Thank you for having me here today! I’m very excited to talk about the release of my second book, Better Than Chance. Those who’ve read my first novel, Better Than Good will recognize Jay and Peter as Aaron’s best friend and his long-time partner. Aaron makes a point of describing the couple as having a relationship he admires. “In the land of gay, they are what I would wish for one day…. they just seem to get each other.” This story predates Aaron and Matt’s, however, you don’t have to read BTG first to understand Jay and Peter’s journey. They are standalone stories, which hopefully will inspire readers to check out what they may have missed if they didn’t get around to Better Than Good. :-)
The reason I’m mentioning the first story is to highlight the importance of the supporting cast in a book. Sometimes that group is comprised of concerned family members or wacky office mates. But oftentimes, the best friend comes in to play the part of conscience or good cop/bad cop to the MC. It’s a useful vehicle to an author writing from a first person Point of View. However, I think it resonates because most of us can relate to some degree. Many can remember instances of talking about boyfriend problems with our best friend, sharing the thrill of discovering someone new or the fear we feel when things get a little out of control.
In Better Than Chance, Jay and Peter are both fortunate to have tried and true best friends to count on when things get complicated. Jay has Aaron, someone he can relate to in every possible way… except physically. One is short and dark, the other is tall and light complected. Looks and perception play a large part in how Jay connects to Peter. Peter is extraordinarily handsome, successful and seemingly straight. Jay can’t help feeling initially attracted but eventually he is repelled by what he sees as his boss’s unreasonable and possibly homophobic side. Aaron, however, sees more clearly. He can tell from the start Peter is attracted to Jay. Just as Peter’s best friend Kelly can later tell Jay is the best thing to ever happen to Peter. In a sense, the best friend is telling the MCs all the things we would say if we were in the same room with these guys. “Don’t you see? He’s crazy about you!”
Better Than Chance is ultimately about learning to communicate. Jay’s tendency is to overthink and assume he understands what he later is forced to admit may not be so clear. Learning to listen and pay attention to details as his friends suggest is what ultimately brings Jay to the realization he has fallen for his GQ gorgeous boss. Jay realizes he may never know or understand everything about Peter. He learns some things are left to faith and sometimes you have to take a chance.
Jay Reynolds has a crush on his project leader at work, but an office romance with Peter Morgan isn’t likely to happen since Peter is straight. Worse, Jay soon fears Peter is homophobic, and his initial infatuation turns to loathing. But one fateful night, Jay is forced to acknowledge things aren’t quite as they seem with Peter. Suddenly, his crush is back and unbelievably, Peter is interested too.
They begin a “friends with benefits” arrangement, which becomes difficult for Jay when he starts falling for his sexy boss. Peter’s past issues keep him from committing, and Jay has to decide if he can be satisfied with friendship if Peter isn’t ready to take a chance on anything more.
Excerpt from Better Than Chance by Lane Hayes:
*Exclusive excerpt for The Novel Approach*
I for one was mystified. Damn him for saving the best for last!
“I have to see you again!” I blurted and just as quickly threw my hand over my mouth. No way did I just say that! What the hell? Where was my pride? Thank God it was dark in the SUV’s interior. I was beyond mortified. I fumbled with the door and sputtered something about seeing him later and a thanks for the lift.
“Hey, relax.” He chuckled softly in the dark. “First of all, I don’t know which car is yours and secondly…”
He stopped his truck inside the parking garage after the transponder opened the gate and turned completely sideways in his seat to face me.
“I want to see you too.” The words were quiet, but somehow they impacted me with the same force as if they had been screamed at me. I was shocked. I didn’t know how to answer. There was no mistaking his tone. It was beguiling. A siren’s song. I swallowed hard and worked up the courage to look into those intense dark eyes.
“Y-you do?” I stuttered, mentally cursing myself.
“I do. Friday night? I have something I promised to show you. You available?”
I tried to play it cool, counting to five (though I actually only made it to three) before I answered in as suave a manner as I could muster.
Peter chuckled, that endearing twinkle lighting his eyes. He turned back to his wheel and reminded me that he had no idea which car was mine. I gave him directions to my usual parking spot on the third floor. The entire garage was deserted. Mine was the only vehicle on the whole floor. Creepy. I was suddenly glad he insisted on accompanying me. Maybe he was just a gentleman and I was once again reading too much into something I shouldn’t. The hour was late and I was letting my imagination get away from me. I shook my head at my idiot self, locating my keys before I turned to thank Peter again.
“No problem. So…Friday?”
“Give me your cell number. I’m not at the office much this week. Most of my meetings are outside.”
I did as instructed. He read the digits back to me incorrectly twice, so I leaned across to guide him through each number as though my closer proximity would help. Peter turned toward me as I leaned in. Our faces were inches apart. I could feel his breath on my lips and found myself licking mine in response. I heard a low groan but wasn’t sure who it was…him or me, before our lips touched in the softest of kisses. I pulled back, unsure and unsettled. Peter’s eyes were ablaze with desire…. and challenge.
I felt the blood racing through my veins in response as my heart beat accelerated. I opened my mouth to say…. I had no idea what to say, when he closed the distance and wrapped his hand around my throat almost as though he were going to choke me. His touch was light as he traced my Adam’s apple with his thumb before curving his hand behind my head and forcing me forward. Our lips touched once again lightly before he plunged his tongue inside my mouth. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so instantly charged with desire. Our tongues dueled as we fought to get closer in the confines of the car. I shifted in my seat, our mouths still fused. When oxygen became a necessity, I pulled back to lick at his full lips, across his jaw and stubbled chin, delighting in the slight cleft, a la Cary Grant, before I made my way back to his open mouth.
Peter groaned. I could feel the tension in his large frame as he once again forcefully devoured my mouth with long sure strokes of his tongue. He cupped my face in both of his hands, completely controlling the tempo and cadence of the kiss. But it was more than a kiss. This was sex with tongues. I wanted more.
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 fews 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.
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