High Balls by Tara Lain: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post & Excerpt, & Giveaway

Sometimes only the wrong guy can bring the 
right happy ever after.

 

Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.

Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

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Romance Rocks the World!

Hi! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be here to celebrate the release of my brand new Balls to the Wall novel – High Balls. In High Balls, my hero Theodore is working on his PhD and his dissertation is based on the connection between the works of Jane Austen and the huge romance market. His department head thinks the subject is frivolous and, in fact, denigrates the entire romance genre.

Of course as we know as readers and writers of romance, this academic asshole isn’t alone in his opinions. Sadly, many people write off romance as not literature. I’d submit nothing could be further from the truth.

A lot of the dismissal of romance comes from recognized or unrecognized misogyny. Since women love romance, it must not be valuable. But romance is the largest genre of fiction in the world by so much it’s ridiculous. Nothing else comes close. It is that popular because it speaks to the truth of the soul. We read it not to escape as we’re often accused, but rather to learn how to live and love, how love can transform the world, and how hope is never wasted.

The craft applied to romance is at least as good as that found in other genres and even in so called literary fiction. The people who dismiss it have never read it. Are there bad romance writers? Many. Are there bad writers in every genre? You bet. In fact, some of the best writers I’ve ever read write romance. Good writers would be crazy not to – since that’s where the readers are!

If Jane Austen was working today she’d be called a romance writer and would be as dismissed like all the authors in the romance genre – rather than being called the creator of the novel form and one of the greatest authors who ever lived.

Just as my hero Theodore says, we should be proud to read and write romance. It’s what’s happening, friends. It’s the literature that rocks the world.

“Bartender?”

Snake looked in the mirror again. That was Pink Hair talking. Teddy stood beside the Greek statue and looked—scared? Anxious? Probably embarrassed. Why did he come here? To prance this beautiful man in front of me? He sighed. As if I’m all that.

He turned, tried to smile, and failed. “Yeah. What can I get you?”

“Champagne cocktail for me, darling.” Pink Hair smiled and gazed into Snake’s eyes. Did they know who he was?

Greek Statue asked for the same. Big, hunky, and handsome wanted a beer and—that left Teddy. Snake nodded to him without meeting his eyes. “What can I get you?”“Beer, please. Uh, Snake, these are my friends.”

Startled at being addressed by name, he finally looked at Teddy. “I gathered that.”“Uh, that’s Rodney, uh, Rod, and his husband, Hunter. Rod’s a famous painter and Hunter’s a college teacher like me.”

Snake still couldn’t get his smile muscles to move, but he stuck a hand across the bar and shook with both men, although the one called Rod only offered fingertips. Snake’s eyes fled back to Teddy.

Teddy glanced at the beauty next to him and said, “This is David. He owns the Underwood Galley on Forest. He’s Rod’s bestie. His husbands are away playing volleyball, so we’re keeping him company.”

Snake just stared. Too many words he didn’t quite grasp. Did he really say husbands? Like, plural? But bottom line—Snake’s face broke out in a smile. “Hi, David, really pleased to meet you.” He shook the handsome man’s slim hand as his brain repeated the mantra, Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend.

Rod said in his dancing, musical voice, “You thought David was Theodore’s boyfriend, didn’t you?”

Snake felt the crease pop between his eyebrows and smoothed it with intention. “Looked like it.”

Teddy really frowned. “So you assumed I lied to you?”

“Thought crossed my mind.” He glanced up at the scowling Teddy Bear and almost laughed. “Sorry.”

Rod said, “Theodore, be reasonable. You two barely know each other. Snake might think you would lie to him.”

Snake shook his head. “No, actually, I don’t. Teddy here’s not the lying type. But….” He shrugged.

Rod grinned. “But you’re the jealous type.”

“Not usually. Let me get your drinks.” He turned away, but saw the Greek god David look at Teddy with wide eyes and mouth the word Wow.

He swallowed his chuckle as he added the bitters to the champagne and then pulled the beer from the cooler.

Rod had this funny wheedling voice. “So you call Theodore ‘Teddy’?”

Snake turned back with two of the drinks and flashed a smile. “Teddy Bear, actually.”

Teddy sat back on his stool. “Snake!”

“I mean, who could call that pretty thing something so stodgy and serious as Theodore?” He cast a sideways glance at Teddy.David looked at Teddy too. “Uh, you better call him Theodore—because that bear can bite.” He laughed.

“Nah.” Snake slid the other beer and champagne to David and Teddy. “We need to get this boy to stop fighting what he is and work it.”

Rod shrieked. “Snake, I adore you! No one with an endless vocabulary could have ever so perfectly expressed the life plan for Theodore Walters.”

Snake looked at Teddy. “Walters. I didn’t know. Pleased to meet you, Teddy Bear Walters.”

A wild giggle exploded through Teddy’s compressed lips. “You’re all crazy!” He shook his head. “What’s your last name?”

“Erasmo.”

“Snake Erasmo. Your mother did not name you Snake.”

“Nope.”

David said, “Who did?”

“Some friends. Something to do with the walk.”

Teddy rested a cheek on his fist. So damned cute Snake wanted to eat him. “What’s your real name?”

“If I told you, I might have to kill you.”

“It’s the only way to keep me from killing you for calling me Teddy Bear. I mean, aren’t all Teddy Bears portly and hairy?”

“Well, my teddy bears always made me feel good, and warm, like I had love curled up next to my belly.”

Rod sighed. “Oh my.”

Teddy blinked hard. “Okay, but you still have to tell me your real name, or—else!”

Oh man, I could drown in those wide eyes. “Well, in that case, my name is Streams. Crystal Streams, to be exact. My hippie mama was into Native culture at the time I was born. Shit, it’s a good thing. The following year she might have named me Frankincense or—Marjoram.”

All four men laughed, but Theodore cocked his head with a quizzical expression. Hmm.

Snake held up a hand and walked over to the two guys who’d just sat down at the bar, took their orders, filled them, and then slowly sidled back to Teddy and company. Have to give these guys time to size me up, because I think my future depends on it.

 

Volley Balls
Bk #1
Available to purchase at 
 
Fire Balls 
Bk #2
Available to purchase at
Beach Balls
Bk #3
Available to purchase at

 

 
FAST Balls
Bk #5
Available to purchase at
Prefer paperback?
The first and second book are now available in paperback! 

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 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal 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 soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California 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 LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain: Release Day Review, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Luca McGrath may be returning to Napa Valley, California as a promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery, but his heart still lives with bad-boy billionaire’s son, James Armstrong. Luca spent his childhood playing games with the golden boy of California society, so blinded by James he barely noticed the dark, quiet lure of his conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong.

But now, Luca’s home and his own powers of attraction are enough to make James question his dedicated heterosexuality and his promised marriage to a wealthy and powerful businesswoman. The obvious attraction between Luca and James spurs Dylan into action—but he’s fighting a huge secret. While Luca dreamed of James, Dylan dreamed of Luca. When Luca gets caught in the struggle between the brothers and gets accused of culinary espionage he’s ready to chuck the fairy tale—unable to even imagine Dylan’s power to make his dreams come true.

Title: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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There’s Nothing Like Napa

Hi. I’m Tara Lain. Settle down, have a glass of champagne and join me in celebrating my new novel, Return of the Chauffeur’s Son. While this book pays homage to the wonderful romantic movie, Sabrina, it doesn’t take place on the east coast. In fact, it’s set in Napa Valley, CA. I hope when people read the book, they end up wanting to visit this magical place. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Napa a few times so here are a few impressions.

Unlike the other great California wine area, Sonoma, where wineries are tucked along winding roads and hidden cul de sacs, Napa is truly a valley with wineries and restaurants organized around two long parallel roads connected by smaller lanes. All a visitor has to do is start at the end of one long road and hop from winery to winery. You’ll never make it to all of them in one day. In fact, your head will be delightfully muzzy in only a few stops of wine tasting, so be sure to appoint a designated driver, or better yet, hire a car or limo to take you on the tour.

Each winery has its own tasting room. Some are very informal affairs, but most are large rooms offering the traveler snacks and souvenirs to go with their wine.  Usually, you pay a fee to taste a flight of wines – starting with the lightest white and progressing through the heaviest reds. Names like viongnier, pinot grigio, cabernet franc and meritage trip off the tongue – literally. Some of the wineries look like old castles and others are as modern as can be imagined. A few will take you on a tour of their wine making process – a treat for any wine fancier.

In Return of the Chauffeur’s Son, I manage to get my hero on a wine tour bus (they ran out of rental cars) and so the reader goes on a little drive through Napa Valley. I hope you enjoy my new book and that you get to visit Napa sometime soon.

James grabbed her, picked her up, and swung her in a circle before setting her down and starting a very accomplished foxtrot.

Luca watched them dance off, his gut twisting. He liked Nila so much. Why the hell did she have to love James?

A big warm hand clamped his shoulder. His breath sucked in. Slowly, Dylan turned him, and when they were face-to-face, Dylan wrapped Luca in his arms and began to dance.

If Sasquatch had just asked him to waltz, he wouldn’t have been more amazed. “Uh, will your guests be okay with same-sex dancing?”

Dylan whispered close to his ear, rumbly and low, “Ask me if I care.”

Luca smiled. “Dylan, do you care?”

“Not one tiny fuck.”

Every hair on Luca’s body stood on end. The hairs made a matched set with his cock, which leaped to attention and saluted. Whoa. Keep your distance or he’ll know. The old song said something about needing someone all the way, and his penis nodded in agreement. I could run! Get in my new car and drive. Uh, that would be the new car Dylan practically bought for me. He swallowed. “Thank you for helping with my car. I could never have bought it without your, uh, family discount.” He laughed tightly.

“You and Francis have always been a part of the family.” The deep vibration of Dylan’s voice tickled through Luca’s chest and dove lower. “I remember when you and James used to play like brothers.”

Not a subtle reminder of fraternity. “Yeah, how many times did we turn the great room into a gigantic fort?”

“I seem to recall being turned into the enemy and attacked once or twice.”

“We did love to follow you around.”

His voice got closer and breath warmed Luca’s ear. “I should have realized you were a little too interested in the fact that all my dates were guys.”

Two could play this game. He slipped his lips closer to Dylan’s ear. “You were my role model. I used to peek out the window and watch you kiss boys under the big tree by the pool.”

Dylan laughed deep and throaty. “I finally figured out you were watching.”

“Once I saw a guy go down on you. Your head was back against the tree trunk, and I could hear you moaning.” He whispered softly, “It was the first time I ever came that wasn’t a nocturnal emission.”

The sound from Dylan’s throat sounded half snort and half moan. “I didn’t know about that time, or I might have come inside and paddled your butt.”

“I might have liked it.” He laughed. “Right after that I realized I never felt that way when I saw girls.”

I do enjoy Tara Lain’s books, quite a bit. There are always characters with rich personalities, and quirks that change from book to book. This book is no exception. The side characters have their own personalities and little differences, as well.

Dylan kept his demeanor cool and aloof for most of the book. In many instances, it was difficult to tell what he felt (or didn’t feel) for Luca. Meanwhile, Luca had a difficult time coming around to Dylan, almost too much trouble. It did feel a little forced to have him go straight from one love to another, with a little bit of dating in between.

The espionage story was a great side story. It provided some additional depth to Luca, finding out how much he really wanted to be home, and what he was willing to put up with from the locals. In the end, he won, with the help of Dylan, and was cleared of all wrongdoing. I did like that no one that really “knew” Luca believed he was willing to go to such lengths to win a contest.

As with all of Tara’s books, it had the ever present HEA, and with some great stuff to look forward to with the happy couple(s). I loved that we got to experience a little of that HEA, as well.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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 37. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal 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 soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Website:              http://www.taralain.com

Blog:                      http://www.taralain.com/blog

Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain

FB Page:               http://www.facebook.com/taralain

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Beauty, Inc. by Tara Lain: Release Day Review

beautysynopsis

Is beauty only skin deep?

Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby:” the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father, who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc., the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.

Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion, only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.

Title: Beauty, Inc.
Series: Pennymaker Tales: Book Three
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: June 8, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 121

paula review
This was a cute story with a kind of magical feel to it. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, so I don’t know if I missed something in the others that tied into this one in anyway. However I still really enjoyed this book. I was very sweet with minimal angst, at least minimal for me. Belle was a fun character. I felt so bad for him. I wanted to positively murder his dad and brothers. It was nice to see him grow and become happier throughout the book. Magnus was a very emotional character for me. He had so much pain in him my heart broke a little. Sometimes he was a little hard to take, he was very domineering. However, with all that he did I always had the feeling that he was trying to take care of Belle.

4 pieces of eye candy

4-pieces-of-eye-candy2

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♂♂Taylor Maid by Tara Lain: Release Day Review♂♂

taylor maidsynopsis

He’ll marry the maid to get $50 million but a secret could queer the deal.

Taylor Fitzgerald needs a last-minute bride.

On the eve of his twenty-fifth birthday, the billionaire’s son discovers that despite being gay, he must marry a woman before midnight or lose a fifty-million-dollar inheritance. So he hightails it to Las Vegas… where he meets the beautiful maid Ally May.

There’s just one rather significant problem: Ally is actually Alessandro Macias, son of a tough Brazilian hotel magnate. But if Ally keeps pretending to be a girl for a little while longer, is there a chance they might discover this marriage is tailor-made?

Title: Taylor Maid
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 218
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denise reviewThis was not my first Tara Lain read. In fact, when I was a mere babe in the m/m reading world, I tore through her Balls to the Walls series without stopping. One of the things I really loved about this author, is she did not write straight men, being gay. Meaning, these were not all big buff guys, with no softer qualities, alpha males, etc. She wrote men with character, some small in stature, some who liked makeup, or feminine clothing, artists, etc. It seemed to be a specialty of hers, at least in my eyes.

Nothing has changed with Taylor Maid. She has written a character that, though tall, was able to pass for a woman, while hiding from his father. This was a Dreamspun Desires take on the “marriage of convenience”, in that Taylor found he needed to marry at the last minute in order to gain his $50 million inheritance.

This book was similar to many of the Harlequin contemporary books that I read as a teen, with of course, the m/m romance twist. I did have a hard time initially with understanding how no one could fathom that this was a man, but with makeup and the correct clothing, it is entirely possible. Ms. Lain was able to explain some of those nuances with information such as scarves for the Adam’s Apple and very thick makeup to cover the beard shadow.

I did feel very sorry for out and proud gay man Taylor who was confused from day one with his reaction to his “wife” Ally. He couldn’t understand how he could be attracted to a woman, when the thought had never even crossed his mind before. I also felt that the wrap-up with the fathers did feel like it was missing a piece.

I did enjoy this book, even with the somewhat overused-although really isn’t that what Harlequin romances were famous for?-plot line of a marriage of convenience. The gay club, with Coco was particularly fun. The relationship between the two characters definitely flowed naturally, not needing a lot of sex to be fulfilling. They grew to know each other, and then were able to find their love.

3.5 pieces of eye candy.

1-3.5 pieces of eye candy

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.