Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The best of one of my favorite series, by far, this one features our favorite queen, the Broadway tunes-singing Geordie, co-owner of Conrad Winery. Geordie appealed to me since we readers first met him, long before this story, but I totally fell head-over-heels in love with him here. And the man the author picked to love him back? Levi Yeager couldn’t be more perfect for him.
As the blurb states: “Geordie de la Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery.” Four years after the death of his life partner, Mike, the man who originally founded the winery with Wes Conrad, Geordie still spends time in Mike’s secret garden, talking to him and mourning his loss. He can’t contemplate ever moving forward and is content with his life as it is.
So when Wes asks him to take on a special project—consulting with the new owner of the vacant restaurant not far from the winery—he’s hard-pressed to refuse but isn’t terribly excited, especially when he learns the man is a former pro-baseball player. Ho hum. Even when he meets the gorgeous owner, Levi Yeager, and is surprised by his sudden desire for the man, he hesitates. But over time, Levi shows him a new side of himself and he accepts Geordie exactly as he is—show tunes and all—and it’s been four years since Geordie had that level of acceptance in his life.
I won’t go into multiple details here but there’s so much about this story to love. There’s humor, much of it centered around Geordie’s OTT excitement about the pink Vespa Levi is driving. Yes, it’s his sister’s vehicle, but the fabulous Geordie grabs the pink helmet and enjoys every moment hanging onto Levi as they get around. There’s also plenty of humor between the men over their taste in music and Geordie’s sense of style, but under it all is Levi’s strong and steady wholehearted acceptance of the importance of Mike in Geordie’s life.
I appreciated the fact that the author allowed the relationship to develop slowly. Slow burn is one of my favorite themes, as is older men, and Geordie finally admits he’s forty-three to Levi’s thirty-seven. Call me in heaven. I love these two together. Their dynamic was smooth and easy, and even when Levi’s ex came to town and when Geordie struggled with the J word and eventually had to admit he had feelings for Levi, the scenes were beautifully done. And lest I forget, yes there are sex scenes and they do indeed sizzle, but they are not overdone. I’m coming to a new appreciation for authors who know when to stop and don’t put extra gratuitous sex scenes in a book just to titillate.
The story is solid and Ms. Hayes had the perfect mix of emotions in this one. Geordie’s final words to Mike were both heartbreaking and heartwarming and had a small touch of humor. Just perfect! There’s definitely a HEA in this story and a chance for another story if Levi’s ex gets an opportunity to settle in the area, but if this is the end of the series, that’s fine. Leaning Into Forever was the best of the best. Very highly recommended.
The cover by Reese Dante is similar to others in the series in that it features the torso of a man. In this case, it’s a bare-chested, muscular chest and the background is the Napa Valley. It’s the perfect depiction of Levi, who opens his restaurant next to Conrad Winery and falls in love with co-owner, Geordie.
ebook, 225 pages
Published June 29th 2018 by Lane Hayes (first published June 26th 2018)
Original TitleLeaning Into Forever
SeriesLeaning Into #7