A Kind of Romance, by Lane Hayes
Series: A Kind of Story, #2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release date: June 6, 2016
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
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.
Sometime in the last few years, I’d come to associate Lane Hayes with sweet, funny, light reads because her books tend to be low in angst and very high in satisfaction. While yes, her books are all these things, I now realize that I haven’t been giving the author enough credit. Not only was A Kind of Romance a lovely romantic read featuring Benny and Zeke, but it was also a heartwarming and at times gut-wrenching story about familial love and forgiveness.
If you read A Kind of Truth, the first book in the series, you’re already familiar with Benny, and you may recall George the bagel shop boss mention his investment banker son Zeke. (Although I don’t think you need to read the first book to enjoy this one, you should anyway because it is an excellent read.)
Zeke and Benny’s story is one of opposites attract and overcoming stereotypes. Zeke is career-driven, highly competitive and spends his free time obsessing about his cheating ex. Benny is a funny, easygoing, creative type with loud hair and even louder clothes. Except for their sexuality and their big New York families, the two men have nothing in common. But at the insistence of George (now Benny’s boss), the two agree to go out for drinks, figuring it’s easier than arguing with the stubborn, well-intentioned old man.
While Benny’s the sassy, struggling stylist that I loved from Book #1, it was Zeke’s character growth that really pulled me into this second book. This book is in fact told from Zeke’s POV. He started off as one of those wealthy, uptight characters that I usually have difficulty relating to. I rolled my eyes at his early insistence that Benny was “too gay” and not his type. As he struggled with his growing obsession with the vibrant man, I found his clumsy attempts at complimenting Benny’s wardrobe choices both cringe-worthy and endearing. By the time he realized that not only was he falling for Benny but that he also respected and admired him as a person, I was totally on his team.
And then there’s Zeke’s struggle with his parents. I can’t go too much into the details without giving the story away, but the tension between him and his dad is palpable from the very beginning. And while I initially chalked it up to Zeke being an asshole son who had little time for family, it turns out I was wrong. There’s much, much more to the story than that, and in fact, it was my favorite part about this book.
Despite the focus on Zeke, Benny is by no means a side character. He’s larger than life and full of that New York street confidence. I loved how the author revealed bits and pieces of his dreams and motivations, and particularly his family background. And I especially loved how he didn’t take any shit from Zeke.
Lane Hayes has a knack for stirring up just the right amount of conflict, in just the right tone, to keep from turning the characters angsty and overwhelming the story. Even though the drama associated with Zeke’s ex showed his human side in the beginning and got a bit farcical in the end, it ultimately made for a sweet, sweet ending. I love it when I finish a good romance novel with a light heart and a gusty sigh. This book is a perfect example of how the author quietly crept onto my autobuy list.
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 both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.
You can purchase A Kind of Romance at:
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.