Balls to the Wall #5
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Genre: Adult, M/M Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy as part of the blog tour. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER
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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.
FAST Balls was a satisfying read as Lain not only gave me Jerry's story - a character I met at the beginning of this series and have come to love - but she also conveyed it in a way that dealt with societal prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance. That's something I'e come to expect from her and something she does well.
When I saw Jerry was getting his own story, I was excited. Jerry is such a good guy - a good friend, fun-loving, and kind. He's a surfer but he's deeper than that having dealt with the struggle of returning to school (he's dyslexic) and becoming a firefighter. He's a character I've come to adore and one who doesn't see all that he is.
Mick Cassidy is not the guy I would have chosen to for a love interest for Jerry. He's also a firefighter - at the same station as Jerry - but he's proven to be callous in his homophobia in the past. However, after learning of Mick's upbringing and how he's lived his life, not to mention his confusion over his own feelings about what he's been taught and lived...well, I softened toward him. Quite a bit actually, especially seeing how he views himself.
Jerry and Mick have gotten to know each other while working together and while that happened off-page, I still felt their feelings toward one another were genuine. They connect because of certain situations and I liked how they were there for one another. I also liked how they helped each other see themselves through each other's eyes.
Overall, FAST Balls was fulfilling for me in that Jerry got his story. I got to spend time with the other guys from the series - even if it was only a little - and the way Lain incorporated bigotry was handled well. I'm excited for the next installment!
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. 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 near the sea in California she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!