I was delighted to learn that Tara Lain was starting a new contemporary m/m romance series because I adore the way she presents the conflicts that her characters face. The sadly prevalent issues facing those who chose to love someone of the same sex are always an integral part of the stories but the charismatic males who are presented are multi-dimensional and intriguing. I was a little startled (but entertained) by Shaz’s methods of getting past Chase’s test anxiety, lol, and I am really happy to meet a new set of males to follow, as they carve out their niches in life and find a love to share their ups and downs with. Some of the secondary relationships were a little worrying, but I will keep my fingers crossed that those folks will indeed have their happy ever after and I look forward to reading more of this author’s wonderful stories that combine heat, heart, and obstacles that are overcome.
“The Knight of Ocean Avenue” by Tara Lain is part of the ‘Love in Laguna’ series and features Billy Ballew, a construction worker whose world is turned upside down when he meets the flamboyant and talented stylist Chase Phillips, who is known as Shaz. Billy’s instinctual rescue of a person he doesn’t even know leads to an earth-shaking re-evaluation of what he’s looking for in life and the discovery that he is not the only one who can be pivotal in saving someone’s life, figuratively or literally. Learning to put his trust in someone else and finding the courage to be true to himself is a major challenge that only one special man can help him achieve, if Chase can find a way to reach out.
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 judgment 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?