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Knight of Ocean Avenue

(Love in Laguna #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,173 ratings  ·  652 reviews
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 de ...more
ebook, 254 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  4,173 ratings  ·  652 reviews

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Start your review of Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna, #1)
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
**WOAH! FREE today for a limited time at ARe, 10/8/15**

A gay virgin story, my holy grail. Praise thee who creates delicious stories of men discovering the joys of gay sex. Forever and ever, amen.

When I saw the blurb for this story, I was ALL OVER IT. I get crazy when I see a story that falls into the GFY/OFY umbrella! This is certainly an out-for-you story, or maybe a gay discovery story, or a "face the facts" kind of story. Either way, I'm a Neanderthal when it comes to
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

~Spontaneous BR with my bestie Eleftheria~

This book has been universally loved by my GR buddies. And rightly so!

One word: JOY

If you're looking for a low angst, feel good, sweet, and sexy story, look no further!

I LOVED Shaz of the snazzy clothes, flowing red hair, kimonos, and unicorn earrings. Shaz sparkles! He is "his own holiday ... Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one."

See Eleftheria's review for the perfect Shaz!

And burly construction worker Billy, who's been supporting his
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tina K.
Re-read January, 2017: I've gotten very picky about gay men fighting their homosexuality by getting backroom blowjobs from men while dating women. I still liked this, but knocked off a star for slight irritation.

I feel very fortunate that I enjoy such a wide variety of M/M romance fiction. Some favorites include firefighters, law enforcement, BDSM, M/M couples with children, military boys, hockey boys and hurt/healing/comfort. (I have so much to choose from!) But there is a special place in my h
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it

BR with Dani girl who reads at the speed of light and I hope to catch up

What a fresh, beautiful story that had all the potential to be hella angsty, but thankfully, wasn't


I haven't read many books from miss Lain (which I'm about to remedy), but I know this : she is amazing at creating effeminate characters. With Shaz, she nailed it! Stylist, out and proud, he turns to be exactly what Billy needs. Someone that accepts him for who he is and has faith in what he can do , no pressure, no expecta
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars!


Billy Ballew is a construction worker who dreams to get his contractor’s license. But you see, he has a problem – he’s terrified to take test, believing he’s too dumb to pass. He comes from a big, loving family who supports him enough, but he’s a little scared of his religious mother, trying to do everything to please her and to be ‘the perfect’ son. But the thing is Billy is not so happy his family seems to think he is. He can’t keep a long term girlfriend and anyway he’s not really h
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: male-action
4.5 Stars!

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay?

Poor Billy Ballew! I spent the whole book just wanting to hug him. He had no clue what was "wrong" with him.

He didn't understand why he couldn't keep a woman? Why his apartment was better decorated than half of Laguna? Why he didn't like going out with the guys?

None of those things were clues for Billy. No, it wasn't until he met Shaz (aka Chase Phillips). The OTT stylist with the flaming red hair, the unicorn earrings and the hot pi
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Written May 24, 2015

4.2 Stars - Sugary sweet romantic, just WONDERFUL

A fresh newly published M/M romance next to all my friends rated with four or five stars. I was very hopeful and curious.
“Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?”

Oh yes, he can...
Happy dancing moment. I always like me a flamboyant cutie gay character who get himself a sexy manly hunk to love. I got it all.
Awww!!! ~ This was so amazing romantic. Loved it. Loved the boys... loved the love.
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it



Billy works in Construction with dreams of becoming a Contractor.Even though he has a loving family he suffers from low self esteem.He has dated women but somewhere deep within himself he suspects he might be Gay.


Shaz is openly Gay and not ashamed of it.He is a Stylist with his own business.They meet when Shaz is the appointed Stylist for Billy's sisters wedding.They are obviously both attracted to each other.Billy struggles with his feeli
Kat, short for Clara
You know that saying: if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all? Well, I'm going to try and do that.

So here goes:

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

Eli Easton
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to beta this which was good, because I was craving some new Tara Lain! I just adored it. It's probably my favorite of Tara's just behind Fire Balls. I like that it's a straight-up contemporary, lovely and funny, hot and sweet. I couldn't put it down, which is a high compliment from me.

I highly recommend it to all m/m romance readers!
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading and loving Tara Lain's books since I discovered M/M romantic fiction approx four years ago and fell hook, line and sinker for the genre. Her other Laguna based series: Balls to the Walls, were some of my earliest and most enjoyable reads… book one helped fuel my slavish love of ménage…and reading Knight of Ocean Avenue, which is also set in the same location, took me right back to those early days because it reminded me so much of the feel of those stories and just how great Ta ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm-blue-collar
I loved this story. LOVED it! I couldn't put it down and ended up having to take a cab to work because I lost track of time.

Billy is incredibly sweet and so freaking adorable and Shaz is goddamn perfection. After I finished it I read it again. I'm too gushy to write an actual review of it but I can't recommend this one enough. All kinds of awesome.

Yes. That's Jensen using a hammer. Unf.

This is what I needed! This made me remember why I love M/M Romance! It had awesome and adorable characters, a great story, some nice angst, and a wonderful HEA ending. (Disguised as a preview for Book 2)

I loved Billy! Even though I wanna throttle him for being so naive, I loved how he accepted his true sexuality. I smiled when he said this:

I know being gay is very hard, but there times that you'll feel it's worth it
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mm
This was quite weird.

Billy is a 25 year old construction worker. Big on the outside, but so incredibly gentle on the inside. He has dated his fair share of women, but none of them got his heart beating faster. He just went with what was expected of him.

Well, all of that changes when he meets Chase ‘Shaz’ Philips. The flaming queen makes Billy question his sexuality. Billy just never thought about being either straight or gay. But after meeting the obviously gay stylist Billy knows he wants him.
May 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommended to MLE by: Alvin
Shelves: mm, dnf
I was muddling along a little fed up with some of the drama, and kind of wanting to knock the character's heads together, but then I got to the moment that tanked the book for me.

Below is the moment, and my reaction, so if you don't want it spoiled...


(view spoiler)
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m

I want to start by saying I hate writing 3 Star reviews.3 Stars means: Average book which I read thoroughly. I liked not loved.

This book has high ratings all around, and I couldn't start it fast enough. Once I started though- I had a difficult time connecting to the story. I'm going to start with the negative and I warn you now some of them are just me being a down right nitpicky bitch, but hey that's my opinion.

(view spoiler)
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Billy, Billy, Billy. Sweet, gorgeous, giant man. His relationships never last, and he can’t figure out why women dump him. He is so nice. And so clueless. Why does the sex always suck? Why does he never want it? Why does he search for big cock porn? 😂

When he meets his sister’s stylist, gorgeous flamboyant Shaz, he is mesmerized. And even when he realizes he is attracted to Shaz, he can’t imagine why a man like Shaz could ever want Billy. Billy with his Marvel movie star good looks and sweet natu
Lorraine Lesar
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to award Tara Lain the title of “Queen of Love Dreams”, simple because….she is! This book was exceptional, if I ever needed a book to remind me of why I read m/m romances, this is the book – I absolutely adored it!
Billy and Shaz together were magical – the stuff of which dreams are made of. I loved them both equally but for different reasons. Billy because of his totally unselfish love for his family and his own naivety at the ripe old age of 25 and Shaz because he was so comfortable i
*** 3.75 Stars ***

My buddy Dani described Knight of Ocean Avenue perfectly when she said that it was a "low angst, feel good, sweet, and sexy story". It was definitely all of that.

But the highlight of this book - at least for me - was the main characters. I can't tell you how much I adored Billy's sweet, humble, big-hearted, blue collar way. I mean, how can you resist a man that steps in to protect a total stranger from the ire of a homophobic a-hole in such a low key but effective way? How can
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
Billy Ballew is a smart, sweet and hard working construction worker. He helped put his sister through college and he helps out his family since his dad had a heart attack. He's coaching Little League, because he wants to give kids a safe place to play and learn to respect each other. He desires to get a contractor's license, but he has a phobia about tests. That's also the reason why he dropped out of high school. He has two adorable "gay" cats, which he loves with his whol
Tara♥ {MindforBooks}

I'm unapologetically in a place where I am loving all things sweet and fluffy. After the weekend gone I'm all about hearts and flowers and this is all hearts and flowers.

Billy is a sweet gentle giant and Shaz is ballsy and fabulous and kind. Their journey was a little bumpy but it was lovely and made me all mushy.

I fear I'm going to start randomly hugging people at this stage.

"But if you never pass the test, I will love you not one tiny particle less."

Billy's lips parted on their own. Did Shaz
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***2 Stars***

***Unpopular Opinion Alert***

This book is universally loved by almost all of my friends....and yet, I sit here...

There really weren't many characters here that I connected with and liked....especially, Billy.

He was supposed to be this "aww, shucks" endearing kind of character, but all I got was...

All he did was put himself down....too stupid, too dopey, mediocre, etc... And don't even get me started on the fact that he had NO CLUE he was gay until hooking up with Shaz.
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, mm-fiction
Easy read with low angst and cheating. Yes, there is some cheating, which is a turn off for me. I also didn't buy all the kittens and rainbows reactions to Billy coming out.

Though it has some real ragey moments (see my status updates for more info), and it's completely unbelievable, I still enjoyed some parts.

If you can ignore the cheating and eye roll worthy cluelessness of Billy, this is an enjoyable, engaging, and cute story with a sweet and sexy HEA.
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
I am so surprised at how much I enjoyed this. This book has so many things that normally drive me crazy, but every time I got to the point of losing my mind something great would happen and I'd forget my insanity.

Just a very enjoyable story with wonderful characters, except for the majority of Billy's family, I didn't like them at all, even at the end.

I liked it quite more than I thought I would.
Denise H.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread March 17, 2020

Wow, this is exciting, sexy, realistic, funny, serious, emotional, engrossing, heartwarming and I loved it !!!
The deep characters are engaging, with an interesting tale to tell, and along with super hot sexiness, this is a worthwhile read.

We have Billy Ballew, construction supervisor who has three failed engagements to women, is devoted to his family, coaches Little League, and has two cats, and a hard as nails bible quoting mom. He goes into the coffee shop and - wham - h
❧A Bookish Berkeley Girl❧
4 Light-Hearted Put On Your Rose-Colored Glasses Stars!

I love Billy he was HAWT! And, one helluva date for any gala~

Shaz, was so perfect for him!

And, gosh....the storyline, was

A-DORBLE! Fun and Eclectic!

The MC of Shaz, as I have come to expect, Tara Lain nailed the flamboyance within.

The dance, AWESOME!

I felt it, I visualized it, and on how I loved it.

“Now that you have me, big guy, what, pray tell, do you plan to do with me?”

Yes, now that was my favorite line/quote in this book.

Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read 4/9/19 - Still SO good!
I loved Billy and Shaz! They were perfect for each other. I love the big construction worker paired with a twink! Shaz was a stylist hired to work for one of Billy's sister's wedding. Shaz was also directed by Billy's mom to "make him more presentable." Billy had style as far as decorating his house but didn't care how he dressed. Also, poor Billy . . . at 25 he just couldn't figure out why he couldn't keep a girlfriend - and why he was relieved
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Audio is good and I like this book, it's not perfect but there's a heartwarming quality to it.
-- --

Light angst-free read. It's a familiar trope, I read it not long after reading Family Man - compare the first line of each blurb! So yeah it's nothing original, yet it is a nicely done feel-good. The characters are appealing and Shaz sparkles.

Billy is lovely, an all-round decent guy who knows what he likes but hasn't met anyone worth the risk before. It's not really GFY, I think of it as worth bein
I need a Billy in my life!
I loved the first maybe 60% of this book. It was funny, cute and seeing Billy and Shaz
getting to know each other and Billy getting to know himself. However, when the drama started to amp up around the 60% mark the book kinda lost me though. It felt more manufactured than a natural progress for the story. Overall a really good read though. I just needed a few tweaks.
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Knight of Ocean Avenue isn’t my first book by Tara Lain and it won’t be the last, but if you asked me to tell you some details about any of her books I’ve read before, I’d be hard pressed to remember them. Outing the Quarterback was my favorite among her books, and one I’d certainly recommend, but her shifter PNR and her latest contemporary series, apparently, are cute and light-hearted, but ultimately forgettable.

Lain starts this new series with two rather interesting characters. Billy is a 25-
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Dreamspinner Press: Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain 1 22 May 01, 2015 11:58PM  

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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 stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes 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 ultima ...more

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Love in Laguna (5 books)
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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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“Billy took a breath, and it caught and trembled out of his chest. “Oh God, I am gay. I am.” He wanted to laugh. He wanted to cry. Shaz’s soft high voice sounded muffled against his chest. “Yes, dear. I think you are.” 0 likes
“Shaz held the stuffed cat against his chest. “That’s why he’s so ratty. He’s soaked up gallons of tears and survived pounds of frustration. I keep him close by to remind me not to live for others’ opinions. To find the good in my life and value it.” 0 likes
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