Meet the narrator of Lane Hayes’ novel Better Than Good and stick around for a nice long excerpt! Thanks Lane!
Better Than Good, Lane Hayes
Almost three years ago now I met someone who changed my life. Everything about me. My direction, my plans for a future and ultimately how I viewed myself. I fell in love with someone so bright, so beautiful and so completely the opposite of me it was difficult for me to process the magnitude of my attraction. I fell hard. I was frightened on one hand but I was also compelled and more determined than ever to have some connection with him, anything he’d give me. I was convinced I would have even settled for friendship. Thankfully I got more. For the first time in my life, I pursued someone of my own sex.
When I first acknowledged to my friends that I was bisexual it came as a surprise. They asked the inevitable questions… Are you just curious? Are you gay for him? The answer was no. I was bisexual. No one knew. I never said a word. But I knew. The truth is I never had to say anything because I never met a man I wanted as intensely as I wanted Aaron. That doesn’t mean I’d never been tempted. I fought the feeling any way I could.
When I was in high school and even college, I studied harder, I practiced longer. I did anything to avoid acknowledging the attraction I sometimes felt toward members of my same sex. I figured my saving grace was that I still got turned on when I saw a really beautiful girl. I didn’t have to be different if I could just control my urges.
I know now I was born this way. Like a gay man is exclusively attracted to men or a straight man is to women only, I was wired to be an equal opportunity lover. I’m attracted to women, yes. But now I’m honest about the other side of me. I am and always have been attracted to men also.
I knew something was up (literally) when I fifteen and couldn’t take my eyes off of the captain of the varsity football team. Chad Corcoran was our high school quarterback. He was tall but thin, with a winning smile, a handsome face and a killer bod. One of my buddies at the lunch table caught me gawking at him one day and asked me if I had a crush on him. It wasn’t a polite inquiry. I was being taunted. I think I shoved my so-called friend hard, called him a name and generally berated him for even suggested I was gay. Then I coolly said I was interested in becoming QB, that’s all.
Throughout my high school years I began to notice for every two girls I found pretty, there was at least one guy who made me tongue-tied and would usually feature in my late night masturbation material. I won’t lie… it freaked me out. I came from a large loving family I knew supported me no matter what, but what would any of them say to a bolt out of the blue like that? I couldn’t even begin to fathom the awkward conversations. The thought of dealing with their disappointment and disgust was more than I could bear to contemplate. It was hard enough navigating high school without adding the pressure of questioning my sexuality. So I chose not to explore my “gay” side. If I liked girls and was able to perform, there was no reason my interest in men would ever be an issue. I could steer my thoughts away from firm bodies and hard abs, control my compulsion and live the life I wanted. The one I was expected to live. I would finish law school, pass the bar, get a great job in the city and eventually marry, buy a house and start a family. I had it all mapped out.
Then came Aaron.
We met at a gay dance club. I was there with my out and proud roommate Curt. There was a group of us and we’d been partying for a while. Our stop in the gayborhood of DC was a lark. We were supportive of our friend and considered ourselves liberal minded guys but we didn’t frequent gay bars or clubs. This was an anomaly. Needless to say, meeting the man I would fall head over heels for wasn’t something that sprang to mind.
I’ve never met anyone like Aaron. He was unique… insanely beautiful with dark hair, olive skin and gorgeous hazel eyes. He was small (five foot eight to my six one) and lean, but toned. The first thing I noticed about him on that dance floor was how he moved. He was so confident and sure of himself. I was mesmerized by him. And later, I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
Eventually I caught on that this feeling, this longing wasn’t going away. When I met him by chance the next time, I did everything I could to get him to stay with me, talk to me, be near me. I loved hearing his voice, watching his hands move in rhythm to the stories he wove. Everything about him was magnetic. I could barely string two sentences together, I was so overwhelmed by his joie de vie.
He didn’t trust me at first. Who could blame him? I’d broken up with a recent girlfriend and was by all intents and purpose a straight man to everyone who knew me. Loving him the way he deserved would take a fuck load of courage on my part. But the alternative…. that was unfathomable. We took a chance on each other and it’s paid off a million times over.
In the past three years, I’ve weathered some serious changes. Mostly positive. When I met Aaron I met the other half of me. The part of me that demanded a voice. The gift of love is the greatest of all… so we’re taught. Its power is not to be questioned or quantified. It simply is. Coming out to myself was a difficult process. It took almost a decade for me to accept who I am. Coming out to my friends and family was harder. My friends were relatively easy. My family… well, they’re a work in progress.
At the end of the day, this is my life. No one else lives in my head or wears my shoes. I never expected to meet someone like Aaron. I could never have predicted falling so hard for someone so out of my league. I count myself unbelievably fortunate he feels the same for me. How could I ever give this up? How could I ever deny myself simply to make others feel more comfortable. I won’t. I am a bisexual man in a gay relationship I will do everything in my power to make last a lifetime. And I am proud.
Better Than Good
By Lane Hayes
Matt Sullivan understands labels: law student, athlete, heterosexual. He has goals: graduate and begin his career in law. One fateful night, Matt tags along with his gay roommate to a dance club and everything changes. Matt finds himself attracted to the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. All labels go flying out the window.
Aaron Mendez doesn’t believe in labels, and he’s leery of straight curious men. He makes it clear that he’ll hide his fabulous light for no one. While Aaron can’t deny the attraction between him and Matt, he is reluctant to start anything with someone who is still dealing with what this new label means—especially when that someone has a girlfriend.
Excerpt from Better Than Good by Lane Hayes
By the time I took him back to his place, it was three a.m. The usually busy streets were virtually empty. A fine layer of fog from the river painted the low lying shrubs and sidewalks in front of his building. It looked a little mystic and magical as though the early morning hour still held promise. I pulled close to the curb, set the car in park and turned toward my companion. I didn’t want to say goodbye, yet I didn’t know where this thing between us could go. I felt that familiar wave of frustration.
“Can I walk you up? I mean it. I just want to be sure you’re safe.” It sounded like a lame request, but Aaron seemed pleasantly surprised.
“You are a gentleman, aren’t you?” His eyes twinkled. “I won’t say no and I’ll try to keep my hands to myself. There’s a parking spot up there. Take it so you don’t get a ticket.”
I parked the car as instructed and met Aaron at the curb. His smile lit his entire face. God, he was beautiful. He took my arm when I reached his side. I didn’t protest, though the gesture seemed overly familiar. It just felt amazing to have this beautiful creature at my side looking at me like I was some kind of hero for offering to walk him to his door.
There was a bright lantern light on above the old glass and iron front door. Aaron couldn’t get the latch to catch, so I took the key from him and gave it a try.
“It sticks sometimes.” He muttered under his breath.
It opened easily for me. I was beginning to think my levels of chivalry were being tested. The thought made me grin when I should have been annoyed.
“You’re my hero!” he whispered loudly.
“Knock it off. Where is your place?”
“Uh oh, Matty’s getting mad. Watch out kids.” Aaron pointed to the elevator off to the right. The corridor was not as well lit as the front alcove had been. I was actually glad that I was making sure he was safe. I was a little nervous myself. Which must have shown on my face, because Aaron laughed out right as the elevator doors opened.
“Relax, sweetie. This isn’t the Bates Motel. It’s just an old building. Supposedly historic, but really it just means the lighting is poor and the water pressure is worse. My apartment is cute though. Come see. You’re safe.”
I rolled my eyes this time, but gamely followed him.
His apartment was on the fifth floor. He led me down another long hallway and stopped in front of #5E.
“Home sweet home.” He said with a flourish as he opened his door. “Come make sure there are no boogie men and then I promise to let you go, Matty.”
Aaron turned on a light and breezed through his small entry into a larger living room. As I followed him I took in my surroundings. The apartment was small with an open floor plan.
I could see into his bedroom from the living area and although it was dark, I could see that the bed was neatly made. Aaron’s entire apartment was immaculate. And the juxtaposition of his modern tastes and the apartment’s older features, like the high ceilings and a floor heater, made for a homey and comfortable space. It was nice, and it suited Aaron perfectly.
Aaron threw his keys in the egg shaped bright orange bowl on his small kitchen table and turned around with his arms outstretched.
“Well, it’s tiny but it’s all mine. As long as I pay the rent, that is.”
“It’s really nice. Suits you.” I felt a little awkward as I stuffed my hands back in the leather jacket Aaron had returned to me earlier.
“Thanks for walking me up. That was very gentlemanly of you. Is that a word? Whatever, it was sweet.” His smile was a little shy and his bangs had fallen back into his eyes. This time I couldn’t help myself. I reached out to move his hair away from his eyes. He looked up at me in surprise and my breath caught. We stared at one another for a second more before our mouths met.
Lane Hayes Bio:
Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is first and foremost a lover of the written word. 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. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. She loves to travel and wishes she could do it more often. Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.
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