Today I am so pleased to welcome Lane Hayes to Joyfully Jay. Lane has come to talk to us about her latest release, Out in Winter. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
A few people swarmed around the now vacant tables, pulling them apart to fit their group size. I pointed to a smaller table tucked in the corner near the front, then slipped through the crowd to claim it.
“Nice catch. It’s quieter here too.” Drew draped his coat over the chair and sat down just as a waitress came by to take our order.
I gave an awkward half smile and tried to think of something witty to say. When in doubt, talk about the weather.
“It’s fucking freezing.” I immediately winced. Lame.
“Yeah. Lots of snow too.”
I nodded like an idiot and fixated on his mouth. He had a great smile. It was disarming. I’d never truly understood the concept of being rendered defenseless by a smile until I met Drew. He could be so serious. He turned me inside out when he let his guard down and unleashed that killer grin. Commence sweaty palms and dry-mouth syndrome.
“What was it like on the slopes?” I asked, silently congratulating myself for thinking of an intelligent question.
“It was nice. Not too crowded.”
“Really? It seems like all of LA and the OC drove up here this weekend. Look at this bar. I’ve never seen it this full.”
Drew shot a cursory glance around the interior. “Do you come here often?”
“A few times a season,” I replied, thanking the server when she dropped our beers off at our table. “My friend’s parents own a place here. They encourage him and his siblings to use it. It’s great, except that Colin always invites ten or more of us at a time. It’s going to be extra cozy for sure.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“It is. Ask me if I think so in the morning when everyone’s trying to use the bathrooms at once. If I want to get to the slopes by nine, I’ll have to set my alarm and get a ride there. What time are you gonna go?”
“Skiing, dork. I mean…Boss. That was the plan. Remember?”
Drew snorted. “That was <i>your </i>plan. I just came for some peace and quiet. I didn’t bring any equipment with me.”
“I thought you went skiing today.”
“No, we went inner-tubing,” he said, sipping his beer.
“Oh. That’s cool.”
“It was fun. I hadn’t been in years. We used to come to Big Bear when we were kids. I loved tubing, but I hated pulling that damn tire up the hill when we reached the bottom. There’s a magic carpet out there now.”
I grinned. “Nice. Sounds relaxing. And since you didn’t have to tax yourself walking up that hill over and over, I bet you have lots of energy to ski tomorrow. Don’t worry about equipment. We can meet early and rent your gear before it gets crowded. I think they open at eight thirty. I’ll check.”
“Don’t bother. I’m not going,” he insisted, setting his hand over my screen.
I curled my pinky finger around his in what was supposed to be retribution. But I didn’t let go and he didn’t pull away, so for a moment or two, we were holding hands. Sort of. It was more of a playful thing than an overture, but it crossed a line both of us certainly would have avoided in the past. There was no point denying that something had changed.
“What will you do instead?”
“Probably read. Chill.” Drew shrugged.
I furrowed my brow. “Are you gonna catch up on your knitting while you’re at it?”
Drew guffawed, his eyes twinkling merrily. “Maybe. I don’t think we’re at the same level of expertise.”
“I see. You’re afraid I’ll be better than you. And you’re probably right,” I replied matter-of-factly.
“There’s no point in being modest. I’m a better skier than I am a water polo player.”
“How so?” Drew tugged his fingers, chuckling when I tightened my hold.
He didn’t complain or force the point, so I talked fast to distract him.
My new job at the bistro is fun. The owners are good guys, and the staff is made up primarily of boisterous water polo players. I know nothing about the sport except there’s a Speedo involved, and Liam likes to wear his everywhere. Yes…Liam—the chatty, handsome, utterly charming waiter I can’t seem to stop thinking about. Ugh. Note to self—do not fall for another younger man.
Getting Drew to notice me hasn’t been easy. He’s a little intense, and he knows how to keep his distance. Something tells me he’s not immune—he’s just stubborn. Maybe a weekend of bonding on the ski slopes will win him over. And if I can get him to come out in winter, I might be able to convince him that we have a chance at something special.
Out in Winter is a low-angst MM, bisexual romance starring an oh so serious grad student, a goofball water polo player, and a little winter magic. This story is part of the Out in College series, but each book can be read as a stand-alone.
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.
Lane has brought $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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