‘Knight of Ocean Avenue’ by Tara Lain #LGBT #BlogTour #Review #Giveaway

Bethany reviews ‘Knight of Ocean Avenue’ by Tara Lain.  Published by Dreamspinner Press on May 1st, 2015.


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?


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Paperback from Dreamspinner 

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.

 ReviewWe were provided this book in exchange for an honest review.
When we got the invite for this tour and after I read the blurb for it, I knew I would want to read and review for our stop.  It sounded just like something I would pick up and I was not disappointed.
I love Tara Lain’s ‘Tales of the Harker Pack’ series which is a shifter series so I wanted to see what she would do with a contemporary cinderfellow story.  This book goes to show you Tara Lain is one very talented writer.  She takes a classic, boy in the closet, boy meets pretty boy who turns his world upside down, boy must face stepping out of said closet and she makes it her own.  I laughed, I cried, I felt the warm and fuzzies.
Billy, oh what can I say about dear sweet Billy.  He has lived his entire life working making sure his parents were ok and his sisters went to college, which he mostly paid for.  He lives his life trying to make his mom happy, trying to find a nice girl and give her grandchildren.  But he can’t seem to make the girls stick around and he just doesn’t know why he has three failed relationships.  It is because he is not living for himself, he doesn’t know who the real Billy is, but he is about to find out.
Enter Chase ‘Shaz’ into the picture.  Shaz is your typical, slightly feminine, makeup wearing, wild clothes wearing twink.  There is no way around it.  While Shaz is no shrinking violet, all he really wants is to find his knight in shining armor.  But what he has is a cheating, lying, ‘I have more money than god, so I can totally be a dick’ boyfriend.  Fortunately cheaters always show their true colors and Shaz kicks him to the curb.  So this is where Shaz and Billy get together right?  Not quite.
Billy is 100% gay virgin.  He spent 25 years trying to be who his mother tells him he should be, so trying to wrap his head around his feelings and attraction to Shaz is a bit overwhelming.  And Shaz is not the type to go into the closet, the hair, the clothes and the attitude just won’t let him.  Deep down in his heart of hearts, Billy knows that and doesn’t want to hurt Shaz, so he knows he must face his fears and slay the dragon.  Dragon being telling his mom there will never be a wife that she so wants him to have.  I have to say, I kinda hated his mom up until this point.  But when he finally brought Shaz home and told her the true nature of their relationship I was completely shocked as to how it all went down.  No I can’t tell you that, you need to get the book and read it.
There were times in this book where I thought I had it figured out, only to have Tara surprise me, and when an author can do that well, I am hooked.  The secondary cast of characters are amazing as well.  They will shock you, and make you love them as well as hate a few.  Look, all I can say about this book is the premise has been done over and over.  But Tara Lain takes it, twists it and makes it unique.  You are still getting that comfort read, of boy thinks he is straight only to find that one boy he wants to take the leap for.  Its a beautiful, wonderful hug in a book.  I look forward to the next one and highly recommend this one.

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
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3 thoughts on “‘Knight of Ocean Avenue’ by Tara Lain #LGBT #BlogTour #Review #Giveaway

  1. My sincerest thanks to Bethany for reading my book! What a great review. I’m so happy you liked it and delighted to be on the blog! : )


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