Hello all! I’m excited to have the fabulous Lane Hayes at the Tea House for the Better Than Safe blog tour. I asked Lane what inspired her to write Better Than Safe.
Thank you so much for having me at the Purple Rose Tea House today, Charlie! Better Than Safe is book #4 in the Better Than Stories series. This is Paul and Seth’s story and I have to admit, it’s a bit of a departure for me. I wasn’t sure how many books I was going to write in Better Than because I wanted to try other story lines. I wrote three books in the Right and Wrong Stories series before coming back to the boys in DC, because ultimately, I felt like there was more to say here. And better yet, readers and fans of the series weren’t shy about asking for more. They wanted a chance to check in with characters. I’m a reader too. I know how that feels. I’ve been so immersed in a couple that I would have eaten up an innocent conversation between them about whose turn it was to pick up the dry cleaning! No joke. As an author, it’s the best compliment ever. I couldn’t resist!
Better Than Safe begins roughly two years after Better Than Friends (#3) ends. Paul has become friends with a couple of the other guys from Better Than who are all in long-term committed relationships. He travels extensively for work, but is about to get a hiatus, which will keep him in DC for an extended period. He isn’t necessarily looking for love but he’s open to possibility. Though, not necessarily with a model slash artist. Artistic types are nuts. And Seth is… quirky to say the least. Paul wants someone safe. A nice doctor or lawyer would be fantastic. But there’s something about Seth that makes Paul think taking a chance on crazy might be worthwhile.
My other huge inspiration in Better Than Safe was art. I love color, texture and the brilliance of expression that allows itself to be open to interpretation without censure. There is no wrong answer. It’s only what you want to believe. To me, it’s the perfect mirror of life. A painting in a gallery can be dissected and analyzed or it may be passed by, depending on the viewer’s mood. At one point in the story, Paul wishes he could be above a moment in the same way he might view a painting… like a ghost, with the ability to stop or move on without being hurt. At our most vulnerable, I think everyone has felt the same. The desire to guard our hearts may keep us from taking risks. But is it really better to be safe?
Better Than Safe begins with a short quote by Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Gray. “All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.” The rest of the quote is just as potent. “Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” In other words… life is up to interpretation. Believe what you wish, but be careful not to stay too safe. At least, that’s what Seth would tell you (*wink).
I’m excited for readers to finally meet Seth. He’s a hoot! Self-assured, brilliant and very wacky. My kind of guy. J I hope you all enjoy a small glimpse into the lives of the Better Than boys! This book is #4 in the series, but they are all standalones and can be read in any order.
Lane Hayes xo
Title: Better Than Safe
Series: Better Than stories, Book 4
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: Novel, 77k words
Release Date: September 25th, 2015
Blurb: Paul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, and he doesn’t want to relive the heartache.
Seth Landau is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept that things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.
My stomach growled. I was dead tired, hungry, and more than a little confused. Seth turned the corner before my brain could catalogue any further complaints. I studied his casual attire as he came closer. Worn black jeans, a white T-shirt with paint stains, and an unbuttoned black and blue striped cardigan. He looked more like a wacky artist than a sophisticated couture model, I mused. His sharp features were undeniably attractive but it seemed as though he’d chosen the basic clothing to downplay his beauty. Or maybe he’d just painted and couldn’t be bothered. There was something ridiculously appealing to me about our very opposite looks. Corporate formal versus art student chic. I glanced down at the sushi and willed my dick to behave.
“There you are. What kind of pasta do you want? I don’t have time to make it myself, but don’t worry, I’m buying pre-packaged but fresh. Your choices are spaghetti, tagliatelle, or pappardelle.”
I looked at the three choices he held up and pointed to the one in the middle. The tagliatelle.
“Really? I was thinking basic spaghetti but—”
“Then why did you ask?”
“I want your opinion. If you want the tagliatelle, we’ll get that one. Done.”
“Good. Let’s go. Do you have wine?”
“Yes. Hmm. I don’t know about the tag—”
“Seth. Get the spaghetti. I’m not bothered.”
“What do you mean by not bothered?”
“I mean….” I took a step forward so we stood toe to toe, Italian loafer to dirty white trainer and gave him a pointed glare. “I don’t give a shit. Pasta is pasta. It doesn’t matter to me what shape it comes in. At all.”
“You’re hungry, huh?”
“What tipped you off?”
“Sarcastic and cranky. Let’s go. You need food.” He turned away, carrying his basket of goods toward the front registers.
“What about wine?” I called after him.
He stopped in the middle of the aisle and curled his finger, motioning me to come to him with a devilish grin on his handsome face. I complied. We were alone for the moment, surrounded on either side of the cramped space by white bread and a variety of colorful cereals chock-full of preservatives and food dyes. I eyed him warily, wondering why he was stalling.
“I told you I have wine. Good wine too.”
“Marvelous. Let’s go.”
“But… there’s a catch.”
I rolled my eyes. “Of course there is. What is it? You need to swing by the dry cleaners first or—”
“Are you crazy?”
“Why is it so crazy?” he asked innocently.
“Here are a couple reasons. One, we’re in the middle of a market in a family oriented part of town and two, we’re barely friends. Not lovers. Friends don’t kiss.”
He grinned. “Sure they do. What they probably don’t do is say something like, ‘you look so fucking hot in that suit, I wish I could take it off you right here next to the Cheerios and Wheat Chex,’ so I won’t go there, but I still think it’s okay to kiss.”
I stared at him with my mouth wide open, unable to find my voice. When he chuckled in amusement at my expense, I acted with uncharacteristic impulse and reached out to cup his neck and draw him close to me. He gasped in surprise at the quick movement. I smiled as our noses brushed, perversely pleased by his shock, and suddenly glad to be the one pushing him one step further. I licked his bottom lip before fusing my mouth over his in a swift but passionate kiss. I backed up with a grin and sauntered away, taking care he didn’t see me adjust my trousers as I moved with purpose to the front registers.
I set my bag of tomatoes on the conveyer belt and stepped aside when Seth joined me a moment later.
“You play dirty,” he muttered as he set the contents in his basket with mine.
“You asked for it.”
“Maybe I did. Beware. I can play dirty too.”
I bit my cheek hard and turned toward the rack of magazines nearby, hoping to diffuse the sexual tension racing through my body. Stress, exhaustion, and hunger were suddenly non-issues. All I wanted now was sex. The one thing I couldn’t have with this man. Not without risking more than I was willing.
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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 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 few years 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.
Winner’s Prize: $25 Gift Card to Ebook retailer of choice (DSP, Amazon, ARE Café)
September 28 – The Purple Rose Tea House
September 29 – Reviews by Jessewave
September 30 – Divine Magazine
October 1 – Prism Book Alliance
October 2 – Love Bytes Reviews
October 5 – Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends
October 6 – The Land of Make Believe
October 7 – The Novel Approach
October 8 – Diverse Reader
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October 12 – Amanda C. Stone
October 13 – The Blogger Girls
October 14 – Bayou Book Junkie
October 15 – Carly’s Book Reviews
October 16 – Rainbow Gold Reviews