Blog Tour, Guest Post, & Giveaway – Better Than Safe by Lane Hayes

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Hello all! I’m excited to have the fabulous Lane Hayes at the Tea House for the Better Than Safe blog tour. I asked Lane what inspired her to write Better Than Safe. 

Thank you so much for having me at the Purple Rose Tea House today, Charlie! Better Than Safe is book #4 in the Better Than Stories series.  This is Paul and Seth’s story and I have to admit, it’s a bit of a departure for me.  I wasn’t sure how many books I was going to write in Better Than because I wanted to try other story lines.  I wrote three books in the Right and Wrong Stories series before coming back to the boys in DC, because ultimately, I felt like there was more to say here. And better yet, readers and fans of the series weren’t shy about asking for more.  They wanted a chance to check in with characters.  I’m a reader too. I know how that feels. I’ve been so immersed in a couple that I would have eaten up an innocent conversation between them about whose turn it was to pick up the dry cleaning! No joke.  As an author, it’s the best compliment ever.  I couldn’t resist!

Better Than Safe begins roughly two years after Better Than Friends (#3) ends.  Paul has become friends with a couple of the other guys from Better Than who are all in long-term committed relationships.  He travels extensively for work, but is about to get a hiatus, which will keep him in DC for an extended period. He isn’t necessarily looking for love but he’s open to possibility.  Though, not necessarily with a model slash artist. Artistic types are nuts. And Seth is… quirky to say the least. Paul wants someone safe.  A nice doctor or lawyer would be fantastic. But there’s something about Seth that makes Paul think taking a chance on crazy might be worthwhile.

My other huge inspiration in Better Than Safe was art.  I love color, texture and the brilliance of expression that allows itself to be open to interpretation without censure. There is no wrong answer. It’s only what you want to believe. To me, it’s the perfect mirror of life.  A painting in a gallery can be dissected and analyzed or it may be passed by, depending on the viewer’s mood. At one point in the story, Paul wishes he could be above a moment in the same way he might view a painting… like a ghost, with the ability to stop or move on without being hurt. At our most vulnerable, I think everyone has felt the same. The desire to guard our hearts may keep us from taking risks. But is it really better to be safe? 

Better Than Safe begins with a short quote by Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Gray. “All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.” The rest of the quote is just as potent. “Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”  In other words… life is up to interpretation. Believe what you wish, but be careful not to stay too safe.  At least, that’s what Seth would tell you (*wink).

I’m excited for readers to finally meet Seth. He’s a hoot!  Self-assured, brilliant and very wacky. My kind of guy. J I hope you all enjoy a small glimpse into the lives of the Better Than boys!  This book is #4 in the series, but they are all standalones and can be read in any order.

Happy Reading!

Lane Hayes xo

AboutTheBookBetterThanSafeTitle: Better Than Safe

Series: Better Than stories, Book 4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Length: Novel, 77k words

Release Date: September 25th, 2015

Blurb: Paul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, and he doesn’t want to relive the heartache.

Seth Landau is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept that things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.

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My stomach growled. I was dead tired, hungry, and more than a little confused. Seth turned the corner before my brain could catalogue any further complaints. I studied his casual attire as he came closer. Worn black jeans, a white T-shirt with paint stains, and an unbuttoned black and blue striped cardigan. He looked more like a wacky artist than a sophisticated couture model, I mused. His sharp features were undeniably attractive but it seemed as though he’d chosen the basic clothing to downplay his beauty. Or maybe he’d just painted and couldn’t be bothered. There was something ridiculously appealing to me about our very opposite looks. Corporate formal versus art student chic. I glanced down at the sushi and willed my dick to behave.

“There you are. What kind of pasta do you want? I don’t have time to make it myself, but don’t worry, I’m buying pre-packaged but fresh. Your choices are spaghetti, tagliatelle, or pappardelle.”

I looked at the three choices he held up and pointed to the one in the middle. The tagliatelle.

“Really? I was thinking basic spaghetti but—”

“Then why did you ask?”

“I want your opinion. If you want the tagliatelle, we’ll get that one. Done.”

“Good. Let’s go. Do you have wine?”

“Yes. Hmm. I don’t know about the tag—”

“Seth. Get the spaghetti. I’m not bothered.”

“What do you mean by not bothered?”

“I mean….” I took a step forward so we stood toe to toe, Italian loafer to dirty white trainer and gave him a pointed glare. “I don’t give a shit. Pasta is pasta. It doesn’t matter to me what shape it comes in. At all.”

“You’re hungry, huh?”

“What tipped you off?”

“Sarcastic and cranky. Let’s go. You need food.” He turned away, carrying his basket of goods toward the front registers.

“What about wine?” I called after him.

He stopped in the middle of the aisle and curled his finger, motioning me to come to him with a devilish grin on his handsome face. I complied. We were alone for the moment, surrounded on either side of the cramped space by white bread and a variety of colorful cereals chock-full of preservatives and food dyes. I eyed him warily, wondering why he was stalling.

“I told you I have wine. Good wine too.”

“Marvelous. Let’s go.”

“But… there’s a catch.”

I rolled my eyes. “Of course there is. What is it? You need to swing by the dry cleaners first or—”

“Kiss me.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Why is it so crazy?” he asked innocently.

“Here are a couple reasons. One, we’re in the middle of a market in a family oriented part of town and two, we’re barely friends. Not lovers. Friends don’t kiss.”

He grinned. “Sure they do. What they probably don’t do is say something like, ‘you look so fucking hot in that suit, I wish I could take it off you right here next to the Cheerios and Wheat Chex,’ so I won’t go there, but I still think it’s okay to kiss.”

I stared at him with my mouth wide open, unable to find my voice. When he chuckled in amusement at my expense, I acted with uncharacteristic impulse and reached out to cup his neck and draw him close to me. He gasped in surprise at the quick movement. I smiled as our noses brushed, perversely pleased by his shock, and suddenly glad to be the one pushing him one step further. I licked his bottom lip before fusing my mouth over his in a swift but passionate kiss. I backed up with a grin and sauntered away, taking care he didn’t see me adjust my trousers as I moved with purpose to the front registers.

I set my bag of tomatoes on the conveyer belt and stepped aside when Seth joined me a moment later.

“You play dirty,” he muttered as he set the contents in his basket with mine.

“You asked for it.”

“Maybe I did. Beware. I can play dirty too.”

I bit my cheek hard and turned toward the rack of magazines nearby, hoping to diffuse the sexual tension racing through my body. Stress, exhaustion, and hunger were suddenly non-issues. All I wanted now was sex. The one thing I couldn’t have with this man. Not without risking more than I was willing.

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AboutTheAuthor

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 a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.

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Winner’s Prize: $25 Gift Card to Ebook retailer of choice (DSP, Amazon, ARE Café)

Runner Up Prize: Ebook copy of any one title from author’s backlog

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September 28 – The Purple Rose Tea House

September 29 – Reviews by Jessewave

September 30 – Divine Magazine

October 1 – Prism Book Alliance

October 2 – Love Bytes Reviews

October 5 – Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

October 6 – The Land of Make Believe

October 7 – The Novel Approach

October 8 – Diverse Reader

October 9 – Joyfully Jay

October 12 – Amanda C. Stone

October 13 – The Blogger Girls

October 14 – Bayou Book Junkie

October 15 – Carly’s Book Reviews

October 16 – Rainbow Gold Reviews

Cover Reveal & Giveaway – Better Than Safe by Lane Hayes

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Lane Hayes reveals the beautiful cover art for the next book in her BETTER THAN series titled BETTER THAN SAFE.

It releases on September 25, 2015, published by Dreamspinner Press.

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BLURB

Paul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, and he doesn’t want to relive the heartache.

Seth Landau is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept that things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.

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PRESENTING

Cover Art by Aaron Anderson

BetterThanSafe

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

And my traitorous heart skipped a beat. All pretense of being aloof and uninterested flew out the proverbial window. I knew full well why I was in this little shithole of a bar, and I wasn’t going anywhere until I saw him in action.

Read more exclusive excerpts on –

|| The Land of Make Believe || Divine Magazine || BFD Book Blog ||

|| Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews || My Fiction Nook || Love Bytes Reviews ||

|| Reviews by Jessewave || Nephy’s World || Diverse Reader || Sue Brown ||

|| TTC Books and More || Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words || Prism Book Alliance ||

|| The Purple Rose Tea House || Foxylutely Books || Loving Without Limits ||

|| Garrett Leigh || Bayou Book Junkie || World of Diversity Fiction || Evelyn Shepherd ||

||Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words||Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews||

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PRE-ORDER NOW

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Paperback

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.

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Guest Post: Lane Hayes – Better Than Friends

I was asked recently if I intended to write a series or if the Better Than books morphed unintentionally from one book to the next.  The truth is both.  I love a good series.  As a reader it’s a chance to immerse yourself in an author’s work you enjoy and delve deeper into the lives of characters you’ve fallen for.  I enjoy reading about the ex-boyfriend who turned out to be kind of a cool guy after all and the roommate who has a heart of gold but tends to be a little uptight.  Fleshing out secondary characters gives unexpected depth to every story.  Personally, I love it.  So, yes.  I wanted to write a series.  I’ve loved each of the couples in the series so far… from Aaron and Matt in Better Than Good to Peter and Jay in Better Than Chance.  However, Curt and Jack were a bit of a pleasant surprise for me.  They are my favorite combination of ‘opposites attract’ meets ‘friends to lovers’.

In Better Than Friends, it all begins at a wedding.  As these things sometimes do.  Inhibitions are low and sometimes what might be considered reckless behavior doesn’t seem like such a bad idea in the heat of the moment.  When Curt meets Jack he knows at first sight this is no ordinary man.  And when he offers Curt a ride home on his Harley, he’s proven correct.  It’s one thing to go with the flow, but Curt is pretty sure Jack is out of his league.  They really have nothing in common.  Except…baseball.  Both men love the sport.  In fact, the hunky man with the Harley and tats is a bit of baseball fanatic.  Time spent watching baseball becomes the springboard to a newfound friendship.

I love stories about opposite attraction.  And let’s face it, a bad boy like Jack with tats and an awesome sense of humor is hard not to love.  I’m also a huge fan of books where friends fall for each other.  If the chemistry is right, it strikes a chord and makes complete sense to me as a reader.  Curt and Jack’s story isn’t just about falling for a friend.  It’s about what the bond of friendship brings out in each man.  Compassion and a shoulder to lean on when times get tough.  They find along the way that affection and esteem pair very well with an intense physical attraction. The Odd Couple scenario in real life doesn’t always make for a happy ending.  There must be something more.  So what’s the missing link?  Friendship, admiration, respect and ultimately trust.

The Better Than Stories series are all standalone books and can be read in any order.  I’m a stickler for reading numerically, but honestly, there is no confusion if you happen to read this one before say, Better Than Good.  You will meet characters from the other novels in Better Than Friends, but hopefully that will simply make you curious enough to go back and read their stories as well. J

Thank you very much for having me here today, Charlie!

Best wishes and happy reading!

Lane xo

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Blurb from Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes:

When Curt Townsend, a successful young DC lawyer, attends his first gay wedding, he doesn’t expect anything more than a great evening out spent celebrating two lucky guys willing to commit to one another. He certainly doesn’t anticipate meeting someone like Jack Farinelli. Fourteen years Curt’s senior, Jack owns two businesses: a gay bar and a motorcycle shop. He’s gorgeous and self-assured, but Curt is positive they have nothing in common.

Jack is comfortable in his own skin. He’s attracted to Curt’s quick wit and easy manner but most of all, to their unexpected mutual love of baseball. As they forge a friendship based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they begin a journey which reveals how their differences might be the catalyst behind a growing attraction. Both men have experienced their share of pain, but they realize they need to set aside the past and learn to trust in a future if they are to have one together.

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Author Bio:

Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is spending more time these days doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids, and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.

Excerpt from Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes:

“You have to be kidding.  You’re telling me you can take one look at someone and based on what they’re wearing, you know how they like it in the bedroom?”  His expression now was incredulous.

“Didn’t you suggest the same thing when you made fun of my khakis?”  I countered.  The lawyer in me loved the chagrined expression on his face.  Score one for the defense.

“Fine.  You’re right.  I did and I apologize.  For all I know you might have a sex swing in your bedroom and a hankering for getting tied up.  With or without your khakis on.”

“Ha fucking ha.”

Jack chuckled and nudged me playfully in the side.  “I’m just messin’ with you.  I’m sorry I laughed.”  He choked and muttered “not really” loud enough for me to know he was still teasing me but I let it slide.

“Enlighten me.  I don’t understand why anyone would want to wear leather.  It’s sweaty and uncomfortable.”

“To each his own.  This isn’t a sex club or sex bar though and if you look closely, you’ll see that not everyone is wearing leather nor are they all gym rats.  See…”  Jack pointed to a group of skinny guys dressed in jeans standing around a pool table.  “…and not that I paid too much attention, but the guys behind us with their tongues down each other’s throats aren’t wearing leather either.  I think, my friend, it is safe to suggest you walked in here with pre-conceived notions.  What else do you think you know?”

I studied Jack’s strong handsome profile for a moment deciding to ignore his question, though his observation about my pre-conceived notions was astute.

“How did you come to own a “leather bar” anyway?”

“That was cute.”

“What?”

“That little air quote thing you just did.”

“Cute?  Whatever.  Answer my question.  Or is it personal?”  It occurred to me that I felt oddly comfortable in Jack’s company and was probably guilty of being a touch overly familiar.

“No, it’s not personal.  I worked as a bartender fresh out of high school.  I was green as could be but I looked a mite older than I was.  Either that or they were desperate, come to think of it.  One week I was moppin’ the floor and the next I was mixin’ cocktails.  They were pure shit at first so I studied up till I was decent at it and became the best damn barman around.  That first bar I worked at was a true hole in the wall catering to motorcycle men.  Gay ones.  It was my eighteen year old self’s personal idea of heaven.  I was hooked.”

“When did you buy this place?”

“I guess it was about four years ago now.  I was co-owner at another club before this one and when everyone wanted to sell, I took my part of the profit and bought this place.  That last place was called the Level.  You heard of it?”

Who hadn’t?  It had been a very hip club in the Dupont area.  One of those uber bars where there was so much stimuli between the bar, restaurant and club that you never felt the need to move on.  I nodded briefly and Jack smiled slightly.  “Huh, I wonder if I ever saw you there.”

“Could have.  I liked that place.  Why did your partners want to sell?  That place was popular.”

“Yeah.  I was bummed about it at first.  I thought about just trying to buy Peter out but…”

“Peter?  Like Jay and Peter?  That Peter?”

“Yeah, that Peter.”  Jack raised his eyebrows at my tone.  I sounded a little too inquisitive but I couldn’t help it.  I was strangely interested about what type of relationship he and the equally god-like beautiful Peter had had.  They were both stunning masculine specimen.  No doubt they had made a gorgeous couple when they were together.

“You were together for a while, right?” I prodded.

“You mean like… “we dated”?”  Jack teased using air quotes for good measure.

“Well…”

“Yeah, Curt.  We dated.  But basically the truth of the matter is that we really didn’t do much of the dinner sort of dating you and the accountant did earlier.  We mostly just fucked.”

I knew Jack was being purposefully provocative, and it was working.  I should have been disgusted or maybe irritated by his manner, instead I was really fucking turned on.  His use of the word “fuck” sounded like the deed itself.  I could feel my cock swell again and I glad I wasn’t wearing tight jeans like I normally would at a bar.  I swallowed hard and turned to face Jack straight on.  The wicked look was back, his blue eyes blazing with decadent challenge.  I felt a very strong pull.  This man was all kinds of trouble.

Purchase Links & Contact Information:

Dreamspinner Press:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5088&cPath=55_884

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Better-Than-Friends-Stories-ebook/dp/B00L19CQQK/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1402932673&sr=8-6&keywords=Lane+Hayes

 

Lane Hayes:


Blog: 
www.lanehayes.wordpress.com

Twitter:  LaneHayes3

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Lane_Hayes

Email: lanehayes@ymail.com