Geordie de la Rosa is a co-owner of Conrad Winery and is known for his flair, his sing-alongs, and his outgoing personality. But since losing his partner Mike three years ago, Geordie has been putting on a good public face, while in reality he is still deeply mourning Mike’s death.
When Levi Yeager buys a local restaurant near the winery, Geordie is surprised when his business partner asks Geordie to help Levi out getting things off the ground. Wes thinks the restaurant may be a good investment for them and that Geordie’s culinary skills and sense of style are what Levi needs to really pull things together. Levi has been struggling since his ex-boyfriend pulled out of the project, leaving him without a chef and without some key expertise. So he is happy to get any help Geordie can give.
The two men seem like total opposites: Geordie is all about style, show tunes, and an over the top personality, while Levi is a former athlete who only recently came out of the closet. Yet despite their differences, the men connect immediately. It takes some time for Geordie to even think about dating; he is still mourning Mike and the idea of being with someone else isn’t easy. But the connection between the men is strong, and Levi is willing to be patient, and soon Geordie realizes this could be something really good between them. But both men come with complicated pasts and those issues could get in the way of what they are building. Now Geordie and Levi must fully move on from their pasts and embrace their futures together.
Leaning into Forever is the seventh story in Lane Hayes’ Leaning Into series. The series follows two groups that intertwine throughout the stories: a group of college friends and the gang from the winery. Geordie has made appearances in a number of the past books, and it has been clear all along that he is still recovering from Mike’s death. So I was really happy to see his story here and watch him find his own happiness.
Hayes does a nice job showing the almost immediate connection between Levi and Geordie, but also giving time for Geordie to be ready to move forward into a relationship. There is a nice balance here between showing how important Mike was to him, but also not bogging things down too much in the past. Even as he moves forward with Levi, there are times when Geordie still deals with his grief, and it feels realistic. But even with some emotional moments, the focus here is really on what these two men are building and I like that Geordie is able to embrace his connection with Levi as wholly separate from what he had with Mike.
These guys are such a fun couple. They are both a bit older and not afraid to be honest about how they are feeling and the connection between them. Levi, in particular, is so sweet and caring. Geordie will admit he is a lot to handle, but Levi loves and accepts him completely and the story plays nicely with their opposites attract dynamic. There are lots of sweet moments, as well as funny scenes that showcase how these two very different men make it work together. I really enjoyed both of them together and their connection sold the book for me.
So I am really pleased with this story and how we get a great resolution for Geordie. I am not sure if this book ends the series, but if so, I feel like we are leaving the whole gang in a really good place. I loved Geordie and Levi together and definitely recommend this book.