Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prince Of The Playhouse by Tara Lain - Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway

Prince of the Playhouse 
(Love in Laguna #3)
By Tara Lain


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. 

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You can order the paperback here.


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.

4 out of 5 stars
Prince of the Playhouse is the 3rd book in Tara Lain's Love in Laguna series. I could say that the books could be read as stand-alones but really the characters make appearances in each others books. So I'd suggest to read the entire series for the full effect and all the backstories. 

I've thoroughly enjoyed the Love in Laguna series and Ru and Gray's story was no different. Ru is a bit of an over the top character but no where near his best friend, Shaz. Ru has worked for Shaz but is now on the way to his first collection being shown at Fashion Week. Then after working a charity event, Ru is asked to design costumes for a contemporary revival of Hamlet. He considers turning it down because he can't possibly work on the play at the same time he's working on his collection. Then he finds out his secret obsession, Gray Anson is playing Hamlet. Well there's no way he can now pass up doing the costumes for the show. 

Gray Anson is a high powered action star who's living a shadow of a life. He's been told if his fans find out he's gay they won't see his movies any longer. He's too worried about those around him losing their jobs to realize that he's not happy until he meets Ru. It's a bit of a sucker punch when he sneaks in on one of the first rehearsals to have Ru measure him for his costumes. Ru is also surprised the first time he meets Gray because he's nothing like he expected. 

The romance between Gray and Ru is, while not an afterthought, it's more of a gradual not focused on part of the story. At first it's more of a sexual relationship while Ru and Gray work on the play together. It eases into them being more than just friends sharing sex as the story progresses. Since Gray is in the closet they really don't have a chance to date or go out with friends together. So most of the story between them takes place in Ru's home or random encounters when it was just sex. 

While the characters don't necessarily act their ages, mid-20's for both, they've lived such different lives that it honestly didn't bother me for them to act older. My missing star for the story is mostly that I felt there could have been a little more time spent on the developing romance between Gray and Ru. There was a lot going on in this story between the play, Gray hiding his sexuality, Ru's past history, and Ru's Fashion Week collection that it pulled time from romance. Now that's not to say that the romance didn't develop between them it's that it's more implied versus shown on page. I still enjoyed the book, loved Ru's character to pieces, and liked Ru and Gray as a couple when it finally happened. 

All in all this was another solid story from Tara Lain and I look forward to whatever book comes next! 

Love in Laguna Series

Available for purchase at 


Paperback from Dreamspinner 

Available for purchase at 


Paperback from Dreamspinner 

About the Author

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 M√©nage, 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”!

You can find Tara at



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  1. Thank you so much for reading Prince of the Playhouse!! And for having my guys on the blog. So delighted to be here! : )