Book Reviews

High Balls (Balls to the Wall 5) by Tara Lain

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 30-June-2020

Book Blurb

Can a single-dad professor learn the truth about romance from a tattooed bartender? You bet your High Balls!

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.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, October 2017.

Book Review

“In the end, people should be judged by their actions, since in the end, it was actions that defined everyone.” ~ Nicholas Sparks

Theodore Walters is an exceptional man. When his best friend becomes pregnant, he marries her and claims to be the father, even though he's not, to protect her from the wrath of her overly zealous Christian parents. When Theodore's wife dies, his son, Andy, becomes the center of his world; everything he does or doesn't do is for him. Theodore is constantly on guard for anything that will give them an excuse to take him away. Yet, once in a while, it would be nice to do something just for him. One day Theodore spots a big, tattooed man on a motorcycle. Theodore's libido comes alive. Even though he knows it's not possible, Theodore wishes he could be as free as that man looks.

Theodore's goal in life is to get his PhD in literature so he can become a tenured professor at his present college so he can make a better life for him and Andy and get his in-laws, who constantly criticize him, off his back. Theodore's competitor is an obnoxious man, Ted Rance, who is constantly belittling him and undermines Theodore's chances by sucking up to the chairman of the committee, playing golf with him, going to his church, etc. It makes Theodore furious, but he is too nice to say anything. Even if he did it would sound like “sour grapes”. Then Theodore stops in a bar for a drink where he is hit on by an obnoxious customer. The bartender comes to his rescue by telling the guy to stop bothering his boyfriend. The strategy works, but Theodore is startled by the bartender's method. After a brief but enlightening conversation, Theodore confirms that the bartender, Snake, is the man on the motorcycle, then discovers that Snake is gay and definitely interested.

After a few misunderstandings, Snake and Theodore start seeing each other. Things go well until they run into one of Theodore's colleagues, Sean. Theodore freaks out and tells Snake that he just can't take the chance of losing Andy, so he won't be able to see him anymore. Snake does not want to let him go, and suggests to have dates at his apartment. They get so comfortable together that Theodore begins bringing Andy with him; Andy is fascinated with Snake and rapidly grows attached to him. One night, Theodore has to be at an unplanned meeting. He needs a babysitter and no one is available; he asks Snake to stay with Andy at their house. Everything is fine, that is, until Andy's grandparents show up unannounced. Finding Snake there alone with Andy makes them furious and they promise retribution.

Tara is brilliant at writing books that take two men who are seemingly different in every way, and forming a viable middle ground in which they can thrive. Tara dismisses stereotypes and shows that what you see isn't always what you get. I think that she did an exceptionally good job doing so in Theodore and Snake's case. The story also reminded me not to judge people by their appearance only. Thanks, Tara, for a heartwarming, pleasurable story.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 204 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-June-2020
Price $4.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback
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