“Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know? Do you get what you're hoping for when you look behind you there's no open door. What are you hoping for? Do you know?” ~ Dianna Ross
Billy Ballew is a great guy, but not so lucky in love. Billy has had three failed engagements and as hard as he tries, Billy just can't seem to get it right. He's confused, but deep down, he suspects that he's simply not that attracted to women. When Shaz comes into his life, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny the fact that he prefers men. When he realizes he's in love with Shaz, Billy knows he has a lot of soul searching to do. If Billy can't face the truth and act on it, he may lose the best chance for happiness he will ever have.
Billy is the quintessential all-American boy. He's handsome, considerate, affectionate, hardworking, and loyal. A high school dropout, Billy has pulled himself up by his bootstraps. Billy teaches himself to read and becomes successful in his job. The only thing holding him back is his feelings of insecurity concerning test taking. After meeting Shaz, his fantasy lovers begin have Shaz's face and it scares him. Billy is confused about his strong attraction to Shaz. He has never seriously considered that he might be gay, but the chemistry between him and Shaz makes it hard to deny. For Billy, accepting that he is gay seems impossible, especially in the blue-collar world where Billy works. He's struggled so hard to get where he is and he's afraid if the men he works with find out he's gay, they will shun him, or even worse, he will lose their respect. Billy is worried about disappointing his family, particularly his mother, who wants marriage and children to be in his future. Also, there is the little league team. Will they want a gay man coaching their kids?
Shaz likes Billy from the beginning when Shaz was being threatened and Billy took up for him. He is pleasantly surprised when Billy comes into his shop for a makeover at the insistence of his sister and mom to snazz him up in preparation for his sister's wedding. Shaz assumes that Billy is straight and knows all about the pitfalls and heartbreak of wanting a straight man. Shaz really likes Billy and, in spite of it all, wants to be friends with him. As different as they appear, he and Billy actually have common interests like shopping for used furniture, so they get together and find that they have an awesome time together. It's no wonder Shaz admires Billy. Besides being gorgeous, Shaz also admires his strong work ethic, especially since like Billy, Shaz has built his business up from practically nothing to amazingly successful. Their first sexual encounter is less than ideal, but it is mostly because Billy is overwhelmed with all these new thoughts and feelings. He's still conflicted about being gay. Fortunately Shaz understands and tries his best to be patient.
This is such a wonderfully endearing story with characters I couldn't help but love. Billy and Shaz each have their special merits and differences, but at heart, Billy and Shaz want the same thing; a life partner with whom each can depend on and a love which will last. Tara has a way of making each story idea feel new, regardless of the ingredients and how they are arranged. Also, Tara stays far away from stereotypes which make her characters extra special. If you want a story which is full of vibrant characters, whether friend or foe, angst, hot sex, and, of course, a happy ending, then this book may be for you. Thanks, Tara! I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.