Tara Lain on Odes to Ashland and her new release Home Improvement by Tara Lain (guest blog,excerpt and giveaway)

Standard
Home Improvement
by Tara Lain
 

Odes to Ashland

Hi. I’m so happy to be here to celebrate the release of my new romance, HOME IMPROVEMENT – -A LOVE STORY, my first book set in Ashland, Oregon.

You might know that for most of my writing career (first published in 2011) I’ve been associated with southern California. Heck, I have two series plus additional books totaling around 17 or 18 books set in Laguna Beach alone. Then almost exactly a year ago, I moved. Yes, it was a huge deal. My hubby was a native Californian and aside from a couple years in his teens, had never lived outside of California. But SoCal, while grand, has more traffic than practically anywhere on earth. Even in charming, ocean-side Laguna Beach, you can sit in traffic for hours just trying to get home. My honey, who drove everyday, was done. In search of less cars and more trees, we went looking for a new home.

We had been to Ashland, Oregon a few times to attend the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Far from a “summer theater”, OSF operates four theaters nine months a year doing a repertory of eleven plays. It has one of the largest budgets of any theater in America. It’s an industry  — and an artistic triumph! I adore theater (my degree is in theater) so the idea of being able to go any time I wanted was amazing. OSF presents more than 780 performances annually with attendance of over 410,000 people. Because of all the tourists, Ashland has tons of 5-star restaurants. Other artistic endeavors like an art museum, a symphony, a cabaret theater and many of the trappings of an upscale artsy metropolis. It also is a college ton, so there a mass of young people.

BUT, the permanent population of Ashland is only 21,000. There’s a town square that could be in a movie next to a flowing creek with restaurants beside it. There are parades for July 4th, Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah celebrations on the square, Pride parades and more super picturesque stuff. No chain stores are allowed in Ashland, so the totally walkable downtown is also shippable because all the stores are adorable, unique boutiques. And yet, there’s an airport 20 minutes away.

I have a friend who’d been sending me photos from Ashland for over a year. My honey and I took a serious trip to consider the town as a place to live and we lost our hearts. We sold our California house and moved north. While the move was super hard, the outcome was super happy. I’ll still be writing books in California. I still love it. But expect to make a lot of visits to my hometown, Ashland.

I hope you love your first visit in HOME IMPROVEMENT – A LOVE STORY.

Blurb:

Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.
 
Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.
 
Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever. 

Excerpt  – Home Improvement – A Love Story

Jerry pretty much smiled all the way through the unloading, which was damned hard and took an hour of trying to maneuver the huge pieces of furniture across the lawn and up the stairs to the nearest door. Once inside, they placed the credenza at one end of the dining room that looked over the pool. The gleaming wood of the cabinet glowed against the Saltillo tile floors and gave the room—which still needed paint, rugs, and a table—some promise.

When they’d wrangled the coffee table into place in the middle of the huge great room, Gabe laughed. “I guess we can call it a start.”

Jerry threw his arms out and spun. “But it’s sooooo beautiful.” He kept swooping and twirling around the room until his head spun and the floor of the room and the wood ceiling far above kind of blended together. He threw his head back and laughed, his foot hit one of the rough places on the tile, and he staggered. “Whoa!” He slid and teetered toward the floor.

Before he could hit, Gabe snatched him into a full-body grab. “Hang on.”

Jerry took him at his word. Wrapping his arms tightly around Gabe’s neck, he hung on like crazy. Truthfully, he was too dizzy to stand up—

—and the Captain America arms didn’t help that dizziness one bit.

Before he could really analyze his situation, he’d pressed himself full length against Gabe’s tall, sturdy body, laughing tipsily.

Yes, the contact was pretty wriggly, and if he’d asked himself a hundred times whether Gabe might, just might, like guys since he seemed to look at Jerry like an hors d’oeuvre sometimes, he now got his answer. One formidable protuberance rose in the middle of the embrace and seemed to be matched in his own pants. Gabe’s heartbeat pounded against Jerry’s chest.

Oh fuck! Just one taste. Jerry slid the arm that was tightly wrapped around Gabe’s neck up a couple inches and yanked Gabe’s head down so he could lock their lips together.

The first touch produced an electric spark that slammed straight to Jerry’s balls so hard, for a second he had to hold his breath to keep from embarrassing himself with wet sweats. As the first gasp came under control, a tsunami of heat washed through him, and he slid his fingers tightly into Gabe’s shaggy, silken hair, as he pressed closer from lips to hips.

Gabe had been holding Jerry around the waist. His strong hands slid down and grasped Jerry’s butt and squeezed. Jerry gasped at the amazing pressure, and everything in him wanted to climb Gabe like a tree and then plant that evergreen where it would do the most good.

Before Jerry could anchor a leg around Gabe’s hips, he was gone, and Jerry was staggering backward to keep from falling.

Gabe gasped, “Oh God, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I hope you enjoy the furniture. Let me know if you change your mind about the other pieces. Otherwise I’ll make sure they get here while you’re gone.” With that he turned, hurried from the house, and before Jerry even made it to the front door, had disappeared out of sight.

Jerry slammed the front door, leaned against it, then slowly collapsed to the floor. Fuck-a-doodle-doo. Good job, asshole. Find somebody you actually like and enjoy being around and screw it up by being you.

He dropped his head onto his bent knees.

Available for purchase at 
Excerpt
 
 
About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.

Presented By

Tara Lain on My Bahian Cowboy and her new releases ‘Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3)’ (author guest blog, excerpt, and giveaway)

Standard

Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3) by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Press
Published May 14th 2019
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Book Links:

GoodreadsDreamspinner PressKindle |  Amazon Paperback iTunes |  KoboNook BAM

My Bahian Cowboy by Tara Lain

Hi. I’m so happy to be here today to announce the release of my new romance, COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA, the third book in my Cowboys Don’t series, but like all of them, a stand alone read if you want to start backwards. In this book, my bull rider hero, Maury Garcia, meets an amazing Brazilian bull-riding rookie and the rest is romance.

In fact, many of the bull riding champions of the world are from Brazil, so it gave me a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to this fascinating country I got to visit a couple years ago. I went to Brazil on a cruise ship and then ended my trip with a week in Rio. Rio is as fabulous as you can imagine, but I must confess that the real discovery for me on that trip was the enthralling and beautiful town of Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador was the center of the Brazilian slave trade, a shocking commerce in human life that went on even longer than the U.S. This background has resulted in a rich Afro-Brazilian culture in the town of Salvador that completely enthralled me. It’s palpable, like the humidity and the lushness of the trees.

Salvador is the home of Candomble, a unique religion formed from an amalgam of African and European traditions. At the Afro-Brazilian Museum, I saw images of some of the Candomble orixas, the pervasive spirits or deities who protect the faithful and felt their lively and optimistic energy.  Candomble mixes wildly with Roman Catholicism in Bahia and Salvador is the home to an amazing church built by slaves over many, many years since they could only work in their spare time, which they had little of. Unlike so many European and American traditions that make the Catholic saints blond and blue-eyed, all the statues of saints in this church are black. Salvador is also a center for capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that is astonishing to watch. It combines dance, acrobatics and martial forms in mind-boggling and gravity-defying ways.

Food is Bahia is drool-worthy. I tried moqueca, the seafood stew served with rice and flavored with coconut milk and palm oil. Of course, the drink to die for (and you may) is the caipirinha, a drink made with fresh lime, brown sugar, and a clear, rum-like liquor called cachaca, all poured over ice. It goes down smooth and packs a huge punch. I own some very expensive jewelry that was fueled by caipirinhas!

Bottom line is Salvador is an amazing place where I would happily have spent way more time. While it’s not a bull-riding center in Brazil, I stretched reality a bit and made my Brazilian cowboy a Bahian, which gave me an excuse to set a short scene there. I hope you’ll enjoy the trip to Salvador and COWBOYS DON’T SAMBA.

 

Intro:
When an American bull riding champion meets a Brazilian rookie the results are one hot samba.

Book Blurb:

Maury Garcia’s one of the greatest bull riders in the world—and one of the biggest liars. Can he turn forbidden love with a rodeo rookie into a lasting romance?

Ever since his brother was killed because he was gay, Maury’s worked to take his brother’s place as the bull rider, the provider, and the ideal of his family’s macho expectations. The only thing Maury’s ever done for himself is buy a secret ranch so he can get away from the responsibilities he’s chained himself to. Then he meets Tristão Silva, the younger brother of the one man who could rob Maury of his bull riding championship.

Tristão may be a world-class bull rider in his own right, but his kind, gentle nature and sexy samba hips make Maury long for something beyond his selfless, sexless life. The two men’s lives are worlds apart, even if they’re both buckling under family expectations. Will their future last beyond an eight-second ride?

Excerpt : Cowboys Don’t Samba by Tara Lain

Breathing. Breathing would be good.

Maury watched Xesús Silva swagger in the door, but he wasn’t alone. Behind him came another guy. Young. Dark hair, pale skin. And probably the most gorgeous human Maury’d ever seen. Not that he noticed guys’ looks all that much, but hell. This dude set new records in plain beautiful. He also resembled Silva, who was, after all, a pretty handsome man if you didn’t count his soul.

Silva made a straight line to the table where the Brazilians were sitting. Some of the men definitely didn’t look thrilled, but a couple of other guys hailed him. People moved aside, and someone pulled over two chairs.

Silva straddled the chair in that hypermacho way of his. The other guy? Holy crap. Poetry. Loose-hipped and graceful, he slid into the open chair and crossed his legs. Most of the Brazilians were squeaky clean-cut, but this dude’s inky hair hung down to his neck and curved around his ears. He was a little taller than usual for a bull rider and lean rather than the more compact build of a lot of the PBRA competitors. Of course, he looked young, so that might explain the lanky body.

“That’s the younger brother I told you about.” Earl helped himself to a french fry. “Haven’t seen him ride, but I hear good things.”

“Let’s drink up and get out of here. I, uh, need some sleep.” Maury pushed back his chair with a scrape.

“Uh, boss, it’s five fifteen.” Earl grabbed for his wallet in his hip pocket. “Let me pay the check.”

Maury stood and started toward the door. Just need to get out before I meet the asshole again.

“I hear it’s your birthday, Wetback.” Usually Silva was subtler, but he yelled this halfway across the room. “No wonder the judges felt like they had to let you cheat to beat me.”

Maury plastered on a smile and turned. “No one has to cheat to beat you, Silva. Little kids can do it.” He said it like a joke, and a few people laughed, but the serious competitors, especially the Brazilians, looked uneasy.

Silva stood at his chair. “I’ve got the baby that can beat you, Garcia.” He reached down, took the young man—younger—by the arm, and pulled him to his feet. “This is Tristão, and he can ride the butt off any bull and defeat a herd of American cowboys. He’s a Silva.”

Maury gave the young guy a direct gaze. Almost too much for his eyes to take. Like looking straight into the sun. “Hey, Tris, good to meet you. Welcome to American cowboying. Good luck with that whole winning thing.”

 

About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.   

 

Author Links:

Website:  http://taralain.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tara-lain

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2ICPcCZ

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

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/taralain/

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/255111391312743/

Giveaway

 

Giveaway Item: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Rafflecopter : 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b4c0001d387/?widget_template=57632a0204f50f8c0cf21a68

 

Tara Lain on Ten Hidden Things About Her and her new release ‘Hidden Powers (Superordinary Society #1)’ author guest blog and giveaway

Standard

 

Can a werewolf who makes people disappear save his world — and get the boy of his dreams? 

Ten Hidden (and not so Hidden) Things About Tara

Hi! I’m so happy to be here today to celebrate the release of my new paranormal, new adult, adventure/romance, Hidden Powers. I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. Often readers ask me things about myself, so I thought I’d share a few facts, some of which may be new to you.

  1. This has been quite a year for me. After living a big percentage of my adult life in California, this year I moved to southern Oregon and I LOVE it! More trees and less cars.
  2. As a child, I lived first in Austria and later in Japan as well as on both coasts of the US.  I was in school before college for 11 years (I skipped a grade) and was in 13 different schools.
  3. I love cats but my honey is very allergic to them so I have a Papillon dog who thinks she’s a cat. She licks her paws and washes her face with them and is totally finicky about food. I adore her.
  4. I love snakes. When my honey and I go to the zoo, he stands outside for a long time while I commune with my slithery pals. Me and Harry Potter. We both have parseltongue.
  5. For astrology buffs, I have 6 planets in Libra — having six of anything is called a stellium. If you’re really a buff, I’ll tell you I have 9 air signs and no earth. I also have 9 cardinal signs. Doing new stuff is fun for me.
  6. My name is really Tara but it’s pronounced Tahra like tar on the roof not Terra. It’s a Sanskrit word meaning star or the guiding star
  7. Like so many authors, I wrote my first book at five. The hero was (of course) a snake named Peter. Peter Pit Snake to be exact
  8. I’m hugely claustrophobic
  9. Two of my dearest friends growing up were gay men. I didn’t know it because they didn’t share it until years later. But they have ended up influencing so many things in my life.
  10. I’m one of the lucky ones. I met and married my soulmate. We’ve been together over 30 years. That’s why I can say as a romance writer, I know my subject!

During my crazy, wacko year of moving to a new state, living in a hotel for two months when our escrow messed up, renovating a new house while all our belongings have been in storage, experiencing snow for the first time in our married lives and so much more, I’ve been writing. Hidden Powers is one of the books created during this exciting and crazy time. I hope you enjoy it. Hugs!

HIDDEN POWERS 
(Superordinary Society Series, Bk 1)
By Tara Lain 
Blurb
Jazz Vanessen is weird—and not just because he’s a werewolf. For most of his life, he’s felt different from his alpha male brothers and friends. Since he’s adopted, he can’t even blame it on family.
Now eighteen, Jazz meets his idol, the social activist Lysandra Mason, and her breathtaking nephew, Dash Mercury. When Dash is around, even stranger things start to happen, including Jazz falling hopelessly in lust. Not only is Jazz having visions, making people disappear, and somehow turning invisible, but somebody’s following him and threatening to reveal his pack’s secrets to the world.
 
Together with Dash and Jazz’s equally amazing friends—Carla, BeBop, Khadija, and Fatima—they discover the danger is even more lethal than they thought, and Jazz’s weirdness may save all their lives.
 



  Available for purchase at

 
Excerpt

Excerpt 1 – Hidden Powers

Lysandra’s nephew escorted her to a seat at the governor’s table, then sat beside her. After he pushed her chair back in, he suddenly raised his head like a deer scenting the air and glanced around the crowd. It was kind of like when Jazz smelled danger or someone he knew, but this guy was no werewolf. He might look supernatural, but to Jazz’s nose, he came across as human.

Carla gave Jazz a rough elbow to the ribs. “Close your mouth, or better yet, stuff it with some of that outrageous pile of protein. His name’s Dashiell”—she said it like Dasheel—“as in dash-ing, but she calls him Dash. You’ll get to meet him.”

“I will? Why?” Weirdly, his heart slammed against his ribs.

“Because they’re sitting at our table, and so are you. Come on.” She grabbed his arm.

He pulled it back. Okay, too much. “Uh, I’m not so sure.”

“Why? You’re not shy.”

“She’s just my idol, you know. Sometimes idols are best seen from afar. You don’t notice the cracks.”

She smiled wryly. “You sure it’s not fear of getting a mighty erection in public over Mr. Dashing Pretty Puss?”

He lightly punched her shoulder. Of course, she was close to the truth.

“Dad says Lysandra Mason’s a love.” She hauled on his arm again.

“My food—”

“Bring it.”

He left it on the table and wiped his hands on his jeans.

She laughed.

He let himself be dragged over to where the governor and his wife were sitting with some members of his staff that Jazz mostly recognized from photos. And sure enough, the great lady herself was there, sitting beside—what had Carla called him?—Mr. Dashing Pretty Puss. The closer Jazz got, the prettier he looked. Her too. Strange. Usually humans looked more—human up close. You saw the freckles and blemishes. It made them real and charming. These two just stayed beautiful. Flawless skin, glowing hair, and luminous eyes. Lysandra’s nephew turned to look at Jazz, and Jazz saw that his eyes were some shining shade of pale green. Lysandra’s hair was brown mixed with blond, or vice versa, while the guy’s hair was actually very dark brown with deep shades of red, like fire. Jazz wanted to be invisible so he could sit down and stare at the two of them until his eyes bled.

His hands started to tingle and a quiver vibrated up his spine. Totally cray.

Carla grabbed his arm. “Hey. You okay? You got kind of pale.”

He forced a smile. “Just too much hero worship.”

She marched up to the table like the daughter of a governor—one who knew no fear—and stuck out her hand to Lysandra Mason. “Hi. I’m Carla Mendes, and I’m thrilled to meet you.”

“Delighted, Carla.” The smile Lysandra gave her was warm and genuine.

Carla reached back to Jazz. “This is my best friend, Jazz Vanessen. He’s one of your biggest fans.”

Lysandra turned her gaze to Jazz. Whoa. Where her eyes had appeared hazel at a distance, he now saw that they were gold—a pale yellow-gold like some kind of bizarre cat—but beautiful. Those eyes widened a little, probably at his adoring expression. “Hello, Jazz. How lovely to meet you.”

They weren’t words. They were music that filled his head like sweet smoke. He took her offered hand, almost scared he’d get a shock. Instead, her touch might have been more of a mist that slipped into his veins and made his blood dance like champagne.

Her eyes never left his as she shook his hand, then held it a few seconds longer. She finally blinked. “Carla and Jazz, may I present my nephew, Dashiell Mercury. We call him Dash.”

Jazz was scared to look. He might turn to stone. But when he shifted his glance, Dash was staring at him, his gaze focused.

Carla made a slight snorting sound. “Dash Mercury? Planning on giving FedEx some competition?”

Mrs. Mendes said, “Carla, enough of your smart mouth.”

Dash Mercury dragged his eyes from Jazz to look at Carla. And then he did it. He smiled. The seemingly immoveable, perfect face broke out into dimples and smile lines and crinkles.

Jazz’s mouth dropped open again, and he couldn’t get it closed.

“But I only bring the very best stuff to your door.” Dash laughed. If Jazz had expected a silky, even oily, voice, he was surprised to find Dash sounded pretty much like a regular guy. Friendly, casual, teenage. But Jazz’s wolf senses said that this dude was… something else. Human, yes, but unknown. Unexplored. Maybe dangerous

 

About the Author

Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance —  and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.

Presented by

It’s Here! Check Out the New Release Hawaii Five Uh-Oh (Plummet to Soar Series Bk #2 )by Z.A. Maxfield (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

The highly anticipated second installment in the Plummet to Soar Series is now available! 
Hawaii Five Uh-Oh 
(Plummet to Soar Series Bk #2)
by Z.A. Maxfield
 
Blurb:
Sarcastic cop Theo Hsu returns home to Hawai‘i after realizing he wants more from his life, and also, less. He hopes to reconnect with his past and make amends with his mother, who remarried a cool, distant man, leaving Theo unsure where he stands.
It doesn’t take him long to figure out where he wants to stand, though: right next to his childhood best friend, tattooed detective Koa Palapiti. Theo would like to upgrade their relationship, but Koa is putting out some seriously mixed signals. It’s a mystery Theo can’t let go, but just as they start to connect, kidnapping, murder, and a deadly game with international stakes get in the way. Koa wants to keep Theo out of it, and if it comes to a choice between him and Koa’s partner, Freddie Ortiz, Theo doesn’t like his chances.
But even if Koa wants to push him out of the investigation, and his life, Theo still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It’ll take all his special gifts, ingenuity, risk-taking, family ties—and even some kinky undercover work—to save the day… and the man he never should’ve let get away.
Available for purchase at
Excerpt 

“Theophilus Hsu.” A voice from behind him made him halt and turn. At the sight that greeted him, his heart sank.

“Kekoa Palapiti. Wow. Nice to see you. God. What a coincidence—” A horrible thought occurred to him. “Wait—”

“Your mother sent me to pick you up.” And just like that, paradise got lost. “She was worried she wouldn’t be up to lifting your baggage.”

Kekoa Lani Palapiti—next-door neighbor, childhood friend, and secret lifelong thirst trap made that sound like “psychological” baggage. As if he thought Theo had a lot of that particular thing.

Theo shrugged. Christ. “I can lift my own luggage. She could have called. I’d have taken a cab.”

“So next time tell her you got cash to throw away. Save me a trip.”

Theo turned away and swiped his card in the cart machine. “Next time.”

Theo knew his mother well enough to know she’d forced this meeting for the sake of expedience. Without it, who knew how long it would have taken him to get the nerve to talk to Koa. Still, it felt forced and ridiculous, and now they were both only going along because she wanted it and they loved her.

Aren’t we?

Koa helped him shoulder his bags onto the cart. His scent filled Theo’s nostrils with the smell of rain on taro leaves.

“Follow me.” Koa turned and started walking.

Theo had no choice but to grab the cart and follow.

On the way to the parking garage, he focused on Koa’s thick, broad shoulders, his narrow hips. His boy had grown up as fine as promised. Mom’s photographs didn’t do him justice, but then a photograph couldn’t convey the swagger of a born badass like Koa. He hadn’t lost that arrogance. If anything, he wore it like armor now.

“So, you didn’t like Big Lake?” he asked.

There was no easy answer for that. “Bear Lake was where I lived specifically, and… no. Not really. I liked some parts.”

“Like what?”

Since Koa seemed to ask for form’s sake, Theo didn’t actually have to oblige him with an answer. Nevertheless, he spoke truthfully. “It was pretty.” He’d enjoyed driving in the darkness along roads where the trees looked like ice-covered ghosts. “People are as nice as they say.”

“You’ll be joining the HPD?”

“Yep.” He’d applied to and been accepted by the Honolulu Police Department. It wasn’t a lateral move, but he’d move up quickly if he showed initiative. He didn’t care. New life, new dreams. He might not even stay on the force if he found something that he wanted to do more. He might go back to school….

“Te?”

Theo blinked and found they’d stopped at a pedestrian crossing. The sound of his old nickname slid over his spine, dazing him momentarily. Obviously Koa had asked a question and now he waited for an answer. “I’m sorry, I was lost in space or something.”

“I said, I was sorry about your dad. I meant to send a card, but you know how it is….”

“Likewise,” Theo offered, since Koa’s parents had both passed fairly recently, a few months apart. “I was really sorry to hear about your folks.”

Koa shrugged again.

Theo asked, “You still living in the Sugar Shack?”

“Where else?” A sly smile found Koa’s lips at the reminder. Whether it was the shared memory or evidence Theo still had some local knowledge, Koa thawed visibly on hearing their nickname for the odd wreck of a house the Palapitis had called home.

Theo let his thoughts out. “I’ma miss your mom, brah. Even more than the candy.”

They paused for a moment of silence for the woman whose homemade chocolates, caramels, fudge, and nut brittles were so completely off-the-charts delicious, her friends had forced her into business.

“Can’t bring Mom back,” Koa said. “Auntie Lala makes the candy now, she’s got Mom’s recipes. Been a while since I cooked sugar.”

“I can imagine.” A detective probably had little time to cook. “So. Work. Ma says you got your shield now? Must be good, huh?”

“What’s good?” Koa gave an eye roll. “You know how it is. There are bad guys everywhere, dirty money flows, but the economy sucks, and assholes think Hawai‘i is their private playground to shit on.”

The muscles in Koa’s jaw flexed. Mnh. You could open a coconut with a jaw like Koa’s.

“I see your new hobby is optimism. That’s so nice.”

Theo figured he’d see Koa again, but he wasn’t prepared for the jolt of desire that shot through him every time he got a fresh look at how well he’d turned out. He had tats and piercings and a sweet scruffy soul patch. A warm, if mostly hidden, grin.

Koa rubbed at his chin. “Sorry. Had a bad night. Caught a body.”

“And my mother still tapped you to haul me in? She is shameless.”

“What do you mean?” Koa frowned at him.

“She’s been bugging me about getting together with old friends. You know what?” He motioned between them. “I think this is a playdate.”

“I think she knew her car would flip over with all your crap.” He motioned for Theo to stay on the curb. “Wait here, I’ll come around and pick you up.”

“I can walk.”

“Don’t be an ass.” He slipped his Oakleys on. Same kind Theo wore, different color. Figured—they always had the same taste. “Wait here.”

Koa loped across the street and into a parking garage with such easy grace. He’d grown up sleek and fast and powerful. A detective with—if Theo’s mother’s few phone conversations were to be believed—a consistent, statistically high solve rate. His mother was fixated on making sure they got reacquainted, but he hadn’t realized how determined she was. He’d expected her to give him a day or two.

He and Koa were childhood friends. Blood brothers. Theo had been on the cusp of adolescence and ready to confess that, for him, the feelings went much deeper. He’d even started writing stories about two boys having adventures and sharing them with Koa as a way to let off that prepubescent steam, when his dad decided it wasn’t enough to just divorce his mom—the two of them had to leave the islands and start fresh somewhere else. Just the men.

He and Koa were strangers now. But he’d still call Kekoa Palapiti his first love.

Theo slipped his shades on and waited until Koa pulled up to the curb in a massive black SUV with tinted windows. Magnetic door signs read Ohana Sugar Magic and featured Auntie Lala’s smiling face. Together they threw his bags into the back. Koa let the SUV idle while Theo ditched the cart.

“I can’t believe you paid money for a cart.” Koa laughed at him when he returned and got in. “That’s, like… the uncoolest thing I think I’ve ever seen. Three suitcases that roll and you shell out for a cart. Buy a bungee cord.”

“You’re one to talk. Whose big bad SUV has his auntie Lala’s face on the doors? That’s some fierce shit, brah.”

“It is when Lala’s driving it with candy in the back.”

Theo let him have his fun. “Mom tells me there’s no Mrs. Palapiti.”

“My mother was Mrs. Palapiti. Until she passed.” He threw an inquisitive glance Theo’s way. “She’d give you a ration for bailing on your mom’s wedding. But I get why you didn’t go.”

“Do you?” Theo’s dad had been killed the week before the wedding. Nothing anyone could have done for him. Even so, Theo hadn’t been able to make himself go to his mother’s wedding while his dad was in the morgue—his body still evidence of a crime. By the time they’d laid him to rest, his mother was back from her honeymoon in Bali and it didn’t matter as much anymore. After that, he just kept putting off meeting his mother’s new family for one valid reason after another.

“Your mother understood,” Koa told him. “She doesn’t expect a person to grieve a certain way.”

Theo knew that. He wanted to point out that he knew his mother too, but he only asked, “What keeps you busy these days?”

“Work. Training. I dance because your mom would kill me if I stopped, but I don’t really have time now. Just charity shit when I can.”

“Mom says dance keeps her young. Something must.” At nearly sixty, his mother still looked to be in her midthirties. He hoped it was genetic. She loved hula and his dad had hated it. He said if Theo could learn to dance, he could learn to fight, and enrolled him in martial arts as soon as he could walk.

“It keeps me in shape.” Koa slid a glance Theo’s way. “You’re looking good. What keeps you in shape?”

“Subzero temperatures and Midwestern food.”

“Isn’t the food pretty calorie dense up there.”

“Not if you don’t like it.”

“You always were a picky eater.” Koa chuckled. “I guess you don’t surf much either.”

“You can surf the Lakes, you know.” Theo gave him the look he deserved for being an asshole. People did surf in the Great Lakes. But they were airheads who came from Norway or something. Their ancestors had probably mated with reindeer and polar bears. On their behalf, he pointed out, “The waves are best in winter.”

Koa glanced his way. “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

I never did it,” Theo admitted. “I’m saying it’s theoretically possible.”

Silence stretched out between them again. It was a long ride, and as Koa drove, Theo flew his hand out the window and marked the buildings he remembered. So much had changed. He’d changed.

When they pulled into Theo’s mother’s driveway, Koa turned to him. “I hope you don’t mind, I don’t have time to come in. Say hi to your mom.”

“Okay.” Disappointment warred with relief in Theo’s heart. Relief came out a winner. The last thing he needed was disinterested bystanders. “Pop the locks, I’ll just get my things from the back.”

He stepped down, went around, and hauled his things out. From the outside pocket of the lightest one, he pulled a signed copy of Plummet to Soar. He’d put it there to give to his mother because he’d assumed she’d pick him up. He had other gifts for her, so it didn’t matter.

“Hey, brother.” He smiled awkwardly and waved for Koa to roll down the window. “Present for you.”

“Mahalo. Really?” Surprised, he took it and gave it a quick perusal. “Hey, it’s autographed to you. You sure?”

Theo nodded. “That book changed a lot of things for me. I hope you enjoy it.”

Koa’s dark eyes—when he lifted his gaze—held some earnest question Theo couldn’t begin to answer. They widened. “I don’t suppose you ever figured out what happened at the end of that thing you were writing…?”

“You remember that shit?” He said the words like Sheesh, who remembers? As if he hadn’t just been thinking that very thing. Obviously now he understood what those ridiculous stories were, but at the time?

Looking back, Theo blushed with shame.

Koa gave his lower lip a quick nibble. Theo’s dick sat up and got ready to beg. Down, boy. “I think when last I read, our plucky heroes were in a Malay prison.” Koa glanced at him. “Sentenced for a crime they didn’t commit.”

“Tunneling their way to freedom.” Theo nodded. “One of those boys always got himself jammed up, and the other saved the day.”

“Well, you write what you know.” Koa was laughing at him.

Theo didn’t take lead and he wasn’t much of a follower. Sidekick was more his style. But in those stupid stories, he always, always saved the day. Maybe with Koa he’d wanted to try taking the lead….

Koa asked, “Wasn’t one of them about to be caned?”

“Yeah?” Theo admitted hoarsely. At the time, news stories of corporal punishment—as applied to dumb Westerners in places like Malaysia and Taiwan—had fired his imagination, for a lot of reasons. Some not so wholesome.

Koa snorted. “You dug writing that dark shit. The beatings. The extra, extra tight male bonding. Admit it.”

“Hell yeah.” Motherfucker. You went there. I cannot believe you went there the second you saw him again. “I never finished writing any of those. But there’s always time, you know?”

Koa glanced over again. This time, unmistakably, he checked Theo out. “Maybe you should.”

Holy mother. Had Koa just…?

Did he just…?

Koa’s SUV was well clear of his mother’s property before Theo had the words to respond.

Plummet To Soar Series
Plummet To Soar
Bk 2
 
 
Available for purchase at 
 
 
About The Author
Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”
Readers can visit ZAM at her
 
 
Giveaway
 
 
 
 
 
 
Presented by

Tara Lain on Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) and her Series (author guest post and giveaway)

Standard

Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #4) by Tara Lain
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Links: 

GoodreadsDreamspinner Kindle  | iTunes  | Kobo  | Nook  |  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Tara Lain here today on her tour for Snow Balls

 

Hi everyone. Welcome to the holidays and the celebration of my re-release of Snow Balls, one of my most popular stories.

Recently someone asked me if I base my books on myself or my own life. And, of course, the answer is yes, great pieces of me are transmitted in my books. My belief in true love, my quest for authenticity, my enjoyment of humor is all in there big time. And, of course, actual events also make it onto the page. Bits of people I know, places I’ve been. A lot of details about the town where I lived for 28 years, Laguna Beach, CA, are included in many of my books. And —, oh yes, my hatred of skiing! This latter detail has occupied a complete scene in my brand new re-release, Snow Balls. My hero, JJ LaRousse, who is pretending to be more alpha male than he is, goes cross country skiing with the man he has a passion for. He’s never been skiing, but keeps hoping it can’t be too hard. HA!

Yep, hatred is a good word. I have only been skiing once. It was plenty. Like JJ, I pictured myself shushing along the frozen pathways enjoying the beautiful scenery and the crisp air. Oh so wrong. I spent more time in a heap on the snow with skis tangled like pickup sticks. I could not stay upright for more than a few minutes before I would fly once again into a giant pile of Tara. Painful and humiliating. Not surprising, however. While I am moderately athletic — hiking, walking, Pilates, Yoga — I have always been terrible with anything attached to my feet more challenging than a pair of Jimmy Choos. Even as a kid, roller skating and I were only on passable terms and I never learned to ice skate. Give me a bike and I could go anywhere. On skates, I barely made it down the sidewalk. And skis were even more miserable.

Now, I’ve inflicted this calamity on my poor hero from Snow Balls. And he, like me, has to face the skiing instructor who stares down at his tangled mess of a body and says, “Let’s get organized!”  LOL.

I hope you enjoy Snow Balls and, despite the humiliation I put him through, enjoy rooting for JJ and his happy ever after.

Blurb

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?

Excerpt

JJ stuck out his fist. Ryan looked a little startled, then bumped it. “So maybe I’ll see you Sunday.”

Ryan nodded. “Yeah. Yeah.”

Star turned and walked a couple of steps. He stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Hope so.” And he walked away toward the entrance to the grounds.

O. M. G. JJ wanted to sit down in the middle of the sawdust. Did he really see that look in Ryan Star’s eyes when the guy said those two words “Hope so”? Something that looked like he cared if he saw JJ again?

JJ certainly cared if he saw Ryan again. But what the hell? A Chargers game? How could he ever fake his way through that?

He took off at a run and made it to the booth in seconds. Rodney was talking to a few customers and David was on his cell, fingering the twinkle lights in JJ’s display. JJ took a deep breath. Finally, David hung up and JJ pounced. “Oh my god of the last kid chosen for kickball, Ryan Star asked me out.”

David grinned. “Of course, I’m a champion matchmaker.”

But what if…. “Actually, I’m not sure it’s a date. I mean, he asked me to go with him, but it could be just a guy thing, you know?”

“Tell me what he said.”

“He said he could pick me up, or we could meet somewhere.”

David screwed up his smooth forehead. “Hmm. That’s too neutral to tell. What else? Where’s he taking you?”

JJ’s grin defined sheepish. “A Chargers game.” JJ grinned anxiously. “That’s football, right?”

“You’re joking, darling?”

“It’s not football?”

“Yes, it’s football, but you’re seriously considering going to a football game?”

“Yes.” JJ’s hands started to flutter. “Oh God, David, what am I going to do? I don’t know anything about it at all.”

“About what?” Rodney stepped up next to David.

David glanced at his miniature friend. “Football. Somehow JJ has managed to get himself invited to a football game.”

JJ wailed. “And I don’t know the first thing!”

Rodney shrugged. “Simple.”

JJ frowned. “What’s simple?”

“Just ask Jerry. He’s the magical knower of all things boringly athletic. He will be your guru of football. Mick might help too.”

Of course, their good friends Jerry and Mick could cram some facts into JJ’s head.

David threw an arm around Rodney’s shoulder. “Brilliant. You’re brilliant, my dear.”

Rod smiled, then looked up at JJ’s head. “And speaking of football, where on earth did you get that ridiculous cap?”

JJ shrugged. “Ryan Star bought it for me.”

David whooped. “That’s it. In answer to your question, Detective Star is taking you on a date.”

 

 

Giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Series Info:

Series’s Name: Balls To The Wall

Books: http://amzn.to/2p4bQgd

Bk #1 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33349613-volley-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2imkfqv
B&N: http://bit.ly/HighBallsNookTL
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/volley-balls-1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/volley-balls/id1189190904?mt=11

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-b

Bk #2 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33796355-fire-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2k5WIuf
B&N: http://bit.ly/FireBallsNookTL

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fire-balls-1
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fire-balls/id1193306447?mt=11

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-balls-by-tara-lain-8126-b

Bk #3 Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34774527-beach-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2q5BXlp

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beach-balls/id1218355957?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/beach-balls-1

B&N:  http://bit.ly/BeachBallsNookTL   

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/beach-balls-by-tara-lain-8440-b

Bk #5 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35214758-f-a-s-t-balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sFwv94

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fast-balls/id1231549302?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fast-balls-1

B&N: http://bit.ly/FASTBallsNookTL

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fast-balls-by-tara-lain-8651-b

Bk #6 Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36098493-high-balls

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/high-balls-by-tara-lain-8904-b

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2fNezpg

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/high-balls/id1275142177?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/high-balls

Nook: http://bit.ly/HighBallsTLBN

Paperback

Paperback  bk 1 & bk2

Volley Balls & Fire Balls

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rD3VoU

B&N: http://bit.ly/VollyAndFireBallsPbTLBN

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. 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”!

Author Links:

Website:  http://taralain.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain

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

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/taralain/


Sign Up here: http://eepurl.com/ceU1nj

Social Media Posts

Is it always wrong to pretend to be Mr. Right? Snow Balls @taralain http://amzn.to/2jIN5SP

Blog Tour for Never (The Pennymaker Tales #4) by Tara Lain (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard
When your dreams come to life, do you fall in love — or send them back to Neverland?
Never

(The Pennymaker Tales, #4)
By Tara Lain

Blurb:
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.

Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

Available to order at
Excerpt

He sighed loudly as he pulled a green T-shirt over his head with his back turned to Tink. The T-shirt was just like the others except it proclaimed in brilliant sparkles Underthrow the Overground. He stared in the wavy mirror on the back of the closet door. She’s right. Wen upsets me. Why the fuck can’t I stay away from him? “Let’s just go play music, okay?”

He retraced his steps out the dressing room door and went to drown himself in lyrics.

Two hours later he knew it wasn’t working. All he could see was Wen’s face. John’s face. I don’t want to see them. He snorted. I don’t want to want to see them. That’s different.

When they took their break, Wen walked off the stage straight into Mr. Pennymaker. Somehow he’d changed to a black jacket with floral collar and cuffs. Seriously? And somehow he’d gotten past the guards to hang out backstage. He pressed his hands together. “Splendid, Peter.”

“You kidding?” Peter frowned. “I can barely get my head out of my ass.”

“Yes, but sometimes that’s precisely the view we need.”

Peter spewed a laugh. “What do you want with me, really?”

“Why must I want something?”

“Because people don’t usually bother with people unless they want things.”

He rubbed his chin with two fingers. “All right. I want you to be happy.”

“Why me, for God’s sake? You don’t even know me.”

He smiled softly. “I want everyone to be happy, Peter. I just happen to be speaking with you.”

“Jesus!” Peter wiped a hand over the back of his neck. “You’re too smart for me, old man.”

“Not at all. I simply want you to be smart for you.”

“What does that look like?”

“Getting your head out of your ass and paying attention to what you want instead of what you think you should want.” He yawned behind his hand. “I’m a bit tired, so I’ll say good night. Thank all the Lost Boys for such a splendid show.”

Mr. Pennymaker turned, walked out through the stage door, and was gone.

Peter’s mouth hung open. Hit by a five-foot-one-inch truck.

 

The Pennymaker Tales Series
Sinders and Ash
(The Pennymaker Tales Series, #1)
by Tara Lain
Available for order at
Kindle | Audible | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press
Driven Snow
(The Pennymaker Tales, #2)
by Tara Lain


Available for purchase at

Beauty, Inc.
(The Pennymaker Tales #3) 

 

Available for purchase at
Want to get these lovelies in paperback? Sinders and Ash and Beauty, Inc. (Pennymaker Tales)

Available for purchase at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

 

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
 
 
Giveaway
Presented By

Love Tara Lain? Contemporary Romance? Check out High Balls (Balls To The Wall Series #6 ) by Tara Lain (Excerpt & Giveaway)

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

High Balls
(Balls To The Wall Series #6 )
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
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.

Available for purchase at
Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes | Dreamspinner Press
Excerpt

Excerpt – High Balls by Tara Lain

“Mr. Walters, please explain the methodology of your research.”

And so it began. The words flowed across his tongue—the thousands of questionnaires and over a hundred personal interviews showing the education, expertise, and experience of romance writers, their use and extension of techniques pioneered by Austen and other major literary figures. He discussed tropes and their application in so called “fine” literature as well as genre fiction. Quoting verbatim from scholars he’d interviewed, he showed how many academics dismissed romance fiction purely because of its association with female readers.

Dr. Willamette said, “How large is the romance market, Mr. Walters?” She actually seemed interested.

“It’s a moving target and difficult to pin down due to the vastness and fluidity of the ebook market, but well over a billion dollars, for sure. It’s the largest book market in the world by double over the next genre.”

“Oh my. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring those people more actively into the field of literature? More teachers and more students?” She smiled.

“My point exactly.”

Ashworth sputtered, “You want to bring these illiterate, uncultured old maids and housewives into the literary tent? You must be joking.”

Dr. Willamette’s face fell, and Theodore worked to ungrit his teeth.

Dr. T. tried to keep the tone upbeat, but every time Mr. Karl or Dr. Willamette asked a good question or seemed to show interest in his research, Ashworth would find a way to belittle their opinions. They practically shrank in their seats. The chances they’d stand up to the chairman? Zilch.

Theodore kept fighting, but he felt like a salmon on a dammed-up stream.

Dr. T. said, “Why did you undertake this research, Mr. Walters? What do you feel it contributes to the future of literature?”

Theodore gazed at the carpet for a minute. “When my wife was dying, I would read to her. Classics and current literary fiction felt so cold and helpless in the face of death. Only love prevailed. So I bought a romance novel, just for diversion. I was amazed at the true literary value the book possessed. I tried another and another. Yes, I found bad ones, but then that can be said of any type of literature. Gradually I came to realize that what I’d been taught about romance fiction was bull. Here were truly gifted writers, more of them than in any other type of fiction, toiling away with not only no recognition, but also actual denigration, and still producing exceptional work. I decided to find out why.”

He looked up at each member of the panel, even the sneering Ashworth. “I think if I can encourage or inspire even one of these excellent authors to persevere and have some of their work recognized, my research will have succeeded.”

Dr. T. said, “Thank you, Theodore. I wish to add that the dissertation reader agrees with Mr. Walters. She states that the paper has done more to legitimize one of the most popular forms of world fiction than anything she’s seen. She highly recommends the paper for publication.” He looked down the panel. “If there are no more questions, Mr. Walters can go and we can determine the time for our deliberation.”

Ashworth said, “I have one more. Walters, do you really expect us to take this dissertation seriously?”

Theodore stood. “Yes, sir, I do.” He looked down the table. “Thank you all for your consideration.” He turned and walked from the room with a straight spine.

The Balls to the Wall Series
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! 
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 LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

Tara Lain on Ten Things About ‘High Balls (Balls To The Wall Series #6 )’ (Excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Ten Things About High Balls

Hi! I’m so happy to be here to tell you about my new book, High Balls. Here are ten things you might or might not know about my new Balls to the Wall romance.

  1. High Balls is the first entirely new book in the Balls to the Wall series since 2013. Volley Balls was largely rewritten before it was rereleased last January, but it was based on the original story I wrote in 2011. High Balls is a whole new story.
  2. I’m a passionate proponent of the significance of romance novels in literary history – and I get to espouse that position in this book.
  3. My hero, Snake, in High Balls is my first totally tattooed hero—who is human. For a non-human hero with some lovely tattoos, check out Brush with Catastrophe. BTW, I do have several heroes with a few tats, but Snake is my first art project.
  4. Like all the books in the Balls to the Wall series, High Balls takes place in Laguna Beach, CA. This was my first Laguna love series.
  5. High Balls is book 6 in Balls to the Wall. That makes this my longest series so far. Love in Laguna series has 5 books so far, making it my second longest series. Readers do love Laguna!
  6. In January 2018, a seventh book in the Balls to the Wall series will release. It’s called Bleu Balls and it’s a full-length novel.
  7. High Balls appears to be an opposites attract story – one of my favorite tropes – but it has some surprises up its sleeve.
  8. My hero, Theodore, in High Balls is in academia. He’s a teaching assistant working on his PhD. College teaching is one of my favorite professions for my heroes. Maybe it’s not an obvious romance hero job, but I love those sexy geeks!
  9. I’m sure you know, Laguna Beach is a real place on the coast of Southern California. It has beautiful, cove-like beaches, horrific traffic, fun art festivals in the summer, and it’s a great place to set a romance series.
  10. A number of my books have included issues of child custody over the last couple years (Cowboys Don’t Come Out, Lord of a Thousand Steps) and so does this one. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the law in different states.

I hope you enjoy High Balls. Like all the Balls to the Wall books, it’s quite standalone. Feel free to start with it and, if inspired, try some of the other books.

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

High Balls
(Balls To The Wall Series #6 )
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
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.

Available for purchase at
Excerpt

He flipped on some Chopin and let it seep into his bloodstream like antistress pills. Such a weird feeling he got each month when Andy visited his grandparents. Kind of lost. Aimless. Sure, he had hella studying to do, but he did that every night, curled in his chair, sometimes with Andy sitting on his lap figuring out his homework. When he sat for his orals, he’d probably start quoting second-grade spelling instead of defending his dissertation on the modern romance novel as the inheritor of the tradition of Jane Austen. But that was how life was supposed to be. His life, anyway—all based on one decision made almost on the spur of the moment when he was eighteen years old. A decision made possible by an asshole named JP Rellico.

He stopped at the light at Pacific Coast Highway. The traffic going north wasn’t too bad yet, but the south lane toward Laguna already backed up to Ruby Ridge. The drivers had that Friday afternoon look of combined relief and weariness.

A rumbling roar sounded and Theodore jumped. Threading through traffic came a shiny Harley, moving with more assurance than such a big machine should muster. But the motorcycle definitely took second place to the rider. The guy stopped and put his foot down just yards from where Theodore waited, the booted foot attached to long, long legs with thigh muscles that challenged the black denim covering them. Unlike a lot of Harley drivers, this man had no fat of any kind; his long-sleeved T-shirt hugged a narrow waist and broad shoulders. Theodore strained to see his face, but a dark-visored helmet hid it, although strands of shaggy dark hair escaped the bottom. Most of all, Theodore noticed the tattoos that crawled in beautiful winding patterns up the guy’s forearms where they showed below his pushed-up sleeves. Whoa. Just the energy of the rider screamed free. One of those tats had to say, I don’t give a shit,

It was like Theodore could feel the vibration of the bike all the way across the street and deep in his balls. What would it be like to live so unrestrained? Go and do what you want and not worry about anyone else? His cock rose like sunrise on a summer day.

A beep behind him woke him up. Shit. Quit dreaming, idiot. He stepped on the accelerator and pulled out into the northbound lane just as the rider turned his head toward Theodore. Theodore’s foot faltered, he craned his neck to see the guy’s face—just a glimpse—and got the squeal of tires and another, more pissed-off beep for his trouble.

Hell! He stepped on it and sprang—to the extent the Toyota had any spring left—toward the college.

The Balls to the Wall Series
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! 
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 LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

In the Spotlight: Fool of Main Beach (Love of Laguna #5) by Tara Lain (excerpt)

Standard

 

 

The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

 

Fool of Main Beach (Love of Laguna Series, Bk #5) by Tara Lain
Blurb:
Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?
Available for purchase at
            
Also available in paperback
Excerpt

Excerpt  – Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain

White bursts of light flashed in front of his eyes and a river of burning bile filled his mouth, oozing around the pressure of the big asshole’s arm on his neck. Damn. Damn. Who the fuck wants to die on the beach in a tuxedo?

Merle staggered backward as the brother tightened his grip and the other sibling from hell moved in to do more damage. Brother One pulled back a fist—and suddenly flew through the air, practically knocking Merle and his captor off their feet.

Standing behind where Brother One had stood was—Sasquatch. It had to be—this huge man, easily six foot six, dressed in what might be a pink puffer jacket, with a shock of curly, dark hair flying around his face. He stopped his forward momentum and snapped a fist at Ritchie, who was staggering back to join the fray. Only the smallest interface between that huge hand and Ritchie’s chin signaled bye-bye, Ritchie. The dude staggered back and fell on his ass. Merle would have cheered if his neck wasn’t breaking. Sweet Face held up his hands, and Sasquatch nodded with a smile more appropriate to a kindergarten class than a beach brawl.

Then the giant turned to Brother Two, who still held his arm painfully around Merle’s throat. Brother hissed in Merle’s ear, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll break his neck.”

Sasquatch cocked his head and gave that weird smile again. Is the guy nuts? “It’s very hard to break a person’s neck, did you know that?” He walked slowly forward. “You don’t want to hurt him.”

The arm around Merle’s neck trembled and tightened convulsively. Merle made a gagging sound.

Sasquatch frowned, an oddity on what appeared to be a young, pretty face. “It will be very bad for you if you hurt him, you know? But if you let him go, I won’t hurt you.” He looked over his shoulder. “See. Your friends ran away already.”

Sure enough. They’d melted into the dark the second they got the chance.

“You should go too.” Sasquatch stepped forward again. “Go now.”

Brother Two released Merle and ran like a rabbit toward the water as Merle collapsed onto the damp sand. “I hope you fucking drown.” He rubbed his neck and tried to get a full breath into his lungs.

The big man knelt down beside Merle.

Merle glanced up. Yes, on closer inspection the face might have been a choirboy’s—on the body of the Jolly Green Giant.

The big man bobbed his head. “You’re okay, right?”

“Yeah. I think so.”

“How can we know?”

Merle almost laughed. “Uh, I guess you can help me up, and we’ll check it out.”

“Okay.” The giant reached down, grasped Merle at the waist, and whoa—sent him flying to his feet. This time Merle did laugh. “Was that fun?” The big man smiled, and huge dimples popped out in his cherub face.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“I could do it again. I like lifting you.”

“No, that’s okay.” Funny how that gave him a little flip in the stomach. He rotated his neck very gently. “I think I’m okay. How does my tux look?” He stepped back and wiped sand from his butt.

“Tux?”

“Oh, my clothes.”

“Good. Really pretty.”

“Thanks. A friend designed the clothes for me, and I’d hate for those assholes to ruin them.”

“Yes. That would be bad. Disappointing.”

“Yes, it would.”

“Friends are good.”

Merle stuck out his hand. “I’m Merle Justice, and I’m extremely grateful to you. I think you might have saved my life.”

The big man looked at Merle’s hand for a minute, then grinned and shook it enthusiastically. “I’m happy to save your life.”

Love in Laguna Series
Bk #1

 

Available for purchase at
                 

 

Bk #2
Available for purchase at 
 
                    

 

Bk #3
Available for purchase at
                      

 

 

 

Bk #4
Available for purchase at 
               
Grab your copy now!

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. 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
               
Giveaway

Cover Reveal Blitz : Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain (excerpt)

Standard
FOOL OF MAIN BEACH,
 the fifth book in the Love In Laguna Series arrives 
August 21, 2017! The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

 

Fool of Main Beach
(Love of Laguna Series, Bk #5)
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.
Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?
Pre-Order your copy now at
Also available to pre-order in paperback
Release Date: 
August 21, 2017
Excerpt

Excerpt  – Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain (Sandwiches)

Merle stretched out the measuring tape and got the dimensions of the huge family space, then paced it off into dining and living areas. Once he had enough measurements to buy rugs, he wandered past the big island into the kitchen and opened each cabinet. His mind filled in the spaces with dishes and pots and pans—yeah, a lot of stuff he didn’t have. His current apartment in Santa Monica was still a transition space from starving-actor digs to TV-star quarters. TV star? He snorted softly. More like vampire of the month. Of course, he’d been lucky enough to be vampire of the month for two years.

I’m killing time. Go down to Ru’s studio and take him to lunch.

“Want part of my sandwich, Merle?”

He looked up into the truly pretty face smiling at him from the other side of the island. “I don’t want to take your lunch, Tom. I’ll go get some.”

“It’s okay. I made two sandwiches, so there’s lots.”

I should go, but—“Sure, I’d love half of your sandwich. What kind is it?”

“I’ve got peanut butter and I’ve got avocado and cheese.”

“Which kind do you like best?”

“I like them both.”

“I’ll take avocado.” He looked around the big room still covered in drywall dust, nails, and wood shavings. “Where shall we sit?”

Tom made a waggling motion with his finger.

Merle cocked his head and walked around the island to where Tom stood, towering over him. Suddenly he was flying through the air and made a little gasping sound as Tom sat him on top of the island, then grinned and easily hopped up beside him. Merle laughed. “No fair.”

“Oh, didn’t you like it?” Tom looked serious.

“I’m teasing you. I just meant it’s funny that you’re so much bigger than me.”

He shrugged. “I’m much bigger than anybody—except Billy. I’m just a little bigger than him.” He handed over his half sandwich. It was on some kind of multigrain bread and appeared to have cheese that wasn’t American.

“This looks delicious.”

“Mrs. Allison taught me to make it.”

“Who’s that?” He took a bite and was very happy he did.

“The lady I live with.”

“Oh, you live with a lady?” Duh, Merle.

“She owns the house, and I rent a room from her.” He chewed his peanut butter, which also looked like it might have some organic roots. “I help her with stuff, and she helps me too. Like teaching me about food and water and how to feed the boys.”

“Boys?”

“My dogs.”

“How many dogs?”

“Two. Fluffy and Tigger. I got them from the shelter where I work sometimes.”

“Most landladies don’t let you have dogs.”

“Mrs. A. is really nice. She doesn’t want me to have big dogs, though. Wish I could.” He chewed thoughtfully.

“You could probably get an apartment or house with enough space for bigger dogs if you want them.”

He shook his head matter-of-factly. “No. Can’t afford it.”

“I guess rentals in Laguna are pretty high.”

“Yeah, but Billy pays me good. I just need the money for my folks to take care of Lily.”

“Your sister.”

“Right.” He grinned like he was happy Merle knew her name. They chewed companionably. “You’re on TV, right?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t see TV much, but I’m going to watch this week. Mrs. Allison said I can.”

Why did his saying things like that wring Merle’s heart? “Do you like movies?”

“Oh yes. I go to movies sometimes.”

“What kind do you like?”

“All kinds. Except the ones with the words. I’m not so good at that.”

Merle’s glance snapped to Tom’s face, but Tom didn’t seem to be complaining or confessing. Just stating a fact. “Do you have trouble reading?” He tried to ask it with great nonchalance.

“Yes. That’s how Billy and I got to be friends. He doesn’t read so good either.” He grinned. “But we’re better now.”

“May I ask you a personal question? You don’t have to tell me.”

“Sure, Merle. You’re my friend.”

Again, that thump on his heart. “I know you passed the electrician’s exam. Billy tells me that’s really hard. If you have trouble reading, how were you able to do it?”

“Mrs. A. read it to me.”

He looked up from licking his fingers clean of avocado. “What?”

“I gave her the tests that were like samples, and she read them to me. And she read all the handbooks too. Then a nice guy named Burt read me the questions on the test, and I said the answers out loud.”

“So you learned everything when Mrs., uh, A. read it to you?”

“Um-hm. I remember really good.” He finished the last bite of his avocado. “Most people don’t, you know?”

Merle grinned. “Yes, I do know.”

“Do you like being on TV?”

“Yes. It’s a good job. Long hours, but I get time off sometimes. Like now.” Funny. He wanted to tell Tom. “I might have a chance to make a movie.”

Tom’s whole face lit up. “That would be really good, right? Would you like that?”

“Yes, it’d be a step up in my career. And the guy directing the movie is very well-known and respected.” He glanced over. Did Tom have the slightest idea what he just said?

“Do you like him?”

Merle smiled. Leave it to Tom to get to the heart of the matter.

 

Love in Laguna Series
Bk #1

 

Available for purchase at
                 

 

Bk #2
Available for purchase at 
 
                    

 

Bk #3
Available for purchase at
                      

 

 

 

Bk #4
Available for purchase at 
               
Pre-order your copy now!
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. 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
               
Presented By