Summer Stock (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: Summer Stock
Author: Vanesssa North
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Release Date: May 15th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 239
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 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.

Hollywood up-and-comer Ryan grew up in Banker’s Shoals on North Carolina’s scenic Outer Banks and is back doing summer stock in his cousin’s theater with strict orders from his agent to stay out of the tabloids. No problem … until a night of jalapeño margaritas with a hot townie named Trey ends with Ryan trapped outside Trey’s front door … with no pants. Cue the paparazzi and the headline Hollywood Playboy […] Caught Streaking in Banker’s Shoals!

Trey is slowly recovering from his ex-husband’s abuse, with the help of a therapist, and builds sets for the Shakespeare by the Sea theater every summer. Trey and Ryan begin a summer fling that is all kinds of sweet and very very sexy as Ryan helps Trey through panic attacks, they grow to trust each other and their goal for the summer is: “Can’t we just enjoy each other’s company and, I don’t know, leave each other better than we found each other?”

I really liked how this summer romance turns into a deep sustaining relationship for Ryan and Trey and felt it was the best part of the story. They aren’t perfect, they each say thoughtless things, but they apologize, they connect:

Something about his connection with Trey—though every bit as ephemeral—struck some deep place in his psyche he hadn’t known was crying out to be loved. Trey seemed to hunger for a lightness that Ryan found easy to give—and Trey gave him back depths he didn’t recognize in himself until Trey pointed them out.

While the subplot about Caro and Mason, and to a lesser extent West Brady and Ali, dragged down the flow of the story IMHO, I loved the chemistry between Trey and Ryan and their well-deserved HEA. 4 stars!

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Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader