Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Canning the Center by Tara Lain

Welcome, Tara Lain and readers! I've just read Tara's new release, Canning the Center, and want to recommend it to you as well. Tara's stopping by with some goodies, giveaways, and above all, a good story. Check out the review, and sign up for a goodie or two.If you like hunky football players, torch singers, and some crossed motives, this is your book for sure. Let's start off with the review.

Six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones loves football, so when he finds out the ultra-conservative owner of his new pro football team fired their current center because he’s gay, bisexual Jamal decides to stay in the closet and hang with the females. Then, at a small drag show, he comes face-to-face with his sexual fantasy in the form of Trixie LaRue, a drag queen so exquisitely convincing she scrambles Jamal’s hormones -- and his resolve to nurse his straight side.

Trevor Landry, aka Trixie LaRue, hides more than his genitals. A mathematician so brilliant he can’t be measured, Trevor disguises his astronomical IQ and his quirk for women’s clothes behind his act as a gay activist undergrad at Southern California University.

To Trevor, Jamal is the answer to a dream -- a man who can love and accept both his personas. When he discovers Jamal’s future is threatened if he’s seen with a guy, Trevor becomes Trixie to let Jamal pass as straight. But Trevor risks his position every time he puts on a dress. Is there a closet big enough to hold a football pro and a drag queen?


I really enjoyed the hours I spent reading these two men’s story. While I didn’t read the first book in the series, that’s my loss and not for long! Both men, while very different, had their strengths and their flaws, and had to work their way to an honest relationship.

Jamal, the soft spoken rookie NFL player, knows going in that being open about his bisexuality is going to create friction. If not from his fellow players, then from management, and he’s not encouraged by the object lesson that puts him in the starting lineup. He’s an honest man and resents the deception, and it only gets harder once he meets the fabulous Trixie Larue.

Jamal’s head over heels for Trevor as Trevor and Trevor as Trixie, who sings torch songs with pointed messages. Trevor has a pretty good idea of what Jamal’s up against in the way of keeping secrets and of opposition and support for being true to himself in public. After all, Trevor is part of the problem--he's behind the heat getting turned on the team about GLBT acceptance.  Still, he’s willing to appear in public as Trixie to keep Jamal in the team’s good graces.

Trevor was a slightly problematic character for me. He was willing to function far below capacity and starve himself intellectually in a field where brilliance shows early and quirks are practically required to fit in. Perhaps that was his point, but the sense of screaming WTF was a little loud. I wasn’t sold on his family situation either: his severely demented mother read like she was 80 years old, though his hateful brother rang unfortunately true. Just—so much was stuffed farther down than I could buy into. It did make his final blossoming that much sweeter. He also demonstrates some of the practical problems of dressing in drag, from the discomfort of tucking to how to camouflage an Adam’s apple.

Football of course permeates the story, not too much for someone who isn’t especially into the game, but enough for a very firm foundation. Jamal’s teammates have some complexity: Boogaloo’s in over his head in a few directions but wants the best for his sister and teammates, and Jet the quarterback wants to focus on the game and leave personal matters outside the stadium. Jamal’s family are good, loving people, with a fair amount of idealism. A few characters are drawn with something less than subtlety: Lavinda becomes Evil Harpy Version 5, but she does force a situation into directions no one would at first believe were positive.

The plot kept me turning pages, because Trevor and Jamal kept bashing into each other's issues, whether it was picketing outside the game, prospects evaporating with the truth, or getting introduced to family. The sex was hot, although two guys with that much to lose were awfully carefree about sex in public parking lots.

The ending had a certain “ripped from the headlines” quality that made me want to dance for the appropriateness of the justice and for the joy that Jamal and Trevor can openly take in one another at last. Whatever was drawn with a slightly heavy hand gets burned away in the final chapters, and the book left me with a smile and a sigh. 4.25 marbles

Now for the goodies! Find your copy at Dreamspinner, Amazon, and all your favorite retailers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”

Website: http://taralain.com/
Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralain
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/taralain
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain
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Trevor stuck out a hand. “My name’s Trevor. Pleased to meet you.”

Jamal reached out to take the offered handshake and—whoops! In one gentle pull on Trevor’s arm that clearly required no effort on Jamal’s part, Trevor was up against that huge chest. “I’m Jamal. I don’t mean to be presumptuous. Just tell me to stop. But if I don’t kiss you again soon, I’m a dead man.”

Trevor smiled up into those dark brown eyes. “I would never want to be accused of murder.”

Such full, full lips. They moved slowly down, down to Trevor’s. The first touch sent a flash like lightning through every nerve, and he shivered.

Jamal pulled back. “Cold?”

“Quite the contrary.” He wrapped his arms tightly around the bunny’s neck.

Invitation delivered. Jamal’s mouth closed over Trevor’s. Those lips were just as soft as they looked, but not as silky as the tongue that slipped into his mouth. Oh my, a girl could get drunk on this sweetness. Trevor opened and received, allowing exploration—and sharing it. His poor abused cock, which had spent a couple of hours locked between his asscheeks, wanted to stretch in a whole new direction. Sweet God, he hadn’t throbbed like this in ages. One leg crawled up Jamal’s ass all by itself—and it was a long way up. Too far to get his bulge anywhere near its rightful companion. His eyes popped open. “Well, damn. Not much chance of sexing you up unless we’re lying down.”

Jamal chuckled. “Oh no, sweet thing, there are advantages to all these muscles.”

He picked Trevor up under the butt. Yes! Contact.

Trevor looked into those melted chocolate eyes. “I am estimating your equipment fully matches in size the other proportions of your body?” He wrapped his legs around Jamal’s surprisingly narrow waist.

Instead of getting all peacocky like he had the right to, Jamal kind of blushed. “Yeah. Sorry.”

“Surely you jest.”

He grinned, but he was breathing hard. “So you don’t mind big all over?”

“Not one little bit.”

Jamal rode Trev up and down against his cock. Oh God, that felt so good. Trevor never had decent sex because he had this reputation to uphold, and Trixie never had sex at all. Jesus, that added up to one crappy sex life. But the bunny was like a world in the middle. With Jamal, for the first time, he got to be both Trevor and Trixie and that was whole and perfect and hot! “You might want to stop unless you would enjoy watching me wash these jeans.”

“Better yet, how about I take you out and we get to know each other before I quit football and take up fucking you full time?”

Who could laugh at a time like this? But he still did. He hugged that big, muscular frame tight and rubbed his cock against Jamal’s huge bulge until they were both gasping. “No. No, I think you better write the resignation letter.”

“Deal. But I could take us out for root beer floats first.”

Trevor stopped. “I love root beer.”

Jamal held him still, their cocks still squashed in bliss. “You’re kidding. No one likes root beer but me.”

“I do. It’s my favorite.”

“There’s this diner—”

“Okay, fuck sex. I need a root beer float and a hamburger.”
Read the rest: Dreamspinner, Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes and Noble


  1. Thanks so much for the review and excerpt!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

    1. This book has quite a lot going for it, so much so that I could overlook a often-used nickname. So you know I liked it.

  2. This was a great excerpt and I can't wait to read this book.


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