Better Than Wedding- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 3

Before I leave you with Matt & Aaron, just a quick reminder… there’s just 9 days now until Leaning Into the Look is here!! Woohoo! There is a teaser on my FB group, Lane’s Lovers today. Check it out.

Happy Reading!  Lane xounknown-2-1Better Than Wedding– Part 3

Aaron was a serious control freak. When he initially suggested hiring someone to help keep us organized and on track, I was a little skeptical. It seemed odd that he’d want anyone else’s opinion or input about our big day. I figured he’d run the show and give me updates and budget breakdowns when I asked. He had an eye for color and proportion and a great sense of style. It seemed like asking for an outsider’s opinion would just confuse things. I didn’t get it.

“Matty, there’s nothing to get. This is Vic’s job. He cuts hours of tedious research out of the equation so I can keep up with my actual job and ideally stay under my boss’s radar. Marsha would flip if she saw my browser history lately. I’m not sure how I’d explain ‘resorts in Puerto Rico’, ‘cutting edge table décor’ and ‘how to tell to your mother that her priest won’t be officiating the ceremony’. I’m up to my eyebrows in too many details as it is,” he sighed dramatically.

I reached for his left hand when I stopped at the red light and laced my fingers with his. “What did the internet have to say about dealing with parents?”

He shifted in his seat and kissed our joined hands then gave me a lopsided smile. “The gist was…be honest and handle unrealistic expectations in a forthright manner.”

“Sounds reasonable.”

“Sure. But she’s not going to like it,” he grumbled. He slipped his hand from mine and pointed at the green light. “Turn left at the next light.”

“I don’t see the problem. We’re getting married in DC, not Maryland. It’s a no-brainer. A Catholic priest isn’t going to officiate the wedding either way. We’ve been through this and—”

“Their deacon will.”

“The creepy guy with a black wig who never smiles?”


“You don’t like that guy,” I reminded him.

“I know but my parents do. Maybe they think he has Catholic street cred or something,” he huffed.

“I don’t care what he has. He’s not marrying us.”

“I know. I just have to break the news to my folks.”

“Your parents loves me. I’ll tell them,” I said, turning on to a tree-lined street with beautiful brick homes set far from the street.

“Remember, we pass two stops signs and it’s on the right. And no… I don’t want you to get in the middle of Mendez family drama. You may be tempted to call the wedding off and I love you too much, Matty. I’m not letting you go,” he said theatrically. “Oh! This is it. Turn right.”

I snickered at his dramatic tone as I pulled into the gated drive. “I’m not going anywhere. And we aren’t changing our minds to make our parents happy. We chose the minister a long time ago. We like her. End of discussion.”

Aaron leaned across the console and purred in my ear. “I love it when you take charge and get all alpha with me. It’s so hot.”

I barked a quick laugh as I veered the BMW into a parking spot in the mostly empty lot. Then I turned off the engine and faced him. “Alpha, eh?”

“Yeah, I’m a little dizzy right now.” He fluttered his eyelashes then cupped the back of my neck and pulled me close, resting his forehead against mine.

I ran my fingers through his hair then kissed his nose before sitting back and adjusting my cock in my khakis. “Something must be wrong with me. I can’t believe I can get hard when you’re talking about priests and parents.”

“Ew. I was trying to help us both forget about that part.” Aaron inclined his head toward the stately manor. “Okay, let’s do this.”

I grabbed his elbow before he opened the passenger side door. “Wait up. What are we doing exactly and how long will this take?”

“Matty, you agreed—”

“Hey, I’m here and I’m willing to listen but I’m kind of hoping not to spend our entire Saturday with Vic.”

“I thought you liked him.”

“He’s fine. Actually, he’s cool. But he’s so…”

“Extra?” Aaron supplied with a laugh.

“Yeah. He wears me out,” I griped.

“A lot of people say I’m ‘extra’ too, you know. Do I wear you out?”

I chuckled. “Yes, you definitely do.”


“Hey yourself. Just do me a favor and stick to the plan. What is the plan again?”

“To check out the venue on an actual wedding day to get ideas for flowers and the overall feel of the place. Vic is working this one so I don’t think we’ll spend more than an hour with him. But we can go straight to the photographer’s studio afterward.”

I made sure he saw my glazed expression before I exhaled. “If possible, let’s keep it short and sweet.”

“Yes, sir.” Aaron shot a sassy smile at me then picked up his manbag and opened the car door.

We walked hand in hand along the hedge-lined pathway leading to the mansion’s grand entrance. The historic landmark dated to the turn of the last century. Aaron loved the climbing ivy on the brick façade and the enormous fountain in the middle of the circular drive. His awed expression cracked me up. We’d visited the Claridge Estate a few times since we’d gotten engaged a few months ago and each time he seemed more enthralled with our choice of venue. I couldn’t blame him. The house and grounds were stunning.

Aaron paused at the bottom of the steps leading to the main door and let go of my hand. He pulled out his cell and snapped a dozen photos. I didn’t bother reminding him he’d already taken these pictures. He loved photography and studying nuances in light and color was his favorite pastime. Since he was only armed with an iPhone, I figured I was getting off easy today.

I shoved my hands in my pockets and strolled to the opposite end of the staircase. I spotted a delivery truck parked along the side of the building unloading floral arrangement and was just about to call Aaron over when a lilting voice singsonged his name from the landing.

Aaron glanced and smiled. “Hi Vic. How are you?”

“So much better now that the Mendez Sullivan party has arrived.”

Vic held his arms open like he was welcoming us to his home. He flew down the stairs and wrapped Aaron in a bear hug then spent the next five minutes complimenting his hair, his shirt, shoes and even his phone case. Okay, maybe it was two minutes. I didn’t mind. It gave me a chance to check out our flamboyant wedding planner from afar.

Vic Greene was a fireball. He had short platinum blond hair, bright blue eyes and a golden skin. He was a little taller than Aaron and had the same lean, tone physique and a penchant for highlighting his classically handsome features with rouge, lip gloss and eyeliner. I liked Vic but truthfully we didn’t interact much. Aaron was his main contact, which made it easier for everyone. They shared a passion for style and design and all things fabulous. And I was…boring in comparison.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew I was considered good-looking but I was seriously boring compared to Vic and Aaron. Today was a perfect example. We were all dressed similarly in khakis and short-sleeved button-down dress shirts in deference to the humid summer day. However, my shirt was plain blue while Aaron’s was white with some squiggly pattern on it and Vic’s was a pink floral number that somehow matched his two-toned shoes. As Aaron said, Vic was “extra”.

I braced myself for a whirlwind greeting when Vic finally turned to me. He widened his eyes and put his fingers on his pink glossed lips and shook his head over and over. I glanced at Aaron for help but he was busy taking more photos so I swallowed hard and held out my hand.

“How’s it going, Vic?”

He blinked manically then clasped my hand theatrically and grinned. “Very well indeed. Are you ready to be amazed?”

“Um… sure,” I said, pulling my fingers free. I hooked my arm over Aaron’s shoulders when he paused beside me to take another picture. “Aren’t we, babe?”

Aaron shot an amused glance at me then leaned into my side like a doting husband-to-be. “Yes! Amaze us. What do we get to see?”

“Well, we’ve started setting up for this afternoon’s wedding so everything is a bit topsy turvy but you’ll get a fair idea of what this grand ol’ place looks like all dolled up. The entry alone will make you cry,” he enthused.

“Who’s getting married?” Aaron asked.

“A senator’s daughter. She wanted a fairytale affair with crystal chandelier hanging from tree branches outside and orchids cascading from satin ribbons in the ballroom. There’s even a wall of white roses. I kid you not. It’s divine. Come see.” Vic clapped then turned on his heel and led the way up the steps.

When he darted ahead of us and disappeared inside, I pulled Aaron back by his belt loop before he could follow. Then I set my hand under his chin and gave him a stern look.

“I’m the wedding bouncer, aren’t I?” I scowled.

“Wedding bouncer?” Aaron’s full lips quirked in a lopsided smile that made me want to lick him.

I kissed him instead and wagged my finger at him. “Yeah. The guy who provides a sanity check so you don’t do anything impulsive. We’re just looking, Aar. I don’t care how divine the flowers are. We have a budget and we’re sticking to it.”

“Definitely Alpha. Wow, that turns me on. Note to self, don’t read shape-shifter sex scenes before a tame wedding planning session.”


He held his hand up to stop me then bit his bottom lip and continued in a husky voice, “Yes, you’re my sanity check. I need you to keep it real for me but… I also need you to be open to new ideas too. We’re just here to browse and take notes. I can already tell you our color palette and floral selection will not mesh based on the season alone.”

“I’ve been with you for long enough to know expensive flowers are available year round, babe.”

Aaron flung his arms over my shoulders and sighed. “That’s kind of romantic. But don’t worry. We aren’t shopping. Look at this like a scouting trip for a photo shoot. We do this sort of thing at the magazine all the time. It’ll be fun. You’ll see.”

I rolled my eyes but tucked my hand in Aaron’s and let him lead the way inside the grand foyer.

“Wow. It’s so beautiful,” he said, staring up at the enormous crystal chandelier in the domed ceiling.

I pointed at the ornate moldings and museum-quality landscapes hung high above the wainscoting and was about to comment on their pristine condition when Vic called Aaron’s name.

“Go on. I’ll be right there. I want to look at some of the art.” I gestured toward a huge painting of the Potomac near an arched doorway.

“Don’t get lost.” He winked before heading toward Vic.

I watched his ass in his perfectly fitted khakis for a moment then stepped around a deliveryman carrying a huge box of flowers. I waited for him to pass then moved forward and immediately ran into a pretty blonde. We paused and said a quick round of awkward apologies but instead of moving on, she grabbed my elbow and cocked her head.

“Wait. I know you. Matt Sullivan, right? I’m Steph. It’s been a long time. Maybe five years? I’m… I was Kristen’s roommate. Remember me?”

To be continued…

Better Than Wedding- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 2 (NSFW!)

My weekend was busier than I expected so I’m a little late getting this out, but ta da! Here is a very NSFW part 2.

Just a quick note… Leaning Into the Look will be here in just 2 1/2 short weeks. Mark your Goodreads pages and get ready for the March 23 release date! Woohoo!

Without further adieu, here’s Matt and Aaron…

Happy Reading! Lane xounknown-2-1Better Than Wedding– Part 2 (NSFW)

Aaron hummed in response then stood and pulled his T-shirt over his head. He twirled it playfully in one hand then dropped it on the coffee table and turned toward the master bedroom. He cast a come-hither look over his shoulder when he reached the doorway and then pushed his pajama bottoms and briefs over his ass.

“Are you coming, Matty?”

Holy fuck, he was beautiful. I gripped my cock and swallowed hard but I couldn’t speak. And wasn’t that just… weird? We’d been together for years now. I didn’t understand how it was possible that I wanted him more than ever.

My dick had a heartbeat of its own. I felt dizzy as I pushed away from the island and wordlessly moved toward him. He extended his hand and laced his fingers in mine. I pulled him backward before he stepped into our room. Then I backed him against the doorjamb and nuzzled his neck, licking a seductive trail along his jaw.

“Fuck, I love you,” I growled. “And I want you so bad it hurts, Aar.”

“Me too. What are you going to do about it?” He threw his arms over my shoulders then stood on his toes and sealed his mouth over mine.

Our tongues collided then twisted in a sweet frenzy. I yanked him against my chest and ran my fingers through his hair, tilting his chin slightly to deepen the connection. I sucked on his tongue and bit his bottom lip then splayed my hands on his ass and squeezed. He broke for air with a gasp and licked his swollen lips.

He made sure my eyes were on him when he sank to his knees and tugged my basketball shorts and briefs down.

“Suck me, baby. Go on.” I tapped my throbbing cock against his cheek in invitation.

Aaron shivered and closed his eyes for a moment before swallowing me whole. I rested my hands on his head and cautioned myself not to move for a second. He gripped me at the base and fondled my balls while he bobbed his head, sucking and licking me into certain oblivion. I rocked my hips forward and did everything in my power not to give in to the urge to let my hips fly. Aaron wouldn’t mind. He loved it when I lost control, pulling his hair while I fucked his mouth like a man possessed. But I didn’t want to come like this.

“Stop.” I set my hand on his forehead, groaning when he released me with a pop. I pulled him to his feet and crashed my mouth over his. Then I backed up slightly and stuck two fingers in my mouth. “Turn around,” I commanded in a low raspy voice.

Aaron obeyed immediately. He clung to the doorjamb and arched his back.

“What are you going to do, Matty?” he asked, wiggling his hips.

I chuckled softly as I wrapped my left hand around his cock. I massaged his entrance with my free hand then leaning in to lick the shell of his ear.

“I’m gonna fuck you,” I purred, pushing a saliva-slick finger inside him.

Aaron groaned then bucked backward, riding the single digit like a pro. I knew it wouldn’t take long before he begged for more. I added a second finger and upped the tempo, stroking him into a frenzy as I whispered a litany of X-rated promises. Truthfully, dirty talk wasn’t my forte. I wanted every nasty thing he was willing to do but verbalizing it always made me blush. Tonight I was too strung out to overthink. His unfettered fluidity as he gyrated and whispered my name over and over gave me a heady sense of power. I added the tip of a third finger and bit his shoulder. My dick ached with need. It wouldn’t take much. The right amount of friction would send me over the edge, I mused, grinding my thick shaft against his side.

“I want you now. Please Matty,” he whimpered.

I released my hold and smacked his ass hard enough to leave a handprint. “Bed.”

Aaron nodded then hurried across the room. He shoved the duvet aside before scrambling onto the king-size mattress on his knees. I moved to the nightstand and reached for the lube. The bottle was almost empty. I turned it upside down then shook and squeezed it manically. I pulled open the top drawer and swore.

“What’s wrong?”
“We’re out of lube,” I said. “I must have put the new one on my side of the bed. Stay there. Don’t move, baby.”

“No. You left it in the shower this morning when we— oh fuck. I can’t wait. Just do it,” he pleaded as he threaded his arm between his thighs to tap his hole.

“I’ll go slow.”

“I don’t want slow. I want you to fuck me.”

I gulped and gripped my cock at the base, hoping to stave off the urge to plunge inside him. I smeared the meager bit of lube on myself and then ran my fingers gently across his hole. I inched closer in a daze and pulled his cheeks apart, studying him for a moment. Damn, he was perfect. Just touching him felt amazing and knowing how incredible he tasted and—

I bent to rub my stubbled chin against his ass then I licked his entrance and pushed my tongue inside him. Aaron cried out and clutched the sheets. He chanted my name as he lowered himself to his elbows and stroked his rigid prick. His wanton need spurred me on. I licked him over and over, running my hands down his back haphazardly as I flattened my tongue over his sweet hole.

“Oh Matty, I think I’m gonna come,” he grunted.

“No.” I straightened immediately and smacked his ass again. “On your back.”

Aaron flipped over and spread his legs wide so fast it might have been funny at any other time. Not now.

I pulled him to the edge of the mattress then set my cock at his hole and pushed my way inside my lover. I went completely still to give him a moment to adjust to my girth. When he tilted his hips, I got the message it was time to move. I held his ankles, pausing to press a kiss on his foot. I eased almost all the way out before surging forward until my balls rested against his ass. Aaron hooked his hand around the back of my neck and pulled me on top of him. He drove his tongue in my mouth and dug his heels into my ass, silently requesting me to speed it up.

“Tell me what you want, baby.”

He sucked my bottom lip as he slipped his hand between us to grip himself. “Harder.”

I licked his lips and shook my head. “Harder what?”

Aaron whimpered. “Matty.”

“Tell me. Do you want me to pinch your tits hard? Or spank you har—”

“Fuck me!”

I gathered him against me and pushed him to the middle of the mattress then let my hips fly. I moved like thunder, losing myself in the steady push and pull as the tempo accelerated to near combustible. Aaron clasped his legs around me and held on for dear life. I could feel his hand moving between us…faster and faster. His breath quickened. His grip faltered and his eyes took on a glassy look I recognized well.

“Come for me, baby. I’ve got you,” I whispered, pumping my hips and sinking deeper inside him with every thrust.

“I’m—oh fuck yes.” He fell apart a moment later. He squeezed his eyes shut then trembled like mad as cum spurted between us.

I didn’t stop moving but I slowed instinctively. I had to watch him. He was so beautiful. Unguarded, free and completely open. When he opened his eyes again, I was overcome with a feeling I couldn’t name. Maybe that was a strange sentiment but it was true. One second we were simply moving toward a shared orgasm and the next, I was staring at the other half of me. Separate yet whole. Connected somewhere beyond a physical state.

I brushed his hair from his forehead and pressed my lips to his as I hovered above him. I breathed him in as I rocked my hips. I was utterly in awe of… us. We were so much more than we ever set out to be. My timing might not be right but I couldn’t help thinking I should acknowledge how special this was and how fiercely I wanted to protect and nurture it.

“Are you okay?” Aaron asked, rubbing his nose against mine.

“Yeah. I just… I love you.”

He smiled. “I know. Show me, Matty. Come inside me. I want to feel you let go.”

So I did.

I roared with the force of my release, spilling everything I had deep inside him. He soothed my hair from my brow and traced his fingers along my spine while I shook in his arms.

When I thought I could speak and act normally again, I propped myself on my elbows and gazed down at him. The contrast of his dark hair against the white pillow and flecks of gold in his hazel eyes were lovely. But I couldn’t think of a single thing to say that didn’t sound like a mushy Hallmark Valentine card so I gently disengaged and flopped gracelessly beside him. Aaron rolled sideways and laid his head on my chest.

“Does it ever freak you out that you’re going to be stuck with me forever?” he asked after a few minutes.

The wistful question and the fact he didn’t seem particularly bothered by the mess of sweat and cum binding us together made me do a double take. I nudged his forehead until he looked up at me.

“No. We belong together. I know we do. I’m more afraid to lose you than I am to be with you forever.” I winced at my words choice. Lame, Sullivan.

“You’ll never lose me, Matty. I’ll always be here for you. I promise to be everything you need. Your friend, your conscience, your partner in crime, your lover. I promise—”

“Hey.” I held his chin, frowning at the sheen of tears in his eyes. “Why are you crying?”

“I’m not,” he said, swiping at the moisture with the back of his hand.

“What is it then?”

Aaron pursed his lips and sighed. “I love the way you look at me. And I want always to be worthy of that look.”

“You are. You—”

“Shh. Let me finish.” He set his finger on my lips then continued. “It’s true that I like nice things but all I want is you, Matty. I don’t really care about unicorn ice sculptures and champagne fountains. I don’t care about having a big reception and a lot fuss. I just want us to be married. I’ll run away with you tomorrow if you want. We can get married in Vegas and—”

“No way.” I shook my head vehemently and furrowed my brow. “We’re gonna do it all, Aar. The ceremony, a kick ass reception, the honeymoon come first. And yeah, some day we’re going to buy a house in the ’burbs and fill it with kids and dogs. It has nothing to with having things. We’ll do it because we love each other and want to share what we have. But that’s somewhere in the future. Right now, the important part is us. You and me. If we wanted the unicorn, we could have it.”

Aaron’s smile was electric. “You have a funny way of saying just the right thing sometimes. Te amo, Matty.”

“I love you too.” I cocked my head and squinted at him. “Of course, we don’t actually want the unicorn, though. Do we?”

He barked a quick laugh that turned into a chuckle. “No unicorn.”

“Good. See? This wedding planning stuff is going so well already. Come on. I have a feeling you’re gonna make me help you change the sheets. Let’s shower first.” I sat up and patted the mattress. “They’re not bad. Maybe we don’t have to—”

“Are you kidding me? This whole sheet is a wet spot.” He hopped off the bed and motioned for me to follow him to the bathroom. “Shower, sheet change, kitchen cleanup and then… let’s have a small discussion about what we’re going to accomplish when we meet with Vic. Deal?”

I snorted when he offered his hand to me. “Nope. We aren’t the ‘shaking hands’ kind of husbands-to-be.”

“Oh? What kind are we?”

I scooped him in a fireman’s hold instead and smacked his ass. “This kind. Let’s get movin’, Mr. Sullivan.”

Aaron’s melodic laughter ricocheted off the marble and glass tile in the bathroom. I caught our reflection in the mirror as I set him down and pulled him against me, marveling at how fucking right the platinum band looked on my finger. Aaron slipped out of my embrace and danced toward the shower. He chatted about. His conversation was all over the place as he turned on the water, a dog saw on his run and a funny billboard advertising fungal cream… but his joyful air was contagious. He was happy and light and everything I wanted but couldn’t quite express with words. I simply knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

To be continued…

Better Than Wedding- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 1

The short story you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Woohoo! I’m not entirely sure how many chapters Matty and Aaron’s wedding story will have but I’m estimating it will be somewhere around eight. I’ll do my best to post a chapter a week until it’s completed. And just so we’re clear, I could seriously keep going and going. The house, the dog, the kids… LOL. But we’ll start with the wedding.

Enjoy!  Lane xounknown-2Better Than Wedding – Part 1

Planning a wedding was like learning a new language. Venue, invitations, flowers, guest lists, deejay, photographer. The plethora of choices and the countless decisions to be made was overwhelming. At least I thought so. My fiancé didn’t seem fazed in the slightest. Aaron was extremely organized by nature and he had great taste. I had no doubt our wedding would be beautiful. Whether we’d stick to an agreed budget was another story, but it was only June. We had four months until the big day. Plenty of time. I wasn’t sure why he suddenly had a mile-long list of things to discuss. Then again, Aaron was chattier than most people. I could have listened to him all night. As long as he didn’t expect intelligent conversation from me until after the game, it was all good.

“Classic black and white tuxedos for sure. Vic tried to talk me into white bow ties for us and black for our groomsmen but I want to keep the overall feel to be elegant yet simple. That one little detail might throw everything off. What do you think?”

“Sounds good.” I nodded absently and shot what I hoped passed as an interested look before refocusing my attention on the flat-screen over the fireplace.

Aaron rubbed his foot on my crotch then shifted closer to me on the sofa. “Our first fitting is Saturday morning at ten o’clock. Did I mention we have an appointment to visit two florists and a photographer with Vic too?”

“Hmm. Okay.” I grabbed his foot and massaged his toes but kept my gaze locked on the action unfolding in front of me.

“I think we’ll go with Jay and Peter’s baker, Jean-Luc. He’s doing these incredible cakes that are ten tiers high… or more. It may be a bit tricky to cut into and I’m worried about the crystal chandelier grazing the top but I can ask the hotel to move the chandelier for the night. Don’t you think?”

“Sure. Sounds good.” I squeezed his big toe and pumped my fist in the air when LeBron sailed over two opponents to dunk the basketball to give the Cavs a two-point lead.

“Which part…the oversized cake or relocating a thousand pound antique light fixture?”

Aaron dropped his foot then set his notebook on the coffee table and sidled closer. I opened my arms in invitation and pulled him against me, loving the scent of soap on his skin. He’d gone for a run after work then showered and made dinner. I’d hoped to join him for the run but I couldn’t get away from my desk in time. After three fourteen-hour-days in a row, I was mentally and physically fried. Kicking back with a beer and watching the game with my man at my side was all I needed.

Actually dinner would be nice too. I was starving. I pushed Aaron’s dark hair from his eyes and kissed his forehead.

“Both, babe. Is the chili almost ready?”

“Almost.” He slipped his left hand under my T-shirt and ran his fingers down my chest. “We should have the dream wedding we want right?”

“Mmmhmm. Oh! Damn, did you see that?” I gestured at the TV incredulously.

“No. I missed it,” Aaron huffed, pinching my right nipple. Hard.

“Ow.” I captured his wrist and scowled.


He didn’t look particularly contrite but I let it slide. It was a two-point ball game with twelve seconds left in the fourth quarter. There’d be plenty of time to play later. I brought his hand to my lips and kissed his knuckles. “Behave.”

Aaron purred in response then climbed onto my lap and flung his arms around my neck.

“I think we should have massive rose and orchid arrangements on every table.”

Five seconds left. Tied game. Time out called by the Cavs.

“Okay.” I lowered his head to my shoulder so I could see the screen. Aaron nuzzled my neck and burrowed closer.

“Let’s have two champagne fountains. One for the front of the ballroom and one for the back. The unicorn ice sculpture can go in the foyer. I definitely want a sit-down dinner. I’m not picky about the menu. I just want to be sure we offer caviar and filet mignon. You like filet mignon, right Matty?”

“Mmm. Yeah, I love it,” I replied distractedly as both teams walked back on the court with one second left.

“Me too.” He licked my ear lobe and hummed. “And lobster too. Of course, there’s the age-old question…deejay or band? Let’s see if John Legend is free to play during the dinner. Maybe Cher can handle the reception. You like her, right?”



“Um…sure. Yes!” I hooted as the Cavs scored in final second. “For the win, baby!”

I squeezed Aaron’s ass and sealed my mouth over his in what was meant to be a short celebratory kiss, but fuck, he tasted good. Like red wine and cinnamon. I licked his lips in a silent request for entry then shifted sideways and gently pushed him flat on his back before climbing on top of him. I was glad I’d changed when I got home from work. The thinner fabric of my basketball shorts and his pajama bottoms made for instantly gratifying friction. I sucked on his tongue as I adjusted my hardening shaft alongside his and then rocked my hips.

After almost five years together, I would have thought some of the intensity between us would have mellowed somewhat. But it was stronger than ever. Yeah, I’d had a long day. I was hungry, tired and my brain was definitely on cruise control but I wanted him.

Aaron hooked his legs over my ass and arched his back when I slipped my fingers under the elastic of his pajamas. I tilted my chin to deepen the kiss, gliding my tongue over his until we were breathless and gasping for air. He smiled then opened his mouth to speak and— my stomach growled. Aaron chuckled when I lifted my brow. “Are you hungry?”

“Very. Did you say something about filet mignon?” I asked, pressing a kiss on his nose before sitting up.

He rolled his eyes. “No, we’re having chili, remember?”

“Oh yeah.” I stood then held out my hand and pulled him against me. “Want some help?”

“I think I can manage. Come eat. Do you want another beer?”

“No thanks.” I followed him into the kitchen adjacent to the living room and sat at one of the barstools.

Our condo had an open floor plan so I could watch the game’s highlights on the big screen from my perch. I swiveled in my seat and frowned when I realized he’d turned the TV off. I thought about going back to the living area for the remote just as he pushed a giant bowl of chili in front of me from across the island.

“Don’t even think about turning the television back on,” he reprimanded.

I furrowed my brow but thought better of responding when I heard him mumbling in Spanish. I picked up my spoon instead and studied my hot-tempered Puerto Rican American man for clues. I’d learned over the years that sudden language shifts usually signaled a change in mood. He seemed fine though. And he looked amazing. I admired the way his plain white T-shirt hugged his toned arms and contrasted with his olive skin. And when he turned around and smiled at me, I swear my heart stopped for a beat. Aaron Mendez was a beautiful man. Inside and out. I was momentarily lost in those hazel eyes and the mischievous smile that probably meant trouble was coming my way but, fuck if I cared. I still couldn’t believe he was mine sometimes.

“Come sit with me.” I patted the barstool next to mine. “Tell me about your day.”

Aaron topped off his wineglass before skirting the island. “It was a basic ho-hum day… meeting after meeting. Nothing exciting. I’m ready for Saturday.”

“What’s Saturday?”

“A no work day. And we’re meeting with our wedding planner. I was worried his ideas would be too pricey, but Vic will be thrilled when I tell him you agreed to spare no expense on the reception.”

“That doesn’t sound like something I’d say,” I huffed, blowing on a spoonful of chili before taking a bite. “Mmm. This is delicioso.”

Gracias. Well, someone who looks and sounds a lot like you just agreed to a unicorn ice sculpture at our reception,” he deadpanned.

I snorted. “Yeah right. You can’t use anything I say in the last few seconds of a playoff game against me.”

“Does that mean no to two champagne fountains too?” He snickered at my stone-faced expression as he reached for his wine. “Fair enough but you’d better start weighing in before I’m tempted to do something crazy. This isn’t just my wedding, it’s our wedding.”

I turned to fully face him. “I thought we were set. We have a date, a place and a minister. We agreed on invitations and we even talked about our honeymoon. What am I missing?”

“The details, Matty! All the details.” Aaron flashed an incredulous look at me and smacked his hand on the island. “Look, you’re busy at work and I know the last things you think about are table décor and cake toppers but I’m busy too and I can’t stop thinking about them. And then my head explodes with more choices like roses or lilies, chocolate ganache or buttercream and don’t even get me started on the seating arrangements. It’s making me crazy!”

“I can see that.” I chuckled then set my spoon aside and snaked my arm around his waist when he glared at me. “Hey, I’m kidding. Tell me what you want me to do. How about if I choose the flowers?”

“Oh no. Definitely not. I know you too well, Matty. You’d wait until the last minute then either ask your secretary or my future monster-in-law to help and there’s no way in hell I’d—”

“Hey. No need to get nasty here.” I threaded my fingers through his and kissed the platinum band on his left ring finger.

“I’m sorry. I know I told you I’d handle things but you’re kind of strict about the budget.”

“One of us has to be if we want to buy—”

“I know.” Aaron leaned against me and kissed my shoulder. “I think it’s a great idea but the problem is that you don’t really understand how much things are. You need to be part of some of the major decisions so you get the picture. I have a proposition to make.”

“Oh boy. What did you do and how much is it going to cost?” I asked, slipping his glass from his hand and taking a healthy swig.

“Ha. Ha. It didn’t do anything. Yet. But let’s be real, this whole thing is going to cost a fortune but it’ll be worth it. I’ve already done a bulk of the research and Vic is a great resource but I still think we should a week powwow so I can go over things with you before we meet the wedding planner. We don’t waste time or veer off course…because yes, Vic really did ask how my fiancé felt about a caviar bar.”

“Oh my God.” I set the glass down and gulped.

“Don’t worry, Papi. I told him it wasn’t your style. But gosh, I could easily get talked into a champagne fountain. It sounds romantic, doesn’t it?”


Aaron snickered at my quick reply and gestured for me to eat. “See the problem? I promise I won’t make any rash decisions, but I need your input on some things if we’re going to make it to the altar without you wringing my neck when I’m ten thousand dollars over—”

“Ten thousand!” My jaw dropped as I widened my eyes comically.

“Calm down. I’m innocent. I’ve been so good it hurts,” he said with a sigh. “But if something is going to hurt it should be in a good way. And preferably with an orgasm or two. Don’t you agree?” Aaron lowered his hand and rubbed his palm over my half-hard cock.


“We should have our husband-to-be chats once a week to discuss our plans.”

I lifted my hips slightly and cupped his neck to bring him closer. “Good idea.”

“But you’ll have to give me your undivided attention,” he purred as he pulled at the elastic band of my shorts and boxer briefs. Then he slipped his fingers under the fabric and grabbed my dick. “I don’t want to compete with basketball, baseball or anything else. It’ll be a special date. Just me and you.”

“Mmm. Yes.” I licked the corner of his mouth then pulled his pajamas and boxer briefs down and kneaded his ass.

“We can be flexible about the day and time,” he said in a throaty tone, nipping my jaw as he stroked me from base to tip.

“What about location?” I asked, tracing his crack with my middle finger.

“Yes. Anywhere is fine.” He smeared precum over my cock in a lazy circular motion he knew drove me insane.

I stilled his hand and bit his bottom lip. “Then I think we should have our first planning date now. In bed.”

To be continued…



Leaning Into the Look COVER REVEAL!

I’m thrilled to announce that Leaning Into the Look, Book 6 in my Leaning Into Series will be here March 23! That’s just over four short weeks from today. Woohoo! While we’re waiting, we might as well enjoy the beautiful new cover by Reese Dante… Ta da!

Readers who are familiar with the other books in the series will remember Grant and Miles (If you haven’t read them, not to worry! All my books are standalones). They are an oddball couple for sure. Grant is a gorgeous real estate broker working for the family firm in San Francisco and Miles is one of Grant’s best friend’s secretary. They’ve known each other for years but Grant has done his best to keep his distance from the perky redhead. He likes him just fine but Miles is… a lot. But when they meet at a party after Miles’ recent breakup, things change overnight and suddenly Grant finds himself making a series of impulsive decisions to remain in Miles’s orbit. Sure, the guy is a wild card and maybe even a little crazy but there’s something about him that makes Grant long for more. *sigh…

The official cover reveal party is happening today on my FB reader page, Lane’s Lovers (exclusive excerpt) and at Diverse Reader ($10 Amazon gift card!). I’ll be sure to keep you updated with details as we get closer. I’m considering doing a pre-order with this title. Thoughts?

Also… don’t forget Leaning Into the Fall is now available on audio too. Check it out here. And Leaning Into Touch is currently in production. Woohoo! So much happening with the San Fran boys!

I’ll leave you with the blurb for Leaning Into the Look.    Happy Reading! Lane xo

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous redhead going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

Leaning Into the Fall is Here on Audio Now!

LeaningIntoTheFall-AUDIOBOOK-PromoAd-1200x628Woohoo! I’m thrilled to announce that my first full-length self-pub book, Leaning Into the Fall is now available on audio! The very talented Nick J. Russo has done a masterful job with the very quirky Nick and the incredibly patient Wes. It’s a rush to hear characters with funny traits and odd expressions jump from the page the way they do with Nick’s narration. Take a listen here.

And I’m happy to report he’s busy working on Josh and Finn’s story now! Be sure to check in at my Facebook readers group, Lane’s Lovers, for details on how to win a copy of the audiobook next week. Unknown-2In other news… look for part 1 of Better Than Wedding next week! I’ll post it here and in my group. Yes!! Matt & Aaron’s wedding big day is finally coming!

Happy Reading & Listening! Lane xo


A Way with You Release Day! Woohoo!

AWayWithYou-1698x2700A Way with You is live on Amazon now! This is book 2 in the short series I wrote for Felice Steven’s Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle World launch and this one belongs to Reeve and Leo. (Book 1 is A Way with Words , btw.) If you’re a fan of office romance and electric chemistry, this novella is for you. Reeve is a small town guy who’s ready to escape to the big city but he soon realizes he’s as woefully unprepared for the cutthroat atmosphere as he is for dealing with a temperamental and very sexy boss.images-6 A Way with You is available in the US only. I’m hosting a few giveaways, ideal for those who are anxious to read this one but are unable to purchase it. Come on by my FB group, Lane’s Lovers and MM Daily Grind today! There’s also a FB party at Felice Stevens’ Fun House beginning at 4pm EST. This features all the participating authors so be sure to say hello! I’ll be there from 9-10EST.

*Quick note: Amazon appears to be having a glitch with cover art but they’ll hopefully get that worked out today. The link is still live!

Happy Reading!  Lane xo



7 Days and Counting till A Way with You is Here!

AWayWithYou-1698x2700The countdown is on and I love it when we get to single digits! A Way with You will be released January 18, one week from today. Woohoo! This is a Kindle Worlds book for Felice Stevens’ Memories with the Breakfast Club and book 2 in the mini series I wrote for the “world”. I’m so excited to introduce Remy’s brother, Reeve, and the very formidable Leo Rodriguez. There’s just something about a hard-nosed man with all kinds of rough edges in a business suit. *sigh.

I’ll post the Amazon link as soon as it’s live. Here are a few lines from the upcoming novella.

A Way with You (coming Jan. 18):

“Take off your shoes and your sweater and lie next to me.” When I didn’t jump into action, Leo made a “get moving” circular motion with his hand. Then he kicked off his Prada loafers, grabbed the beige woolen blanket draped over the back of the sofa, and propped a throw pillow behind his head. “We don’t have to do anything. Just lie down.”

“On your chest?”

“Sure. Rest your eyes.”

“Don’t you have to get up early? I should go,” I said though I didn’t move a muscle.

“Do you want to go?”

“No,” I admitted.

“Then stop thinking so hard. Lie with me and just…I don’t know, tell me about that chili recipe you were bragging about earlier or your favorite movie or something.”

*My inspiration pic for Leo…


And be sure to check out Tony and Remy’s story in Book 1, A Way with Words.


Happy Reading! Lane xo

Cover Reveal for A Way with You… Coming January 18!

I thought I might have to wait until release day to share the cover for my upcoming novella, A Way with You. I’ve been sitting on this one for well over a month and some secrets, like new cover art by the fabulously talented Reese Dante, are hard to keep! So without further adieu… ta da!AWayWithYou-1698x2700A Way with You  is Book 2 in the series I wrote for Felice Stevens’ Kindle Worlds launch of Memories with the Breakfast Club. The first novella, A Way with Words, was released last June and I was thrilled with the response to Remy and Tony’s story so I decided to write one more. If you’ve read A Way with Words you’ll remember Remy mentioning his brother, Reeve. This is his story.

Reeve always wanted to work in a ritzy Manhattan high-rise. But when he finally lands his dream job, it isn’t quite what he hoped it would be. His project doesn’t make sense, his co-workers don’t seem to like him and his boss is a nightmare. An extremely sexy nightmare. Leo Rodriguez has conquered his share of demons. He has a reputation for being gruff and a tad difficult but he’s got big plans that don’t allow for distractions like Reeve. Neither man can deny there’s something between them. The trick is finding a path they can travel together. *Sigh…

Mark your calendars for January 18! Reeve and Leo’s story will be here before you know it!

Happy Reading and Happy New Year! Lane xoIMG_9131 Blurb for A Way with You :

Reeve Nelson is determined to make it in Manhattan. He’s hardworking, dedicated and willing to put in the extra hours required to be successful at his new job at a prestigious real estate firm in the city. There’s no way he’s going back to small-town living and an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go. But his boss isn’t making it easy.

Leo Rodriguez enjoys his reputation as a ruthless businessman. He’s a lone wolf who’s scraped his way from the gutter to rebuild his life and launch a distinguished career on his own terms. When an opportunity to expand in the market comes up, Leo wants the eager new agent with a sense of wonder on the project. However, nothing goes quite as planned. Reeve expected to be intimidated and overwhelmed by Leo, but the explosive mutual attraction and fierce desire between them is a big surprise. Neither man is looking for love and yet, something special just might happen if they can find their way…together.

In case you missed it, Book 1, A Way with Words is available now on Amazon!AWayWithWords-600x954

Better Than Christmas Shopping- A Matt & Aaron Short Story

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 5.57.59 PMHappy Holidays! I know many of my readers are big Matt and Aaron fans and have been anxiously awaiting their wedding short story. I’d hoped to post it before the holidays but it’s looking more like next month. In the meantime, I’ve gone through one of the original short stories I wrote soon after Better Than Good and dusted off this little one about the day Matt and Aaron went Christmas shopping. Chronologically, it takes place around their second holiday season together.

Hopefully, you’re all finishing those last minute holiday preparations and are enjoying time with your families and friends now. I’m thrilled to have all my kids home. The house is loud and it’s hard to get anything done but I love it!

**I’ll be sure to keep you posted about upcoming releases in 2018 (the first one is January 18, 2018, btw)!

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading! Lane xoUnknown-7Better Than Christmas Shopping by Lane Hayes

It must be love, was all I could think as I was dragged from one overcrowded holiday decked out store to another. What had started out as a simple light lunch at a café in Georgetown had turned into a full-fledged holiday shopping spree.

“I want to get something for your parents for you to take with you. Just pop into a couple of shops with me. I’ll make it quick, I promise.”

“Aar, you don’t have to get them anything. Don’t worry about it,” I grumbled, pulling his elbow to halt his progress before he escaped into the nearby William Sonoma.

He stopped short and scowled at me. And fuck, it was kind of cute when he pouted and his dark hair fell into his eyes. I pushed it off his forehead and grinned at my lover who responded by saying something I was sure wasn’t so nice in Spanish.

“Don’t worry about it?” he repeated, narrowing his hazel eyes irritably.

Oh boy. I pressed a quick kiss on his nose and straightened the collar on his navy wool coat. “Let’s go home and get back in bed. It’s cold and—”

“Matty, I’m surprised at you. Don’t you want your parents to like me?”

“Gifts don’t make people like you. Besides, they like you already.”

“True, but they help,” he quipped with a wink. “And no…your parents don’t like me. Scratch that…they like me fine, but as a friend for you, not as your partner, significant other, boyfriend, etcetera. Your mom still flinches when you touch my hand. Trust me, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way over the holidays. You know, goodwill toward your fellow man and all.”

I groaned but it was hopeless to argue. It was a nice gesture and I wasn’t going to squash the idea. I shrugged and motioned for him to lead the way. I yanked at his sleeve and gave him a sharp look before he walked away. “Make it quick. I’m already feeling claustrophobic.”

Aaron rolled his eyes. “All right. Then give me a little help. Should I do a family gift? Separate gifts may seem too personal, like I’m trying too hard. What do they like? How about something for the house or better yet, the kitchen. Like an olive wood cutting board or gourmet treats…hmmm. Come with me.”

The second we walked into the overcrowded home goods store, I felt that familiar overheated, uncomfortable sensation begin a slow crawl over my skin. Shopping was torture. I hated it when I was a kid and it hadn’t gotten any better as an adult. The desire to flee was strong but I was trapped and Aaron was on a mission. I needed to help find something quick so I’d be free.

“Do you think they’d like a salad bowl? This one is such a gorgeous wood. Do you think it’s olive wood? It might be a pain for you to transport though. How about—?”

“They love salad. They would love the salad bowl,” I deadpanned.

“Okay, but what about the cheese board? It’s made of the same wood. I could add—”

“Yes They love cheese. Get that.”

He eyed me sharply. “You are not taking this seriously.”

“I’m dying here, babe. It’s hard for me to take anything but my diminishing sanity seriously right now.”

“We haven’t even been here for ten minutes. How can you be complaining already?”

“I’m not complaining,” I insisted. I pointed at the small cutting board and tried to smile. “Get the cheese thing. It’s easier to transport, like you said. Done. Perfect. Now let’s go home.”

I turned away to avoid being drawn further into conversation, knowing he’d add five other possible choices if I stood still long enough. I stopped short a moment later when I spotted one of the partners at my firm, Trey Hughes, with another man and two small children in the next aisle. I stared at them for a second, thinking it was kind of cool to see an interracial couple like Aaron and me. Or sort of like us.

Aaron was a five foot eight Puerto Rican American spitfire who barely came up to my shoulders while I looked like a basic all-American former jock with dark blond hair and blue eyes. Trey, on the other hand, was a tall African American man in his early forties. He was lean and handsome with dark, close cropped hair and green eyes. He was one of my favorite partners at the office because he went out of his way to be friendly to newbies like myself. But he looked as miserable as me at the moment, if that was possible.

Trey headed down the cramped aisle and greeted me with a friendly smile. “Hello Matt. How are you?”

“I’m good. Thanks.”

He held his hand out for me to shake but withdrew it to make a superhero-style save, reining a small blond boy to his side and then grabbing a kitchen gadget from his hands. Trey gave me a sheepish half smile that made him look more like a flustered parent than the cool competent partner of a well-respected law firm. “Owen, this is Mr. Sullivan. He works in my office. Say hello.”

I shook Trey’s hand then bent to greet the boy. “How’s it going, buddy?”

“Good. I’m gonna see Santa,” he said in a serious tone.

“Hey, that’s cool. What are you going to ask him for?”

“Legos. I wanna build a space ship. A really big one that has a zillion pieces.” His blue eyes widened comically as he flailed his arms for emphasis.

“That sounds awesome. I love Legos,” I commented.

“Me too, but we have to hurry.” Owen glanced up at Trey and tugged his jacket. “Let’s go, Daddy.”

I straightened and gave my boss a lopsided smile. “Good luck with that Santa line.”

“Hmph. Thanks. Are you doing some holiday shopping?” Trey asked politely.

I turned briefly to see where Aaron was before replying. “My boyfriend is. I’m along for the ride.”

“Same.” He chuckled before pulling a different boy of about the same age away from a free sample platter on a nearby table. This child was his spitting image. He had light brown skin like his father and short dark hair. “Tyler, knock it off. Sorry, these two are a handful today. This is our other son, Ty,” he said, setting a protective hand on the boy’s shoulder.

Tyler said a quick hello then grabbed Owen’s sleeve and sprinted to their other dad who was busy checking out the same “gorgeous wood” salad bowls Aaron was still perusing.

“They’re cute. How old are they?” I asked.
“Five. They’re Tasmanian devils at the park let alone in a store like this. We’re asking for trouble.” He glanced back just as his sons started to climb a display of high-end pots and pans. “Oh boy. I better corral them. Have you met my husband, Patrick?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

I followed him over toward where one of the little boys had successfully removed a few pots from the display to create a clearer platform for climbing. I laughed. It was exactly the kind of thing my brother and I would have done when we were little and our mom took too long in a store. Trey gathered the small boys by their jacket collars then leaned down and said something to the squirming boys that had them suddenly behaving like angels. Then he inclined his head and introduced me to his husband.

“Honey, this is Matt Sullivan. He’s one of the associates at the firm. Matt, this is my husband, Patrick.”

“Nice to meet you, Matt. Did you meet our little terrors here?” Patrick turned to look lovingly at his brood, his hands clutching at the same salad bowl Aaron had been checking out a few minutes earlier.

“Yes, they’re adorable.”

They really were. I didn’t know the story here, but it seemed obvious that each boy was the biological son of the other. I remembered seeing the family photos in his office, and I knew Trey was married, but I didn’t know the details. Partners and associates didn’t socialize much at our office. Not because it was frowned upon, but because there weren’t enough hours in any given day with our workloads.

I studied Patrick while his attention was fixed on his boys. He was my height with short hair blond hair and sharp even features. He reminded me a refined professor with his wire-rimmed glasses. And the red scarf draped over his black pea coat added a layer of sophistication that was a funny contrast to the monkeys jumping around him.

I started when Aaron jostled my elbow a moment later, carrying the cheese board he’d been eying and a few fancy looking bottles.

“Hey! I think I’ll get the cutting board and a couple of gourmet olive oils. Oh, wait. Can those travel on a plane with you?”

“I don’t think so, babe.” I pulled Aaron against my side and introduced him to Trey and Patrick. “And those two are their sons, Owen and Tyler.”

“Pleased to meet you both.” Patrick graciously held out a hand to Aaron and then to me.

“I love that bowl.” Aaron said pointing to the bowl in Patrick’s hands. “You know, I think I’m right about the liquid ban. Do you know anything about it?”

My eyes glazed over. I stepped away to give Patrick and Aaron room to discuss airplane regulations and salad bowls. Trey chuckled, but his grin faded when the little boys wiggled out of his hold.

“Okay, I need to remove these guys from potential catastrophe. We’re going to see Santa. Care to join us, Matt?”

“Yeah! Santa, Santa, Santa!” Both boys jumped up and down with excitement.

I loved kids, but there was no way I was prolonging the mall torture.

“Thanks, but we’re going to get going as soon as Aaron makes up his mind,” I replied, shooting a meaningful glance at my man. “Right babe?”

“Right.” Aaron nodded then resumed his conversation with Patrick when Trey left the store holding each kid by the hand.

I watched my boss and his kids disappear into the sea of shoppers, wishing they’d said they were going anywhere but into the mall. I shrugged, intent now to persuade Aaron to move it along. He and Patrick were still deep in conversation. Aaron seemed to be telling an animated story judging by how fast his hands were moving. I had no idea what he was talking about. I was too warm now and the sound of innocuous chatter over the strains of an overplayed Christmas song was slowly driving me nuts. I had to get out.

“Hey um…what did you decide on?” I set my arm over Aaron’s shoulders and kissed his cheek. The public display of affection was slightly out of place. At the very least, my timing was off but I figured it would get his attention.

Aaron narrowed his gaze then smiled mischievously. “You about to burst if I don’t get you out of here, aren’t you?”

“That’s a nice way of putting it… yes.” I smiled but I couldn’t help the note of desperation in my voice.

Patrick laughed and shook his head fondly before stepping aside.“My boys feel the same way, Matt. The big guy and the little ones. I rarely attempt even the shortest shopping expedition with them. It was nice to meet you both. We’d love to have you over to try the dish I was telling you about, Aaron. I’ll talk to Trey about getting something on the calendar after the first of the year.”

As we said our goodbyes, I couldn’t help being amused that my boyfriend had so effortlessly made friends with my boss’s husband. But Aaron was like that. He made friends easily.

“He was nice,” Aaron said conversationally as he moved toward a long line leading to the registers at the front of the store.

I closed my eyes briefly and sent up a prayer for patience. “Very nice.”

“And kinda hot, not that I was looking, of course.”

When I rolled my eyes, Aaron burst into a fit of giggles. I glowered at him. “What is so funny?”

“You. You look perfectly miserable.”

“I am perfectly miserable. How is that funny?”

“It’s not. I’m sorry.” He didn’t sound sorry though, so I shot him another dirty look.


Aaron hooked his arm through mine and smiled up at me affectionately. “I love you, Matty.”

“I love you too. Obviously. There’s no other way to explain what I’m doing here.”

“Ha. I have to ask…how did you do your Christmas shopping in the past?”

“There’s this nifty thing called the internet. Heard of it? It is a life saver to people like me who hate to go to the fucking mall…especially during peak season when people are willing to push each other out of the way for the sake of a so-called deal,” I huffed sarcastically.

“You know, some people actually get into the holiday spirit by shopping. Christmas music in every store, the friendly hustle and bustle of cheerful folks trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, and maybe a hot chocolate break as a reward for a job well done. You can’t say you don’t enjoy any of those things. That’s too Scrooge-y!”

“Bah humbug.”

Aaron chuckled and moved forward as the person in front of us slowly inched a space ahead. His eyes widened with delight when he recognized Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” played on the overhead speakers. He sang the chorus and leaned into my side playfully. Then he snaked his arm under my jacket and hugged me.

“Don’t you like this song?”

“It’s okay.”

“Mmm. Just okay?”

“It’s too slow and sad and this line is too long. Forget the board. Or mail it or whatever. Let’s get outta here,” I pleaded.

“Someone needs a hot chocolate,” he singsonged.

“If it doesn’t come with a shot of Bailey’s or something stronger, I’m not interested.”

Aaron eyed me like I was a strange specimen under a petri dish. Interesting, but unsavory. “Wow. I didn’t realize how much work you’d be. That’s all right. I’m up to the task. I love Christmas and one day you’ll say the same.”

My Christmas spirit may be questionable, but I couldn’t help but be utterly charmed by his smile. He was freaking adorable. I gave him a dubious look and traced his clean-shaven jaw with my thumb. “I love Christmas. I just don’t like shopping, which means I must really like you.”


Fifteen minutes later, we finally made our way outside. The street was crowded with holiday shoppers in a hurry. Someone ran into my side and sent the heavy bag in my hand careening against my leg. Aaron gave me a knowing look but instead of walking toward my car, he headed in the opposite direction.

“Aar, I want to go home.”

He was undeterred by cranky mood. He rubbed my bicep lovingly and grinned like a fool. “C’mon Scrooge, let me buy you a drink. How about a peppermint hot toddy?”

“Hot toddy? What are you from the 1800s? I’ll have a beer, and I’ll even let you buy it.” I offered magnanimously.

“How very good of you, kind sir. Follow me.”

He steered me to one of our favorite local bars. Of course there was a line. I sighed heavily, but Aaron shushed me then waltzed directly toward the bartender who smiled in recognition. I looked on, hoping he’d work his magic. I didn’t really care if he had to flirt to make it happen. I was desperate for a beer and a place to sit. Aaron motioned for me to grab the high table next to the window when the couple sitting there stood to leave. I obeyed then turned to admire my man’s sexy ass as he leaned over the bar to make small talk with the bartender.

Aaron set our drinks on the table a few minutes later, grinning triumphantly as he lifted his festive-looking cocktail in a toast. “To holiday spirit. Long may it live. Bottoms up, Crabbypants.”

“Crabbypants?” I chuckled in spite of myself and tapped my beer bottle against his glass.

“If the shoe fits and all that.”

“What did you order?” I asked before gulping my beer.

“A peppermentini. Want to taste?”

“No thanks.”

“Still grumpy, eh? Please tell me your lack of Christmas spirit is a low blood sugar thing and not a holiday thing. You hated picking out a Christmas tree and—”

“That’s not true. I liked it fine for the first half hour. I just think you took a little longer than necessary to make a decision. It’s a tree, for fuck’s sake. It’s going to dry out in a couple weeks max.”

“All the more reason to pay close attention and choose one that will last longer rather than the one standing next to it, which may appear to be exactly the same, but could have a terrible deficiency of some sort. You know, like dead branches lurking near the trunk.” He paused before continuing, “It’s a little like choosing a mate.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“I’m absolutely serious. If I was the type of person who just willy-nilly picked any ol’ tree, how is it that far removed from dating any ol’ guy?”

I threw my head back and laughed. “Well, for starters, one is a tree and the other is human. I hope.”

“You aren’t taking me seriously.” He huffed before taking a sip of his pink-tinted cocktail.

“No, I’m not. That makes no sense, babe.”

“Well, it may sound far fetched, but I’m picky by nature. I’ve “dated” a lot, but you’re the first person I’ve been serious about. Or… the first tree I’ve ever brought home.”

I smiled at him and impulsively reached across the table to put my hand over his for a moment. “Weird analogy but the same goes for me. Don’t freak out… but seeing my boss with his husband and their two kids…” I took a breath and paused to search for a sentiment that wouldn’t scare him away. “It’s cool to me.”

Okay, that was lame, I thought with a wince.

Aaron smirked. “So you want to have a hot husband and a couple of kids one day?”

“Yes. But you should know that even saying the word ‘marriage’ or ‘husband’ is a gigantic step for me. The last girlfriend I had—”

“Kristin? The pretty blonde?” If he was going for nonchalant, it wasn’t working.

“Yeah. She was constantly bringing up weddings. And I mean constantly. She either talked about one she was in or gossiped about who might be next. It was weird to me, but I guess that had more to do with the fact that I knew I never wanted that with her. We didn’t love each other. It wouldn’t have ended well.”

“You don’t think she loved you?”

“No. She liked the idea of me. Marrying a lawyer, moving to the suburbs, two kids, a dog, a luxury SUV. She didn’t love me. Hell, I don’t think she really knew me. You know me.” I reached out to touch him again, this time just letting our finger tips touch as our arms rested on the table.

“I do. I know you’re super crabby at the mall and that you leave your underwear and towels on the floor regularly, never make a bed and hate blue cheese. I love you anyway.”

I chuckled. “I love you too. And I’ve never said those words to anyone but you.”

He smiled sweetly and threaded our fingers together. “Same here.”

“Aar, I—I’m… Fuck, I’m so bad at this stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“Feelings stuff.” I shook my head in frustration and looked out the window at the holiday revelers. “I may not be as choosy when it comes to picking out a tree, but I don’t take what we have lightly. Maybe I’m a little too serious sometimes but—”

“You?” he teased.

“Yeah, well… I wouldn’t have asked you to live with me or agreed to get tested so we can have sex without condoms. And certainly wouldn’t have said the L-word if I didn’t mean it completely. What we have feels special and sacred and you mean more to me than anyone ever has. I never thought I wanted this but, I’m grateful I have it now.”

Aaron’s eyes shone with unshed tears. He bit his bottom lip and gave me a watery smile. “Me too, Matty.”

“I don’t want to freak you out but someday I want what my boss and his husband have. I want to get married and have kids. I want to take them to see Santa, teach them how to ride a bike and…” I halted mid-speech, hoping to find a way to finesse my outburst so I didn’t ask for more than he was ready to give.

“And?” he prodded.

“I want it with you. Everything. I can see it. The house, the rings, the kids, the dogs. It doesn’t scare me when I think about having those things with you. We belong together,” I said softly.

The background music, clinking glasses and the hum of conversations faded. Aaron was all I could see and his voice was the only sounded I wanted to hear. I marveled at how he effortlessly turned me inside out. I’d do anything to be near him and part of his world.

Aaron nodded profusely as he dabbed the corner of his eye with a cocktail napkin.

“Yes. I think so too but… all this “normal” stuff scares me. I never thought I could have it so I convinced myself I didn’t want it. The truth is… I don’t want to scar my kids by forgetting to remove my glitter nail polish or by kissing their dad in public. It was hard to get to a place where I felt good about myself. What if I unintentionally put a child through hell by… being me?”

“That’s not possible. You’re fearless, sophisticated and confident. And you’re smart. Any child would be lucky to have you as their parent. Look, I’m not ready to get married or have kids immediately, but when the time comes, I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly. I know you will too. And you’ll be fucking amazing. The way you always are.”

“I love you, Matty. You’re a good man. You make me want to be better than I think I am.”

“You’re perfect the way you are. Don’t change a thing.” I lifted our joined hands to my lips and kissed his knuckles.

“Nothing at all? So you don’t mind that it takes me half an hour more than most people to find the perfect Christmas tree or that I blast “All I Want for Christmas” every time it comes on the radio?” he asked. He sat back on his barstool and unhooked the candy cane from the edge of his martini glass.

“I might not always be patient but I don’t really mind,” I said, lowering my gaze to the peppermint treat he sucked between his lips.

“So what would you say if I asked you to pop into one more store with me after you finish your beer?”

I opened my mouth intending to let him have it but when he held my gaze as he licked the length of the candy cane, my dick twitched in my jeans. It took me a second to refocus. I scowled when Aaron quirked his brow and winked. Then slipped my knee between his under the table and leaned forward.

“I’d say no fucking chance. We’re going home so you can do whatever you’re doing to that candy cane to me instead. Got it?”

Aaron’s eyes lit with humor. “Yes, sir.”

I hopped off my barstool and clandestinely adjusted myself before gathering our bags. “Come on, baby. Let’s put that extra Christmas spirit to good use. In bed.”

He chuckled then tipped back the last of his cocktail and gave me a funny look I couldn’t quite read. “Are you always going to be this bossy when you’re my husband and the father of our kids?”

On some level, I knew he was joking, but the words knocked me off my feet like a physical thing. In an instant I could see time unravel and reveal secrets I wouldn’t dare seek out on my own. I saw us buying our first house, walking down the aisle with our friends and family looking on. And then I saw Aaron holding a child’s hand. Our child.

My breath hitched audibly as an emotional wave hit me out of the blue. I licked my lips nervously and looked away to pull myself together. Then I turned back and cradled his chin before pressing lips to his. I pulled back slightly and smiled.

“I’ll always try to be what you need, Aar.”

“Me too, Matty. Te amo.”

This time Aaron’s smile blinded me. Fuck, he was beautiful. He threw his arms around my neck and squeezed, muttering sweet nothings in Spanish as he rocked from side to side. I realized then that I would do anything to always feel this way. I’d give him the moon and the stars and whatever else he wanted. I’d follow anywhere he led for a chance to make that vision come true. I wanted it all. With Aaron.


Leaning Into a Wish Final Blog Tour Stops!

LeaningIntoAWish-magic-teasers900x675It’s funny that Leaning Into a Wish has been out for almost three weeks already. You’d think I’d be ahead of the game with holiday preparations but I literally just put up my Christmas tree yesterday and I’ve only purchased a couple of gifts. Holiday procrastination at its finest. I’ll do my best not to be at the mall on Christmas Eve but no promises! LOL

Thank you all for embracing Ryan and Danny’s story and for making my first jump into writing a holiday novella a great experience. Here are the final stops today for the Leaning Into a Wish blog tour. Remember there’s a $25 Amazon rafflecopter giveaway! Also, I’ll be doing a giveaway today at the MM Daily Grind, be sure to pop in!

Ta da!…this my tree. I’m not sure I’m finished decorating but it’s pretty, isn’t it?

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!  Lane xo


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