Title: Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 266
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland has let obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.
Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.
Food arrived. Ru had ordered the salmon, one of his faves, and Gray copied him. Merle had gone for Rick’s famous fish sandwich, as had most of the others. As the waiter placed the plates in front of Ru and Gray, Gray’s napkin dropped to the floor between his legs. He scooted back, spread his knees so he could reach between them, and managed to press the full length of his hard-muscled thigh against Ru’s. Perfect paralysis. Don’t move, don’t speak, don’t make him aware of what he’s done. Shocks of heat streaked into Ru’s balls, and he enjoyed the boil.
Gray snagged the napkin, scooted his chair back in, and—didn’t move his leg. From knee to hip, his long limb rested fully against Ru’s. Didn’t he notice? Was being pressed against another man normal for him? Maybe an action-star thing?
Forget about food, conversation, breathing. Don’t miss a moment.
Artie started talking to Gray about some entertainment industry thing. Gray ate heartily. Nothing abnormal or extraordinary going on in his universe. Ru pushed his salmon on the plate and gazed into near space, every ounce of his consciousness living in his tingling flesh.
Ru’s glance flicked up to find Merle staring at him. “Sorry?”
“Boy, you were a million miles away. Designing costumes?”
“Oh yes.” He liked Merle. He didn’t want to wish the guy would shut up so he could listen to the sound of his balls expanding.
Merle lowered his voice. “I wondered if you’d like to get that drink we didn’t quite get to have later?”
Gray shifted and pressed his knee harder. Ru sucked wind. “Oh!”
Merle cocked his head. “Is that an unexpected invitation?” He grinned. “I did everything except hire a billboard.”
“Oh no. Sorry. I, uh, have so much to do—”
“It’s not really late. We could go over to the Ocean Bar for a little while, and then you can get home to your designs.”
Gray turned abruptly to Ru. “Did you talk with Artie about your great design concepts for the Hamlet character?”
“Oh no, not yet.”
Artie grinned. “I’m all ears.”
Ru glanced at a deflated-looking Merle but launched into an explanation of his glamorized gangster costume. The more he talked, the more excited he got. “It immediately sets Hamlet apart from his family and everyone else. He has other allegiances, a different take on the world. When he says ‘to be or not to be,’ he’s not just depressed and melancholy. He’s seriously considering his options, and they’re violent.”
Gray started beating out a rap rhythm on the edge of the table. “To be or not to be. Yeah, to be or not to be. That’s the question in front of me.”
The others laughed, and Merle joined in.
Ru nodded. “Horatio would have some of the same gang colors as Hamlet, but we can see that he’s being sucked in by the man.”
Artie clapped. “Brilliant idea, Ru.”
“But remember, this will be fashion, not costume, so it will suggest the look but not be slavish.”
“Can’t wait to see it.”
Beverly nodded and sipped more wine. “Amajing. Ruj’s amajing.”
Ru sat back and smiled. Even while he’d been rapping, Gray had never moved his leg. If anything, he’d pressed it harder against Ru. Jesus, he wanted to pull Gray to his feet and press more than their legs together.
Penelope leaned forward and looked toward Ru. “I agree, you’re amazing.”
He nodded. “Why, thank you, lovely lady.” It made him feel a little squirmy to think he was lusting after this woman’s boyfriend, but maybe she and Gray had some kind of agreement?
She put a hand on Gray’s arm. “I think I should ask him.”
Gray frowned. “No, not now.”
“No better time. Ru, I’m soon going to be looking for a designer for my wedding gown, and I’d like to invite you to submit a concept. It’s not right away. I know you’re working on a collection, but I wanted to tell you, so you can keep my needs in mind.”
Ru didn’t move. Even his heart must have quit. He couldn’t hear it beating over the rushing in his ears.
Love in Laguna Series
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”