Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain
Series: Love in Laguna, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on May 1, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
Billy Ballew doesn’t have the best of luck with relationships. He has no problem attracting women, but things always seem to end before they get too serious. Which is where he finds himself once again: dumped. And he’s not excited to tell his mother who thinks he should be married and settled down at twenty-five. Preparations for Billy’s sister’s wedding provide the perfect opportunity for his family to try to “help” him. They set him up with stylist whose job is to improve his image. That should help him land and keep a lady, right? Except when Billy meets Shaz, he’s thrown for a loop. There’s something about this guy that Billy just can’t shake. Billy likes him. And not just as a fascinating person who is good at what he does. Billy realizes he might like Shaz for something more. And he needs to figure out if that’s what he really wants before his chance is lost forever.
Too often I find that “gay for you” or first gay relationship stories take a very simplistic view. The guy goes from 100% straight to totally okay with being gay in the snap of his fingers. And that always strikes me as a bit unrealistic. Coming out to yourself is a major component of the coming out process. And coming to a realization that you may not be who you thought you were your whole life is a big deal. And I appreciate that this story treats it that way. It doesn’t dwell on it as the focal point of the story for pages and pages, but it provides a more realistic portrayal than I’m used to seeing.
It’s not difficult to like this characters, either. They’re all pretty great. And the subplots and scheming going on in the background with the side characters just makes it even more fun to read.