Lydia Reviews: Tackling the Tight End by Tara Lain


Title: Tackling the Tight End
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author: Tara Lain
Pages: 216
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis’s pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?

Review:

Tackling the Tight End is the latest story in the Long Pass Chronicles. Of all the books in the series, this is the one I liked the best. When I first read the blurb for the story I had forgotten who Dennis was, so of course once I started the book I could not figure out how the author would be able to justify him as a character fit for a book of his own. While the readers soon learn that some of what is going on in Dennis’ life, it is not until later that we learn the whole truth. I could not help but feel sorry for him and glad to see that he would get a happily ever after that he deserved.

Of course Tackling the Tight End is a romance so there is another main character that is just as important as Dennis. A member of the SCU football team, Raven is headed to the NFL that is if the tribe as any say in it. The tribes, and his father, are hoping that once Raven makes the NFL the publicity will bring gamblers to the casino. Raven has other dreams however and he is not sure how his father will take that.

Raven meets Dennis when he is assigned, by his father; to help the other men put together a video showcasing the casino. There is an instant attraction between the two men, yet both have reasons for staying away from the other. When Raven learns about Dennis’ past from other members of the team he can’t make that jive with what he has seen. Unable to stay away from each other the two start dating. As you can imagine, this does not go smoothly for either of them.

There is a lot going on in Tackling the Tight End. Some of this story may be difficult for readers to read, and the story is definitely full of angst, but I could not put it down. I wanted these two to get their happily ever after, yet worried that something would happen that would keep that from happening. The author did a great job not only wrapping up the story between the two men, but also clearing up the secondary story surrounding one of the young men from the youth center.

While this is a series that you do not need to read in order I do recommend that you give all the books a try.

Recommended!

Reviewed by: Lydia

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Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain


Title: Sinders and Ash
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 145
Characters: Mark Sintorella, Ashton Armitage
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fairy Tales
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

A Pennymaker Tale

Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.

Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.

Review:

Sinders and Ash is a sexy, fun read that I enjoyed from start to finish. I’ve read several books by Ms. Lain and I’ve enjoyed them all. She has a knack of really writing characters that I come to like and admire, and I look forward to reading more books by her. Since the blurb does an outstanding job at describing the story, I won’t rehash it. Instead I thought I’d talk about why I really liked this book and why I’d easily recommend it.

I’m a sucker for fairy-tales and was immediately swept up into the lives of Mark and Ash. Ashton is the handsome millionaire who must marry or he’ll lose his inheritance. When he meets Mark, he can’t help but feel a strong connection towards him and soon he forced to make the decision of true love or his inherited wealth.

I really liked the heroes in this book. Both Ash and Mark are interesting and complex characters. They have their own goals in life, and neither man has been able to achieve them because they are both weighed down in one way or the other. The have obstacles they must overcome and both have to take a hard look into their lives and decide which is most important to them.

I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book and was particularly fond of Mark’s fairy godfather. There is just the right amount of angst and sexiness that kept this reader caught up into the ongoing romance between the two men.

As a fan of fairy tale inspired romances, Sinders and Ash left this reader with a huge smile on her face. Between the fast-paced story line and the sexy spin on a well-loved classic, it is a perfect story to spend a lazy afternoon reading.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain


Title: Knight of Ocean Avenue
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 254
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.5






Blurb:

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Review:

Knight of Ocean Avenue is one of the stories in Ms. Lain’s series, A Love in Laguna. This contemporary novel is sure to pull you in from the beginning and hold your interest until the last page. The main characters are both extremely interesting, and yet so different that you would not think that they have enough in common to make it as a couple.

Billy has had to help take care of his family. That means leaving school at an early age and going to work. He’s tried to make an easy live for himself but has been unable to find the person of his dreams. Worried about pleasing his parents, especially his mother, Billy keeps looking, denying what he really wants.

Shaz is THE stylist to go to. He is at the top of his game and the last thing he is looking for is some in the closet construction worker, not matter how gorgeous he may be. Then there is the fact that, for all intents and purpose, Shaz is already in a relationship no matter how screwed up. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and soon neither man wants to give up on what they may be able to find together.

I really liked both characters a lot; however, Billy is the one that held my attention the most. For such a young man he has already given up a lot in his life for his family. Rather than making him strong though, it has left him with a bit of low self-esteem. I really felt for him when it came to his parents, especially his mother who I wanted to snap at more than once because of the way she acted.

Shaz is the complete opposite of Billy. For one Billy is a hard working construction worker while Shaz is an up and coming stylist who can count celebrities among his clients. For another, while Billy is so far in denial he won’t even admit he’s gay to himself, while Shaz is an over the top out and proud gay man who has no plans of ever going into the closet. I liked that Shaz does not make any apologies for who he is.

There is a lot of chemistry between these two men, but that does not mean their relationship will come together smoothly. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome, especially on Billy’s side. I like the way Shaz stands by him though and shows him that there is nothing wrong with the way they feel about each other.
While in no way a mystery, there are some little twists in this story that will surprise the reader. One of the biggest surprises, for me at least, was Billy’s sister. She really has her work cut out for her. The best part of the story however has to be the way Billy’s co-workers stand by him once they find out he is gay. I really did not expect that to happen.

I have read a couple of other stories by this author and love her writing style. I think she is a great author to add to any reading list, and if you have not tried the M/M genre and are thinking of picking up a story her books would make a great introduction to the genre.

Reviewed by: Lydia

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Wolf in Gucci Loafers by Tara Lain


Title: Wolf in Gucci Loafers
Author Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 234
Characters: Lindsey Vanessen and Seth Zakowsy
Sub-Genre: Paranormal/Shifter
Kissess: 4.5



Blurb:

Socialite Lindsey Vanessen wants someone to love who will love him back—an impossibility for a gay, half-human, half-werewolf. Too aggressive for humans, too gay for wolves, and needing to protect the pack from human discovery, Lindsey tries to content himself with life as a successful businessman. But when someone starts kidnapping members of wealthy families, Lindsey meets tough cop Seth Zakowsy—the hunky embodiment of everything Lindsey wants but can’t have.

Seth has never been attracted to flamboyant men. What would the guys in the department think of Lindsey? But intrigue turns to lust when he discovers Lindsey’s biting, snarling passion more than matches his dominant side. It might mean a chance at love for a cop in black leather and a wolf in Gucci loafers.

Review:

Mystery, passion and very hot steamy sex make Wolf in Gucci Loafers by Tara Lain a must read. I loved this book! It was fun, fast paced and kept me guessing.

Lindsey Vanessen is very much the rich fashion forward gay man. He may be a little queeny but there is a lot more than meets the eye. Like the fact that he is half wolf shifter half human. Not fitting in in two different communities takes its tole. And Lindsey has pretty much given up on finding true love. The wolves don’t want him because he is half human and the humans don’t want him because he always has a secret.

Seth is very much the Alfa-Male strong guy type. No one would ever know he is gay. Normally he goes for the same type of guy, but no man has every excited him. No one has ever been able to “play” with him the way he has wanted. When the two men meet under bad circumstance’s it is impossible to ignore the sparks. And when someone keeps attacking people closest to Lindsey the two men are thrown into a mystery that they must solve. Lives depend on it.

Wolf in Gucci Loafers is a must read for anyone that like’s mysteries and shifter stories.

Reviewed By: Jerry

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The Pack or the Panther by Tara Lain


Title: The Pack or the Panther
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author: Tara Lain
Pages: 202
Kisses: 4.5



Blurb:

Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For twenty-four years, he’s lived to please his family and pack—even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Then Cole meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.

When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents. Then Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris too and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.

Review:

The Pack or the Panther is the first book in a new series, Tales of the Harker Pack, by author Tara Lain. This is a shifter story with a bit of a mob twist that lends a lot of entertainment value. This story was a fast read and I really enjoyed the characters, although at times I felt bad for Paris and could understand why he did not want to be involved with the pack. The main character, Cole, and even to some point Paris, find themselves under the control of their Alpha fathers. This really puts Cole in a tough spot when he finds himself attracted to the feline son of the Marketo Alpha. I have to say in the beginning I thought the only smart one out of the whole bunch was Analiese.

There is some strong chemistry between Paris and Cole which leads to some intense sex. Of course even though the two come together a time or two, their relationship is by no means a smooth sailing one. There are actually a few roadblocks, some caused by the two young men, some caused by others, that will leave you wondering if they will ever find there happily ever after.

There is a lot going on in this story and it is the results of those events that I liked the best in The Pack or the Panther. During the course of the story Cole goes from a young man who easily bends to his father’s wishes to someone who is able to stand up for who and what he wants. It is easy to see him becoming the Alpha of a pack some day and his new strength is something that is needed by Paris.
I enjoy Ms. Lain’s books and would have no problem recommending them to others. Readers of this sub-genre should give The Pack or the Panther as it is easy to see this is going to be an interesting and fun series.

Reviewed by: Lydia

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Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain


Title: Hearts and Flour
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 135
Characters: Micah Truveen, Quentin Darby
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

A raw food fanatic and a cupcake baker—can two hearts rise above the flour?

Healthy, vegan food is Micah Truveen’s religion. So when his devoted customers start showing up with white flour cupcakes, Micah’s ready to scream. When he discovers who’s been spreading the cupcake poison to the community, there’s going to be trouble. And to make a bad day even worse, Micah comes home to find his boyfriend in bed with someone else—on the day before Valentine’s Day! In frustration, he throws the rat out and agrees to go to his friend’s orgiastic Anti-Valentines party. Not his style, but lately, his style seems to be crumbling around him like stale baked goods.

Southerner Quentin Darby wishes he could stop wearing women’s clothes. He desperately wants to live up to the glowing opinion his grandmother holds of him, so he’s never even told her he’s gay. And now there’s this guy from the party who makes him wish he could just be who he is—a man who likes women’s clothing, loves to bake, and thinks everything’s better with cupcakes. Until a man with an axe to grind decides the time to grind it is now…

Review:

I’ve read several books by Ms. Lain and I’ve loved them all. Her stories are always addictive to read and her characters are wonderful, humanly flawed and loveable men that live and breathe off of the written page.

When I read the blurb to Hearts and Flour, I knew I had to read it. Ms. Lain is a master at writing heroes who are total opposites, but they’re still able to connect on a true emotional level.

Micah isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in. He takes excellent care of himself and is almost fanatical about eating raw food, so much so, he owns his own café, where he serves customers and doesn’t think twice about monitoring their food intake. But as much as Micah likes to be in control of his body, he can’t control his personal life. His ex-boyfriend cheated on him, which has turned Micah’s life upside down. To get him out of a funk, his friends encourage him to attend a party where he meets a gorgeous woman named, Queen. Micah is blown away by his attraction to her (he’s never been attracted to a woman before) and when he finds out that there is more to Queen than meets the eye, he’s totally intrigued!

Quentin hasn’t been in town long and owns a cupcake shop that is steadily gaining more and more clients. He uses his Nana’s recipes and only the best ingredients. His relationship with is Nana is one of the most important things in his life, but as much as he loves her, it’s hard for him to be totally honest about his personal life with her. When he meets the sexy, Micah, Quentin can’t help but feel something strong for him. He likes Micah’s zest for life as well as his determination to live life the way he wants to live. But when Micah finds out that Quentin owns the cupcake shop that all of his clients are raving about, he feels totally deceived and angry. Will these two men be able to work out their differences and find a way to be together? Will Quentin finally be able to be true to himself and show his Nana who he really is?

Loved, loved, loved this book! I thought Micah and Quentin’s chemistry together was off of the charts! Micah’s passionate nature was a perfect match for the sweet and very sexy Quentin. I enjoyed watching them build something special between them as well as the heated passion they had together…even when they argued. I will admit, there were times I wanted to shake some sense into Micah. He is soooo stubborn, that sometimes he can’t see the reality in front of him, but I thought he was well matched with Quentin and enjoyed understanding both of the heroes’ backstories.

Fast-paced, sexy and a whole lot of fun, Hearts and Flour is a perfect read on a rainy day! Fans of Ms. Lain will surely love her newest book and I recommend it to those who have not read anything by her. I loved this couple and hope that one day Ms. Lain will continue writing more about them in the future! Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Spell Cat by Tara Lain


Title: The Aloysius Tales, Book 1: Spell Cat
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Loose Id.
Pages: 206
Characters: Killian Barth, Blaine Genneau
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Series
Kisses: 4.25


Blurb:

When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But sadly, Killian walks away. He doesn’t do physics professors. In fact, he doesn’t do humans, because Killian is the most powerful male witch in 10 generations and, though gay, he’s expected to save his declining race by reproducing.

He can’t even have sex with Blaine, because he’s been taught that sex with humans depletes his power. But if that’s true, why can young human, Jimmy Janx, dissolve spoons with a thought? Somebody’s a lying witch.

With his powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.

Review:

I’ve read several books written by Tara Lain and I’ve enjoyed them all. Ms. Lain writes unique and sexy heroes that really seem to live and breathe off of the written page. Plus, she her stories are creative, interesting and the chemistry between her heroes are always sizzling hot!

I’ve actually read this book out of series order. Several weeks ago I read and reviewed, Brush with Catastrophe, which is the second book in The Aloysius Tales series and I loved it. I was so intrigued by Killian and Blaine, whom were secondary characters in it, I had to read and review their story.

The blurb does a great job at describing the story, so I won’t rehash a lot of it. Although the story is a fast-paced read and there is a lot of intrigue in it, in my opinion, the heart of the book revolves around Killian and his forbidden love for Blaine.

Killian is a very powerful witch who feels like his life is out of control. Although he is openly gay, his mother has arranged a marriage between him and woman who comes from a very prominent family. Killian is miserable because he wants to marry for love, not because it’s something that is expected of him. One of the things he does enjoy is teaching at the local college. He is a popular and often desired professor whose quirkiness and interesting subject matter keep his student enthralled within his classroom.

When he meets Blaine, Killian is immediately attracted with him. Blaine is smart, funny and sexy as hell! Even better, Blaine seems to be as captivated with him, but to Killian immense sadness, he knows starting a relationship between them should not happen. Killian’s obligations keep his heart and mind are at a constant contradiction as to what to do.

One of the reasons why I liked this book was the creative storyline and world that Ms. Lain created in this story. I enjoyed reading about all of the characters as well as discovering the often surprising things that happened as the book progressed. I loved Killian and thought he and Blaine had something truly special between them. Even Killian familiar, Aloysius, made an interesting character, so this was a very enjoyable read for me. What kept me from scoring this book higher was that I wished Killian and Blaine had more time together. I would have like to have really watched their relationship develop and progress and although I thought it was a little rushed, I still enjoyed every moment they spent together in this book.

Sexy, intriguing and a whole lot of fun, Spell Cat starts off the Aloysius series with a bang! I loved the Killian and Blaine and their story kept this reader captivated with them from start to finish. I hope Ms. Lain will continue writing about this unique world and amazing characters in the future. Recommended!

The Aloysius Tales books in series order are:

Spell Cat
Brush with Catastrophe

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Brush with Catastrophe by Tara Lain


Title: The Aloysius Tales book 2: Brush with Catastrophe
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 211
Characters: Sammy Raphael, Ryder
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch. And on top of that, he can’t get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. True, the “prophetic” paintings he does at night always come true, but they never predict anything important.

Then he paints a gorgeous guy and it turns out to be his secret crush, Ryder. But the guy has changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. And then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil? And why the hells does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs the winner. So why is he backing Sammy?

Review:

Tara Lain is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I love her characters and her creative storytelling ability has really hooked me as a reader.

The blurb does a really good job at describing the story, so I won’t rehash a lot of it. Sammy is a sweet, artistic young man who longs to have someone special in his life. Although he’s a witch, he’s not considered a powerful one. He has the ability to predict the future by painting them at night. Like sleepwalking, he never remembers painting them, he just wakes up and it’s there. Sammy has been in love with his best friend, Ryder, but knows that Ryder does not feel the same way about him, so when a sexy, mysterious man/witch appears on campus and starts to pursue Sammy, he’s both flattered and hopeful that he’s the one. But when strange things start to happen with his friends, Sammy finds himself wrapped up in a dangerous situation and once again leans on his best friend, Ryder for help. Between the both of them, Sammy and Ryder start working together to find out more about the mysterious, dangerous witch and save their friends.

I loved this book! I adored both Sammy and Ryder and was thrilled when they were able to see through their own insecurities and fears to fight and be together. They have an intense chemistry that I liked and I enjoyed watching the true friendship and camaraderie that was between them and when they finally do make love, it was a beautiful thing.

There is also a lot of mystery and suspense to the book that kept the storyline moving quite quickly. I enjoyed the unique and creative world-building Ms. Lain created as well as the politics and different gifts the different characters/witches had.

This is the second book in the Aloysius Tales and I truly hope Ms. Lain continues writing more about these characters. I will confess that I have NOT read the first book, so before I began this one I was a little concerned that I would be lost and confused with this one. Thankfully, Ms. Lain did an awesome job at keeping the reader up to date on what happened with the previous book. I will say I’m definitely anxious to read the first book because the heroes in it play an important part in the storyline and in all honesty, they intrigued me. So, although this book can definitely be read as a stand-alone in the series, I have a feeling once you finish it, you’ll be like me and want to read the first book in the series too.

Brush with Catastrophe is a fun and adventurous romance filled with many sexy and intriguing characters that live and breathe off of the written page. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the first book and hope there will be more books written for this series. Highly Recommended!

The Aloysius Tales books in series order are:

Spell Cat
Brush with Catastrophe

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Beach Balls by Tara Lain

Title: Balls to the Walls 3: Beach Balls
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 164
Characters: Adam James, Sky Sea Mickeljohn
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5




Blurb:

Adam James is so far in the closet he could find Narnia. But coming out would threaten all he’s built as the lead attorney for WMA Development, and the million dollars he can get when he finishes pushing a big land remediation project through the City Council. Then on an early morning scuba dive, Adam meets a tall, lean rebreather diver named Sky who makes him want to live a different life. But Adam’s dreams are shattered when he walks into the council meeting and finds the fire-breathing environmentalist who’s screwing up his chances of winning is none other than that same beautiful man. Sky Sea Mickeljohn doesn’t compromise, so how could he find himself lusting after a damned developer? And what happens when somebody open’s Adam’s closet door? These two better start telling the truth if they’re ever going to find world peace.

Review:

Beach Balls is the third book in the Balls to the Walls series and so far, it’s my favorite in the series. I loved the chemistry between the two heroes as well as their drive to do what it right. As usual, Ms. Lain did an excellent job at writing a funny, heartfelt, sexy read that lived in my heart and mind long after I finished the book.

Adam James has been going through the motions of life for a long time. As a successful lawyer, he is afraid to tell his peers and others about his homosexuality and because of this, he’s had a run of one night stands. Once a month, Adam’s friend throws a party at his beach house and invites other gay men who are also in the same dilemma as Adam is in. Thinking he’s going to attend the party and hook up with a man or two, Adam finds himself feeling lonely, restless and wanting more in his life than what he has. As he takes a walk on the beach, a handsome man swims to shore. There is something about this man that really calls to Adam, so he finds himself approaching him to get to know him better.

Sky is an environmentalist who lives to study oceanography and to protect animal rights. As soon as he meets Adam offshore, Sky is immediately drawn to him and this confuses him. Sky is not used to feeling so strongly so quickly about other men, but there is something about Adam that intrigues him. When Adam asks Sky to attend a beach party that night, Sky surprises himself by saying yes, and that night as the two men get to know each other, Sky is startled by what he feels for Adam.

But, there is trouble on the horizon for the new lovers. When Sky and Adam find out they are working on opposites sides of a land development plan, this pulls them apart. Neither man is prepared for how much they miss one another and how important they’ve become to each other. Will they be able to work through their issues and find a way to be together?

Wow! The intense emotional connection between Adam and Sky kept me on edge throughout most of the book. I loved them together because they seemed to really bring out things in each other than no other person has ever done. Also, I couldn’t keep from hoping that they would somehow work through their differences and find a way to have a fulfilling and happy life with each other. I also appreciated how at first they seemed to be total opposites, but as the story continued they had a lot more in common than meets the eye. They really seemed to bring out each other’s strength and worked well together, once they both got on the same page about things. Each man’s determination to do what’s right and to be together really spoke to my heart and I truly hated to see the story come to an end.

One of the things I really appreciated about Beach Balls was the way the author really seems to understand and get to the heart of her characters. They really lived and breathed off of the written page and even though there were funny moments in the book, there were also sad and even bittersweet moments in the story as well. I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series and highly recommend this book and series for any person looking for an interesting, romantic and freshly written series.

Although Beach Balls is the third book in the Balls to the Wall series, it definitely could be read as a stand-alone title.

Here are the Balls to the Wall books in series order:

Volley Balls
Fire Balls
Beach Balls

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Fire Balls by Tara Lain


Title: Balls to the Wall 2: Fire Balls
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 149
Characters: Rodney Mansfield, Hunter Fallon
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5




Blurb:

Rodney Mansfield is tiny, flamboyant and, oh yeah, a black belt in karate. He is also one of southern California’s greatest artists. Too bad the work of art he really wants is firefighter, Hunter Fallon. But the gorgeous “straight gay” guy could never want the Runtback of Notre Dame, so when Rodney’s handsome, surfer friend, Jerry, develops an unexpected passion for the beautiful firefighter, Rodney breaks his own heart by helping Jerry land his man. And then Rod makes it worse by embarrassing Hunter when he protects him from a firehouse bully. Hunter hates gay guys like Rodney – doesn’t he? Then why can’t he get the powerful pipsqueak’s face out of his mind… and cock out of his ass? And why does he risk his job and his life to rescue Rod from a burning building? Isn’t it time for him to admit he’s not an alpha male after all and that he is the property of the artist?

Review:

I love an opposites attract themed romance, and in my opinion, Tara Lain hit this one out of the ballpark! Not only is Fire Balls a fast-paced read, but I loved all of the characters in it as well. I’ve read a couple of books by Ms. Lain, and she’s quickly becoming one of those authors that is a must buy for me. I love her easy style of writing and her ability to bring her unique and well-written characters to life.

There is a lot more to Rodney Mansfield than meets the eye. Sure he’s a short, flamboyant, slightly eccentric artist, but he’s also stubborn, stronger than he looks and has a heart of gold. Rodney is used to being desired by his peers and by the men he draws, so he’s had quite a few lovers over the years, but once he lays eyes on a gorgeous, sexy firefighter, Hunter, there is something about the man that pulls at his heartstrings and he has a strong need to paint his portrait. Unfortunately for Rodney, his dear friend Jerry is also enamored with Hunter and since Rodney wants Jerry to be happy, he decides he must do what he can for his friend to get Hunter to fall for him.

Hunter is used to putting his own needs and desires aside for others’ happiness for many years. Being a firefighter was his father’s dream, and since his father has been disabled, Hunter has made it his life’s mission to do what he can to make his father happy. When Hunter is asked to sit for a portrait by the famous painter, Rodney, Hunter is immediately leery of him. Rodney is everything Hunter doesn’t appreciate in a gay man. He’s flamboyant, short and in Hunter’s mind so stereotypically gay, that Hunter is shocked at his sudden attraction and fascination for the man. Besides, he’s the friend of the man Hunter is dating, and therefore, he knows that Rodney is off limits. But as the two men start to get to know one another, Hunter finds himself telling Rodney things he’s never told another soul. Rodney is also very perceptive and pushes Hunter to reveal his hidden dreams and desires to him. Soon, the men cannot keep from falling for each other, but will Hunter be able to be true to himself and take a chance on being with the outgoing and gorgeous, Rodney?

I loved this book! Both Hunter and Rodney were well-written heroes. Plus, they had an intense chemistry between them that practically steamed up my computer screen. I liked the dilemma that both heroes found themselves in, and also how they really had to do some self-examination and personal growth for them to find a way to be together.

Rodney was truly a force to be reckoned with! I loved how outrageous he could be, but I also admired how he was always true to himself. His devotion to his friends was an honorable thing to read and I appreciated how far he was willing to go to make his friend happy, even if it meant he would be making a huge sacrifice of his own. He definitely loves with his whole heart and soul and I felt like he was one of those people who, once they were on your side of things, he would do anything for you.

Although, Rodney’s character truly stole the book for me, I loved Hunter too. I enjoyed watching him become stronger and a more self-assured man as the story continued. I also appreciated his determination to be true to himself and to have Rodney in his life. These two men truly were wonderful together and I loved watching their relationship evolve into something very special.

Fireball is the second book in the Balls to the Wall series. I haven’t read the first book because I think it’s a ménage themed romance, and those aren’t my cuppa, but I will say that Fire Balls can be read as a stand-alone book. It’s very well-written and not once did I feel like I was missing something important in the plot or with the characters. Highly Recommended!

Here are the Balls to the Wall books in series order:

Volley Balls
Fire Balls
Beach Balls