A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Out in the Offense (Out in College #3) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Christian Rafferty is a quarterback at a small private college. He’s determined to both win another championship and keep his father off his back about his future plans. He might not graduate, though, unless he gets help with statistics.  Math is not his friend.

Rory Kirkland is a former wrestler and recent college grad who tutors and coaches wrestling at the Y. He’s an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian when they meet over coffee to discuss statistics.

I love Lane Hayes’s writing style and her characters are always fresh and interesting, well-rounded and generally likeable.  However, in this story that’s about all I liked—the characters.  Christian and Rory were two nice guys, who meet, fall in love, and that’s it. Oh, did I mention Christian is deep in the closet? Well, that’s the crux of the matter. And, of course, he has religious parents and a father who has his career all mapped out for him, and he worries about all of this throughout most of the book.

So I enjoyed the story of Christian and Rory, but there was nothing distinctive about it, nothing to make it stand out from others—just the same old basic plot twist. To be honest, I was bored.  I kept hoping for more, but it was same old… The excitement came toward the end when Christian was outed to his football team and then told his father who, as expected, stopped speaking to him.  The young men found their HEA together, however, and all is well in their world.  The end. 

The cover by Reese Dante features a bare-chested handsome young man holding a football and wearing football uniform pants. The style is similar to other Lane Hayes books in the series. 

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Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 10th 2019 by Lane Hayes
Edition Language English
Series Out in College #3

Out in the Offense (Out in College #3) by Lane Hayes Blog Tour (excerpt)

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OUT IN THE OFFENSE

Out in College Series, Book 3

LANE HAYES

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 01.06.19

out in the offense cover

COVER ARTIST: REESE DANTE 

BLURB 

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

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EXCERPT

“You don’t want to hear about my game or the stupid college parties I went to, so let’s talk statistics.”I tapped the cover of the textbook meaningfully.

“We’ll get there. Did you win?”

“Yeah, it was a blowout.”

“Sorry, the acoustics in here are whack. Did you say you got a blowjob?”

I snickered, then sat back and twisted the straw in my to-go cup. “Unfortunately, no.”

Rory tsked. “Too bad, my friend.”

“Did you?”

“Yep. I want to brag and tell you it was amazing, but it wasn’t all that special. I was horny. He was willing.…You know the story.”

“Yeah, I think it’s called a short story with a happy ending,”I joked.

“Ha! Exactly. That’s what happens when you go lookin’ for love in da club. Everyone’s out for a quick fix. Sounds perfect until it’s over ten minutes later. Then you gotta deal with the uncomfortable ‘Did we really just do that?’aftermath. Not so fun. Enjoy college life while you can. This adult business sucks,”he huffed humorlessly. “And yeah, I took Spanish in school and my brother speaks it. I know enough to hold a short conversation. That’s about it. Why’d you ask?”

I frowned. “I don’t know.”

Rory gave me a patient look. “Talk to me, Christian. We covered Basic BS 101. You told me you won your game and went to a coupla boring parties. I told you I went to WeHo with some friends. Now I’m backtracking to your question about whether or not I speak Spanish ’cause I’m polite like that. Plus it was a weird one. Why’d you want to know?”

“Your tattoo,”I replied, gesturing at his wrist.

Rory turned his palms over for me to inspect. “They’re lines from a Pablo Neruda poem. This one says, ‘En mí todo ese fuego se repite’ and this says, ‘En mí nada se apaga ni se olvida.’The translation is, ‘In me all this fire is repeated’ and ‘In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten.’The poem is called ‘If You Forget Me,’and it’s poignant as fuck. If you don’t know it, look it up.”

“I will. That’s cool.”And “poignant as fuck,”as he so eloquently put it. “But what does it mean to you?”I asked.

“That goes a little beyond water-cooler talk, QB. We’ll save it for when and if we get to know each other well enough to tell secrets,”he said, winking to take the sting from his words.

I nodded in understanding but instead of pulling away, I absently reached out to touch the script. Then I looked into his eyes, and I could have sworn I saw the tiniest crack in his armor before an invisible shield fell into place. In that fraction of a second, a silent communication passed between us. He’d been through hard times and he’d emerged…possibly stronger than ever. I was curious for sure, but there was no way to politely ask his story, so I inclined my head and switched gears.

“Did you study poetry in college?”

“No.”Rory sat back and eyed me for a long moment before continuing. “Are you ready to tackle stats now?”

I slumped in my chair with a theatrical sigh and gave myself a mental high five when he chuckled at my antics. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“I’ll go easy on you. I’ve got a feeling this is gonna hurt me more than it’ll hurt you,” he snarked.

I chuckled at the playful innuendo as I leaned forward, intent on giving him one hundred percent of my attention for as long as I could possibly stand it.

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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 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 was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady: Out in the End Zone (Out in College #2) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Out in the End Zone takes place concurrently with the first book in the series, Out in the Deep End and explains where Evan’s been going while Gage has been hanging out with Derek at their house.

Evan is Derek’s roommate, a happy-go-lucky football player with a good family background. He’s fulfilling his dreams of playing football at a small SoCal college because a deadly accident four years ago took his friend and his dreams of playing pro ball. Now, for some reason, he’s attracted to a guy at a party and not attracted to most of the girls there, including Nicole who is avidly pursuing him, and Amanda, Derek’s ex. The guy is Mitch Peterson, an out-and-proud cheer crew leader who lives with his gram and has a strong Internet following for his vlog. Evan surprises himself by agreeing to help Mitch on his senior project, which will measure the influence of social media on relationships.

They will be fake boyfriends, but the question viewers need to vote on after each video session is whether or not they are real or fake. Seems simple but doesn’t include the fact that Evan is really bi and falls head over heels for Mitch. All the ensuing chaos and happy romantic times are what makes the story interesting. It’s not all as readers may anticipate, and it is a fun book to read. I particularly enjoyed Mitch’s character and even now, a few days after finishing the story, I can clearly picture him and his wide, sunny smile. Evan was great as well, but as is typical in these stories, he dragged his feet a bit too long in coming out to his family and team and that’s hurt Mitch so I’m sure other Team-Mitch readers like me will feel as I felt and want to kick Evan in the pants—a few times!

Lane Hayes does really good character sketches for young adult/new adult stories. This was an amusing premise—a different play on the fake boyfriend trope. It’s nice that it wove in and out with the first book in the series as well. Not everything in life falls in line smoothly and this proves that point well. All in all, this is a sweet and enjoyable new adult story and I recommend it to those who like the fake boyfriend theme.

The cover by Reese Dante features a torso shot of Evan that is quite attractive.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 7th 2018 by Lane Hayes
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut in College #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Derek Vaughn is captain of his college water polo team, a competitive, type-A-everything-in-order sort of guy, plus he’s gorgeous and a natural leader. He rarely loses his temper, as he tends to think things through, but damn, put him in the water with Gabe Chadwick as his opponent and he sees red. In his opinion, Gabe is egotistical, a smartass, and willing to do whatever it takes to win—even if it means playing dirty. So when Gabe knocks away the ball Derek is playing, scratching Derek, and kicking him in the crotch while doing it, Derek sees red. And this means war. Unfortunately, it also means getting booted from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. And thus begins this lovely enemies-to-lovers story.

There’s not much better than two muscular, athletic, gorgeous men who both swing both ways—though Derek doesn’t have his own sexuality confirmed until he drools over Gabe. When Gabe transfers to Derek’s college to be near the practice pool for the national team, which he’s made as an Olympics hopeful, the two finally decide to give friendship a shot. And along with that, they start to act on their sexual attraction and Derek discovers a side of himself that he’s never acknowledged—a side that turns his world upside down.

Neither wants to come out, and yet they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. The story is sweet, and even the angst and drama that one expects when two men are attempting to stay in the closet is fairly mild. But there’s something about the author’s writing style and the lovable characters she creates that hooks me every time. It’s like taking a vacation from every-day worries during the hours I spend reading the story: totally relaxing, mentally soothing, and bringing me to a happy peaceful place. If that interests you, by all means pick this one up. The guys do get their HEA, and I suspect they may show up in a supporting role in future stories of this series. I’m certainly looking forward to more.

The cover by Reese Dante features a gorgeous man in a speedo, representing one of the two MCs who spend a lot of their time on a water polo team. It certainly does grab attention.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 149 pages
Published August 26th 2018
ASINB07GVPNXKV
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut in College #1

Release Blitz for Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the Deep

Series: Out in College

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: August 29

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 41K

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Water Polo, Coming out

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Synopsis

Derek Vaughn is a little too serious. He’s a type A control personality with a penchant for order and a love of water polo. But he’s determined to enjoy his last year of college. The real world with a serious job and big expectations can wait for a few months. He’s going soak up every minute on campus with his friends and teammates before he moves on. The only possible kink in his plan is the new guy on the team… also known as his nemesis.

Gabe Chadwick has big Olympic dreams. His transfer between Southern California universities has nothing to do with scholastics. The degree is his backup plan. He’s not there to party or make friends. And he certainly isn’t going to announce his sexuality. But he can’t deny there’s something special about the uptight team captain. However, when an unwitting friendship and mutual attraction collide, both will have to decide if this is the real thing or if they’re about to lose it all in the deep.

Excerpt

Maybe I just needed a good night’s sleep. It had been a long day. And a weird one. I could never have dreamed up a scenario featuring Gabe Chadwick in my house after this morning. But here he was.

I gave him a thorough once-over as he walked into the kitchen. And again, the first thing that crossed my mind was, “Wow, he’s really fucking hot.”

“Nice place.”

“Thanks. Do you want some water or something?” I asked, awkwardly pointing at the fridge.

“No, thanks. I’ve had enough tonight,” Gabe replied with a laugh.

I should have said good-bye then and escorted him to the door, but I had a strong desire to keep him talking and maybe dispel the weird admiring thoughts going through my brain. Yes, Gabe was a good-looking guy, but I shouldn’t be fixating on his long eyelashes and the way the kitchen light framed him in a halo of sorts. I couldn’t let him go until my brainwaves returned to normal, and he was the same annoyingly smart and talented opponent I’d played against occasionally for years. The thing was, I didn’t really know him and at that moment, I wanted to.

“Where do you live?” I asked.

“About fifteen minutes away. I scored an apartment by campus. I have one roommate. Brent’s a volleyball player. We might get a third to cut expenses, but I don’t want to share a room, so that’ll be up to him.”

“Sharing a room gets old fast. Evan and I knew we wanted to live together, but I’d probably smother him in his sleep if I had to listen to him snoring every night a few feet away from me,” I said in a lame-ass effort to keep him talking.

Gabe chuckled. “That would be rough. Evan seems like a cool guy. Is he as neat as you? This house is spotless.”

“No, that’s all me. I can’t help it. I have a thing about order. Evan’s a slob. You should see his room. At least he tries in shared spaces. I don’t bug him about his unmade bed, scattered clothes, and random dishes he leaves on his nightstand as long as he keeps the bathroom and kitchen tidy. He’s been on the receiving end of a couple of classic Vaughn meltdowns,” I said with a self-deprecating shrug.

“A Vaughn meltdown,” Gabe repeated. “That must be a version of what I experienced this morning when you tried to drown me.”

“Fuck off.” I laughed, then looked away quickly when a rush of heat flooded my cheeks. Oh, my God. Please don’t let me blush. Not now. He’ll know something’s wrong with me.

Gabe stepped closer to me and cocked his head. “Are you blushing?”

Great.

“I don’t blush.”

“Whatever you say.” He winked and gave me a mischievous smile that turned me inside out.

This couldn’t be happening.

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Meet the Author

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. She is the bestselling author of the Better Than, Right and Wrong, A Kind of Stories and Leaning Into series. Lane’s novels placed first in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an empty nest.

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