Happy Thanksgiving!! November has been such a busy month and now that the holidays are officially here, it’s about to get even busier! I wanted to update you on a few new happenings before the madness begins. LOL.
First up, Leaning Into a Wish, my first ever published holiday novella, is now available on audio. And yes, I may be a bit biased but Nick J. Russo does a brilliant job narrating Ryan and Danny’s story. Check out the sample and purchase link here. And beginning next week, look for a Leaning Into free holiday short story to be posted here in approximately four installments…one a week throughout December. Any guesses on who the new short will feature?
Last but definitely not least!… I have an official release date for Book 3 in Out in College. Out in the Offense will be here January 10. Look for the cover/blurb reveal on December 10. Just two weeks away!! Mark your calendars!
So this is kind of fun. A reader asked me about other Better Than shorts, which reminded me of a scene I’d deleted from Better Than Safe. It involves a short conversation with Jack and Curt and then Curt and Paul about age differences. The timing is good for me because Book 1 in my WIP features a May/December romance. 😍 ❤️❤️ I shared it in my FB group yesterday, but I thought I’d share it here as well.
Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Reading! Lane xo**DELETED SCENE from Better Than Safe by Lane Hayes: (Paul’s POV)
When Curt asked me to swing by his house to pick him up before lunch, I didn’t think anything of it. Until I’d remembered he no longer lived in Georgetown. He was fifteen minutes away in Dupont where he lived with the very sexy Jack above his motor bike shop I’d never been to their home. Curt and I always usually met at whatever destination we’d agreed upon for lunch, a cocktail or coffee. I was curious to see how the conservative lawyer and his gay bar, Harley shop owner boyfriend had blended their very diverse lives.
Miraculously I found a parking spot on their street. The neighborhood was upscale avant garde with hip cafes, small art galleries and exclusive boutiques. Many of the well maintained Federal-style buildings on the block were mixed-use storefront and residence, which was charming but made parking a challenge. I surveyed the neat hedge-lined path and double checked the address as I made my way toward the large black door. There was no indication this was a shop of any sort. It looked like a well-maintained home with bright red flowers planted along the hedges and in tasteful pots on either side of the entrance. I knocked once and opened the door when I heard a low voice invite me to “come on in”.
Wow. I stood in the well-lit entry ogling the enormous Palladian window on one end of the stark gallery-like space and the photographs artfully hung on the white walls around the large space. There were a couple motor bikes on display around the room but they were elevated show pieces with highly polished chrome, supple black leather and colorful accents. Not the type I occasionally noticed around town. These looked special. Even a novice couldn’t help but admire the clean lines of these bikes and their elegant setting.
“Hey, how’s it going, Paul?”
Jack stood behind a sleek maple and concrete reception desk next to a thin young man with bright auburn hair, blue eyes and a friendly but curious expression. No doubt I looked lost. I smiled as I approached the counter. My gaze was pulled toward the colorful ink on Jack’s left arm. He was wearing a tight black T-shirt that hugged his generous biceps and made the intricate designs of the tattoos pop enticingly. I had zero ink and no desire to change that but Jack’s were very appealing.
“Well, thank you. I’m meeting Curt for lunch. He said—”
“Yeah. He’ll be down in a sec. He moves a little slower on Saturdays,” he remarked with an indulgent grin. His eyes crinkled at the corners but it was nothing compared to the transformation of his handsome features a moment later when his lover stepped into the room. I hadn’t spent a lot of time around them as a couple but my perspective had been from Curt’s side when he was staring like a lovesick fool as Jack tended to patrons at his bar. Frankly, I was taken aback by the blatant adoration in Jack’s eyes.
“Ha. Ha,” Curt commented with an eye roll as he leaned in to kiss his boyfriend. He said a brief hello to the young man standing nearby who he immediately introduced as Damien before turning to give me a once over. “Maybe I should change.”
I glanced between us and chuckled. We were dressed almost identically in khakis and dark blue short sleeved designer shirts. Jack pulled Curt into his arms and kissed his cheek noisily.
“Don’t change. It’s kinda cute. You guys look like geeky twins.”
“You’re hysterical,” Curt griped without heat.
“Come along. I don’t mind if you don’t,” I commented as I made my way toward the door.
“Okay. See you later, baby. I’ll be back before Kelly gets here with the kids,” Curt assured him.
“Good. Don’t leave me to fend for myself with the munchkins. They’ll terrorize the place,” Jack called after us.
I stepped outside and breathed in the early September air. The temperature was mild and the skies were a heavenly shade of blue. Absolutely perfect. I waited for Curt to join me on the sidewalk before asking who the kids were.
“Our niece and nephew, Petra and Blake. We’re kid-sitting today and I have a feeling they’ll spend the night. Lord help me.”
“You don’t sound bothered in the slightest,” I commented idly as he gestured to a café on his right.
“I’m not. I love having them around. Jack and I probably won’t have children so it’s cool to get to be part of their lives. They’re good kids. A little rowdy sometimes but Jack is amazing with them so I don’t stress things getting out of control. Let’s sit outside.”
Curt stepped aside to give the hostess room to show us to our seats on the patio. Once we we’d been given menus and supplied with ice water, I reopened the topic of kids. I couldn’t say why, but it was curious about his reasoning.
“Why don’t you think you’ll have children?”
Curt picked up his water and took a quick drink before answering. “We just… I don’t know. We’re not interested. I don’t think it makes me a bad gay to say this. I mean, I’m all for marriage equality and all the gay parents I know are a fuck of a lot better at it than my own ultra conservative folks were. But I’m too selfish. I want Jack to myself. Our lifestyles aren’t conducive to raising kids. We both work late and we have demanding jobs. Besides, plenty of our close friends will go down that path and we’ll get to play uncle to their kids. Like Matt and Aaron. Matt’s always wanted a family. Just wait… they’ll be married at the end of next month and in a couple years, I bet they’ll be daddies. But who knows? I don’t think they’re in a hurry. And I’m sure Jay and Peter will be dads first. You remember them, right? Jay is Aaron’s best friend and Peter is Jack’s ancient ex.”
Curt smiled up at the pretty blonde waitress and asked a couple questions about the specials before ordering a chicken kale salad. I ordered the same and handed her the menus.
“What is so amusing?” I asked as I unrolled the white napkin from the utensils and set it neatly in my lap.
“Us. You and I never would have lasted. You don’t even have the decency to order a burger so I can steal a bite,” he shook his head in mock despair.
I chuckled in agreement. “You’re right. And you’re happy. That’s what matters.”
“Something tells me you are too. How’s the hot model? Seth, right? I like him. He’s spunky.”
My smile had a life of its own. I glanced at the passersby on the street as I tried to rein in my reaction at just hearing his name.
“Spunky is a fitting adjective. He’s funny and exasperating, but he’s…lovely.”
“Can I ask you something?”
Curt nodded gamely. “Sure.”
“Is the real reason you don’t want a family because Jack’s older than you? Is it his choice and you’re going along with it or is it really your idea too?”
He cocked his head thoughtfully but I understood it wasn’t so much that he was considering his reply as he was wondering why his answer seemed so important to me.
“It’s a mutual decision. We’ll probably get married some day. Jack talks about it a lot and…we love each other. We know we want to be together forever.” Curt gave me a sharp look. “The age difference bugs you, huh?”
I sighed heavily though in truth I was relieved to broach the subject with someone I trusted to be honest.
“Yes and no. I—most of the time, it doesn’t. Seth is smart, independent and easy company. And when he’s not exactly easy, I like that he challenges me. I don’t know if that makes sense.”
“Of course it does. So what’s the problem?”
“There isn’t one really, but… I wonder about compromise when age is a factor. Maybe it’s not a big deal at twenty-four and thirty-five but what happens when you’re—”
“Thirty and forty-four?” he suggested wryly.
I waited for the servers to deliver our lunches and assured the waitress we had what we needed before replying. “Yes. Exactly.”
“I rarely think about our age difference anymore. I met Jack two and half years ago when I was twenty-eight. Not that much older than Seth. Even when we first met, our… attraction was more personality driven. Obviously I thought he was hotter than hell but I liked that he made me laugh. I liked how I felt around him. I still do. More so now because the bond is stronger. It’s not that age never crossed my mind but I guess I obsessed over other things like how someone so sexy and confident seemed interested in me. Stupid, nowhere arguments you have with yourself when you can’t believe your good luck and you’re sure someone or something will come along to pull the rug from under your feet.”
“I guess what I’m saying is age really is just a number. I bet if you really think about, you’d admit it really doesn’t matter if he wants kids in five years. You’ll cross that bridge when you get there. Maybe you’re just mind-fucking yourself because you found a guy you want to be with and he’s nothing like what you expected.” Curt gave me a knowing grin as he lifted his fork and chomped a bite of his salad.
I stared him for long moment before I picked up my own fork. “How did you get so wise?”
Curt shrugged good-naturedly and gave me a mischievous grin. “Must have something to do with that old dude I hang around.”