I love romance. I always have. Before the advent of Amazon, Goodreads, and electronic readers I would make sure to have a supply of at least ten books (the number is actually higher, but I’ll leave it at ten) on hand at any given time. And I traveled that way too. A good portion of my suitcase was for paperbacks. Thank God for my Kindle! I can pack lightly and have fifty plus books with me all the time! My husband must have noticed that some of his clothing was being left out in favor of a particularly fabulous book and suggested a few years ago that I write one myself.
It took me some time to muster up the courage to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and get serious about something I once did all the time back in college. I think when I found myself thinking constantly about the characters in my head and visualizing them that I decided I needed to try. In fact… this is true… my working title for Better Than Good was All You Can Do is Try. It was never going to be the title, but it served as a good daily reminder.
Better Than Good is my first published novel. I am beyond thrilled! Aaron and Matt’s story is a special one in many ways. It isn’t actually the first one scrambling to get to paper from the confines of my head, but theirs is meaningful to me because it addresses stereotypes. We stereotype and generalize because we are taught to do so from an early age. Some examples are innocuous while others breed prejudice. I cannot fathom how anyone can ever look down on a person because of how or whom they love when the ability to love in the first place is such an amazing gift.
Aaron is a free spirited, self-assured gay Latino young man. He has had to learn how to be comfortable with himself in a world that isn’t always kind to those who are a little more fabulous than others. Matt on the other hand is a regular guy’s guy. He enjoys his friends, sports and is working toward his law degree. He identifies as heterosexual and has a girlfriend at the beginning of the story. Unlike Aaron he has never been judged for his race, his religion or his sexuality. His journey to self-discovery is different than Aaron’s but no less poignant for him. What he feels for Aaron is something he cannot deny if he wants to live a full and complete life.
Writing, having my work accepted and finally published has been a fantastic and surreal adventure. I hope you enjoy the story and characters as much as I do!
Thank you Charlie for having me today! I appreciate the warm welcome!
Better Than Good
By Lane Hayes
Matt Sullivan understands labels: law student, athlete, heterosexual. He has goals: graduate and begin his career in law. One fateful night, Matt tags along with his gay roommate to a dance club and everything changes. Matt finds himself attracted to the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. All labels go flying out the window.
Aaron Mendez doesn’t believe in labels, and he’s leery of straight curious men. He makes it clear that he’ll hide his fabulous light for no one. While Aaron can’t deny the attraction between him and Matt, he is reluctant to start anything with someone who is still dealing with what this new label means—especially when that someone has a girlfriend.
Lane Hayes Bio:
Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is first and foremost a lover of the written word. 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. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. She loves to travel and wishes she could do it more often. Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.
Excerpt from Better Than Good by Lane Hayes
By the time I took him back to his place, it was three a.m. The usually busy streets were virtually empty. A fine layer of fog from the river painted the low lying shrubs and sidewalks in front of his building. It looked a little mystic and magical as though the early morning hour still held promise. I pulled close to the curb, set the car in park and turned toward my companion. I didn’t want to say goodbye, yet I didn’t know where this thing between us could go. I felt that familiar wave of frustration.
“Can I walk you up? I mean it. I just want to be sure you’re safe.” It sounded like a lame request, but Aaron seemed pleasantly surprised.
“You are a gentleman, aren’t you?” His eyes twinkled. “I won’t say no and I’ll try to keep my hands to myself. There’s a parking spot up there. Take it so you don’t get a ticket.”
I parked the car as instructed and met Aaron at the curb. His smile lit his entire face. God, he was beautiful. He took my arm when I reached his side. I didn’t protest, though the gesture seemed overly familiar. It just felt amazing to have this beautiful creature at my side looking at me like I was some kind of hero for offering to walk him to his door.
There was a bright lantern light on above the old glass and iron front door. Aaron couldn’t get the latch to catch, so I took the key from him and gave it a try.
“It sticks sometimes.” He muttered under his breath.
It opened easily for me. I was beginning to think my levels of chivalry were being tested. The thought made me grin when I should have been annoyed.
“You’re my hero!” he whispered loudly.
“Knock it off. Where is your place?”
“Uh oh, Matty’s getting mad. Watch out kids.” Aaron pointed to the elevator off to the right. The corridor was not as well lit as the front alcove had been. I was actually glad that I was making sure he was safe. I was a little nervous myself. Which must have shown on my face, because Aaron laughed out right as the elevator doors opened.
“Relax, sweetie. This isn’t the Bates Motel. It’s just an old building. Supposedly historic, but really it just means the lighting is poor and the water pressure is worse. My apartment is cute though. Come see. You’re safe.”
I rolled my eyes this time, but gamely followed him.
His apartment was on the fifth floor. He led me down another long hallway and stopped in front of #5E.
“Home sweet home.” He said with a flourish as he opened his door. “Come make sure there are no boogie men and then I promise to let you go, Matty.”
Aaron turned on a light and breezed through his small entry into a larger living room. As I followed him I took in my surroundings. The apartment was small with an open floor plan.
I could see into his bedroom from the living area and although it was dark, I could see that the bed was neatly made. Aaron’s entire apartment was immaculate. And the juxtaposition of his modern tastes and the apartment’s older features, like the high ceilings and a floor heater, made for a homey and comfortable space. It was nice, and it suited Aaron perfectly.
Aaron threw his keys in the egg shaped bright orange bowl on his small kitchen table and turned around with his arms outstretched.
“Well, it’s tiny but it’s all mine. As long as I pay the rent, that is.”
“It’s really nice. Suits you.” I felt a little awkward as I stuffed my hands back in the leather jacket Aaron had returned to me earlier.
“Thanks for walking me up. That was very gentlemanly of you. Is that a word? Whatever, it was sweet.” His smile was a little shy and his bangs had fallen back into his eyes. This time I couldn’t help myself. I reached out to move his hair away from his eyes. He looked up at me in surprise and my breath caught. We stared at one another for a second more before our mouths met.
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