Title: Knight of Ocean Avenue
Author Name: Tara Lain
Publication Date & Length: May 1, 2015 – 254 pgs
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?
I loved this sweet, funny story. Blue-collar builder Billy Ballew and celebrity stylist Shaz Phillips are one of the most unlikely couples in romantic fiction. But they work. Beyond their wardrobes and the stereotypes, both are wonderful men.
Closeted Billy is a brilliant character. His struggles are heartbreaking and his strength is beautiful. Shaz’s glossy camp exterior is just as superficial as Billy’s dating history – underneath the eyeliner and designer clothing is a very sweet, lonely man.
As unlikely worlds collide, humour and heartbreak vye for centre stage. Supporting characters add warmth and depth to the story.
This is a well written, thoroughly enjoyable read.
Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara had the first novel she ever wrote accepted for publication in 2011. She’s now on book 27 and counting. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.