Caught in the UNDERTOW–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a dystopian YA novel that is eerily applicable to today’s mad, mad world. UNDERTOW, released today by Michael Buckley is a bit haunting in content, only because it brings the nastiest elements of our present society into sharp focus.

imageAbout the book:
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.

My Review:
Lyric learned the biggest secret of her life three years ago: her mother isn’t human. She is one of several ocean-dwelling races (a daughter of Sirena) who sent 20 operatives into the human world to learn about life on the surface. Her mother, Summer, met her (human) father and they married, had Lyric, and enjoyed a rather normal daily life as low-income people living in Coney Island. Lyric’s father is an upstanding police officer, and had been able to mask his wife’s lack of documentation over the years. Lyric had no reason to suspect anything was unusual about her heritage until the night the Alpha arrived.

The Alpha are Summer’s kin, and there’s 30,000 of them quarantined in a shanty town on the beach at Coney Island. Lyric’s entire neighborhood, now dubbed “The Zone”, has been placed on lock-down to keep the Alpha from branching out. This means Summer cannot leave Coney Island either as she has no birth certificate or social security card. The book opens with the forced integration of Lyric’s high school.

Lyric knows she needs to keep her head down at school and in public. All of Summer’s associates, the other 19 operatives and their families, have been “disappeared” to secret government labs for testing, and calling their house into scrutiny could lead to Lyric and her parents being captured. Summer spends her days and nights searching the video feeds of the refugees to find her parents so they can reunite, if possible.

The forced integration is intense and harkens back to the 60s and 70s inclusion of Blacks into “white” schools. Expect riots. Lyric and her BFF Bex are hard-pressed to make their way into school without being caught in the mobs. Plus, lots of kids in this impoverished school are more than happy to lash out at the Alpha, but Summer has told Lyric how deadly they can be. The bullying is extreme and fights are sure to have lethal consequences. Trying to stop one such altercation, Lyric finds herself square in the new principal’s spotlight, only Principal Doyle isn’t just the new guy in charge. It seems he’s got serious insider info regarding Lyric’s family. They strike a deal that Lyric acts as a tutor to the Alpha prime’s son, Prince Fathom, and Doyle won’t ‘out’ Summer’s Alpha status.

Thing is, humans seen as sympathetic to, or in the company of, Alpha have been killed by local anti-Alpha vigilantes. The chance of discovery gets ever higher as Prince Fathom and Lyric spend more time together–causing Doyle to sweeten his offer: he has bona fide paperwork for Summer that will enable her family to leave The Zone.

There is a love spark here, between Lyric and Prince Fathom, but it’s on the down low for the first half of the book. I think the bigger part of the story is the politicization of this refugee community. The governer of NY (a blatant parody of Michelle Bachmann which I appreciated) is a hardline conservative positioned against integration, and is on the school steps attempting to bodily block Alpha entry–the National Guard is out in full force, and present in the school and classrooms. Vigilantes are everywhere, attempting to incite riot.

There are so many parallels to today’s society in this novel one could discuss the themes in the context of racism, classism, undocumented status, homophobia, vigilante justice, and xenophobia, among others. The plot itself is not terribly original–Lyric must overcome her own issues and fight the spreading violence that is overtaking The Zone to save herself and her family. The characterization is unique, however, and the love interest thing is not the major focus. Sure, Lyric develops an affection for Fathom, and it’s reciprocated, but there are a million and one other things happening here, and that’s absolutely cool.

I really dug the action, and the world-building within this tiny slice of Americana. I’ve been to Coney Island, and could easily imagine the devastation of the community around it, all filtered through Lyric’s eyes. The Alpha are an amazing collection of beings, each of which has a specific role within their society. Learning that they are not the biggest problem facing humanity is rather a refreshing twist. Lyric’s migraines are a part of who she is, and the benefit of them was only revealed late. She’s able to channel some of that physiological malady into powering an Alpha weapon, but killing others may be beyond Lyric’s pacifist ideals. Well, until her existence is treatened… The short time-frame for mastery was thin on believability, but I was able to overcome it. I loved the gritty descriptions, and the secondary characters are fantastic–from Bex’s miserable abusive step-father to Lyric’s nosy racist neighbor.

The book ends with a temporary end to hostilites, though the resolution is not complete. Lyric has a lot more work to do to fix her family and her world. This is series I know my kids will love, and I’m anxious for the sequel.

Interested? You can find UNDERTOW on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Today he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Alison, and their son Finn.

You can find Michael on his website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Leaving Behind LA BRAT–Review, Giveaway and Character Interview!

AsheBarket_LaBrat_BlogTour_600x315_Final copyHi there! Today I’m sharing in the blog tour for LA BRAT, a newly-released BDSM romance from Ashe Barker.

La BratAbout La Brat:
Thou shalt not attack thy Dom—especially not with his own cane.

She’s committed the cardinal sin, broken the eleventh commandment for submissives. No wonder the Dom she adores wants nothing more to do with her.

Eugenie believes her luck has turned when she lands an interview for her dream job—Events Organizer at Totally Five Star’s flagship hotel in Paris. This is her chance to return to the city, which holds cherished memories for her, and pursue a career she loves. Most of all it’s a golden opportunity to leave behind the bitter taste of her disastrous breakup with Aaron, the one Dom who can make her melt with a look, a word, a lift of his finger.

Her dream crumbles when she comes face to face with her nemesis, now Director of Security at Totally Five Star Paris, the one man who can wreck her dreams with just a few words.

Aaron has never forgotten the lovely little submissive who broke all the rules. He can do without the hassle of such a high-maintenance sub, but his sexy new colleague proves hard to resist. It’s not long before he finds it hard to remember just what his objections were.

Determined not to dwell on the past, Eugenie throws herself into her wonderful new job. If she can only convince Aaron to give her another chance, her life will be perfect. A natural in her new role, against the glamorous backdrop of one of the world’s finest hotel chains, Eugenie is in her element arranging a high-profile celebrity wedding. But when things start to go wrong, Eugenie finds herself at the heart of a series of inexplicable accidents.

Aaron doesn’t believe in coincidences. Is someone else, apart from him, out to hurt his little Genie? And why? He is determined to protect Eugenie—and get to the bottom of who might want to harm her.

This is the fourth novel in Totally Bound’s Totally Five Star imprint, click here to see more.

Getting Up Close and Personal with Aaron Praed
Aaron Praed is the hero of La Brat. I caught up with him to ask a little about how life is treating him and Genie these days. He had some interesting snippets to share, not least some of his naughty habits as a boy…

Good afternoon, Aaron, and thank you for finding time to chat to us today.
My pleasure. So, how can I help you?

When the story opens you’re a police officer. Do you think that was what attracted Genie to you in the first place?
I doubt it. She didn’t know what job I did until we’d scened two or three times. To be honest, I think she was a bit intimidated when she found out. It added to my air of authority. Maybe that brought out the brat in her.

Of course you’re an honest and upright citizen now, but what was the naughtiest thing you ever did as a child?
*thinks for a few moments* I don’t know about naughty exactly, but I remember the prank I’m most ashamed of now, looking back. Close to where I lived there was a high wall. I used to like to climb it, it was a sort of race I did with myself, to see how quickly I could get to the top. I found a birds next up there, and there were three small eggs in it. I nicked one. I put it in my pocket and scrambled back down again. I remember the bird was screeching at me from a safe distance, but I ignored her. By the time I got to the ground again and checked, the egg was broken in my pocket. What a waste.

In your own words, tell us what your first impression was when you met Eugenie. Did you hit it off right away?
I thought she was an absolute stunner. Christ, she was gorgeous. I watched her for maybe half an hour before I approached her. She seemed nervous, I remember that, and I could see the brat emerging right from the off. But she was sort of endearing even so. And very determined to see the scene through. I didn’t make it easy for her and I fully expected her to use her safe word. But she didn’t, and that won my respect.

You were keen to see her again, then?
Hell, yes!

What is Eugenie’s worst habit?
She thinks she’s indispensable. That’s obvious in the story, and even now it’s one of the things I’m always having to punish her for. On most issues she’s quick to learn, but that lesson never sinks in. Still, I keep trying.

What is her best quality?
Well, she’s sexy as hell. Does that count? As well as that though, she’s fiercely professional, hard-working, and a stickler for the details. I’m very proud of her.

Do you think she’s proud of you?
Now that’s a hard one. I hope so. She certainly used to be, when we were together in the UK, before she moved to Paris. She used to love parading me about to various dos and functions. There’s not so much opportunity for that sport of thing now because we both work such long hours. Pity really, I look good in a DJ.

I’m sure you do. One last question if I may. What do you see yourself doing in ten years’ time?
You know, I rather think we’ll still be here. Paris is a city no one could get tired of. We both love it, and we love the hotel. Now that we have each other too, life’s just perfect. Thank you for our Happy Ever After.

You’re welcome, and thank you for chatting to me today

Excerpt from La Brat:

“Take your pick. Or if you prefer I’ll just use my hand.”

“That one. If you please.” Eugenie pointed to a pretty little lemon-colored paddle made of flexible silicon. She honestly had no idea if she was making a good choice or not, but her limited experience had at least taught her that the difference would be made by the skill and intent of the Dom, not the implement used. If this man wanted to hurt her, he could and he would. If it was too much, she could stop him by using her safe word.

Sure enough, his next question addressed that issue. “What’s your preferred safe word for this, Miss…?”

“Eugenie. My name is Eugenie d’André. And my safe word is Maupassant.”

At his raised eyebrow, she felt moved to clarify. “He is one of my favorite authors. He was French.”

“Ah, right. Excellent choice. Very classical. My name’s Mr. Praed—Aaron—though you will address me as Sir.”

“Naturellement, Sir.”

His tight smile was his only further response. He gestured for Eugenie to lean on the bench and lift the short skirt she was wearing. She did as instructed, quashing her natural modesty, which had no place here. Even so, she appreciated his choice of the cubicle as it did offer a degree of privacy.

“Would you like me to remove my thong also, Sir?”

“That’s up to you. It makes no difference to this.”

“Then I will leave it in place. Thank you, Sir.”

“Ten strokes okay?”

“Yes, Sir, ten will be fine.” Eugenie wriggled against the soft leather padding on the bench, making herself comfortable as her handsome playmate for the evening positioned himself behind her. Now that the initial embarrassment was behind her, she was glad that she’d taken the plunge, so to speak, and accepted his invitation to play.

“I’ll start when you tell me you’re ready.”

“I am ready, Sir—ooh!”

The first stroke fell immediately, sending a sharp burst of pain across her left buttock.

“Too hard?”

“No, Sir. That is perfect.”

Mr. Praed made no comment. He proceeded to deliver the remainder of the ten strokes, pausing for a few seconds between each. Eugenie presumed this was to allow her the opportunity to use her safe word if she wished, and she silently appreciated his care. There would be no safe wording, though. His technique was heavy but controlled, the slaps just painful enough to elicit a squeal or two by the time he reached eight and a definite scream at the tenth. Eugenie was impressed. By the time he offered her his hand to help her to stand upright once more, her bottom was smarting and her pussy moist. She began to wonder at the wisdom of retaining her thong, but it was done now.

“Thank you, Sir. I enjoyed that.” Eugenie was careful to assume a suitably submissive posture, her head bowed, hands clasped behind her. She liked this Dom, wanted to make a good impression. Perhaps he was a regular here. If so, she would certainly be returning frequently.

“My pleasure, Miss d’André—or do you prefer mademoiselle?”

“Either is quite all right, Sir. Just as you please.”

He gave a low chuckle, as though he knew exactly what was going on in her head. Perhaps he did—some Dom’s had that knack, she’d found. She had no idea how they did it, where they learned that peculiar brand of telepathy. Were they born with it? Or did they perfect it by going to classes or some such thing? Probably the latter. She was aware that good Doms would read about BDSM, fact as well as the fiction that she was so fond of. They would practice, they would finesse their art before laying a hand or anything else on a submissive. Aaron Praed certainly had all the skills. She had felt safe with him. If so, all the more reason to give him no cause not to want to scene with her again.

“Is there anything else I can do for you, mademoiselle? Do you have further plans for this evening?”

AsheBarket_LaBrat_BlogTour_BlogDates_Final copy
My Review:
This is a fun read! Eugenie is a willful woman who craves a bit of discipline to clear her mind from time to time. Three years ago she met Aaron, a Dom who really appealed. He was strong, controlled, and fun to be with as a companion outside of a scene. Then, when a scene didn’t go well, Eugenie did something Aaron couldn’t accept–as a Dom.

After floundering in her search for a replacement Dom, Eugenie earned herself the undesirable moniker: La Brat. She’s burned a lot of bridges, wishing she could get Aaron to notice her again, but he seems to have disappeared from the fetish scene. Anxious to reinvent herself back in her native France, she interviews for a position at Totally Five Star Hotel, Paris. And it is there she reconnects to Aaron; he’s the Head of Security. Eugenie is sure that Aaron will sabotage her, but he’s not interested in that. Nope. Aaron is still quite interested in his sassy little sub, but knows they need to work together–and work out the problems from their last encounter–if they are to reconcile.

Eugenie really strives hard to make the best impression in her new position–and she succeeds. She garners an A-list wedding, but life then gets really really complicated. In the hustle and bustle of the preparations Eugenie suffers two inexplicable injuries. Aaron suspects this is not random–both were potentially fatal–and his pre-wedding tripled security measures are put to the test determining if Eugenie is a specific target, or just a convenient casualty.

I liked how Eugenie and Aaron rekindled their romance. For both, the abruptness of their break-up three years prior had been not just shocking, but stunning. It was a moment from which neither had truly recovered. The BDSM elements here are not the major focus, though Aaron’s keen to keep Eugenie emotionally satisfied–which sometimes includes punishment even when he would not favor them. As lovers, they seemed very devoted which was nice. Aaron takes the time to really ensure Eugenie’s safety, both as a Dom and his partner. The progression of their relationship is rather quick, though this is reasonable given their previous acquaintance. The wrap-up of the mystery–who was harming Eugenie and why–comes at exactly the final moment before the wedding, with a showdown that is fast and fanatical.

Interested? You can find LA BRAT on Goodreads,,, Totally Bound, Barnes and Noble, All Romance, Sony, Kobo.

Ashe Barker_giveawayCLICK HERE to enter Totally Bound’s La Brat competition for the chance to win your own copy of this title, as well as three more fabulous titles from Ashe Barker’s backlist!

About Ashe Barker:
I’ve been writing seriously for about two years but I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, erotic and other genres. I love reading historical and contemporary romances in all pairings – the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.

In my own writing I draw on settings and anecdotes from my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. My stories are often set in the north of England where I live but I draw inspiration from all over. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea. But ultimately my tales of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of my own lurid and smutty imagination.

On the rare occasions I’m not writing my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And most recently a very grumpy cockatiel.

My other titles include the ‘Black Combe’ trilogies, The Dark Side, Sure Mastery, The Hardest Word and A Richness of Swallows, all set in the atmospheric moorland of West Yorkshire or Cumbria and with a strong BDSM theme. The Three Rs, part of Totally Bound’s What’s Her Secret? imprint is a stand-alone novel set in Berwick in the Scottish border. I’ve also written a couple of short stories, Re-Awakening, and a raunchy pirate tale, Right of Salvage, as well as a novella, Carrot and Coriander.

I have a pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.

I love to hear from readers. You can find me on my blog, and I’m on Facebook, and twitter too. And more recently on Tsu.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

He Truly Was THE KNIGHT OF OCEAN AVENUE–Review and Giveaway

Ocean Ave
Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share in the blog tour for Tara Lain’s newest release THE KNIGHT OF OCEAN AVENUE. I really liked her wolf shifter stories, but this book is a fantastic contemporary M/M romance between a sexually questioning construction worker and the glitzy stylist prepping his sister for her society wedding. It’s an odd couple that just works!

Knight of Ocean Avenue 400x600About the book:
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 judgement 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?

How about a little taste!

GAGA’S “EDGE of Glory” played in his ear. Damn. Quit.
 He reached out and pawed at the edge of the coffee table until he finally felt the phone. His fingers found the mute button and he clicked it. Peace. He tried to roll over. Heavy.



Claws dug into his chest as the weight lifted, then disappeared. “Go back to sleep.” He rolled over until his face and body were pressed against the back of the couch. Ouch. His dick hurt. Sleep. Ouch.

Well, damn. Slowly he rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He glanced to the side. Clancy and Yerby gazed at him like they could command him with will force alone to open the tuna. “Hang in there, guys.”

Oh man. Not hung over. He’d had half a beer. But here he lay fully clothed on his couch, aching in his bones and feeling like someone had kicked him in the nuts. That would be him. He’d done it to himself.
He swung his legs over the side, sat up on the edge of the couch, and dropped his head. Four eyes stared up at him. “Go open it yourself.”

Three times. He’d wanked himself into oblivion three times while rewinding that frigging porno. Was there one line he didn’t engrave in his brain? Every “unh, unh, unh. Fuck me harder” was emblazoned in his memory. Jesus, Ballew. Yeah, Jesus was the operative word. But if he was going to hell for jerking off, he’d be taking every male in the world with him.

Of course, he didn’t just masturbate; he wanked to gay porn. What the hell is that about? Truth? He’d been kicked in the teeth so many times by so many women, the idea of fucking a nice uncomplicated man kind of did it for him. Well, not seriously, but the theory was attractive. And no, he would not be sharing this revelation with the guys on the job site.

The bang on his door about sent him into outer space. Who the hell? Nobody came here. He didn’t share his address much. No poker with the boys or make-out sessions with the girls. His place. His. Who was it?

The knocking came again.


He jumped up. “Yeah?” The cats looked up at his loud voice.

“Billy, it’s Jim.” The voice came through the door.

Jim. Billy looked around, grabbed the laptop, closed it tight, and slid it onto the end table. Lube. Shit. He shoved the open tube into the drawer, then staggered over to the front door. How much did he smell like sex? Damn, his sweats were halfway to his knees. He dragged them back up, then opened the door.

“Hi. Sorry, overslept.” He ran a hand through his hair.

Jim Carney was a little older than him and a good guy, if a bit of a hound dog. He grinned. “Sorry. My truck broke down. I was kind of close to here and remembered your address. Thought I’d see if I could get a ride.”

“Uh, sure.” He glanced over his shoulder. It felt strange having somebody here. “Come on in. I need to feed my cats and take a quick shower, if you want to wait.”

“Sure. Too far to walk and all uphill.” He stepped in. “You have cats?”

Billy looked at Jim. The guy had a tough face with a broken nose that some women liked. “Yeah, I got two. You like cats?”

“No. Just think it’s kind of funny that you do.” He smacked Billy’s shoulder. “You crazy cat lady, you.”
Well, hell. “Make yourself at home.” Kind of. He walked into the kitchen, the boys behind him, and scooped out some cat food into both dishes. “Here ya go, guys.” He raised his voice. “Don’t let feline haters make you feel bad.”

Jim laughed from the living room. “This is quite a place you have. Jesus, man, what are you, some closet decorator?”

Billy frowned and walked into the living room. “No, I just like having a nice place of my own.”

“But you’re so damned neat.” He was holding a glass globe Billy had found in a yard sale.

“So?” He took the globe and put it back on the shelf.

“Nothing. No wonder women like you so much.”

“I’m taking a quick shower.” He started for the bedroom, stopped and grabbed the laptop, then went into his room—small with a big bed.

He glanced at his watch, still ticking on his wrist. Double shit. If he didn’t hurry, they’d both be late for work. Saturday shifts were good for making extra cash, but not if he didn’t get there.

He stepped under the water. Too cold. Shaved so fast he nicked himself and finally got some clothes on and hurried back into the living room. Jim sat on the couch holding a book, the two cats staring at him from across the room. He stared back. Billy laughed. “Have they got you cornered?”

“Shit, man, those two are scary. What are they, ninja attack cats?”

Billy sat and pulled on his work boots. He nodded at the book. “What you got?”

Jim held out the book. “This is heavy shit, my man.” The copy of Jane Eyre kind of weighed down his hand.

Billy tried to keep his brows from scrunching together. “I just like to read. I didn’t get to go to school too long, so I read, okay?” He didn’t say he read because it was like a fucking gift to finally be able to do it.
Jim set down the book and stood up. “You really are different, you know?”

“Thanks a shitload.”

“I don’t mean it bad. You’re just—not like most of the guys.”

Man, was he tired of hearing that.

My Review:
Billy Ballew is a dud with the ladies. Three broken engagements lay at his feet on the eve of his baby sister’s wedding. At 25 years old and still a bachelor, his fiercely religious mother is impatient for grandkids, and always willing to make her desire known. Billy is a hard-working man; always has been. He’s qualified to be a licensed contractor but suffers test-taking anxiety after years of ridicule in school. He’d been a late bloomer in terms of reading, though now he’s fully literate and supporting himself–and, to some degree, his parents ever since his father’s debilitating heart attack years ago. Billy dropped out of school and worked to help pay the mortgage and his younger sister’s college tuition–and his sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.

In prep for the big wedding of his sister to a hoity-toity rich guy, Billy allows himself to be talked into working with his sister’s stylist, Shazam, so that he’ll be fashionable for all the wedding events. Still questioning what keeps going wrong with his relationships, Billy is stunned to find Shaz, the effeminate redhead, strangely appealing. Billy has only been sexually active with a man once–if you consider paying a trick for some oral distraction “active”–and he is freaked out.

Shaz is more than a little attracted to his straight client. Dressing such a big, burly man–one who had interfered in a possible bashing of himself–is a fun challenge, and Shaz is determined to make friends with Billy, if only to spend more time with him. Thing is, the more time they spend, the greater the attraction simmers between them.

Okay, so there are a lot of issues at play in this story. Homophobic crew on Billy’s worksites, homophobic parents on the little league team Billy coaches, homophobic mother…casual homophobia and direct homophobia. Cheating partners and supportive friends. Men finding their way independently both sexually and financially, and that doesn’t only mean Billy, or even Shaz. There are great secondary characters here who round out the narrative.

While Billy begins to sort out his complicated feelings about possibly being gay, Shaz is sorting out the mess of being a partner to a closet case, or having the important people in Billy’s life hate both of them. The so-called ‘you turned him gay’ backlash is not Shaz’s cup of Darjeeling. A wealthy potential business partner swoops into Shaz’s life and Billy quadruple guesses what the heck a sexy, suave sophisticated man like Shaz could see in a rough, barely literate high school drop out like himself. A lot of time is spent with these two men having strong feelings for one another, and yet staying separate, working on their lives with an eye to figure out how to restart what they had barely initiated. Which only makes it sweeter when Billy rides in to the rescue. Because he does.

At his core, Billy is as decent a person as anyone could hope to know. He volunteers for little league coaching, he works two and three jobs to have money to support his family, he has two gay cats which (I’m sure even though the book didn’t say) were shelter rescues. He doesn’t sleep around and he apologizes for cursing in front of his mother. The man is a freaking saint, and thinks he’s dirt because he did poorly in school. If Shaz didn’t climb him like a tree, several times, I would have attempted it myself.

Shaz is, himself, a good egg. He works hard and values hard work. The socialite playboys he always finds himself aligned with are too narcissistic and have no sense of honor, but Shaz sees real honor and valor, even, in Billy. The more Billy embraces his sexuality, the more astounded Shaz is by his courage.

This is a well-crafted Gay-For-You romance that embraces the idea of slow changes and coming to terms with one’s self before coming out. Shaz, having been shunned by his own family, never pressures Billy to make bold moves. On the contrary, he assures Billy he cares for him exactly as he is, and will stand wherever he needs to to keep Billy within a comfort zone. Even after becoming physical, the end is far into the future, with major hurdles for Billy to overcome. I was so glad that he had Shaz beside him for most of it. The sexytimes are fun and flirty as well as being sexy-sexy. I just enjoyed the book so much.

Interested? You can find THE KNIGHT OF OCEAN AVENUE on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press (eBook or Paperback), Amazon, AllRomance, and Barnes & Noble.


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Good luck and keep reading my friends.

About the author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at: