Title ~ The Right Words
Author ~ Lane Hayes
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Genre ~ M/M Romance, Contemporary
Release ~ 12th December 2014
Escaping an abusive relationship left Luke Preston anxious and spouting panic-induced poetry. Desperate for a fresh start, Luke accepts a job remodeling a tired old beach house for a professional soccer player and his model girlfriend. While his passion is literature, not sports, focusing on the renovations eases his anxiety. Until the job he signed up for turns out to be more complicated than advertised.
Sidelined with a serious injury, soccer star Michael Martinez decides his beach house is the perfect place to recuperate. Remodeling might be the diversion he needs to keep his mind off his busted knee. Falling for the pretty designer with some quirky habits wasn’t on the drawing board. Unfortunately, Luke didn’t build a big enough closet for Michael to hide in. Having a star-powered sports career used to be all Michael lived for, but he’ll have to reevaluate his plans and find the right words if he wants to build more than a beach house with Luke.
This entertaining, enjoyable story from Lane Hayes is centered around two completely opposite personalities: out and proud, gay interior designer Luke Preston and Michael Martinez, the gorgeous Mexican soccer (football) star he ends up working for, after a case of crossed lines involving Michael and his so called 'fiancee' and girlfriend Jamie puts him in close proximity with the tall, dark and handsome football player, when he agrees to hire him to renovate and redesign the old property he's just bought and moved into, after a bad injury to his knee has put him out of action and he has to stop playing until it heals.
I loved Luke. A complete 'sport-a-phobe' but lover of all things book related, he was a bit of a neurotic mess himself; having just got out of an abusive relationship of sorts that had crushed his self esteem, put him in therapy but worst of all left him jobless, skint and more or less homeless if his lovely best mate Brandon hadn't welcomed him into his home with open arms until he got himself back on his feet. But he can't live with Brandon and his current squeeze forever, as he needs to get his own life back on track, so everything is resting on this amazing opportunity! He’s been communicating with Jamie, the so called fiancée, online and he’s had no face to face contact or phone calls, only emails, so when he arrives at the property to find no sign of Jamie, his hopes are dashed again. Instead he’s met by a very pissed off Michael who doesn't know anything about any job offer and is far from welcoming as it turns out there was never any engagement, only a secret fling which had ended after Michael found Jamie doing the nasty with the estate agent he'd bought the house from, so it looks like he’s back to square one.
How everything resolves to allow Luke back into the picture as Michaels employee and how he finds out that his so called 'straight' employer isn't so straight after all, is all part of what makes the story such an engaging read and as their relationship starts to take shape, despite all the trials and tribulations they go through, one thing that does shine is just how endearing a character Luke is. He really is a sweetie.
All shown from Luke's perspective, you get to see that however beaten down he's been by his own relationship problems, there's still a spark and feistiness about him that you can't help being drawn too. He's such a charmer, plus he's very easy on the eye with his blond, blue eyed California boy looks, pretty features and lean but toned body and it's all those traits that attract Michael, who is struggling with his own demons concerning his sexuality and its role in his sports career and catholic family upbringing. Deeply closeted, it's a breath of fresh air to be around someone so at ease in his own skin, but Luke doesn't always hold back his thoughts on Michaels reluctance to come out to his sporting colleagues and family as he's never hidden or denied his own sexual leanings and can't get his head around why Michael won't even consider taking a chance on coming out.
'I sat staring at my new employer with my arms crossed and my lips pursed in challenge as though daring him to come up with a good reason he should get to hide while I had no chance.
"You look like you wanna kick my ass." His generous mouth curved at one side, and though I couldn't see his eyes behind his dark glasses, he was clearly amused.
"As if." It was the best I could do. "As if" or "whatever." A slightly more pleasant way to say "fuck off."
Michaels half-smile slowly morphed into a wide radiant grin. I swallowed hard. God, he was beautiful. Do not crush on your boss Luke. Do not!'
Attraction sparks between them and the sexual tension is thick but that isn't acted on too quickly, as they take time skirting around, and getting to know each other first, becoming friends over the many months it takes Luke to do the house renovation. All the while they're connecting though, things are conspiring in the background to threaten their budding romance, including jealous ex's, threats of blackmail, personal insecurities, trust issues and homophobic, controlling managers... Tonio was definitely NOT a favourite of mine. Gah! That man wanted slapping!... Then there's Luke's complicated relationship with his own mother, Mara, who is a bit of a character in her own right. He loves her very much and vice versa, but she's a tour de force and a wee bit overwhelming at times. Something that in the slightly wobbly emotional state he's in at present he can't always cope with.
As a couple Luke and Michael are a fantastic pairing. The chemistry is perfect and their interactions range from sweet and funny to hot and passionate, with more than a few doses of exasperating thrown into the equation to spice it up even more but for certain, most of the time they're on page together it's a delight. It was so nice not to have them jumping each other's bones within the first couple of chapters, instead it was refreshing to watch them grow from friends to a couple over a decent length of time. The delicious anticipation of them finally giving into their attraction is a real treat, and even then it's more of a tummy tingling, sensual moment than a full on, in your face, sex fest and I loved that Lane took them down that route. Not that the love scenes aren't utter hotness when they do get around to the bedroom action...Oh No!! Not a disappointment whatsoever on that front. Between the sheets, and outside of them, they sizzle!
'Michael flipped me onto my back in a fluid, deft manouevre. I pulled on his hair to keep his mouth locked on mine. He plundered and sucked me voraciously as his hips slammed against my pelvis. The feel of our jean-clad raging hard ons was sublime, but it wasn't enough...'
It's a great start to the series; there were a couple of instances I found myself questioning certain actions but overall it’s a sweet, sexy, fun journey filled with some great supporting characters who will no doubt get their chance at true love in the coming series and I'll be one of the first in line to read them. I know for a fact that it's Brandon's turn to get his story told next, because we get a mouth watering, sneak peak of book two at the end of this novel and I'm pretty sure Michaels bestie Alex is a definite contender in the future love stakes too. Both characters I really liked, especially Brandon who we get to know really well in this. Sassy and a bit of a diva, and loyal to Luke, I loved his vibrant "I can act the flamboyant queen when it suits my purposes" personality and can't wait to get to know more about him and his past...plus it's going to be a hunky fireman romance so what's not to love!
I adore Lane's 'Better Than' series and I can see this becoming a fast favourite too. One of my auto read authors now, I always look forward to Lane's easy, enjoyable writing style and her satisfyingly sexy stories. This is a m/m romance lovers dream. It's got pretty much everything you need to put a smile on your face and that's how I felt when I'd finished! A happy reader!
Meet Lane Hayes
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 to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel, Better Than Good, was a 2013 Rainbow Awards Finalist and her third in the Better Than Stories, Better Than Friends, received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. Lane loves red wine, chocolate and travel, in no particular order (on second thought, maybe wine first). She resides in Southern California with her amazing husband and a regal old yellow Lab in an almost empty nest.