Title: Summer Stock
Author: Vanesssa North
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 15th 2017
Page Count: 239
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey. How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?
Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.
As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.
“I used to be jealous of the sand. It got swept out and away while I was stuck here like a lighthouse with the waves beating against me. You hear me?” Ryan turned around and touched Trey’s lips.
“You brought me home safely.”
First and foremost…I think I found my favorite dog character, you guys. I fell so hard for Ferdy, Trey’s dog. HUGE dog with flapping jowls, that acts like a puppy, loves chewing underwear and sleeps with all four feet in the air. I’m gone for Ferdy, I’m telling you. I loved him more than the MCs.
I’m not usually a fan of stories about celebrities, especially Hollywood actors. I’m glad I picked up this book, though, as it made me realise my own prejudices against said stories. All that glitters is not gold, but not everything is fake either, and the characters in Summer Stock made me see that.
Ryan and Trey are deeply flawed characters (aka real human beings). They don’t always say the right things, they inadvertently hurt others, they sabotage themselves, they are not strong enough (yet).
Ryan isn’t a celebrity cliche, not in my eyes. Yes, he came in Banker’s Shoals to avoid a scandal, and yes, there were paparazzi and the classic Hollywood stuff involved, but this didn’t overtake the story. Ryan might be a celebrity but I liked the humble, genuine way he loved his art, and how commited he was to it. And I appreciated that he didn’t have the poor little rich boy attitude.
What I loved the most, though, is that by the end of this book, Trey and Ryan had really grown as characters. There was a point toward the end where I thought it would all go to shit, but Vanessa North doesn’t do melodrama, and I liked how it all played out.
As for the steam…holy shit, the steam! These two had crazy chemistry, and the sex scenes were scorching hot. Also, hottest FaceTime sex ever!
Extra points for the great bi representation, and the inclusion of alternative lifestyles and diverse characters in the secondary cast.
The ending was a HEA in my book, and the epilogue was lovely. Look at these guys on the cover! They look so happy! This is how I remember Try and Ryan: happy, goofy, and in love.