Volley Balls by Tara Lain
Balls to the Wall #1
Release Date: January 11, 2017
Genre: Adult, M/M Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy as part of the blog tour. I voluntarily reviewed it.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
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A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.
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?
Although I had a few reservations, I quite enjoyed this first book in the Balls to the Wall series. Not only did I get to meet new characters to fall for, Lain also took on the topic prejudice.
When we first meet David, he's being yelled out, taunted with slurs, by one of two hot volleyball players. It shakes him up, of course. It turns out David is a successful guy, owning his own art gallery. But he's also recently out of an abusive relationship and has no real interest in a new one.
Then he meets Gareth - the other half of the volleyball duo he was ogling...the one not yelling slurs. Gareth's been raised in a country and in an environment that ridicules gays. Which is problematic since he is gay.
Edge, Gareth's volleyball partner, is one of the worst offenders in the bigotry department. He and Gareth have been best mates since they were young. And his attitude and behavior are really upsetting since Gareth wants to come out and is attracted to Edge.
All the characters were engaging and I liked the story. I liked watching David help Gareth deal with the fallout over revealing his sexual orientation. I enjoyed seeing how attentive and serious Gareth was over David. Edge had to grow on me but I could see what he was hiding from everyone, including himself. However, I didn't feel like there was enough time spent with the characters, seeing all the dynamics, the relationship(s) grow, so that kept me from forming the deep connection with them that I would have liked. Also, the chain reaction of events that happened once David and Gareth became a couple occurred really fast. Not that I didn't feel the connection between them - it was just lightning quick. I had to wonder at the reality of it all - whether or not Gareth would have come out so quickly or whether David would enter into any sort of relationship with someone who'd harassed him after what he'd suffered with his ex.
Overall though, I enjoyed the story and am eager to continue the series. Lain's writing makes for easy reading and I always like her take on topics such as prejudice. I hope to not only get to know side characters better but continue getting to know David, Gareth, and Edge as well.
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”