A Balls to the Wall Romance
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.
First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.
(Book reviewed here previously)
Though this is the second book in the series, they are absolutely okay as standalones. I do like watching the progression, however, as each new couple (or triad!) meets and we see them in future stories.
Rod is the artist who painted David – if you read book one. He’s very flamboyant and he both loves and hates this about himself. He’s also not very tall, but he’s super tough and a black belt in Karate.
There’s a lot to this story that I love: I love Rodney. He’s a great character. Self assured. Charismatic. Colorful. Stereo-type defying. Hunter is unique as well. I love that Rodney helps Hunter but that it’s Hunter’s family who helps him the most.
What I didn’t love: the first two times Hunter and Rodney are together physically felt both like cheating and a little less than consensual. I don’t mean rape – while Rodney probably could hurt Hunter physically , he would never – but more mentally. I didn’t like that it was clear Hunter wasn’t mentally in a good place to make decisions, he was dating Jerry, and he didn’t want to want Rodney. I didn’t feel good about how Rodney sort of “seduced” him… it’s hard to explain but it clearly wasn’t something both men were on the same page about and it left both men feeling bad after it happened.
So, I’m conflicted about the rating, because I love Rodney and appreciate so much about the story, but that aspect really brought my appreciation of this story down. I’m going to go with 3 of 5 stars and leave it at that.
(I’m not sure if anything changed from the first edition to this one, but I’d read the original and couldn’t tell a difference, but it’d been a long time ago.)
3 of 5 stars
Nick J Russo is one of my favorite narrators ever, so it’s not unreasonable that I loved this just as much as any of his other narrations. He is so good at giving everyone unique voices and handling the sometimes awkward phrasing that the author has chosen.
I always know if Nick’s narrating I’ll be entertained and that the book will be undoubtedly elevated beyond just the reading of the material.
Recommended in this format!
5 of 5 stars for the narration