(Balls to the Wall Series, Book #2)
By Tara Lain
Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!
Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.
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The firefighters piled out onto the hard-packed dirt drive and hauled the hose toward the hydrant out by the highway. Shit, they were just going to make it… if they were lucky.
“Save him. Help, please, help,” one woman screamed, pointing toward the building.
What? He gave his spot on the hose to another man and ran to the woman’s side. “Ma’am. What do you mean?”
The woman on the driveway was white as a cloud and pointing, her mouth working. “Rod. Rodney. He ran in. Do something.”
He gripped her arm. “Ran in? Rodney ran in there?” Ice froze his heart.
“Yes, yes. I came over to see, and suddenly he just ran past me and straight in the door. I don’t know where his car is….”
Hell no! He pulled on his respirator and ran toward the door of the studio. His heart beat way too fast. Had to get control. Why, why would Rod do it? What was worth his life? His life. He couldn’t die. Hell, no.
“Fallon, wait. Don’t go in alone,” Cam screamed behind him.
Hell, no. No time to wait. Rod was in there.
The screen door, the damned squeaky screen door, hung half off its hinges. He tore it away and, hunched against the heat, moved into the studio. Smoke. Embers raining down. The heat pushed like a wall through his gear. The flames crawled along the half-missing roof like a snake slinking along a branch, hissing.
Stop. Think. The part of the structure closest to the door remained most intact. He dropped to the floor and scooted along a few feet. Not much in here. Beside him, the old desk had burned nearly to ash. His heart hammered. Breathe slowly. Don’t panic.
Where is he? Can’t be too late. No, hell, no. Never too late. He crawled another couple of feet and pressed his head down by the floor, squinting through the smoke…. Yes!
A body. Rod. Collapsed on the floor clutching a small canvas to his chest. The insane idiot. No painting was worth this. Crouching, Hunter covered the few steps.
Jesus, Rod looked so small. And… so still. Hell, no. Hunter pulled Rod into his arms. Felt right. Felt good. Hunter took off his respirator and fitted it over Rod’s nose and mouth. Breathe for me, baby. Rod’s body hung, limp as a doll.
Fire Balls wouldn't be Fire Balls without Rodney. He's a fantastic character-he may be a smaller guy, but his personality and attitude make him a true powerhouse, vibrant and strong. Hunter at first comes across as a closet case-made more so by the attitude he gets from others at work and perceived pressure from his father. And while at first he seems like a typical alpha male firefighter, once we learn more about him we find his preferences in the bedroom don't necessarily reflect the stereotypical norm you'd expect.
The story starts with the two of them actually seeing other people, and while Rod doesn't continue seeing his guy Hunter does continue seeing his-who just happens to be Rod's very good friend. This does make certain scenes awkward since Rod and Hunter do get physical before you'd expect (*minor spoiler* so here's your cheating warning if you don't like that in your books), though this does seem to work out in the end. Rod and Hunter together? Hot. So very, very hot-and a nice change from your conventional matchup of an alpha male/flamboyant queen that you might think you'd get.
Fire Balls is lighthearted for the most part, with a bit of drama thrown in. Jerry is a good supporting character and gives readers plenty of smiles. I did feel bad for him during those awkward scenes I mentioned, but things worked out for him as well and he was okay with everything (though that doesn't necessarily excuse those scenes). I'm really wanting to read Jerry's story now, as he's such a sweet guy that I very much want to see him get his own happy ending.
This story fits the series well, and for me Rodney is absolutely the one who makes this book everything it is. It's a quick and entertaining read, and does make me want to continue on with the series. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content, and again keep in mind my warning of the awkward scenes I mentioned previously if you're not into that.
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 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 Lain
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