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Release Reviews and Giveaway: A Kind Of Home: Lane Hayes

A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4)
Lane Hayes
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Released June 23, 2017
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Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in unchartered and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.
For some reason, I didn’t realize until shortly before the release of A Kind of Home that Lane Hayes had planned to write a fourth book in the series that contains my favorite book of 2016, A Kind of Romance. I like happy surprises! I also liked (loved, to be honest) the fact that this book looked to match my love for the earlier novel as well, but then the ending of this rock-star story sounded a little off key to me. Just a little, mind you, but it was just enough to keep me from quite reaching the beautiful place that my short list of all-time favorites achieves.

This time, the focus is on the lead guitarist of the mega-popular band Spiral, Isaac Dalton. After finishing an international leg of their latest world tour, Isaac is ready for a break, especially since it’s not just the seemingly endless tour schedule that’s exhausting him. Lately, a particularly creepy fan has unwillingly forced him to have a round-the-clock bodyguard that drives him crazy. And coming home to find the hot older brother of his best friend from back home still living in Isaac’s apartment three months after the one week he was supposed to be crashing there just adds to the stress. Adam McBride may be Isaac’s first big crush and recently divorced, but that doesn’t change the fact that the guy is straight and off-limits for more reasons than just that. It turns out, though, that Adam is more than Isaac thought. He’s still built like the star athlete he was back home, but his passions have changed since his divorce—he’s traded his hammer and nails for cookies and a spatula, for one. And that’s not the only thing that’s changed. When the mutually beneficial living arrangement turns into an undeniable attraction, acting upon it puts both men in a place they’ve never been before. Even so, Adam knows what he wants. Isaac, though, will have to decide if taking the risk is worth the potential danger, even if it means finding what he’s been missing from his life for so long.

As with the previous books in the series, A Kind of Home can be enjoyed as a standalone, but because this series is full of such wonderfully developed characters and some of the most beautifully constructed passages of dialogue placed within some of the most well-crafted and perfectly paced romances I’ve read in the genre, there’s no reason not to read the other books in the series. 

And this title in the series is no exception. I’m sure my love of Adam has something to do with his physical description. What can I say? I love hunky guys. Guilty as charged. But it’s more than that. He’s upbeat, a little bit goofy, and a much better communicator than I expected him to be. In truth, he’s a surprisingly deep and complex character that I really fell in love with. The fact that this story is written entirely from Isaac’s point of view means that the author did something truly special to make Adam leap off the page as much as he did for me. It also makes the romance between them land right up there with my other favorite of the series. There are so many moments of simple and beautifully intimate sweetness interspersed among the deliciously hot scenes of a different type of intimacy that the romance meter in my chest stayed pegged…

And then the ending sequence happened. The side plot about the creepy fan resolves and while it was certainly an underdeveloped plot line by any standard of romantic suspense, I don’t think its purpose was to add suspense so much as to add another layer of trust between Isaac and Adam. So that wasn’t my problem, though I imagine some people will cite this as being an issue. What got me was the apparently inevitable break-up scene. It happens so late in the story that I had actually convinced myself that there wasn’t going to be one this time, that the story was beautiful and didn’t need the drama of a breakup to give me the big feels that I love so much in romance because it had already done so all along the way, that the slightly dramatic resolution of the stalker-fan thing was enough to make Isaac realize that he needed to cling to the things that bring him joy and life and the feeling of home. But alas… it happened anyway. And while I understood where Isaac was coming from in doing it, I still didn’t get why it was necessary to the story. Had this part been omitted, this would have been my first five-star read in just over twelve months and over 110 books read—and yeah, the last time was to that other book in this series. When they get to the reuniting scene, it contained the loving sweetness that is expected, but at that point, it didn’t resonate with me as much. It was as if the magic was broken. So while it didn’t completely ruin my love of the book, rarely have I wished that I could pay an author to rewrite a chapter of a book as much as the final chapter of this one.

Despite the ending (and my own drama over it), I still loved A Kind of Home. I suspect that this will be the last full novel of the series because there aren’t any more band members and no more gay/bi side characters that I recall. I admit that makes me a little sad, as this series really is one that pulled at my heartstrings from start to finish. Uncomplicated and largely without unnecessary and unrealistic drama, Lane Hayes’s A Kind of Stories series will hold a special place in my heart for a long time to come.

The author and/or publisher generously provided me a complimentary copy of A Kind of Home in exchange for this fair and honest review.
This one picks up later than the other books as the band Spiral has become extremely popular and the guys are under a lot of pressure and media scrutiny. Lead Guitarist, Isaac Dalton used to be the member who dressed up in various costumes, but his style has scaled down a bit. He lives for the music, but could do without the fame and lack of privacy.

Coming off an exhausting European tour, Isaac just wants to come home to some peace and quiet. But he did not realize that the house guest he said could stay for a week awhile back is still in residence. His best friend's older brother and previous crush, Adam McBride is still living in his apartment after going through a divorce and leaving the town they grew up in. Adam is handsome, charming, funny, and loyal. He is starting his life over and is harboring a secret.

Isaac is somewhat disconnected from life and is not really feeling anything. He has a rule against no repeats and does not do relationships. He is also dealing with a stalker super fan that has him on edge and is a security worry. The rock and roll popularity is wearing on him.

There is sexual tension between them even though Isaac has always thought Adam was straight. And one drunken night, they act on it. But neither want to face the awkward morning after. And since Isaac does not do repeats, it is easier for him to try to force themselves back into the friend zone. But their attempts at wholesome diversions and shared interests cannot keep the unwholesome thoughts and attraction away. And as they spend more time together and get closer, it is harder to resist the physical pull. And an intimate intentional repeat will change their dynamics again.

I liked both of these guys and I liked them together. Adam is just so good-natured, lovable, and positive. Isaac definitely has more issues from his past and current situation. But he is supportive of Adam as well. They have good chemistry, history, a connection, and get along so well. They also trust each other and develop intimacy along with desire. 

But Isaac's life is not his own. He is at the mercy of the public and there are safety risks. He feels guilt about dragging Adam into his chaotic life. He is used to repressing emotions and trying to avoid problems and hope they will just go away.  He is not a risk taker when it comes to his emotions or relationships. And Adam has his own plans for his future that do not really coincide. His life has undergone so many changes and he is still finding his footing. They are both protective but go about it differently.  Adam wants to be there when Isaac needs him, while Isaac tends to push Adam away for his own good. 

I enjoyed getting more from previous friends Rand, Will, Tim, Carter, Cory, Holly, Benny, Zeke, and Cammy. This group has been through a lot together, and they try to be there for Isaac even when he is stubborn and prideful. There was some mystery and suspense as to who was sending Isaac messages that added tension. I did have some issues with some of the questionable choices made by the characters and a few plot points. It is a slower paced and slower build story in the first half, and some more drama and romance in the second half. I liked these two, but Benny and Zeke are still my favorite couple of the series.

This is a combination rock star, room mates, best-friend's-brother, and friends-to-lovers story with laughter, companionship, taking chances, and new beginnings. But also has some added suspense. I really liked the underlying theme of finding out what home really means to each of them.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

 “I’ve got it!” Adam sprang to his feet and waved his hand excitedly.

I gave him a weary sideways glance. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop.”

“No, it’s perfect. You teach me guitar and I’ll teach you how to bake something.”

“Tonight?”

“Not necessarily. When we can. The point is I’ll be here if you don’t feel like being alone. We can keep each other sane with wholesome diversions without having to ask ‘What do you feel like doing, roomie?’”

“‘Wholesome diversions’? You’ve been mainlining confectioner’s sugar again, haven’t you?” I quipped.

“Ha. Ha. Don’t overthink. I’ll keep my hands to myself. You’re safe with me. I promise. I just—we’re both adjusting to change. It might be helpful to lean on each other. That’s all.”

“Platonically?”

“Sure. Boston cream pie for a tip or two on how to play a couple Guns N’ Roses classics. What do you think?”

I lowered my eyes as I worked on the row of buttons on my navy shirt. I was touched. I couldn’t remember the last time someone stopped to notice my state of mental well-being and offered to ease my mind. I knew my friends cared, but they were going through the same things I was. All they could say was “Hang on. It’ll get easier.” Adam was offering something more—himself and his time. Platonically.

I wasn’t sure I trusted myself to keep us in the friend zone. Even now I wanted to tackle him to the bed and grind against him. He was solid, familiar, and trustworthy. Just what I needed to keep my mind off my troubles.

“Okay. You’re on.” I chuckled when he let out a whoop before I continued. “But we each get to choose what we want to learn.”

Adam mulled over my suggestion for a moment, then inclined his head. “As long as you know we aren’t making anything from a box.”

“And as long as you know I can only take so many run-throughs of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ before I’ll strangle you.”

Adam gave me a megawatt grin and then held up his hand for a high five. I slapped his hand and then rolled my eyes when he broke into a decent impression of Axl Rose’s version of “Patience.”

“Go,” I said, shooing him out of my bedroom. “I’ve got real-life bullshit to deal with. No more nonsense.”

“A little nonsense is good for you, Isaac. It’s what keeps you afloat so the bad stuff doesn’t drag you under.” He reached for my wrist and pulled me against him so our chests collided.

It was a slapstick maneuver that was too rough to be taken as a sensual overture. Until he backed me against the wall and lowered his head a fraction of an inch, stopping when his nose brushed mine. I held my breath, aware of my thundering heart. My world constricted to the smallest fragment of space. I occupied a place against a wall, covered by a man I’d known most of my life. Someone I cared about and, yeah, lusted after too.

Adam lowered his head again, and this time he didn’t stop. He pressed his lips to mine and went perfectly still as though testing my response. When I didn’t protest, he melded his mouth over mine, careful to keep the connection light. I reached out and ran a tentative hand along his cheek. Adam trembled and leaned into my touch, deepening the kiss ever so slightly. Then he licked my lips in a silent request for entry. I groaned when our tongues glided together and let him pull me under.

I broke for air and pushed his chest. This was ridiculous. We were friends only, and we were destined for heartache if we tried to be something else. “We can’t do this. I told you, I—”

Adam tugged at my belt loop and drew me against him. Then he rested his forehead against mine and went still as though he was wordlessly giving me control. I should have pushed him away, but I couldn’t. I fused my lips to his and moaned into the connection. I shivered when he moved his hands up my chest, then placed them on the wall on either side of my head. He nudged my chin with his nose until I exposed my neck. He traced my jawline with the tip of his tongue and then bit my earlobe before whispering in a raspy voice, “No repeats. I’ll behave. But I gotta admit… I really want to change your mind.”
A Kind of Truth (A Kind of Stories #1)
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Released January 8, 2016
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Read Jay's 4.5-star review

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, which include he 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.


A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2)
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Released June 6, 2016
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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.


A Kind of Honesty (A Kind of Stories #3)
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Released October 7, 2016

Music is Tim Chalmers’s great escape and the one thing that’s never let him down. But his band Spiral’s meteoric rise to fame has made it difficult for the drummer to maintain a low profile. Unwanted press pesters him after a public breakup with a volatile ex-girlfriend who loves the limelight as much as he loathes it. Tim’s main goal is to avoid confrontation. However, when he meets a handsome stranger in a dive bar who turns out to be someone he may know, everything changes.

Carter Hamilton-Temple might be a successful financial consultant with more brains, sophistication, and charm than most, but he always falls for the wrong guys: closet cases or men with issues. He can’t fight his attraction to the tattooed rock star, but can he trust his own judgment? When the thrill of danger combined with a fierce physical connection proves too strong for either man to resist, a quiet liaison away from the public eye and curious friends seems like a safe bet. But some secrets are hard to keep. When rumors threaten to rock his world, Tim realizes it’s time to confront his fear with his own kind of honesty.
Lane Hayes

Lane Hayes is finally 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 is the bestselling author of the Better Than Stories series and Right and Wrong Stories and the new A Kind of Stories series. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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