Title: Prince of the Playhouse
Series: Love in Laguna 03
Author: Tara Lain
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 4th 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit
Blurb: Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his 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.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7550
Portia’s Review: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Ru has had a crush on Gray…forever.
Posed to finally have his fashion designs recognized and shown at Spring Fashion Week, he doesn’t have time to give to anything else. Until, the owner of his community theater asks him to design the costumes for a summer play, staring…(gasp) Gray Anson.
I LOVE this series. The stories weave together seamlessly. So, whether you read them in order, or as standalones, you are guaranteed an enjoyable experience. No one creates characters like Tara Lain.
For me, this was Gray’s story. Ru was already on his second lifetime, and despite his little quirks, is happy with his life. Gray, on the other hands, feels like he is living a lie. A very lucrative lie, but a lie nonetheless.
And for me it was about much more than coming out. Professionally, Gray learns so much about himself. And I loved watching Ru support him.
Truth be told, with a name like Portia, I probably would have loved any Shakespearean story that Tara had chosen.
If you love sweet romance, well-developed characters, enough intrigue to keep you turning pages, and a crash course on Hamlet…The Prince of the Playhouse is a must read.
Aerin’s Review: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
I’ve been looking forward to Ru’s story ever since I first met him, because I have a certain weakness for flaming, artistic types and Ru is definitely that. One thing I can say with 100% certainty is that Ru didn’t disappoint at all! The other main character, Gray Anson, is who I had big problems with; his behavior was disappointing and infuriating, and I wanted someone else for Ru because Ru deserved better than being someone’s dirty little secret.
The writing was great, I can’t complain about that at all, and while some parts were totally ridiculous, they blended perfectly with the overall sense of silliness and amusement this series as a whole has. I really loved the complexity of Ru’s character, because what you see is a flaming, effeminate, in-your-face clothing designer, but what you get is a former gangbanger, slightly domineering guy who likes to give orders in the bedroom and who’s definitely a top. I just love the contradictions and the fact that they all fit together perfectly to make Ru a character who’s charming and who makes a lasting impression.
Ru has been fantasizing about actor Gray Anson for a few years now, and he couldn’t believe his luck when fate puts them in each other’s path. Gray Anson has taken the opportunity to expand his acting repertoire by accepting a role as Hamlet in a modern-day Shakespeare production. The instant attraction between them is obvious (to them at least), but Gray is so deeply closeted, his closet has a zip code of its own and Gray can’t imagine ever finding his way out; Gray is an action hero and we all know that gay men can’t play action heroes….do you detect a hint of sarcasm? Well maybe this is a real issue but I can’t imagine that people would refuse to watch a spectacular action movie just because the main character is gay; unless the actor has no talent for acting and is mediocre at best, which comes back to talent and not sexuality. But let’s suppose I’m that naive and have no clue what I’m really talking about.
There were a few plot problems that I couldn’t really believe no matter how much I wanted to. One of them is the reason Gray and Ru started spending so much time together; Gray couldn’t understand his character in the play and therefore completely sucked at acting. Let’s say that could possibly happen and nobody on Gray’s staff made sure Gray knew what he was getting into to start with. On what planet is Ru a professional acting coach? I get that there needed to be a reason for Gray and Ru to spend time together, but why couldn’t it be due to an inexplicable need to be around each other? Or the fact that they maybe enjoyed spending time together?
Also, I wanted to tell Ru numerous times that he should seek emergency medical services because an erection that lasts more than a few hours is extremely dangerous. Ru got so many erections that the current one didn’t even go completely away before the next one popped up again, that I became bored with his erections. That never happened before, but there’s always an opportunity to experience new things I guess. All these things I’ve been complaining about weren’t really all that bad considering I’ve started this book prepared for this level of silliness.
What I wasn’t prepared for and couldn’t really get past was Gray’s constant struggle with hiding his sexuality. I thought that Ru deserved better than having to see Gray with women all the time and being denied his true status. And the denial went all the way until the last chapter or so, and it really was disappointing and frustrating. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I thing two characters are not well suited together. This was one of those cases where I wanted someone else for Ru, and I believe Bernardo would’ve been a much better fit.
Overall a nice story, humorous and even a little fluffy, but despite Ru being my favorite character in this series, this was my least favorite book.