Out for the Holidays/Out for Gold | Lane Hayes
Out in College #9
Release Date: July 26
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Out for the Holidays
A Dream Come True…
This is it! I’m finally opening my own bistro. I’ve spent the last two years getting ready for this moment. I can’t decide if the holidays are the perfect time to begin a new venture, but I’m excited. It would be nice if my family were on board too.
I play water polo. I don’t know anything about the restaurant business, but I want to make sure Derek’s grand opening goes according to plan. I’ll rally our friends, send out invites, and yeah…I’ll even deal with his mother. He’s my number one person and I’ll do whatever it takes to be sure we’re out for the holidays.
Out for the Holidays is a low-angst MM romance featuring Derek and Gabe from Out in the Deep…and a host of friends from the Out in College books!
Out for Gold
Chance of a Lifetime…
Winning a spot on the Olympic water polo team is my lifelong goal and guess what?…I made it! Of course, nothing goes smoothly. This is a bad time for a shoulder injury and an even worse time for my dad to show up out of the blue. I might be doomed.
Family isn’t easy. Trust me, I know. But in my experience, ignoring obvious issues only makes them more challenging in the long run. I can’t solve Gabe’s problems with his dad, but I’ll help if I can. Win or lose, my man is going out for gold.
Out of Gold is a low-angst MM romance featuring Derek and Gabe from Out in the Deep in a full-circle quest for the ultimate prize…love.
*OUT FOR THE HOLIDAYS was originally featured in the holiday collection, Gifts for the Season. Since the anthology is no longer available, I wanted to publish it on my own and add new content. OUT FOR GOLD is a brand-new novella that really brings the whole story full-circle, featuring Gabe and Derek from Out in the Deep.
The early July air was balmy with just a hint of chill. We changed into sweats and rode two blocks to the deserted beach. We spread a blanket and sat facing the ocean with our bare feet in the cool sand. Stars glittered above us and a crescent moon did its best to cast some light, but the darkness was kind of therapeutic. And there was something poetic about the roar of the Pacific and the silent beach. I could almost imagine Mother Nature had been waiting for us.
“This is nice. We haven’t done this in a while,” I commented, crossing my arm over his as I leaned back to watch the waves breaking in the distance.
“We’ve been busy.”
“It’ll get better, Der.”
“But?” I prodded when he didn’t continue.
“You need to talk to your dad, Gabe.”
“I talk to him all the fucking time lately.”
“You let him talk at you. You need to tell him how you feel.”
I groaned. “That’s the last thing I need.”
“It’s exactly what you need. You’ve given him rent-free room in your head. No…you’ve cleaned out space and invited him to take a little more from you. I get it. He’s got a strong personality, and he’s your father. You’re confused, but excited too, and you’re grateful, but you’re also still pretty damn angry with him. And not dealing with those feelings is wearing on you.”
What could I say? It was true.
“Yeah. It is.”
“Sharing your experience is one thing, but giving it away is another. You don’t owe that to him or your mom or me or anyone. You worked your ass off for this chance. You did it, babe. It was all you,” he whispered fiercely.
I didn’t expect the prick of tears behind my eyes. I blinked wildly and squinted at the horizon.
“He’s not easy, Der. He’s not a villain, he’s not my enemy. I’ve talked to countless therapists and I’ve conquered the worst of my anger, but I wasn’t prepared for this. I need to read the handbook about what to do when the guy who abandons you as a kid returns with a vengeance when you’re twenty-fucking-six,” I huffed derisively. “The thing is…he isn’t going to change. He won’t suddenly turn into Dad of the Year. And if he does, it’ll be for half brothers I barely know. How is that fair?”
Derek leaned into my side. “No one said it was fair, Gabe. But he can’t fix what he doesn’t understand. And maybe he’ll never get there. That doesn’t mean you should lose sleep over old pain or worries. Let that shit go. For your sake. For your sanity.”
I gave a humorless half laugh and nodded. “You’re right.”
“I’m pretty smart,” he boasted playfully. “And I have some experience with pushy parents.”
“Your mom is nothing like him. She loves you so much she can’t see straight sometimes. And my mom is like that too…to a less obsessive degree.” I teased.
We chuckled, then let the silence fall like a gossamer blanket. I didn’t want to break it, but now that the cork was off my emotional bottle, I couldn’t help voicing one of my greatest fears.
“I don’t want to be like him, Der. If we ever have kids, I just…please let me know if I—”
“Stop.” Derek shook his head vehemently as he shifted to face me. “You are not your dad. You’re not going to turn into him the day you become a father. You know that. Someday, we will have kids, and they’re going to be really damn lucky to have two dads who love them unconditionally. You’ll probably be the fun dad who lets them get away with everything, and I’ll be the uptight one who keeps track of bedtimes and homework assignments.”
I caressed his jaw lovingly and bit his bottom lip. “Is it crazy that I’m not even a little freaked out that we so casually talk about having kids? Like it’s a foregone conclusion.”
He kissed me and rested his forehead against mine. “It is. You’re going to the Olympics, and then one of us will propose. We’ll close escrow on our house, get married, and talk about starting a family. Sound good?”
My heart was practically bursting at the seams, but I played it cool. “Yep. Sounds perfect. How many kids do you want?”
“Two. At least.”
“Same. And how will we know who should do the proposing?”
Derek smiled. “We’ll know.”
Meet the Author
Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards.
She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.