Title: Knight of Ocean Avenue
Author: Tara Lain
My Rating: A
Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Love in Laguna #1
Main Characters: Billy and Shaz
Release Date: July 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
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 love to listen to audiobooks, but I tend to only listen to them when I have household chores to get finished. As a result, it can take several weeks for me to get through a single audiobook. That was not the case with this one. No, with this one, I kept finding more stuff to do so I could listen to it longer. Until I got to the point that I simply sat down and listened to it straight through...all in one day. Yeah, that's not something I normally do. Definitely a sign of a good audiobook (and believe me, my husband wishes I had more like this because I got a TON of housework done this day...LOL.)
The narrator on this was incredible. Shaz is a flamboyant character, and normally that bothers me in my audio because it tends to hurt my mental visual of the character. But K.C. Kelly did an incredible job keeping Shaz so that he felt real and honest, not fake or plastic. And that's not an easy thing to do with this particular inflection. And kudos to the narrator, because he managed to keep that up even in the heavy duty, sexy scenes. Great narration!
But there's also an incredible story here, too. I loved Billy and his inner-conflict. For so many people, they can't even fathom a person not knowing they were gay for this long, but I completely believed it with Billy. It just never came up in his world and I got that.
On the surface, Billy and Shaz should have nothing in common, but wow...I loved them together. Shaz is just one of those guys who has the ability to make everyone around him feel better. And he did that for Billy, too. But it's not all one-sided. Seeing Shaz through Billy's eyes...aww! I just LOVED them together...so, so much. It's a sweet, melt your heart into a puddle, kind of romantic read. It definitely made me happier for having read/listened to it.
The story line, including all the backstory is really good. It all felt very real and it's definitely one for my keeper shelf that I will re-read again. I like books that make me happier for having read them.