T.A. Chase hits a sure point with this novel with me, since the show business theme is one of my favorite, probably due to the fact that I love to see an happily ever after where usually I don't find them, and since I know that, despite some good changings happening in the movie industry, it's still not easy to be out and proud, and the stars who decide to be have not easy life.
So basically this is a cinderfella type of story, with the big Hollywood star, Ryan, who falls in love for the poor bartender, Josh, who has to work three jobs and has no time to be starstruck by the pretty actor. And here is maybe the most original point of the novel, T.A. Chase turns the table, and the cinderfella became the knight in shining armor, or better the big bear who will take good care of his lover. Josh can be the one with the less lucrative job, but he is not for sure the on a lower level than Ryan, on the contrary what draws Ryan to him is the feeling of being safe and sheltered in Josh's arm. This is a common point that I have already found in T.A. Chase's story: he is a favorite of mine since he often has characters living in the glittering world of the show business, or at least in an "in the spotlight" position, but those men are not unreachable or aloof, they are most of the time the boy next door who finds himself living in something bigger than him, and who still needs the comfort embrace of a lover. I like the mix of cuteness and coquetteness that is Ryan, and how he is ready to loosen up in the arms of the right lover.
Not only in this case Ryan needs the safe shelter of his lover's arms, he is also a submissive for nature, and he wouldn't have been happy with a lover who looked upon to him like the leader in the relationship. Being Josh a self-assured man, he is perfect for Ryan: the inner strength of Josh well balances the difference in social status of the two men, and then, the difference is still fresh, since it's not long ago that Ryan was still a struggling actor came to Hollywood from a little province town. Again this is another common element in T.A. Chase's stories, the origins of his characters are simple and down to earth, and they have solid basis that allow them to remain with the head on their shoulders and not being corrupted by the big bad world. There is always an homey feeling in those books, even if we are dealing with movie stars or professional sports players.
As I said, what probably I like most is that the story is a good and strong romance which leads steadily and fast towards a romantic happily ever after; the two heroes have to face some pretty bad moments, but they are never so bad to distract the reader from what is the main event, the love story. There was never one doubt that in a way or the other, the two men would have found a way to be together, and what started like a one single night of hot sex has good basis to become a last long relationship. Probably yes, what bonds Ryan and Josh in a good and strong knot is their perfect agreement in bed, and the fact to be the top in bed allows Josh to not feel like an addendum to Ryan; never once I felt him doubt his position (pun very much intended) with Ryan, if there were trouble for them, it was not due to their personal and sexual relationship, and the reader has plenty of proves in the good and numerous sex scenes, that, as usual, are detailed without being an exercise in style. Those are sex scenes you can read and enjoy without having to hurry up to seeing what happens next.
Amazon Kindle: Tabloid Star
With This Ring (A Tabloid Star Story) by T.A. Chase
A story about a marriage can't be anything else if not sweet and romantic, and as usually, the added spicy is given by the sex, that in a T.A. Chase's book is always a right mix of nice and naughty.
Almost in contraposition on how their story started, trying to avoid public display of affection, Ryan and Josh decide to marry and to do it in plain air. Among the few U.S. states that allow it, they choose Vermont and to end in the best way the most important year of their life, the ceremony will be held at midnight on the New Year Eve.
This type of novella, usually seasonal novella, is always an occasion to group old and new friends in a single book, and so here we meet Garrett and CJ, from High Line, there is also a reference to Garrett’s brother, Kasey and his lover Gram, and also Josh’s friends, Morgan and Vance, made their appearance. The new friends are Ryan’s parents, who support their son in his decision, even if they are alone in the family in doing so other than Ryan’s great aunt, Edna, a former vaudeville dancer of 90 years old.
Probably the most original and nice thing of the novella is the parallel development: in the day of their marriage, while they are waiting the midnight, Ryan and Josh remember the most important step that led to this day, from the night in which Ryan made his proposal to Josh, passing from the various moment when they shared the news with their dear friends and relatives, to that very morning, when Ryan received the unexpected support of the old lady.
There is obviously no drama, but only good feelings and a lot of hope, the hope that this type of stories, now very much fictional, will become so common in the future that people will have the chance to live them and not only dream.
Amazon Kindle: With This Ring: A Tabloid Star Story
http://samhainpublishing.com/print/a-tabloid-love-print (print book)
Amazon: A Tabloid Love
Cover Art by Anne Cain
ETA: I read on T.A. Chase's blog that Josh's character was inspired by Ari Levanael. Ari was one of my first Man Candy, you can find his post here: