Title ~ A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories Book 2)
Author ~ Lane Hayes
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 6th June 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A Kind of Story
Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.
Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.
Lane Hayes writes really good opposites attracts romances and in her latest 'A Kind of' story she brings us a couple of gay guys who couldn't be more poles apart if they tried. It's a case of conservative, driven and conventional meet flamboyant, free spirited and enigmatic when, after his dad George has a fall at their long established family bagel store, Wall Street exec and workaholic Ezekial (Zeke) Gulden comes face to face with the stores latest employee; Pretty, blue haired, lip glossed vibrant Italian: Benjamin (Benny) Ruggieri.
There’s a fleeting zing of interest from Zeke but as first impressions go, things aren't particularly that great.Out and proud Benny is 'too gay' for Zeke's tastes and in return Zeke is too conservative and 'straight' for Benny's. But beware a Jewish matchmaking dad on a mission! Using a touch of emotional blackmail George pretty much steamrolls the two of them into agreeing to a date of sorts, and despite neither of them envisaging anything further happening beyond the fake date, surprisingly, Zeke finds himself becoming increasingly consumed by thoughts of the colorful Benny and what starts out as a one time "let's do this to get George off our backs" situation, gradually turns toward something totally unexpected; as first grudging attraction creeps in, and following that hot, sensual sizzingly intense sex!
We can see exactly where this is heading but not these two! OH NO…they continue to shy away from saying the B (boyfriend) word. Zeke in particular constantly see sawing between attraction and denial, so it becomes yet another case of just being friends.. with the proverbial benefits of course! So, can two such polar opposites fall in love and survive the obvious obstacles?
A Kind of Romance is a sophisticated New York based tale of amore that on the surface follows the general tropes of this rom com-ish style of love story, but actually beneath the lighter weight romantic shenanigans has more going on than initially meets the eye. More emotional depth entering the story as we become more privy to past histories and present day lives.
Zeke in particular is toting a whole lot of emotional baggage, including an ex boyfriend, a strained relationship with a dad who wasn't always so accepting of homosexuality as he is now, and a poignant back story surrounding his mum that has affected, and continues to shape, a lot of his actions and attitudes toward anybody in his life who demand an emotional connection. Zeke does not forgive and forget easily!
And then there's beautiful sassy Benny who I absolutely loved! I'm a sucker for feisty, outré, vivacious characters who ooze unconventionality, and from the moment he first appeared I was a goner! Witty and self assured, Benny is comfortable in his own skin but coming from a huge Italian family he too has certain issues that, as much as Zeke begins get under his skin, still make him wary of Zeke's actual intentions around their burgeoning relationship.
There was a lot about the story I liked (did I mention how much I loved Benny!) and again Lane's writing was clever, smooth and classy. I really do love her storytelling style. But...and this is why I couldn't give this a higher star rating...as much as I adored Benny, I couldn't warm to Zeke. Unfortunately I wanted to slap him more than I wanted to hug him, as his general attitude throughout the book niggled the pants off me. He had to be the way he was to make the story work, so I got why Lane wrote him that way, and I guess he redeems pretty well at the end but because it's mainly told from his perspective, he's a huge focus in the book and try as I might, I just never took, or wholeheartedly related to him like I felt I should.
I know for a fact this is very much a me thing, as other readers have loved him to bits, so I'm definitely a minority here but if I can't connect fully to a character then it skews my overall affinity to the story and that's what happened here. Having said that, I might not have loved it as much as I anticipated but I did enjoy A Kind of Romance so I have no doubts that this will be a big hit for the majority of Lane Hayes fans and m/m romance lovers alike. Just because it didn't reach exalted heights for me this time, doesn't mean to say it's not going to wow you guys, so jump in and enjoy...I'm pretty certain you will!
A Kind of Truth (A Kind of Stories Book One)
Rand O’Malley dreams of superstardom. He hopes to one day sing the blues like a rock god. Moving to New York City and hiring a new manager are steps to make his dreams a reality. But nothing moves as fast as Rand would like, and everyone has opinions, for example that he should keep certain pieces of himself quiet if he plans on making it in the Big Apple. Like his bisexuality.
Will Sanders is a gifted musician who dazzles Rand with his ability to coax gorgeous notes from an electric guitar one moment and play the piano like a professional the next. He’s a geek, but Rand isn’t concerned about Will’s pressed exterior clashing with his tattoos. His focus is music. Yet there’s something about Will that makes Rand think there’s much more to the quiet college student than he lets on. As Rand’s dreams begin to materialize, he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and find his own kind of truth. One that might include Will.