Friday, December 8, 2017

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: SNOW BALLS by Tara Lain (Balls to the Wall Series)

Is it always wrong to pretend to be Mr. Right?

Snow Balls

(Balls to the Wall Series, #4)
By Tara Lain


JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.

Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

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The cop beamed at him. “Good job, JJ. Now what else can you remember?”
Oh my, how he loved pleasing the nice detective. “Santa was wearing a phony beard, but he had black stubble on his cheek above it. He had on sunglasses. Cheap ones. Prada knockoffs you might get on the street in Santa Ana.” Okay, maybe too much information. “Uh, he was wearing some padding, but I think he probably had some fat of his own. The elf was skinny. And”—he closed his eyes and pulled up the picture again—“he had weird eyes.”
“How weird?”
“Kind of pale and a little scary-looking.”
“Could they have been contacts?”
“Doubt it.” He closed his eyes again. Oh, he loved that scent. He opened them. “I couldn’t see the elf’s hair because he wore a full wig, but I’ll bet it was red.”
Star frowned. “Why do you think that?”
“He had those freckles that some redheads have. Might be.”
“Is there anything else?”
JJ nodded. Could he think of twenty more things to keep the good detective here? “The bigger man spoke to me, and he had an accent of some kind.”
“What kind?”
JJ screwed up his nose. “Hmm. It was a little like Southern, but… I know, I think it was like Boston or New England or something. Sort of flat-sounding.”
“Was the voice deep?”
JJ breathed out slowly. “Not as deep as yours.”
Star’s blue eyes flashed up at him.
“Uh, I mean you have a low voice. The Santa’s voice was higher and nasally.”
“Do you think you would recognize it again?”
Star asked him a few more questions about what the robbers had said and where they seemed to be going. He flipped the notebook closed. “You’ve been extremely helpful. Thank you for your time.”
JJ tried to keep his voice low. “Anytime.”
Star looked back at him for a moment. “I may have a few more questions. Is there somewhere I can reach you?”
Oh, be still my heart. JJ recited his cell number, and Star wrote it in his notebook—on a separate page. Oh my.
“So, you a Trojan?”
“What?” JJ swallowed.
Star pointed at his head. “USC.”
“Oh, uh, no. Just a, uh, fan.”
That blazing smile again. “You like football.” It wasn’t a question, thank God.
“I’ve been known to watch a game.” JJ held his breath.
The appraising blue eyes stared into his. “Thanks again for your great help.”
“My pleasure.” Or at least his c*ck’s pleasure.
Detective Ryan Star walked away toward a group of uniformed officers gathered at the booth across from JJ’s. The cop’s jeans clung to lean, muscled thighs, and the tweed sports jacket had an obligatory feel, like maybe it wasn’t something he wore in his free time. It wasn’t something he should wear at all. That man needed a dresser. JJ sighed. Fat effing chance it would be him.
JJ went back to the display, trying hard to look manly while positioning dolls on a snow scene. He glanced up and caught his breath. Star was staring at him. JJ wanted to fan himself so bad. Man up.
He stared down at the doll in his hands. Why the hell was he trying to impress this guy? The detective was scary and his job was violent, two things JJ hated. But there was that second while he was questioning JJ when Star had looked embarrassed that he’d forgotten to show his credentials. Was that a hint of the vulnerable man underneath? Naw, he probably just felt uncomfortable around a creampuff like JJ.
What had he been thinking?

He’d been known to watch a football game? Not in this life.

Carra's Review

It’s never a good idea to pretend to be someone you’re not—always be yourself, and proud of it, right?  Poor JJ gets caught up in trying to be who he thinks Ryan wants, while Ryan tries to stay mostly in the closet due to his job and past history, setting the stage for an eventual blowup at some point.  In the meantime, there’s some very corny lines to be found in their rapid fire steamy encounters…but there’s also feelings and emotions that are pulled to the forefront—something that complicates things for both men.

JJ is sweet and a bit silly at some points; I really liked his character and understood his pull to tamper down his personality for Ryan, even if I didn’t agree with it.  I also get why Ryan isn’t comfortable with letting others at work know of his orientation.  With both men hiding things about themselves either from each other or from other people, you know sooner or later things will come to a head, which gives the story a bit of underlying tension to go along with the funny and corny parts.

I really enjoyed this story, which for the most part is lighthearted with a bit of drama injected from the case that brings JJ and Ryan together in the first place.  In the end, even with the corny lines that can be found in their quick and dirty intimate scenes, Snow Balls was a 4-star read for me.  Fans of this series will find that this book fits in with the rest perfectly, and it’s great to revisit some of the characters from the previous stories in this one.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

The Balls to the Wall Series

Volley Balls
Book #1

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Fire Balls 
Book #2

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Beach Balls
Book #3

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FAST Balls
Book #5


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High Balls
Book #6

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Prefer paperback?
The first and second book are now available in paperback! 

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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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for reading Snow Balls! So glad you enjoyed it. HUGS!! : )