Rating: 4.25 stars
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A year ago, Josh Sheehan ended his friends-with-benefits arrangements with hunky Irishman Finn Gallagher. Josh knew Finn wasn’t interested in anything serious, but knowing his own feelings were growing, Josh figured it was better to end things before he got hurt. After not seeing Finn for a year, however, Josh unexpectedly runs into him again a couple of times, and he can’t help the attraction and the connection that still exists between them.
The guys end up rekindling their friendship, as well as their sexual relationship. Things are kind of a mess for Josh with his personal life between losing his job and some career indecision, as well as some family issues. Finn is there for him the whole time, providing support and helping Josh work through things. And their sexual connection continues to be off the charts hot. But Josh worries he is getting too emotionally involved again, especially as his friends Eric and Nick warn him off Finn. As close as he and Finn are getting, Finn is still keeping a lot of secrets and Josh is wary about getting hurt. But the more time the guys spend together, the closer they grow. Now Josh needs to figure out if there is a chance for something more between them, and both Josh and Finn need to be brave enough to try for their chance at love.
Leaning Into Touch is the fourth book in Lane Hayes’ Leaning Into series (counting the short story Leaning Into Love that was originally part of the It Was Always You anthology and is now available as a standalone). Josh is one of the group of friends central to the series, and we met Finn in an earlier book as a business colleague of Josh’s friends Nick and Eric. We got hints that the guys were seeing one another back then, and now we get the full story of their relationship about a year after things ended between them. So it was nice to catch up with these men here, and while you could probably read this story on its own, having the background on the larger group of friends and their past experiences is helpful.
Hayes does a nice job bringing us back into the relationship between Josh and Finn. As I said, we knew something had been going on between them, but here we get caught up in their past as well as seeing them rekindle their connection. The chemistry between these guys is clear and they are steamy and intense together. But we can also see the growth of real affection for each other and the way Finn is able to help provide Josh with emotional support during his tougher times. You can’t help but like Finn, with his charming demeanor, and I fell for him along with Josh. We can see what a great match these guys make together, but also that neither think anything lasting can be between them. So I enjoyed watching them find that emotional connection between them amidst the sexual attraction.
Normally I have no problem with a single POV story, but here I did struggle somewhat in Josh’s sole viewpoint. I was never really clear what Finn was thinking in all this, both in terms of Josh’s abrupt departure from his life a year ago, as well as what Finn was looking for now. Josh clearly thinks that Finn isn’t interested in anything serious, but the guys never really talk about their relationship, past or present, so I had no idea what Finn was really looking for by reconnecting with Josh. I could never tell if Josh was imaging Finn’s lack of interest in a relationship, or if that was really the case. I also think there were other elements here that were brought into the story but not really developed enough. For example, we know that Nick and Eric are against Josh getting involved with Finn as they don’t think he is a good bet as a partner, but it was never clear to me why (Finn is somewhat of a villain earlier in the series but they seem to have a good working relationship with him now). It keeps coming up that they are against the relationship, but the reason is never really explained in detail. We also see Josh in career transition and know he is uncertain about where he wants to go in the future, but this isn’t gone into in a lot of depth and it is then just wrapped up in the epilogue with Josh headed in a new direction. I just think that there are pieces here that needed more focus if they were going to be brought into the story.
That said, this was a really enjoyable installment in the series. I liked both of these guys together and I really liked the way they went from lovers to friends. Hayes made me really believe in their connection and I liked revisiting this couple and seeing them find their way together.