Title: The Wrong Man
Author Name: Lane Hayes
Length: 220 pgs
Successful owner of an upscale boutique in fabulous West Hollywood, Brandon Good swears by his personal edict to “live in the present.” After a bad break-up, he agrees to dog sit to keep his mind off his ex. Never did he expect the dog to belong a man from his past, the only man to ever truly break his heart.
When Jake Westley relocates to join the WeHo fire department, the last thing he anticipates is reuniting with his secret high school love. Thrilled with the prospect of reconnecting with Bran, Jake feels no guilt in using his charming old dog as an unwitting matchmaker. As they rekindle their friendship, it becomes clear the intense attraction they once felt is stronger than ever. But as hard as they try to leave the past behind, painful memories resurface. Bran will have to confront his fears and consider the possibility that the man he swore was absolutely the wrong one might be perfect after all.
This book had me wary at the outset. The main character, Brandon is first introduced at a super-camp, superficial, label-slut, Los Angeles type. Ten pages in and I was dreading the home decorating version of The Devil Wears Prada.
But I fell in love with Brandon. The character makes a journey of self discovery and emerges as a sweet, self-aware man.
Jake, on the other hand, had me drooling from the start. He ticks so many favourite boxes. A gorgeous fireman with a diabetic golden retriever? Yes please.
This was a slow burn romance. Jake hurt Brandon in high school. Brandon finds it difficult to form real relationships. The problems between the two characters felt genuine, not at all like artificial plot devices. I like the way emotions between the two men built quietly and tentatively.
I don’t usually like camp characters in books – they are often drawn crudely and uniformly. Brandon is so much more complex. He speaks of ‘playing’ a camp role to entertain customers, but then refuses to reduce his ‘‘fabulousness’ with Jake’s friends. His confusion felt genuine, not like a miswrite. Brandon is working towards self-awareness and Jake’s physical strength forces him to acknowledge and accept that he is ‘fabulous’. Watching the jock turned fireman and the interior designer try to blend lives is something that anyone who has ever loved someone very different to themselves will understand.
Los Angeles, or WeHo as Brandon calls West Hollywood, is the third main character in this story. One of the world’s most superficial cities provides a sharp backdrop to Brandon’s journey towards selflessness and trust. The author colours the story with perceptive observations of the city which give the book much more depth.
A wonderful book.
This is the second in Right and Wrong Stories. I didn’t read the first but I didn’t feel lost. It can be read as a stand-alone.
Brandon Goods is the successful owner of an upscale antiques boutique. He is recovering from a breakup when Jake re-enters his life.
Jake Westley is a fireman, recently moved to the West Hollywood aka WeHo area, and brings along his gentle Labrador that he gained full custody of after a breakup.
This is my first time reading Lane Hayes. This second chance at romance was a heart-warming journey of letting someone back in to your life, and heart. The author does a good job of incorporating humour and a chemistry that you can feel through the pages and will have you rooting for this sweet, sexy second chance couple! Beautiful writing.
- Do you name your books before or after you write them? How about the synopsis?
I usually come up with a book title midway through the writing process. The title has to make sense to the story. Because I write books in a series, IÕm usually looking for one word to sum up the feel for 200 plus pages! Lol. ItÕs a challenge! I always tackle the synopsis after the story is complete. Believe it or not, having 200 words to describe the book isn’t any easier!
- Do you read books? What genre is your favorite?
I LOVE to read! My favorite genre by far is Romance. I’m hooked on MM Contemporary romance novels. I honestly havenÕt read a MF one in years now. I have zero interest. Iove read my share of classics, mysteries and good ol fashion bestsellers too, but hands downÉ romance wins.
- What is one tip that you wish someone had told you?
I wish someone had encouraged me to start writing sooner. Like in my twenties! Lol. My husband made an offhand comment about ten years ago, that I should write because as he put it you read so many of those damn books, you could probably write one in your sleep. Maybe not in my sleep, but he was right. I could read a book a day easily and be ready for the next. Writing isn’t easy by any means, but I definitely have read my fair share and I have a huge respect for the time and discipline required.
- What is one thing not included in your bio? Something random that most people don’t know about you?
Hmm. I danced ballet for sixteen years growing up. I started when I was four and hung up my toe shoes when I was twenty. I loved it but I wasn’t going to be recruited for the American Ballet so I moved on. Lol!
- If you couldn’t write in the genre you normally write in, what genre would you chose?
I’d write mystery. I love a good suspenseful mystery!
- Do you have any special rituals/habits that you do when you write?
Yes! I settle down at my computer early in the morning with a cup of tea and some granola, check email, Twitter and FacebookÉ then repeat. It takes me at least half an hour before I can get in full concentrated writer mode! I wish I could dive in and not waste time but I think my brain needs a slow detach from reality. 🙂
- If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your latest book?
Nothing. Honestly. I fell in love with Brandon while writing The Right Words. I love his strength of character and resilient spirit. Throw in a hunky firefighter with his share of baggage and IÕm sold. 🙂 The Wrong Man is particularly meaningful to me because one of the supporting characters is a 13-year old diabetic yellow Lab, just like the one I have at home. However, it isn’t a book about a dog. It’s a story of renewal and hope in the face of mortality. I’m proud of it and hope the readers enjoy it as well.
- Do you have anything specific to say to your readers?
Thank you! You are the best, most supportive group and I am grateful to have you in my corner! There is nothing better than receiving an email, twitter, FB or blog post from a reader letting me know how excited they are for the series or letting me know how much they enjoyed a book. It’s makes staring at a computer screen for hours on end everyday a pleasure.
- Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you break it?
Yes. No fun. The best thing to do is walk away and come back to it later. Forcing a story will only give you a ton of work on the backend. I would rather be anxious to get to my MCs than stare at the computer hoping inspiration will strike!
- What’s next for you as a writer?
My current WIP is Book #4 in the Better Than Stories. IÕm very close to wrapping it up. Yeah! Book #3 in Right & Wrong Stories will be out this summer, btw. After thatÉ maybe a brand new series! 🙂 Stay tunedÉ
Dog or Cat? Dog
Favorite Color? Blue
Favorite curse word? Fuck
Short or tall? Tall
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Morning or Night? Morning
Ninjas or Pirates? Pirates
Again, I questioned my sanity. Something was odd in my world for sure. My heart was beating double time when he finally turned onto my street. A quick escape was my best bet. I had my fingers wrapped around the car door handle and was ready to rip my other hand from his grasp when he slowed down. He must have sensed my intent to bolt, because he held on to me until I was forced to give him a “what the fuck?” look.
“Let me walk you to your door.”
“Jake, let’s not do this. Please. I really don’t want this evening to get any weirder than it already has been. Thank you for tonight. For dinner and pretending to—”
“Hey, nothing is weird here. It’s dark, and I’m walking you to your door—”
“I’m a big boy. I’ve got this.” I detached my hand from his grip and opened the door.
When I reached the sidewalk, he was waiting for me. The man obviously was hard of hearing.
“You are stubborn.” I gave him my best evil eye before I trudged up the path ahead of him.
“Me? You’re the difficult one. I’m trying to be nice—”
“You don’t have to prove you’re nice to me. I get it. That doesn’t mean—suit yourself.”
I fished my key from my pocket as I approached the well-lit front porch.
“Here I am, safe and sound. No need for worry,” I said flippantly as I turned to Jake.
I swallowed my words. He was closer than I expected. Much closer. I felt the warmth from his body but wasn’t prepared for the hunger I saw in his eyes. I licked my bottom lip nervously. I knew what was going to happen, and though I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, I wasn’t going to stop him. He bent slightly and brushed his nose against mine. I felt his breath on my lips as I waited for him to close the distance between us. Neither of us moved. He smelled delicious, that intoxicating combination of soap and a hint of musky cologne I’d noticed the morning he hugged me in my kitchen. I could have happily buried my nose in his shirt or in the curve where his neck met his shoulders. I closed my eyes and leaned in the tiniest bit closer, expecting him to take over. He still didn’t move.
“Aren’t you going to ki—”
And then he pounced. He crashed his mouth over mine and snaked his arms around my waist, fusing our bodies together. His hands traveled up and down my back while he licked a sensual line across the seam of my lips, requesting entry. I heard myself moan as his tongue danced and collided with mine in a lustful assault. I arched into him instinctively. Jake lowered his hands to my ass, drawing me in tightly as he thrust his hips forward. The friction was hot, and his demanding kisses had my head reeling. This was nothing like our frantic make-out sessions years ago.
Just as that errant thought surfaced to remind me whom I was grinding against like a teenager on my front porch, Jake turned his full attention to my mouth. I was painfully hard, but he was right. We shouldn’t be doing any of this. But I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I bit at his jaw and then licked my way to his ear, flicking the lobe gently with my tongue until I felt his teeth at my neck. I made a strangled sound and went limp in his arms. He was overpowering in a subtle, almost unexpected way. I was two seconds away from ripping his shirt when a car went down my street blaring hip-hop music at an obscene volume. I pulled away and rested my forehead against his shoulder. We stood quietly catching our breath for a moment.
Then Jake pressed a soft kiss on my cheek and stepped away. “Good night, Bran. Thank you for… well, just thank you. I’ll see you soon.”
I stared after him like an idiot, watching him open his door and start the SUV. I heard the familiar hum of distant traffic and smelled the fragrant sweet star jasmine from my neighbor’s garden. Everything looked and seemed to be in place, but something was different.
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.