hair, blue eyes and a friendly but curious expression. No doubt I looked lost. I smiled as I approached the counter. My gaze was pulled toward the colorful ink on Jack’s left arm. He was wearing a tight black T-shirt that hugged his generous biceps and made the intricate designs of the tattoos pop enticingly. I had zero ink and no desire to change that but Jack’s were very appealing.

“Well, thank you. I’m meeting Curt for lunch. He said—”

“Yeah. He’ll be down in a sec. He moves a little slower on Saturdays,” he remarked with an indulgent grin. His eyes crinkled at the corners but it was nothing compared to the transformation of his handsome features a moment later when his lover stepped into the room. I hadn’t spent a lot of time around them as a couple but my perspective had been from Curt’s side when he was staring like a lovesick fool as Jack tended to patrons at his bar. Frankly, I was taken aback by the blatant adoration in Jack’s eyes.

“Ha. Ha,” Curt commented with an eye roll as he leaned in to kiss his boyfriend. He said a brief hello to the young man standing nearby who he immediately introduced as Damien before turning to give me a once over. “Maybe I should change.”

I glanced between us and chuckled. We were dressed almost identically in khakis and dark blue short sleeved designer shirts. Jack pulled Curt into his arms and kissed his cheek noisily.

“Don’t change. It’s kinda cute. You guys look like geeky twins.”

“You’re hysterical,” Curt griped without heat.

“Come along. I don’t mind if you don’t,” I commented as I made my way toward the door.

“Okay. See you later, baby. I’ll be back before Kelly gets here with the kids,” Curt assured him.

“Good. Don’t leave me to fend for myself with the munchkins. They’ll terrorize the place,” Jack called after us.

I stepped outside and breathed in the early September air. The temperature was mild and the skies were a heavenly shade of blue. Absolutely perfect. I waited for Curt to join me on the sidewalk before asking who the kids were.

“Our niece and nephew, Petra and Blake. We’re kid-sitting today and I have a feeling they’ll spend the night. Lord help me.”

“You don’t sound bothered in the slightest,” I commented idly as he gestured to a café on his right.

“I’m not. I love having them around. Jack and I probably won’t have children so it’s cool to get to be part of their lives. They’re good kids. A little rowdy sometimes but Jack is amazing with them so I don’t stress things getting out of control. Let’s sit outside.”

Curt stepped aside to give the hostess room to show us to our seats on the patio. Once we we’d been given menus and supplied with ice water, I reopened the topic of kids. I couldn’t say why, but it was curious about his reasoning.

“Why don’t you think you’ll have children?”

Curt picked up his water and took a quick drink before answering. “We just… I don’t know. We’re not interested. I don’t think it makes me a bad gay to say this. I mean, I’m all for marriage equality and all the gay parents I know are a fuck of a lot better at it than my own ultra conservative folks were. But I’m too selfish. I want Jack to myself. Our lifestyles aren’t conducive to raising kids. We both work late and we have demanding jobs. Besides, plenty of our close friends will go down that path and we’ll get to play uncle to their kids. Like Matt and Aaron. Matt’s always wanted a family. Just wait… they’ll be married at the end of next month and in a couple years, I bet they’ll be daddies. But who knows? I don’t think they’re in a hurry. And I’m sure Jay and Peter will be dads first. You remember them, right? Jay is Aaron’s best friend and Peter is Jack’s ancient ex.”

Curt smiled up at the pretty blonde waitress and asked a couple questions about the specials before ordering a chicken kale salad. I ordered the same and handed her the menus.

“What is so amusing?” I asked as I unrolled the white napkin from the utensils and set it neatly in my lap.

“Us. You and I never would have lasted. You don’t even have the decency to order a burger so I can steal a bite,” he shook his head in mock despair.

I chuckled in agreement. “You’re right. And you’re happy. That’s what matters.”

“Something tells me you are too. How’s the hot model? Seth, right? I like him. He’s spunky.”

My smile had a life of its own. I glanced at the passersby on the street as I tried to rein in my reaction at just hearing his name.

“Spunky is a fitting adjective. He’s funny and exasperating, but he’s…lovely.”

“Mmm.”

“Can I ask you something?”

Curt nodded gamely. “Sure.”

“Is the real reason you don’t want a family because Jack’s older than you? Is it his choice and you’re going along with it or is it really your idea too?”

He cocked his head thoughtfully but I understood it wasn’t so much that he was considering his reply as he was wondering why his answer seemed so important to me.

“It’s a mutual decision. We’ll probably get married some day. Jack talks about it a lot and…we love each other. We know we want to be together forever.” Curt gave me a sharp look. “The age difference bugs you, huh?”

I sighed heavily though in truth I was relieved to broach the subject with someone I trusted to be honest.

“Yes and no. I—most of the time, it doesn’t. Seth is smart, independent and easy company. And when he’s not exactly easy, I like that he challenges me. I don’t know if that makes sense.”

“Of course it does. So what’s the problem?”

“There isn’t one really, but… I wonder about compromise when age is a factor. Maybe it’s not a big deal at twenty-four and thirty-five but what happens when you’re—”

“Thirty and forty-four?” he suggested wryly.

I waited for the servers to deliver our lunches and assured the waitress we had what we needed before replying. “Yes. Exactly.”

“I rarely think about our age difference anymore. I met Jack two and half years ago when I was twenty-eight. Not that much older than Seth. Even when we first met, our… attraction was more personality driven. Obviously I thought he was hotter than hell but I liked that he made me laugh. I liked how I felt around him. I still do. More so now because the bond is stronger. It’s not that age never crossed my mind but I guess I obsessed over other things like how someone so sexy and confident seemed interested in me. Stupid, nowhere arguments you have with yourself when you can’t believe your good luck and you’re sure someone or something will come along to pull the rug from under your feet.”

“Hmm.”

“I guess what I’m saying is age really is just a number. I bet if you really think about, you’d admit it really doesn’t matter if he wants kids in five years. You’ll cross that bridge when you get there. Maybe you’re just mind-fucking yourself because you found a guy you want to be with and he’s nothing like what you expected.” Curt gave me a knowing grin as he lifted his fork and chomped a bite of his salad.

I stared him for long moment before I picked up my own fork. “How did you get so wise?”

Curt shrugged good-naturedly and gave me a mischievous grin. “Must have something to do with that old dude I hang around.”