Out in College: Out On The Serve – Lane Hayes
Roommates to friends to lovers…
I need a roommate fast. Even a temporary one. Beggars can’t be choosers. Going pro after graduation has been intense, and time is precious. Thankfully, Braden seems cool. He’s a little quirky…and very sexy. Of course, I would never get involved with a roommate. That’s a bad idea. Isn’t it?
Moving to Long Beach seems like a no brainer. It’ll be a perfect chance to wind down before grad school and a nice respite from my folks. Plus, my new roommate is a great guy. A little messy, but sweet. Gotta admit, I like him more than I should. And we’re off to a strange start when a mutual friend hooks me up with his ex. Elliot’s the one I want, but going from friends to lovers is a risk. We could end up out on the serve…or we could win it all.
Out on the Serve is a low-angst MM, bisexual romance starring two roommates, one neat, one messy, beach volleyball, a lot of sand, and a little summer fun. This story is part of the Out in College series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Lane Hayes spun the well-loved roommates-to-lovers trope into a fun and sweet story with two MCs that were opposites but synced so well with each other.
New roommates Elliot and Braden get to know each other’s quirks as they deal with their mutual attraction, difficult teammates, theater dreams, meddling friends and last hurrahs before September comes and put an end to everything.
Elliot is the goofy, messy one who leaves sand all over their floor while Braden is a neat freak who alphabetizes their pasta. Both men were out as bi and while Elliot’s hippie mom was more than okay with that, Braden’s conservative Catholic mom was in denial.
The evolution from roommates to friends to lovers was fantastic! I really liked how the two men worked around their differences and just came together naturally even if at first, they had to fight their insane attraction to each other. For the sake of being roommates and friends. But even they couldn’t deny their sizzling chemistry!
Conflict came in the form of a misguided attempt to boost popularity, a fiasco brought about by Elliot’s volleyball partner, Gus and their annoying friend Sophie. Braden also had things to say to his mom.
Thankfully, the book avoided the usual pitfalls. There were no unnecessary dramas and the pacing was smooth and fast. It also it resolved things in a sensible manner, something many of us highly appreciated. It might not have the grandest grand gesture moment but it definitely hits you right in the kokoro!
From start to finish, the story had me rooting for Elliot and Braden. And though it began as a summer hook-up, there were no doubts that theirs was a forever thing.
This is my first book from the Out in College series. Many characters from the other books make appearances and my interest was piqued. I loved meeting Elliot’s friend, Colby and his boyfriend Sky, and Braden’s ex, Phoenix. Max, Phoenix’s boyfriend gets a mention. Many of the characters were likable except Sophie and Gus.
The audiobook was narrated by Michael Dean. I’ve always liked his narration. Although here, I felt his voices for younger 20-somethings were a bit too mature for their age. Dean makes great voices for the age range of 30s and older. Other than this niggle, I think he made the book even more enjoyable with his energetic reading style and well-acted dialogues.
Overall, Lane Hayes served up another win in this delightful story of sports, sand and summer romance. If the beach is your happy place, this book will definitely take you there.
Thank you to IndiGo and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Review of Lane Hayes books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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A Way With You – Lane Hayes
Reeve Nelson is determined to make it in Manhattan. He’s hardworking, dedicated and willing to put in the extra hours required to be successful at his new job at a prestigious real estate firm in the city. There’s no way he’s going back to small-town living and an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go. But his boss isn’t making it easy.
Leo Rodriguez enjoys his reputation as a ruthless businessman. He’s a lone wolf who’s scraped his way from the gutter to rebuild his life and launch a distinguished career on his terms. When an opportunity to expand in the market comes up, Leo wants the eager new agent with a sense of wonder on the project. But nothing goes quite as planned. Reeve expected to be intimidated and overwhelmed by Leo, however, the explosive mutual attraction and fierce desire between them is a big surprise. Neither man is looking for love and yet, something special just might happen if they can find their way…together.
A Way With You is the sequel to A Way With Words, starring Remy’s big brother, Reeve. This book could be read as a standalone but I recommend reading Remy and Tony’s book first because why miss out on this adorable couple?
A Way With You started strong. We meet Reeve in his first day of work. He just learned he was to work with real estate celebrity, Leo Rodriguez, a man who has a reputation as a tough as nails boss.
He was assigned to a challenging assignment which led to butting heads with Leo where he quickly lost his temper. To end his last day at work with a bang, he kissed his boss.
Then he disappeared.
Between the Nelson brothers, Reeve had the more mercurial temper whereas Remy was the more easy-going one. The brothers are very supportive of each other, constantly checking in to see how the other is doing. Their relationship was one of the highlights of the book.
I didn’t warm up to Reeve much. I didn’t hate him but I didn’t like him either. We could all do without the tantrums. What’s admirable about him though was that he’s brave enough to quit a 6-figure job and carve his own path in life. He doesn’t even mind that he had to start from scratch all over again.
Leo was the stand out here. I wished we had his POV. When we first met him, he appeared cold and aloof. The kind of personality you would expect in a terror boss.
It was when we meet him again, this time outside the office, we could see he’s a genial, warm-hearted guy who offers sofa cuddles and lends his underwear to the under-dressed.
I loved the way he doggedly pursued Reeve’s company. Not taking no for an answer but never pushy. He consistently kept a cool head whenever Reeve threw his tantrums. Best of all, he followed his love declarations with actions. Truly a keeper!
While I liked both books in the A Way With series, I enjoyed this a notched less than the first book. It has the same feel-good charm as its predecessor and I was having a good time with most of it. After the big scene at the office, I was led to believe this was going to be conflict-free but alas childish behavior reared its ugly head.
Reeve’s infamous temper flared up at the latter part of the story where, although in keeping with character, resulted in a rather ridiculous fight scene. I wasn’t particularly impressed with this moment. I felt it was thrown in just so there would be conflict.
Nonetheless, Leo’s winning ways saved the day, cartwheel fails and all.
Narration-wise, Alexander Cendese continued to do a good job giving life to all these colorful characters. While the voices are not that different from each other, he was still able to imbue distinct personalities to each so it’s wasn’t difficult to recognize who’s speaking at the moment. His reading style was appropriately energetic in keeping with the vibe of the book.
All in all, A Way With You was an enjoyable office romance story that happened mostly outside the office. It’s also about following your dreams and doing it your way. Because trying to making it big in the Big Apple is a hell lot easier if you got friends, family and the right boss to kiss.
Thank you to Indigo and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book one, A Way With You, review here.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love