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.
Lane talks to us today about characters, series and who’s next! I love her answer of the age old question of “how do you decide?!”. Read and enjoy!
An interesting byproduct of writing a series is that your secondary characters may at some point play staring roles in the next book. I love it when readers weigh in on which “friend” or “co-worker” deserves main character status and an HEA of their own. When the blurb for A Kind of Romance was released, I think most people weren’t surprised it was Benny’s turn.
If you’ve read book one in my new series, you may recall Benny was Will’s best friend in A Kind of Truth. He’s a lively fashionista with a sassy but sweet demeanor. The buddy who’s there for you through good times and bad is usually who we’re rooting for to find true love, right? Zeke was the surprise. He’s a complex character who comes across as brash and irascible one moment and oddly compassionate the next. There is so much more to Zeke than three thousand dollar designer suits and a high-profile Wall Street job. And Benny was the perfect man to bring out the best parts of him long buried in old resentment.
I’ve been asked how I choose the next round of characters and if I know in advance who will star in which books. The short answer is I have no idea! I’m one of those writers who is half plotter, half pantser. The pantser in me allows for last minute creative changes. I may know one character in the next book but not necessarily both.
So where the heck did Zeke come from? The guy whose name is mentioned in passing in one of the book’s pivotal scenes wouldn’t be a natural first choice for MC. Then again, when you’re writing fiction… there are no real rules! The characters simply have to fit. And Zeke definitely fit. He and Benny are complete opposites, but they’re complementary in all the best ways. ‘Opposites attract’ is a wonderful trope, but the key is chemistry. As a reader, if it works, I’m sold a million times over. Just as I’m sold by seemingly odd pairings and an element of surprise.
So who’s next? Tim and… LOL. You’ll see!
THEY SAID you could remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when a life-altering event took place. I could do better than that. I could tell you the date and time too. May 9, 7:04 a.m…. It was a Monday. Of course. I was standing in my kitchen, cradling a cup of coffee while reading the news on my iPad when my cell phone rang. I didn’t think twice about it. It rang all the fucking time. The setting was almost always on vibrate, but last night I’d changed it, thinking I didn’t want to miss Taylor’s call in case he decided to come by. He didn’t call. And he didn’t come over. I didn’t really think he would, but when we ran into each other at the farmers’ market in Union Square Sunday morning, I’d foolishly hoped he might. That was our spot. It seemed like providence. A sign of some sort telling us we should stop this nonsense and get back together immediately. True, Taylor had confessed he’d been cheating on me with one of my coworkers for the past six months, but… still.
The second round of incessant ringing served as a reminder I was a complete moron for wanting him back. And when I saw the name displayed on my cell, I knew the caller would agree wholeheartedly.
I didn’t recognize the voice on the line. It was masculine but a little high-pitched. Definitely not Dad. Whoever he was, he was calling from my father’s phone. My heart slammed against my chest in a wave of instant panic.
“Just Zeke, actually. You’re calling from my father’s phone. Is he oka—?”
“He fell and hit his head. We called 9-1-1. The paramedics said it looked like a superficial wound, but there was blood everywhere and—They’re taking him to Mount Sinai on First. I’m following now with William. Filipe doesn’t speak much English, so Rand is staying to help mind the store and—”
“Whoa! Hang on. Where was he?” It was a stupid question. However, I felt nauseated from the unexpected adrenaline rush and was struggling to catch up and make sense of this conversation.
“At Bowery Bagels,” the caller replied with a heavy sigh. “I’m so sorry. I—I don’t know what else to say. I’m sure he’s fine, but—I’ll meet you in the emergency room.”
“Wait! Who are you?” I asked, staring into the open great room of my condo in a trancelike state.
I noted the sun’s reflection on the shiny dark hardwood floors and the way the tiny flecks of dust sparkled like fairy dust in the air. But I felt as though I were in a vacuum. Sound was muffled, and the light was suddenly too bright. I pushed away from the island and moved with purpose toward my bedroom, forgetting I’d been waiting for a response until the caller spoke again.
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.
June 7: TTC Books and More, Carly’s Book Reviews, Rick R. Reed, Drops of Ink, My Fiction Nook
June 9: Cia’s Stories, MM Book Escape, Gay Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance
June 14: Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews, Love Bytes Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
June 16: Bayou Book Junkie, Diverse Reader, The Purple Rose Tea House, Joyfully Jay
June 21: Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words, MM Good Book Reviews
June 23: Man2ManTastic, The Novel Approach
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For the entire month of June, all comments will be one entry into a paperback giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of both Unstable Stud by Ariel Tachna and Forgive and Forget by Charlie Cochet. Contest is open to everyone, each comment is one entry, contest ends June 30 11:59PM. Winner must provide their mailing address within one week of contest close or a new winner will be selected.