Title: FAST Balls (Balls to the Wall #4)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Jul 12, 2017
Page Count: 153
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.13 stars out of 5
Sequel to Fire Balls
A Balls to the Wall Romance
Can two men with skewed self-images see their true reflections in each other’s eyes?
Jerry Wallender—firefighter, surfer, and occasional nude model—knows he’s no rocket scientist. So why does he keep choosing intellectual guys who make him feel dumber? He worked his buns off to overcome his reading disability and pass the firefighter’s test, and he loves everything about the job. Well, except for Mick Cassidy, the big, blond, hunky homophobe who harasses Jerry for being gay. But Jerry is smart enough to realize it’s not hate driving Mick, but the pain of a very unhappy upbringing.
Mick Cassidy, Firefighter Assist and Search Team, fights fires, but he can’t fight his attraction to the kindest, most generous—and sexiest—guy he’s ever met. Does that make him gay? If it does, he just might get himself killed by his gay-hating preacher father—and take Jerry down with him.
First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2013.
I’m really unsure as to how to rate this book. There were parts I liked, but then there were parts I didn’t like. I suppose I’m confused: I have read several previous books of this author and I don’t remember her writing fluctuating this badly.
The characters are great: it was what urged me to keep reading. I liked Mick more than Jerry. I didn’t read previous books but I gather he used to be a jerk. Now however we see reasons behind his acting out, and while they don’t justify his actions, we see him in more sympathetic light.
Mick’s father hates gays and taught his son the same. When Mick met Hunter and then Jerry, he was prepared to hate them. With time, he realizes they are good men so he ends in a tug of a war between his inherited beliefs and what he sees. He is confused and occasionally lashes out. Even when he acts like an idiot, his innate kindness breaks through. In the first chapter, he teases Jerry, but when he later sees him crying, he apologizes and tries to comfort him. He genuinely doesn’t understand what is he doing wrong. He slowly comes into his own. It’s exciting journey to watch.
Funny fact about Mick: he solves math puzzles when he needs to relax. It’s such an endearing quirk!
We know less about Jerry, but he might have been more developed in previous books. At the beginning of the book, he gets dumped. And he gets dumped via text, which, ouch. He has his own hang-ups, but he is outgoing and friendly guy. He is not sure about getting involved with Mick. Their first date was so painfully awkward, which is a nice change from instant connection in some books. First dates are supposed to be awkward!
While I like the characters, I’m not so fond of the rest of the book. The best comparison I can give is of a puzzle with mismatched pieces. Some fit, some didn’t. The book just wasn’t to my taste.