Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!
Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.
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 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 or maybe a Ravensclaw but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers.
How can you take a book with a title like Fire Balls seriously? There was fire here (and a hot firefighter), but no fire balls, unless this is meant to be symbolic for like actual testicles on fire or something, but, wait, nope, that wasn't included either.
The best word for this book is cartoonish. The characters and plot were trite. Everything was rushed. The entire book took place in a matter of days (time was hard to track). There was zero character development, minus a lot of "I gotta date me a real man's man who happens to like cock" on Hunter's part and even more of "I'm not worthy. I'm so fucking short! Hunter will never, ever lurve me, sob, sob, poor me" on Rod's part (and seriously, what kind of a name is Rodney?).
Throw in an angry homophobe who acts like a 10-year-old cartoon bully, a math professor and surfer (both Hunter and Rod date other guys through half the book), a dad in a wheelchair (my daddy won't love me if I'm not all alpha and have a manly boyfriend!), a fire (and a fire RESCUE, people), incredible art (painted and sold for six figures in a matter of DAYS!), and you have yourself...you have yourself THIS book.
Everyone seemed to be screwing everyone, and infidelity was completely brushed aside (like not even discussed, like, AT ALL). And then it was over.
I really enjoyed this one. I loved the character of Rodney - very unique and fun. I loved that he was a serious bad ass despite being small and fem on the surface. And Hunter was a nice change from the normal alpha male firefighter. The writing was very good and I found myself highlighting a number of clever passages. The sex was hot and the angst was not too angsty (I prefer light angst), and it felt natural and not just tacked on. The only thing I didn't care for was the cheesy title. IMHO the book, and author, deserve better. I'll be looking of more by this author.
This is a really enjoyable series and I'm rereading the first three after just buying book 4 (Snow Balls) which I thoroughly enjoyed. Having gone through them all again, I have to say this is my favourite. Rodney and Hunters story reminds me of the film "Roxanne" ( based on Cyrano De Bergerac ). Rodney - an artist who paints nudes - is totally smitten with the gorgeous gay, but macho in looks, Hunter. Hunter is out but stays under the radar because he's a fireman and getting stick from some of his colleagues, Rodney is out, proud and uber flamboyant so feeling Hunter wouldn't want to be with someone like him he helps his surfer dude friend Jerry, who is super laid back but more ' manly', get together with Hunter. Jerry, who is so loveable and almost naive inadvertently gets Hunter to pose for Rodney and from then on sparks fly!
I absolutely loved this romance, Rodney and Hunter are on fire together and their love story is smoking - literally. None of these are long books but they are so satisfying and a break from some of the more intense books in the genre. Great!
How can I say this and not repeat the exact same words I've already said at least two times... I adore Tara's men. There, I've done it again, just can't help myself. She loves the arts and has a tendency of combining it with something hard, manly, HOT!... but even there she is unique, because her unconventional pairings usually come with a twist.
Rodney is a rather famous artist who is small, flamboyant and dangerous, that's right, the little guy has a black belt in karate and doesn't take bullshit at all. There's also another interesting thing about Rodney, something that really appealed to me, his penchant for dominance and hard topping. Don't you just love him?
Anyway, Rodney has the hots for a certain hunk, who is pure candy in his fireman suit. If Rodney does a bit of stalking, that's okay too, because no one really knows he's passing by the fire station to see Hunter, he could just be taking a stroll.
But despite Rodney's direct way, things don't work out exactly as he'd hoped they would. His friend Jerry sees Hunter and instantly wants him, and Rodney is just not the kind of man who will deny his friend, besides, Hunter obviously wants Jerry, a surfer who doesn't even look gay, more than he might ever want a flamboyant artist.
There is just one thing about Hunter even he doesn't want to admit himself. Jerry is great, wonderful even, but he likes taking it up the ass just as much as Hunter does.
After a lot of denial, a certain fire and Rodney showing off his skill, the couple does steer toward one another as was meant to be, and the hard and hot is more than enough to steam up the windows.
Rodney really was amazing. His insecurity was perfectly masked with his outspoken way and tendency toward drama. I liked how he was a dangerous top in a small package and wasn't afraid of saying/showing exactly who he was. Hunter did get on my nerves a bit, but that was to be expected as he was closeted in his on mind as much as he was out to everyone else. Those types of characters just have to irritate me a bit. But precisely for that reason, Rodney was perfect for him. Hunter needed someone to bring him to heel. Or so was my take on the story.
I have to say for those who have issues with it, there are a couple of scenes of cheating in the story. It was done nicely when it came to explanations and it was pretty obvious Jerry's mind was elsewhere. But I just figured I was gonna mention it for those who mind the very idea of it.
There wasn't anything I disliked about the story. It was written very well with thought on details when it came to art as well as firemen, I just needed it to be longer. The characters would heave been more developed that way and the relationship between Rodney and Hunter would have had the chance to really shine. I am a BDSM fan, and those two just screamed the lifestyle at me. So yes, I did need more of their lives and the details that made them tick.
All of that said, this one is something I recommend. I know people will love Rodney the 'fire ball' and the relationship between these two men. Their gentle side as well as the hard edges. Tara molds guys as she does words, and the final product is always something extraordinary. She plays at my love for contemporary and always gives the best to a fan.
Was there an irritating plot device Lain didn't use in this one? Stereotypical characters, cheating, quasi closet case asshole who demeans effeminate gay men, effeminate gay men with "hidden depths", poetry douchebaggery, and characters who date other people throughout most of the book. Why is it that these assholes can be single for years, but as soon their "soul mate" shows up, so does some other potential love interest, and that's who they cling to? I hate that shit.
Nick J. Russo delivers a good performance with individual character voices and plenty of emotion, but not good enough to get me over the issues I had with the story itself.
The dialogue felt forced, the main characters, Hunter and Rod, date other men through more than half of the book, and Rod and Hunter have sex with each other when Hunter is still dating/having sex with Rod's friend.
That hit all the right notes. I adored Rodney - the little,big man.Out and proud flaming queen with a black belt in Karate and a spine of steel. I loved Hunter the big,buff fireman trying to fulfill others expectations and so unhappy with it - until he meets Rodney... Give me characters like that anytime and I`m a happy reader!
I was so excited when LA said lets read this!! Yeah.....fun loving, flaming hot boys with sexy firefighters...BRING IT BABY. What you will get with this book is a serious look into self-esteem, love, self-awareness, finding your true self and living your own dreams. Not to mention a healthy dose of don't judge a book by it's cover. There were a lot of heavy moments in this book that were very well handled. On the other hand, while these men were in heavy turmoil throughout the book, they did get away with cheating. Cheating in the sense that friends do not have sex with the dudes their friends are having sex with unless they know. Even though it was still casual between Hunter and Jerry, it was not right for Rod and Hunter to do what they did. I do have to say though that was an amazing scene that put so much into perspective of who Rod and Hunter were meant be. Without those sex scenes I am not sure how Tara would have advanced the story line and the story progressed in away that there was no hurt in the end.
Those of you who are staunch 'no cheating' campers will totally and completely throw this book in the fire.
Honestly, Rod is an amazingly written character. He has a depth that surprised me!! Now I need to go read Volley Balls. Gotta love the names of these books!
I really like Tara Lain's writing style and this series is really, really good. Rod was just an amazing character...he was who he was and the way he was and he didn't apologize to anyone for being himself. Small but in charge..that was Rodney.
Hunter was a beautiful, out but not, firefighter who was living his life to please his father instead of himself. I was glad to see his family rally around him and force him to do what was right for him...even if he thought his father wouldn't approve.
Rod and Hunter were hot together but it took way toooooooooo long for them to get together....way too long. I hated that Hunter was seeing Jerry...hated it. But Jerry, goofball that he is, was just too luvable to hate and in the end he knew that Hunter was not his type. I was glad it never affected his friendship with Rodney.
I bet the next one is about Jerry...maybe it will be called Goof Balls?
From the start, I was a little disappointed to read this was not a continuation of the previous story. I was really looking forward to reading more about how the threesome was making out. For the first quarter of this book, I kept trying to remember if I knew any of the characters from the previous story. While previous characters are mentioned here and there and actually make an appearance later on, this could easily be read as a stand alone.
I thought the first half of this went pretty slow. It picked up from that point, and then I could not put it down. Roman/Rodney is a crazy talented artist with a black belt in karate who makes no excuses for the way he lives. He has a thing for local fireman, Hunter. Unfortunately, so does Roman's assistant, Jerry, so Roman holds back and lets Jerry have a chance with him.
Circumstances change and stuff happens, and while I did not enjoy this as much as the first, I am hooked on these stories and can't wait to jump right into the next one.
3.5* Where to start, Rodney is a piece of work! Smart, nice, hiding a lot behind his extroverted ways, and Hunter was a good guy. I liked the story, it was fun and hot, I just wasn't quite sure why Rodney fell in love with Hunter, at least not when he did, right at the beginning. I understood Hunter, Rodney helped him see who he really was and what he was doing with his life. Not sure how I feel abut the Jerry/Hunter storyline part of the story, but I did like Jerry a lot!
3.5 stars I liked this story a lot, especially Rodney:) but something was bothering me and it drives me a bit crazy to not being able to pin it down. Yes.I'm with MandyM that it was a bit rushed, on the other hand Rod's being the nice, helping friend felt like forever. First Jerry was a huge part of the story, then I had the feeling he was fading away. Perhaps it's best to say, it felt a bit unbalanced overall.
Rodney has been admiring firefighter Hunter from afar, but when he finally gets a chance to meet him, he can't muster up the courage to do so. Instead, he watches helplessly as his surfer friend Jerry flirts with the object of his desire. Although it breaks his heart, Rodney helps his friend pursue Hunter because he's sure a stud like Hunter would never go for a flaming queen like himself. And Hunter does nothing to make him think otherwise.
On the surface, Jerry and Hunter seem like a great match. But Jerry is pretending to be more intellectual than he really is and feigning interest in Hunter's hobbies. Hunter is pretending to be an alpha male, macho in every way, when all he secretly wants is to pursue his love of literature and submit to a more dominant lover. As much as Hunter hates to admit it, he's very attracted to Rodney.
I love stories where the little dude is the top and the big stud-muffin is the bottom. These two have amazing chemistry. This book was pure reading pleasure.
I definately like this one better than the first of the series. I think it was because there was more development of the relationship. I also liked how the flamboyant smaller man was the top. This is one of those stories where the two MC's don't just fall in love and jump in bed right away. They each have dates with different men to start with. I like the Laguna beach setting and am currious who the next story in the series is going to be about.
Have mercy on me for I have condemned a B Book for flat characters, a man who faked being an alpha in such a way it was redunculous, a friend sleeping with another friend's sex partner secretly, a self deprecating fake queen who I disliked, and who used the word "darling" 10x's too many. I did not hate this read, but I didn't like it either. The cover fooled me. Soo not for me.
LOVED..LOVED...LOVED, this story. How awesome is Roman, I think she has developed a character that makes you want to continue with the series, just to hear a little more of him,... and she did not disappoint with the 3rd edition of the Balls to Wall series (Snow Balls). I will look forward to number 4. And OH YES!!! THE SEX IS SUPER SMOKING! Excellent writing.
Sweet story. Complex subjects with a too easy resolution because of the length of the story. Still it all worked, the characters were wonderful especially. I liked it and hope to continue the sooner than I did with this one after the first!
Nice but definitely too short. There was not enough time for me where they developed feelings for each other ... because as far as I understood, the only time they were alone, they had sex Nevertheless, it was a nice story ... loved that the roles were reversed here
Fire Balls wouldn't be Fire Balls without Rodney. He's a fantastic character-he may be a smaller guy, but his personality and attitude make him a true powerhouse, vibrant and strong. Hunter at first comes across as a closet case-made more so by the attitude he gets from others at work and perceived pressure from his father. And while at first he seems like a typical alpha male firefighter, once we learn more about him we find his preferences in the bedroom don't necessarily reflect the stereotypical norm you'd expect.
The story starts with the two of them actually seeing other people, and while Rod doesn't continue seeing his guy Hunter does continue seeing his-who just happens to be Rod's very good friend. This does make certain scenes awkward since Rod and Hunter do get physical before you'd expect (*minor spoiler* so here's your cheating warning if you don't like that in your books), though this does seem to work out in the end. Rod and Hunter together? Hot. So very, very hot-and a nice change from your conventional matchup of an alpha male/flamboyant queen that you might think you'd get.
Fire Balls is lighthearted for the most part, with a bit of drama thrown in. Jerry is a good supporting character and gives readers plenty of smiles. I did feel bad for him during those awkward scenes I mentioned, but things worked out for him as well and he was okay with everything (though that doesn't necessarily excuse those scenes). I'm really wanting to read Jerry's story now, as he's such a sweet guy that I very much want to see him get his own happy ending.
This story fits the series well, and for me Rodney is absolutely the one who makes this book everything it is. It's a quick and entertaining read, and does make me want to continue on with the series. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content, and again keep in mind my warning of the awkward scenes I mentioned previously if you're not into that. My overall rating is a 3.5 as those scenes did knock off a full star for me.
*3.5 Stars* Having met Rodney is Volley Balls, I was excited to get his story. And I enjoyed seeing him win over Hunter!
*** Fire Balls was another quick and sweet read in this series!
Having met Rodney in Volley Balls, I was eager for this talented artist and matchmaker to find his own match. And the match Rod has his eye on is one hot firefighter. Unfortunately, Rod's friend, Jerry, having no inkling of Rod's crush, sets his eyes on Hunter as well. Rod, being the selfless man he is, hands Hunter to Jerry on a platter, even coaching Jerry on dating conversation. Besides, Rod is a small, "all-fairy" sort of gay man who Hunter wouldn't never have any interest in. Right?
I quite enjoyed Fire Balls. We got to spend some quality time with both Rod and Hunter and I liked getting to know them. Rod really is talented and selfless. He also has some self-esteem issues with his physical appearance. Hunter is also smart and selfless - living his life for his dad's ideals rather than his own. These two together were a match - especially intellectually.
I did wish, however, that I'd gotten to spend more time with them as a couple. Although I feel like I got to know them individually, as a couple things happened pretty quickly and the "L" word is bandied about early on - too quickly, in my opinion. If there'd been more time spent watching their feelings bloom, the relationship would have more depth for me.
Fire Balls was a fun read though despite my issue with the fast pace of the relationship development. I thoroughly delighted in Rod and Hunter finding their match in each other. And I'm excited to meet the next couple in this series.
**I received a complimentary copy as part of a blog tour. My review is provided voluntarily.**
kay, so... this is the first book I've read in this series, but not with this author. I wasn't a fan of the Laguna ones, but I thought the blurb looked good for this one.
Rod. a.k.a. Roman, is a famous local artists. He's flamboyant and flashy, and seems self confident, but he's got extremely low self esteem. We meet him when he's walking by the firestation trying to get a good look at the man he's been half in love with... Hunter.
Hunter is gay but doesn't wanna be. Living the life that his dad wants him to live, he was kind of annoying in the beginning. There's nothing worse than a gay man who hates to be gay. He wasn't as bad as this Mick character... Mick was another firefighter but he had the mentality of a 5 year old. Homophobic and just ignorant as they get. His insults were so juvenile and the way he said people's names... literally, ya'll... he sounded like a child. I was glad when he got laid out and we never saw him again. I'm pretty sure he'll still be around though because I got the feeling that he'd been heard from before, like in the last book that I didn't read.... He's a definite closet case but he's disgusting and infantile.
The story itself is cute... another thing I didn't care for was the dialogue... I mean, do people really talk like that, "darling? "... Jerry, although a good friend and a sweet guy... He was the dullest blade in the bunch. The way he spoke, the things he said... I actually cringed several times. I also couldn't get passed the fact that Hunter slept with Jerry... I think it might have ruined some of it for me, even though I was glad he got over his homophobia and let himself love Rod. I thought Rod deserved more than that. ... I mean, Hunter really came through in the end, and I guess that's all that matters.
3.5 stars for me. *I received this story by the publisher with the promise of an honest and unbiased review*
I picked this book up, because one of the characters was a firefighter and it turned out he didn't even want to be one and by the end of the story he even decided to change his profession xD
I still liked it, though I've had some issues. First of all, I didn't like the whole thing with Jerry. Let me say, that I'm not overly touchy-feely about cheating, but here it was uncomfortable for me to read. The first time Rodney and Hunter had sex I could understand - the heat of the moment and such, but after that they kinda continued to live their separate lives as if nothing happened and then they had sex another time - and still nothing, no word about Jerry, no talking to Jerry about what had happened. And the pep talk from Hunter's family had been just icing the cake for me. Seriously I get, that Jerry's not very bright, but still I can't imagine, how it'd feel to have your boyfriend's family tell him in front of you, that they think he's in love with another person and btw you're not in love with him either! I can't comprehend it! Why not pull Hunter aside and talk to him in private is beyond me. Yeah Jerry's cool about the whole thing, but that was so extremely insensitive and intrusive and rude it spoiled the story for me a great deal.
But I liked everything after the fire in Rodney's studio till the end. It was intense and tender and I wish there was more about Hunter and Rodney's story, than about Hunter (thinking Rodney's just some flaming queen) and Jerry with Rodney pining on the side.
This book was a very enjoyable and light-hearted read, with unexpected surprises offered by the protagonists. The novel felt well-balanced in its constitutive elements: a linear plot with few complications, rounded characters with hidden facets and great dialogue. In fact, both Rodney and Hunter were a study in contrasts, which rendered them particularly interesting.
I fiercely wanted to hug Rod because he had such a sparkling personality, always kind and thoughtful towards others, even putting his best friend Jerry's needs and interests above his own. His unwillingness to compromise who he truly is, how he fought to accomplish a career as an artist, along with his vulnerable side - all tugged at my heartstrings.
I did not really warm up to Hunter, probably because of his derogatory thoughts regarding Rod's physical appearance and what the latter represented. I sympathised with Hunter's conflicting feelings, how he suppressed his true self and basically constructed an alter-ego purely to make his father happy: career, environment, hobbies, friends, even the type of boyfriend. It felt as if Hunter had taken this alter-ego to the extreme without a solid reason, leading a life that almost never reflected his actual wishes. Then the sudden change towards the end felt rather forced, at least to me.
Nevertheless, I was so glad to see Rod get the happily-ever-after he deserved with the man of his dreams. A recommended book!
Kel's Review: This is not the first time I have reviewed Ms. Lain's books. I really love her as an author and have enjoyed her stories immensely. She has a way of drawing me in and hooking me. I can't seem to ever put the book down! Her new book Fire Balls is no different. I fell in love with Rod and Hunter instantly. This story has romance, love and of course hot steamy sex!
Hunter is a gay man who is a firefighter that has a rugged sexy look to him. Rod is an artist who has a small frame and a little on the eccentric side...someone that Hunter could never imagine himself with. Rod has been in love with Hunter for a long time but has never had the courage to talk to him. Enter Jerry, who is Rod's good friend. In a twist of events, Rod and Hunter finally meet. Sparks instantly fly for Rod but how does Hunter feel? Can Hunter get passed his stereotypical feelings and look at Rod differently? Can Rod help him realize that it isn't about what you look like but more about how you feel?
Ms. Lain does a fantastic job with expressing Rod and Hunter's feelings throughout the book. I have said this before but I really enjoy books that tell the story from each main character's perspective. It really makes the story so much clearer for me. Not to mention the sex parts....WOW!!!
So if you can't tell....I highly recommend reading Fire Balls by Tara Lain. It is a sweet romantic story about discovering what is important in life....which without question is love!!!