Dodging Bigots and FAST BALLS–Review & Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. FAST BALLS is the fourth book in her Balls the Wall series and features an odd-couple romance between two firefighters, one who needs to come out of the closet. We’ve met both of these guys in FIRE BALLS, but expect cameos from pals we met in VOLLEY BALLS and BEACH BALLS, too. It was awesome to watch good-guy Jerry finding love!

Catch an excerpt and enter the GC giveaway below.
About the book:
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?
Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.

Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.

How about a sweet taste?

“Sure. I can’t think of anyone else I’d want to be with forever.”
“Why?”
Mick smiled and took hold of Jerry’s hands. “That’s easy. You’re kind, and good, and funny. And so damned smart I’d be learning new stuff from you forever. Hell sounded pretty good with you in it.”
Jerry just shook his head back and forth.
He sighed. “But I guess hell would have been the easy way out.”
Jerry nodded. “It’s harder to live than to die.”
Mick sat on the floor at Jerry’s feet. “I was thinking I’d leave here. Go somewhere and start over. Leave my father and that whole gang behind.”
Jerry’s voice was very soft. “And me? Leave me behind?”
Mick looked up into those bluer than blue eyes. “That’s the hard part. That’s why I’m still here. I don’t want to leave you.”
“Why?”
“You’re sure full of whys. Because you’re my friend. My best friend.”
Jerry ran a hand across Mick’s cheek. It felt so nice. “I am your friend. Am I your lover?”
Mick’s breath caught. Weird. Half horror. Half delight. “I don’t know.”
Jerry’s fingers roamed into his hair, and he pressed his head against Jerry’s palm. “Wherever you go, you have to decide. Are you gay, Mick?”
“You said I am. Jezebel says I am.”
“We may think so, but you have to decide for yourself.”
Mick frowned. “I thought it wasn’t a choice.”
“It’s not, but there are plenty of guys walking around pretending they’re not gay. A lot of them end up freaking out their wives and kids when they get caught in some bathroom fucking a twink.”
Mick stared at the floor. “People hate you because you’re gay.”
“Yep.”
Mick took in a big breath. Suddenly that moment in the fire washed over him. “But God doesn’t hate you.”
Jerry shrugged. “I guess that depends on who you ask.”

My Review:
This is the fourth book in the Balls to the Wall series and might be better enjoyed after reading the second book, FIRE BALLS.

Jerry is a surfer-turned fireman. He lives and works in Laguna Beach and has one guy on his crew who’s a bigoted homophobe. Mick is big and burly and a decent fireman, but he’s been reprimanded for his attitude and his drunken misadventures. In FIRE BALLS he was a bit of a tormentor for Hunter and got put in his place directly by Rodney, but Jerry’s a different kind of guy. He smiles past the comments and treats everyone with respect, even if they don’t merit any.

This goes a long way toward breaking through Mick’s coarse shell; he’d been raised by a grotesquely bigoted “preacher” of a father. Yes, there’s a cult involved. In fact, Mick is “betrothed” to a teen girl is his father’s congregation. The idea of marrying this girl is really upsetting for Mick, as is his interest in Jerry. Mick’s just never had a friend before and Jerry’s friendliness is so necessary–it makes him reconsider all the hateful lessons he’d absorbed at his father’s church.

Jerry doesn’t know what to make of Mick. The guy is a set of contradictions, but Jerry’s happy enough to try and get to know him better, if it’ll help quell the animosity that’s been a problem in their firehouse. This effort isn’t helped by the advent of some new blood in the firehouse who subscribe more to Mick’s father’s attitudes. One of them had been a disciple of the church, and this scares the bejesus out of Mick; what if his dad learns how friendly he is with Jerry? Considering how militant their stance is about homosexuality, Mick fears Jerry could be put into danger.

They have a sweet quiet romance, with Jerry assuring Mick that his desires are natural and not a problem. Mick, for his part, finally feels as if he’s experiencing the kind of physical contact he’s desired all along. It’s bittersweet, honestly, to see his internalized homophobia tear him apart, but Jerry’s a good guide into self-awareness. There’s a bunch of drama that involves spiteful firemen and a lunatic preacher, but all ends very well. I really enjoyed this one! A nice mix of steamy bits and heartfelt loving.

Interested? You can find out more about FAST BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cover Reveal for FAST BALLS!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for a new contemporary M/M romance form Tara Lain. FAST BALLS is the fourth book in her Balls the Wall series and features an odd-couple romance between two firefighters, one who needs to come out of the closet. We’ve met both of these guys in FIRE BALLS, but there’s no doubt cameos from pals we met in VOLLEY BALLS and BEACH BALLS, too. I can’t wait to find out how good-guy Jerry finds love! FIRE BALLS re-releases July 12th.

About the book:
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?
Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.

Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.

Interested? You can find out more about FAST BALLS on Goodreads, and preorder the book in advance of it’s July 12th release on Dreamspinner Press.

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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Odd Couple Love: BEACH BALLS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. BEACH BALLS is the third book in her Balls to the Wall series, but is a standalone romance. That said, I did enjoy both VOLLEY BALLS and FIRE BALLS.

Be sure to drop down and catch the excerpt, and enter the giveaway below.
About the book:
Adam James is so far in the closet he could find Narnia. As an attorney for the homophobic WMA Development, he can’t come out without risking the million-dollar paycheck waiting for him once they push their big land development deal through the city council—money that will finally allow Adam to live according to his own terms. Then, on an early morning scuba dive, Adam meets a tall, lean rebreather diver named Sky who makes him want to hug a tree.

Sky Sea Mickeljohn stands for the environment, world peace, and being openly gay. He won’t compromise his principles for anyone—even the damned lying developer lawyer he can’t help lusting after. True, the WMA land development deal could put thousands of people at risk, but Sky still wants to risk his heart. In the fight between freedom and integrity, is there a place for love?

How about a little taste?

The guys nearest the beach started laughing and pointing. What’s going on?

He looked at Gary, who shrugged.

Adam pointed toward the commotion. “I’m going to go see.” He walked out onto the grassy verge that led to the sand where he’d been sitting earlier with Sky. The guys were still laughing. One asked, “What’s he gonna do?”

Adam pushed into the line of men all facing the ocean and pointing. “What’s happening?”

Ian said, “This crazy guy is standing there in the water like he’s headed for us, but he’s not moving. Looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

One of the other men asked, “What’s he wearing?”

Carly smiled at Adam. “It’s called a dry suit, and it looks to me like he’s waiting for someone. Wonder who that could be?” He laughed.

Waist-deep in the water stood a tall man in a full dry suit complete with hood and mask, his mouthpiece dangling. He had a little bottle of what must be oxygen on his chest.

I’ve got a funny feeling about this. When Adam stepped off the lawn onto the sand, the figure in the suit began to pace out of the water with a slow and deliberate stride.

The “creature” analogy was dead-on.

When the creature got out of the surf, he stopped to peel off the mask and hood, revealing curly hair.

Adam smiled. He’d know those curls anywhere.

Sky came a few feet closer. Even in the fading light, Adam imagined he could just make out the blue-gray eyes.

Sky stopped again and began to unfasten the dry suit. What kind of show were they in for?

Slowly the puffy dry suit peeled down the tall body, fully dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. A patter of applause started, and Sky kicked off the suit to reveal flip-flops. Jesus, he must think he was James Bond or something. By this time everyone was clapping, and Sky gave a little bow.

Son of a bitch, the guy has a sense of humor. He’d rigged this whole elaborate entrance just to get a laugh. But looking at that lean, hard body in those shorts made another part of Adam’s anatomy very happy.

Sky picked up the dry suit and walked the ten feet to Adam. “Hi. I believe I was invited for cocktails.”

No recourse. He just laughed. “You do know how to make an entrance.”

My Review:
Adam James is an attorney assisting a realty development group gain an ocean-side parcel of land for a multi-million dollar high rise and park complex. He’s also a closeted gay man, and he’s lonely. He regularly visits the estate of a sympathetic friend who arranges for other closeted men to come together–and I mean that in the most dirty of ways.

One weekend, while scuba diving off the coast, Adam encounters Sky, a tall, lean, shy man who cussed him out for disturbing the aquatic life on the coastline. Adam’s still intrigued, even if Sky indicates being with a closeted man isn’t his style. That said, Sky accepts Adam’s invitation to a barbeque, and their night is really, really, wow. Thing is, Adam hasn’t been honest about who he is, and Sky didn’t reveal his full name, either, so it isn’t until several days later that they recognize they are on opposite sides of the development plan. Sky Sea Mickljohn’s parents raised him to be an environmental activist, and he’s spearheading the resistance to the development plan.  The plan that was supposed to make Adam enough money that he could afford to come out of the closet and support his law practice even if he lost clients due to his sexuality.

While Adam and Sky sort out the personal and professional lives, Adam recognizes the simplicity of living an out life. Likewise, Sky recognizes that he’s been too quick to judge Adam for his personal life choices, and, well, they still connect with each other on a very personal level. This is a feel-good story about two seemingly opposite guys finding common ground, and the strength to walk unexpected paths. I really liked the sweetness, but the sexiness was off the charts. Adam is every bit the responsive lover that Sky didn’t know he was needing in his life. It was also interesting how Sky thought of himself as so disconnected from humanity, and how Adam grounded him in a way he hadn’t expected needing.

Interested? You can find BEACH BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 GC to Amazon.
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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Gaining Power and Love: BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE–Review and Giveaway!

Hit there! I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a recently re-released paranormal M/M romance from Tara Lain. BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE is the second book in her Aloysius tales series about witches (and more) living among us. This one features Sam, a young witch who thinks his paintings of the future are a rather crummy ability. Until his art becomes the ultimate weapon against evil.

Catch an excerpt below, and enter the giveaway, too!

About the book:
Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.
One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human

Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?

How about a little taste?

Sammy looked down into the soup. “That’s the only kind of guy who would ever be interested in me. A cheating rat.”

“Sam, that’s not so.”

His voice shook. “Why the hell do you think he even bothered with me to begin with? What would he want with a stupid loser if he was planning on cheating with half the fucking college?” The tears squeezed out and started to drip down his cheeks.

Ryder put the tray on the dresser and wrapped Sammy in his arms. “You’re not a loser at all. You’re one of the finest people I’ve ever known. You’re kind and funny and so smart. You paint like a master. Even if you do pick strange subject matter sometimes.” Ryder chuckled and nodded toward the painting of himself on Sammy’s easel.

“You saw that?” Sammy snuffled. Maybe if he didn’t move too much Ryder would forget to let him go.

“Hard to miss that painting in a room the size of most closets.”

Pretty embarrassing. But compared to having had your energy drained by a cheating pig and your neck chained by the selfsame bastard while you were blacked out, painting a picture of your best friend you had a secret crush on was small potatoes in the shame department.

“Ready to sleep?”

No. “Yeah.” Sammy pulled the pillows out from behind him and lay back down. Al crawled up next to him. His eyelids felt weighted. “Thank you so much for taking care of me. I’ll rest tomorrow, and I should be able to go to school on Monday.”

“Yes, you’ll rest tomorrow, and I’ll see that you do. I’m not going anywhere. I want to make sure that asshole doesn’t come back. I’ll sleep on your couch and be here to take care of you in the morning.”

Sammy shook his head. “No way a human can sleep on that couch. Aloysius won’t even do it. It has lumps the size of Everest. I’ll be fine. Really.”

“Not leaving, so forget about it.”

Sweeter words were never spoken. I don’t want to be alone. He opened his eyes a slit. Ryder gazed down at him. That expression. He remembered it—from the painting. His deep eyes. So soft. So much like love.

A thick fog of exhaustion rolled over Sam, and his eyes wouldn’t stay open. “Sleep in the bed with me and Al. We don’t move much. Sleep here… prommmmissse….”

My Review:
Sam is a young witch finishing his final year of college and trying to discern his true powers. So far, he can’t cast spells, or divine when someone nearby has magic, but he is an accomplished artist. Lately, he’s had many episodes of waking in the morning with work on his easel that he painted in his sleep, images which come true in the near future. It’s always been more of a nuisance than anything, but his new paintings now illustrate key figures coming into his life.

First is his best friend, Ryder, who’s had a dramatic transformation over the summer holiday. Ryder’s taller, fitter and sexier than Sam can stand. He’s long crushed on his human bestie, and the new-improved Ryder is so so tempting. Then he draws am image of himself with Aloysius, his Witch Master’s familiar (a cat), on his own shoulder. From then on, Sam and Al are nearly inseparable. Which is puzzling, because Al’s known to associate with only the most powerful witches, and Sam’s essentially powerless–he thinks. Still, it’s not until paints Lucien that things get creepy.

Lucien is a newly-transferred witch from Prague. He’s beautiful in a deadly way, and his sights are set on capturing Sam, his power, and the whole of the Witch community, if he can…

This story has many points of view, but the most prominent are Sam and Ryder’s. Sam’s a good guy,and has many friends–a perfect target for Lucien’s attentions. Lucien uses his money and wiles to try and win Sam over, but Sam’s crush on Ryder puts the brakes on that seduction. When Ryder’s overcome seeing Sam out-and-about with Lucien, it sparks him taking a stand against his own powerful father. Throughout there were hints that Ryder isn’t exactly human, though I didn’t quite guess his heritage until the end. I did like the push and pull of the story, and the plot twists kept me guessing as to the outcome. Al, the familiar, has a great personality, and cat lovers will surely be intrigued by a series that winds a cat through all the magic. The love story for Sam and Ryder is sweet, and sexy–with both of them finally revealing their true selves to one another. Lucien and his dastardly plans are put to rest by Sam finally learning the extent of his own unique abilities. All ended well, despite the magic, mayhem and murderous intent. Expect and HEA, and to find a new series to enjoy.

Interested? You can find BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card or an ebook.
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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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Appearances Deceive: FIRE BALLS–Review and Giveaway

banner-blogtour-fire-balls-by-tara-lainHi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review and giveaway for a new M/M romance coming soon from Tara Lain. FIRE BALLS is the second book in her Balls to the Wall series and features a subdued fireman fighting the heat he feels for a flamboyant artist. I really enjoyed VOLLEY BALLS, the first book in this series, though FIRE BALLS can be enjoyed on its own.

Catch the excerpt and enter to win a $10 GC and book giveaway below!
bk-cover-fire-ballAbout the book:
Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter.

As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!

Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.

How about a little taste?

Jerry leaned back on the couch. “Anyway, he’s dreamy, straight-up divine. Sweet and nice and smart. Shit, man, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”

Too much. Rod got up and went back to the easel. At least he didn’t have to stare into Jerry’s smitten face. Crap, he wanted to be happy for the guy. He really did. “He’s beautiful, all right.”

“And guess what? He asked about you.”

No breath. “He, uh, did?”

“Yeah. Said you were so talented. See, I told you not to leave.”

“Didn’t want to be a third wheel.”

“Hey, my man, you’re my brother from another mother. What I got, you got. So I’m going on another date with him, and he loves to read and shit. Could you tell me some stuff to talk about?”

Oh dear God. “So what have you read, Jerry?”

He looked at his hands. “I, uh, read a few romance novels.”

“I think it’s okay to talk about those, but you have to know some other writers too. So think. What did you read in high school?”

“Comic books.”

“Graphic novels?”

“Yeah. Man, I love Watchmen and X-Men and Batman.”

“Comic books.” He walked over to a bookshelf he kept tucked away in the corner of the studio. When he rested on the couch, he loved to read himself to sleep. “Have you ever heard of Lord Byron?”

Jerry shook his head. “Sounds like a rock star.”

“He kind of was for his time. He was a poet.” He took out a slim volume and began to read from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; man marks the earth with ruin—his control stops with the shore.” When he got to “unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown” he looked up.

Jerry’s big blue eyes shone with tears. “Hey, man, that’s awesome. Probably not a surfer, I guess. All the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ sound kind of old. But that dude knew what a surfer feels, man. We ride on top of the—what did he call it?—deep and dark blue ocean. And we know we can sink and never be heard from again, man. Axed. It’s how we want to go if we gotta.”

He had to stop underestimating this man. Rod walked over to the couch and handed the book to Jerry. “Just be yourself. He’s got to love you.”

“Wow, thanks. But I’ll read this, man. Every word, or at least the words I understand, okay?”

He smiled. “Okay.”

“I sure do like the way you read it, though.”

Rod laughed, took back the book, and began to read.

My Review:Rodney Mansfield is a flamboyant and fierce artist living in Laguna Beach, California. His stunning nudes of sexy men are selling like crazy in the summer arts fair the city holds, and draws the object of Rodney’s affection to his gallery’s booth: Hunter, a big and burly fireman. Rodney’s hopelessly tongue-tied around Hunter though his good friend, Jerry, is equally smitten and has the gumption to actually ask Hunter out.

Rod doesn’t get the vibe that Hunter would enjoy being around him–he’s too alpha and Rod’s too flashy, and that’s mostly the truth. Hunter has built his life to please his disabled father, toning down his sexuality and even behaving in the bedroom in a way that he imagines his fellow firefighters might not find objectionable–essentially topping, when he isn’t as personally satisfied by that role. Still, Jerry–Rod’s friend–fits the image that Hunter wants to project, that of a pretty-much big, straight dude, who also happens to be gay.

That said, personality-wise, Jerry and Hunter aren’t a solid match, while Hunter and Rod are kindred spirits. Not only that, Rod knows how to speak to Hunter’s heart, and get through to his head, as well. This is a non-traditional romance, because Rob and Hunter get together only because Jerry pushes Hunter into sitting for Rod. Rod’s hating that he can’t be more than an acquaintance to Hunter, but that changes, rather abruptly, in their second sitting. This reminded me, a bit, of an updated Cyrano de Bergerac, with Rod giving the beautiful, but dim, Jerry all the right words to catch Hunter’s attention.

There isn’t a drawn-out charade, because Hunter respects Rod’s artistic skill and vision from the outset. He fears anything that might make him seem effeminate, or emasculated, in front of his fellow fireman–particularly one who’s become a stalker-y bully. It’s a big shift for Hunter to stand up for himself against the heavy weight of expectation that he’s adopted for himself. Rod and Hunter have this pseudo-adversarial, pseudo-teacher dynamic going on. Rod steps out-of-line a couple times, taking Hunter well in-hand when it didn’t seem as if the timing was right. That cut the romance-factor, for me. I was frustrated for the scenes with Hunter’s bully, because that level of unprofessionalism seemed unconscionable, especially as it was witnessed by others. The time frame also seemed a bit odd, if only because oil painting is a process that usually takes days to weeks, and the arts festival supposedly extended over that period, if we’re to believe the plot. For me, a summer-long art fest seemed unlikely, and I wondered how Rod’s painting of Hunter could have been a highlight of the show.

There’s a near-tragic incident that really brings Hunter and Rod together, and it’s all amiable with Jerry. There’s a lot of good here, even if I didn’t love every single bit. I loved how Hunter found his confidence, and his own happiness, and I loved that Rod set aside his crush to put his friend’s feelings first.

Interested? You can find FIRE BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card or an ebook.
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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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Coming Out On Top–VOLLEY BALLS Review & Giveaway!

banner-blogtour-volley-ball-by-tara-lainHi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M/M sports menage romance out today from Tara Lain. VOLLEY BALLS is the first book in her new series, and absolutely steams–but also has some real heart, too.

Catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter the giveaway too!

volleyballs400x600About the Book:
A double dose of alpha male might be better than one. Tara Lain’s popular novella, Volley Balls, is now expanded and revised.
Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

How about a little taste?

David buried his head in Gareth’s broad chest and, much to his disgust, started to cry. The feelings didn’t even make sense. Anger, jealousy, lust, and—yes, fear. At the heart of it all. He started to shake. Gareth pulled him tighter, but it wouldn’t stop. Phil’s angry face stared at him. Screamed at him. His fist descended—again and again. Pain and anger and shame. “Oh God!”

“What, love?” Gareth kissed his hair.

“I was so afraid.”

“Nothing to fear, love.”

“Phil. Oh God. He said he wanted to kill me. I think he would have if Edge hadn’t come.” He burrowed into Gareth’s arms.

“We’re here now, love. Nothing more to fear. You took care of that bastard. He won’t bother you again.”

Edge’s deep voice came from behind him. “If he comes near you, I’ll kill the asshole.”

David sucked in breath and turned in Gareth’s arms. He saw Gareth shake his head, warning Edge. “David took care of him, Edge. He got the police and had him thrown in jail.”

David wiped at his eyes. “Thank you, Gareth. I know I said I could take care of myself, but I lied. I’ve been alone so long. I only got involved with Phil because I was lonely and wanted someone to care about me. Instead, he hit me and abused me. I’m so grateful to Edge for saving me today. I’m so grateful to both of you for not being the kind of man that Phil is. So grateful.” The tears ran down his cheeks again and dripped off his chin.

Edge stepped closer and tipped up David’s chin with his finger. He did something David hardly ever saw him do. He smiled. “I know I’m a big Neanderthal with no fucking manners, but sometimes that’s a handy kind of guy to have around.” Funny how David hadn’t noticed those dimples in Edge’s cheeks before. Like you could sharpen pencils in them.

David stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Edge in a huge hug. “Thank you. I’m so glad you were there. I’m so grateful.”

Edge chuckled, and the vibration zipped straight to David’s cock. Down, boy.

Another pair of strong arms wrapped around him from behind and made it a group hug.

David giggled. “I’m the filling in an Aussie sandwich. If I’d known, it would have been my lifetime aspiration.”

My Review:
David Underwood just got out of an abusive relationship with a closeted gay man. He’s always fancied big athletic men, and he’s captivated by the sexy Australian volleyball players practicing on Laguna Beach. Of course, when he gets called out by one of the players with decidedly homophobic slurs, he skedaddles. Quick. David’s all about non-confrontation.

So, he’s rather upset when one of the volleyballers follows him to a bar. Sure, David’s blind date was going nowhere, but boring is better than beaten, right? Except Gareth isn’t like his outspoken mate, Edge. No, Gareth, though big and burly and sexy, is a closeted man himself. And, David’s not going down that path either. Well, not without Gareth considering coming out, anyway. Actually, Gareth is fed up with Edge and his father’s aggressive homophobia. He’s even made plans to transfer colleges to the LA area–his mother lives in San Diego and she’s a PFLAG-gal. She only wants Gareth happy. Meeting her reassures David that Gareth has a path to being true to himself.

And, meeting Edge after their game? Volcanic. Edge is panicked and freaks out when Gareth shuts down his slurs and comes out.

Thing is, Edge can’t comprehend how Gareth is gay. It’s a mystery to him, one he wants to untangle. And he does so by following Gareth and David around. Yeah, he’s a creeper. Good thing for David, actually. Because David’s ex is a real piece of work, and none-too-pleased to have been served with a restraining order. Connecting as protectors of David, Gareth and Edge soon realize that they have more than friendship between them–and somehow David’s able to link their desires into more than a brief tryst.

The menage was a little quick, but I did enjoy it. The book’s written from all three characters’ point-of-view, so we get a little deeper insight into Gareth and Edge, and their deeply homophobic upbringing. David’s acceptance of both of them is a balm for each. And, he’s a sweet guy. I guess I would have liked a little more development of the romance, because it seemed to wrap up really quickly. That said, it’s a mostly-fun read that has some dark moments.

Interested? You can find VOLLEY BALLS on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $15 GC to Amazon.
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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cover Reveal for FIRE BALLS!

banner-crb-fire-balls-by-tara-lainHi there! Just sharing a quick cover reveal for a new M/M romance coming soon from Tara Lain. FIRE BALLS is the second book in her Balls to the Wall series and the newly revised edition will be released Feb 8th.

bk-cover-fire-ballAbout the book:
Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter.

As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!

Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.

How about a little taste?

Jerry jerked his head frantically toward the back of the restaurant. He mouthed some words. What? Oh, men’s room. Shit. He’d never give up. “Bill, I’ve got to go to the little boys’. If the waiter comes, just order me the halibut, okay?”

Bill looked up, nodded, and went back to his culinary study. Rod scooted through the crowd to the men’s room in the back of the restaurant. He loved Jerry, but really.

He ripped open the door and found Jerry huddled—yes, that was the word—huddled against the back wall.

Rod peeked around. Nobody. He put both hands on his hips. “Darling, what the fuck?”

“I ran out of shit to say.” Jerry’s voice was small and shaky.

Well, hell, how could he be mad? “Did you talk about the poem?”

“Yeah, I did. I read it and even memorized some of it. He got so excited, man. He started asking about all these other dudes I never heard of and shit. Walt somebody. I thought maybe he meant Disney or something so I started talking about Space Mountain. Then I knew that was wrong, so I just went back to asking him questions. So I asked, ‘What other poets do you like?’ And he says some name I never heard of, like some Indian dude like Tager or something.”

“Tagore?”

“Yeah, that’s it. But I had to say I had never read anything by the guy. So he recited a little, and it was really nice, but I didn’t have any more to recite back to him. So can we come and have dinner with you?”

“What?” Well, shit. He’d been focusing on how to push a little more poetry into Jerry’s head, not expecting a damned double date. A piece of his brain—well, actually another more southern part of the anatomy—leaped at the idea of having dinner with Hunter. Get over it. He’d just be tongue-tied and awkward. Not his fave condition. “I don’t think so, Jerry. This is my first date with Bill. You’ll do fine with Hun… the fireman.”

A man walked in and used the urinal. Rod sauntered over and rinsed his hands, but Jerry kept holding up the wall. The guy washed up and left.

Jerry pushed off the ceramic tile and put his hands together, prayerful. “Puh-leez, Rod. Help me, man. Your date has to love you. You’re, you know, you. But I’d feel so much better if I had someone to help me talk to Hunter.”

And Rod would feel so much worse. Hell. “Okay, bring him over.”

“Thanks, man. You’re rad. I can’t wait for you to get to know him.” Jerry ran out of the bathroom.

Yeah, and Rod wanted to run too. Away from here. Away from a beautiful friend who owned the man he wanted. Who had earned him just by being gorgeous. Shoot. He better get to Bill before Jerry did.

Interested? You can find FIRE BALLS on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of its Feb 8th release at Dreamspinner Press

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:

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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