It’s hard to believe spring is here and we’re already one quarter into the year. Yikes! I’ve been very busy since my last post at Love Bytes at the end of January. I’ve released two books in my new series, Leaning Into Stories, a short story and a full-length novel. Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into the Fall respectively. These are my first self-published efforts. And for as nerve-wracking as the experience can be, it was exciting too. I’m very proud of this new series. I love the San Francisco setting and I’m inspired every day to write about this group of old college. There’s nothing more thrilling as an author than feeling so attached to your characters that all you want to do is immerse yourself in their world.Also of note…I posted the final chapter and epilogue of my free short story Better Than Engagement on my blog a couple days ago. If you’re a fan of my Better Than Stories series, you’ll want to check it out. This is the longest one yet! What was going to be a little story grew to be over 26k words. LOL. That’s roughly 76 pages! Loquacious much? I’m going to leave you with chapter one of Better Than Engagement and provide the link to my site for all chapters. This story features Matt and Aaron from my first book, Better Than Good. 🙂
And why not do a giveaway too to celebrate my new series? Leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing about spring for a chance to win an ebook copy of Leaning Into the Fall. I’ll start…my favorite things (I can’t name just one) about spring are the warmer weather, longer days and the new buds on my trees and flowers. And love is in the air. It’s perfect romance reading and writing weather! Then again, I say that about every season. What’s yours?
Happy Spring and Happy Reading!
Better Than Engagement
Part 1 (mild NSFW)-
My computer screen seemed brighter than normal this morning. That had to be why the words blurred and nothing made sense. Or maybe it was caffeine deficiency. I had two hours to read over the government contract before it was due back to the Department of Defense. I had to snap out of it and concentrate. There was no point in daydreaming about my warm bed or the sexy man I’d left there an hour ago. As if on cue, my cell phone vibrated on my desk.
“Hi baby. Why are you up? I thought you were sleeping ’til seven.” I swiveled my chair away from my computer and closed my eyes. Fuck, I wished I was with him.
“I can’t go back to sleep. That was amazing. I can’t stop thinking about you. You’ve never done that before, Matty. You were so…forceful. But in a good way. A sexy way.”
“Aar, stop. You’re gonna make me hard,” I whispered, glancing sideways at my open door.
The office was dark. At six thirty a.m., I was pretty much guaranteed to have the place to myself for another thirty minutes or so. No one would notice my blush or raise an eyebrow if I had squirmed in my chair to hide the bulge in my suit pants. But old habits weren’t easy to shake. Thinking about licking Aaron to oblivion before driving myself inside him that morning was one thing. Talking about it was a whole other story. And Aaron knew it.
His melodic laughter sounded like music to my ears. “Are you hard? Touch yourself. I am.”
“I’m at work, perv. I’m not jacking off at my desk,” I said with a snort.
I could picture him lying naked in the middle of our king-size bed holding his phone with one hand while the other drifted to his perfect cock. When he moaned my name I knew I got it right.
“That would be kind of naughty. I have to get up and do grown up things, like go to meetings and do fashion edits, but our bed is so warm. And even though I’m a sticky, crusty mess, I feel fabulous.”
“Sticky and crusty is fabulous?” I tried to infuse my voice with a note of levity and hopefully move on to PG-rated topics.
“It is when I think about what you did to me. I’m never washing the sheets. These are sacred sex sheets,” he declared with a sigh.
I chuckled at his worshipful tone. “Hmm. You know we can do it again.”
“Oh, I’m counting on it. Geez, I can’t decide what I liked best. It’s a tie between when you tongue fucked me ’til I couldn’t remember my name and when you spanked me and made me hang on to the headboard while you—”
“Oh fuck, Aar.” I swallowed hard and finally gave into temptation, palming my cock through my wool blend trousers. “Did you have to say “spank”?”
Aaron snickered. “Yes! It drives you crazy. My ass is sore and—”
“Mine,” I growled possessively.
I shut my eyes for a half second while my lover went into delicious detail about our morning sexathon. He was right. He drove me crazy. He made me want things I never dreamed were possible. And he’d been doing it for over four years.
I don’t think anyone who knew me well when I first met Aaron could have predicted my life now. The bigger parts were easy. I was still with the prestigious DC law firm I’d interned for while I was finishing my degree. I was an associate partner specializing in contract law and any day now I expected to be offered a non-equity partnership. Professionally, I was where I’d hoped I’d be after I graduated. Personally… I was light years away.
Actually, that wasn’t true. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I was in a long-term committed relationship with a person I loved, respected and cherished. Someone so incredible and unexpected that I swear, most days I couldn’t believe my amazing luck. He was passionate, gorgeous, smart, funny and yeah… I was head over heels for the guy. That was the part that still blew a few people away. I was in love with a man. Not a woman.
Aaron Mendez was a Puerto Rican American spitfire with a wicked sense of humor and a lust for life. The fact he wanted anything to do with a boring lawyer was the crazy part. But we fit. We were the missing piece the other needed. This feeling transcended physical attraction. Sure, I was still convinced Aaron was the most beautiful person on the planet. He was small and lean with dark brown hair, hazel eyes and infectious grin that made my heart swell. But now I knew this connection was based on something more than physical attraction. He was part of me. Inside me. He made me a better man.
We were opposites in almost every conceivable way. I was tall, he was short. I liked sports. Aaron loved fashion. I tended to be cool and methodical while Aaron was a free spirit with a taste for the finer things in life. We shouldn’t work, but we did. He made me look at the stars and I reminded him to keep his feet on the ground.
“…and when you stuck your finger inside me while you were fuc—”
“Aar,” I groaned and then started in my chair when the elevator door dinged, signaling I was no longer the only person on my floor. “Great. Someone’s here and I’m sitting at my desk with a huge boner. Quit laughing and help me get rid of it.”
“That’s what I was trying to do in the first place!” Aaron insisted with a chuckle that morphed into a belly laugh. He sobered from his fit of hysteria with a dramatic sigh when I growled into the phone. “Okay, okay. I should get up anyway. What time will you be home tonight? Can you be here by six? Jack and Curt are coming for dinner. I’m leaving the office early to pick up a couple things at the market. Oh! And can you get the dry cleaning on your way home?”
“Sure, but I thought that was the point of a delivery service.”
“They said there was a mix up and they won’t be in our neighborhood until the end of the week. I can’t wait. I need my Zegna suit for a presentation with a British artiste tomorrow morning.”
“Okay. I’ll take care of it. Did you look at the paperwork for the refinance yet?”
“There goes my hard-on,” he snarked. “No, just tell me where to sign. I don’t want to read it. I trust you.”
“It’s going to save us a ton of money, babe.” I swiveled back to my computer and reached for my coffee mug.
I froze mid-sip when a shadow crossed my doorway. It was Jana, the bubbly new intern assigned to help a couple of the associates. Great. I motioned to my phone and my computer, hoping she’d take the hint and find something to do on her own. She didn’t. She leaned on the doorframe and crossed her arms under her ample bosom showcased in a tight, low cut red sweater. Her long brown hair fell artfully over one shoulder in a pose worthy of a fashion shot from Aaron’s magazine.
“You should still read the— Hang on, Aar,” I said before addressing Jana. “Hi. You’re here early.”
“Good morning, Mr. Sullivan. You said you had a deadline to meet, so I thought I’d come in earlier to help you. What can I do?” Her professional tone didn’t jibe with the come-hither look. Jana didn’t bother hiding her infatuation, which made accepting her “help” awkward as hell. I hoped the gooey looks would fade once she was buried under a mountain of laborious research and filing. So far, no such luck.
“Um…finish going through the memos. If there’s anything of note, pull it aside for me to look at later.”
“You got it, boss,” Jana said with a bright smile, tapping her long red nails on the door before pivoting on her high heels and heading toward her desk.
“Sorry Aar, I—”
“Don’t tell me. Jana.” Thankfully, Aaron sounded more amused than annoyed.
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“Someone’s in love with my hunky boyfriend,” he singsonged merrily.
“You, I hope.”
“Yes, but it looks like I have competition,” he teased.
“Don’t be ridiculous. And stop cackling. This isn’t funny. Her internship is up in May, but I can’t take the extra attention for another two months. I’ll have to come out. Again.”
“Poor Matty. I guess she didn’t get the hint when she saw me kiss you last week in your office that we aren’t Bert and Ernie.”
I chuckled. “Maybe not.”
“She wouldn’t be the first. Your mom still thinks we’re just really good friends.”
That stopped me. I didn’t like the resignation in his voice, like he was simply stating a fact. The sky is blue, the earth is round, my boyfriend’s mother thinks we’re good buddies who do everything together… I didn’t like it. At all.
“It doesn’t matter what she thinks. You aren’t my friend and—”
“Oh please! I’d have never made it to the tender age of twenty-nine if I cared what everyone thought of me,” he replied flippantly.
“You’re thirty-two,” I deadpanned as I pushed away from my desk and moved to the open door.
“Details, details. I’m off. Don’t forget the dry cleaning and be home by six. Curt and Jack will be here at seven.”
“Okay. Hey, wait.” Jana looked from her computer with an expectant smile as though she wasn’t sure whom I was addressing. I turned my head slightly but made sure I continued in a loud clear voice. “I love you, Aar. Have a good day.”
His squeal of delight and profuse declaration of love made me blush at least five shades of red. I couldn’t keep the silly grin from spreading across my face as I finally closed the door. My intern’s perturbed expression barely registered. Who cared what Jana the intern thought? Who cared what my mother thought? We were the only ones who mattered. We’d been saying that for years.
I stared unseeing at the contract on my computer lost in thought. I was surrounded with legal documents, journals and memos. Hell, I was in the business of creating air-tight, binding documents. Any decent lawyer knew there was power in a legally sanctioned title. Sure, Aaron was my friend, roommate, boyfriend, and my partner. However, those labels fell short. They hinted at who we were to each other, but they didn’t stake a claim. They didn’t let the world know he was the only one for me. They didn’t infer that I wanted to build a life with him, complete with every traditional trapping I’d always assumed would be mine one day, albeit with a woman. A home, a dog, kids. We weren’t playing house. Nothing about our relationship was casual. This was the real thing. A forever thing. Maybe it was time to do something about it. Legally.
Continue to complete story here.
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.
Books by Lane Hayes: