Today I am so pleased to welcome Lane Hayes to Joyfully Jay. Lane has come to talk to us about her latest release, Better Than Friends. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and an amazing giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Everybody loves a bad boy. Tats, Harley and a devil may care attitude are insta-interesting. Right? Admit it. Even if you end up with the accountant, the naughty leather guy had your heart at one point. When Curt meets Jack in Better Than Friends, he is no more immune to Jack’s rock star good looks and air of confidence than you or I would be. He can tell Jack is special. However, Curt is firmly grounded in the real world and he knows Jack is out of his league. Or is he?
Jack is older than Curt and his interests seem to be the polar opposite of Curt’s until Curt discovers Jack loves baseball. Not only does he love it, Jack’s passionate about it. He’s a trivia enthusiast and a stats fanatic. Kind of geeky and endearing rather than unattainable. A tentative thread of a shared interest gives them a reason and opportunity to spend time together. Before they realize it, true friendship is born. One based on respect and affection with the added component of a sexual connection neither can deny.
Yes, Better Than Friends is about friendship, but it’s also about the crazy magnetic pull of falling for someone who is your complete opposite. I’m particularly fond of stories about friends falling for one another. If well-written, they resonate. The allure of a lasting relationship with someone who shares common interests or at least your wacky sense of humor is a strong one. Physical chemistry meets happily sharing a bowl of popcorn while watching an old movie on television…sign me up!
Better Than Friends is the third book in the Better Than Stories series, following Better Than Good and Better Than Chance. It is a standalone book, but characters from the other novels make appearances. Ultimately the series is about a group of friends living and working in the DC area. Their stories are separate from their friends’ but they are connected. I can’t help it… I have a soft spot for a series! Hopefully if you haven’t checked out the first two books, you’ll be interested in going back to read out about the other boys too. 😉
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jay!
By twelve thirty I was showered, dressed, ready and waiting outside my building. I’d been keyed up all morning anticipating my day with Jack. I felt a little more relaxed after a trip to the gym, but I was still nervous. I wondered if I should have suggested we meet at the park. Or maybe I should have insisted on picking him up so I wouldn’t be forced to ride on the back of his Harley. Which opened a different can of worms so to speak… no one was forcing me to do anything, so what was with me? Was I suddenly a fan of motorcycles and tattoos? I smiled at the thought, which should have alarmed me, but didn’t.
I heard his bike before I saw him. My first glimpse of Jack driving down my block on his sleek black and chrome bike wearing a leather jacket and dark aviator glasses made my mouth water. He looked like a model from a magazine advertising… I don’t know… something cool, hip, trendy and yes, sexy. He certainly didn’t look like the kind of guy who picked up men like me. I had an urge to look over my shoulder like I did at the wedding to see if this was real or if there was some hot edgy looking dude standing nearby. Jack was in front of me before I had a chance.
“Guess what I brought you?” He said by way of greeting. The smirky lop-sided grin made me think it could be anything from an apple to a dildo.
“No idea. A dildo?” I blushed furiously, surprised I’d said it out loud.
Jack laughed appreciatively and turned off the engine as he stepped around to the back of his Harley. He held a second helmet and gave me a goofy chagrined look, shaking his head slowly.
“Sorry honey. I wish I’d known. I certainly would have brought my best ten inch play toy to share. Next time.” He held the helmet level with my head indicating I should walk toward him so he could place it on my head. I rolled my eyes but complied.
Jack smelled heavenly. A delicious combination of leather, cologne, mint and a hint of tobacco. I quelled the urge to sniff him while he took his sweet time fastening the strap under my chin.
“Are you done yet? Are you sure it’s the right size? I can drive you know. In fact, I insist. You got the tickets. Let me do the rest.”
Jack quirked his eyebrows and cupped my chin between his thumb and forefinger before a leaned down to gently kiss my lips. He pulled away and walked back to his bike.
“Let’s go, hot shot. Game starts in an hour.”
I gulped and tugged at the strap around my neck sending up a quick prayer that I’d manage to get behind Jack without falling on my ass. I made a concerted effort not to think too hard about what compelled me get on his bike without argument. For the moment and for a reason I couldn’t quite define, I was where I wanted to be.
There is a majestic quality to baseball, which is particularly evident when you attend a stadium game. From the moment I cleared the colonnade area and emerged to take my place next to Jack in the sea of spectators I was transfixed by the beauty of that perfect diamond and lush green grass below. It’s always been like that for me. It didn’t matter that neither of the teams playing were ones I followed. I knew I’d enjoy myself because I loved the sport.
But clearly not as much as Jack.
The guy was obviously in his element. He took his helmet off in the parking lot and replaced it with a Nationals baseball cap.
“What? I’m rooting for the home team.” He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly at the smirk I did a poor job hiding.
I found his enthusiasm real fucking cute. And cute was certainly not an adjective I would have ever thought to use to describe Jack. He was manly, muscular, tough with a mischievous sense of humor. He wasn’t cute. Until he started talking about baseball.
“Okay, can you name the three players who hit forty plus homers and what year they did it? I’ll give you a hint if you need it… they were Braves.”
“I give up.”
“You didn’t even try!” Jack protested, his eyes blazing with annoyance as he squinted at me over the top of his aviator lenses.
I turned to look at him, giving him my full attention. I was blown away by how outlandishly hot the guy was practically every time I saw him, but it was times like that when he was just an enthusiastic sport fan animatedly discussing one of his favorite pastimes that he became something more. More real, more magnetic. Just more.
When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.
Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.
Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is spending more time these days doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids, and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.
Lane has brought a $25 gift card to an ebook retailer of choice, as well as a copy of Better Than Friends to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, June 26th at 11:59 pm EST.
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