Thanks for having me here today Cerise and letting me share this final installment in the Gin & Jazz series. I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you as well. The books all take place during the Roaring Twenties and feature the exploits of several men who trudge their way through the pitfalls and decadence of Hollywood. This one can be read as a standalone as it tells the complete love story of two men from the series who haven’t been able to find their HEA yet. Poor guys…
The past few years haven’t been kind to fading film star, Roman Pasquale. But then again, he was never very kind to anyone else either. He’s had time to reminisce on his mistakes and to accept responsibility for how he hurt others. Now that Global Studios has turned its back on him, he’s had to sell his grand estate and start over in a modest apartment.
His former co-star, actress Maude Simons, suggests that he meet with new playwright, Max Vogel. Not only will he get the chance to be the star again, Roman can really use the money. What he doesn’t expect is how strongly he’s attracted to the easygoing, confident young man—and the very wicked thoughts he has about him.
Playwright and director, Max Vogel, is delighted that the great Roman Pasquale has agreed to star in his play. What he is unprepared for however, is the intense physical spark that ignites the moment they meet. He’s been warned of Roman’s reputation for being difficult to work with, but he’s willing to take the risk—even though his career depends on the success of this one play.
Max needs to coax a heartfelt performance out of Roman, and Roman needs to live up to his resolve to be a better man. But maybe the real issue is whether or not the director and actor can resist the passion they have for one another, a lust so strong that it catches them unaware. Is their lust really love? Or will the drive for success destroy any hope for a happily-ever-after?
Exclusive Excerpt from Play Acting (Gin & Jazz 7)
“How may I be of help to you, sir?”
The host spoke in a flat tone of voice, regarding him with expert indifference.
Did I really enjoy this charade at one time?
“I’m meeting a Mr Max Vogel at one o’clock. Has he arrived?”
Roman made certain that his tone and expression was just as apathetic.
“Mr Pasquale, I presume?”
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes and fought to keep his disdain for the smug host under control.
“Yes, you may presume.”
“Right this way, sir.”
Already Roman wanted to escape, to go back to his apartment that had managed to become a safe haven for him within a very short time. The entire business of being out and about, prancing around as though he were still the same exalted film star of before had him unnerved, sweating—even trembling. He had the bizarre sensation that he reeked of fear, of desperation. That this Max person would immediately spot it and Roman would be exposed for the giant failure that he was.
As they passed the long family style tables they eventually reached a secluded section that contained private booths. Rounding the corner, Roman spotted him. It was Max, he was sure of it. He was seated at the far end of the room in a half moon shaped booth. He had one arm draped casually over the back of the cushion. His body was in a state of complete relaxation, a slight look of contentment on his face. Roman was too far away still to ascertain many details about the young man, except that Maude had been right about her basic assessment. He was young. He had dark curly hair. And he appeared not to have a care in the world.
When they were within almost five feet of the table, the bored host spoke up.
“Mr Vogel? Your party has arrived.”
Max snapped his head in Roman’s direction, an easy smile lighting up his face—his rather attractive face. He leaned up, reaching across the table with his hand extended. Roman accepted his offer, the warmth of Max’s strong fingers curling around his own unexpectedly enjoyable.
“Mr Pasquale, it’s a great honor.”
Shocked at his own reaction, Roman reluctantly pulled his hand away after giving Max’s a final squeeze.
“The honor is all mine, Mr Vogel.”
He’d said it as he’d unbuttoned his suit coat, elegantly lowering himself into the booth. Max was seated in the very middle at the curve, and Roman sat to his right. Since Roman was over six feet tall, he was mindful not to stretch his legs out too far or he would be in danger of nudging Max’s feet. He swallowed, suddenly uncomfortable in a way he hadn’t been in a long while.
“Please call me Max.”
Roman smiled in the slightest. Yes. He wanted to call him Max.
“Then you must call me Roman.”
“I’d like that.”
Max still had an easy smile on his lips and he gazed at Roman with what he could best describe as an open and honest expression. It was impossible for Roman to keep from completely studying him. It was hard to ascertain what his body was like exactly underneath the suit jacket, but he appeared trim. The mop of curly hair was being vainly held at bay on the sides with some pomade—however, it seemed that Max had given up on taming it completely.
But it was the man’s eyes that held him. They were a lighter shade of green that was brighter than any he’d ever seen before. Set in the pale skin and contrasting with the dark hair, the overall effect was breathtaking.
Roman pursed his lips and adjusted himself in the booth.
“If this restaurant isn’t suitable for you, we can go somewhere else. I want you to be comfortable.”
Max appeared to be eyeing him in a concerned way. In a way that no one had bothered to look at him in a very long while. Maude may be concerned about him at times, but she’d certainly never looked at him like that.
“This is quite acceptable, my dear Max.” He made a show of glancing about the room with interest. “I’ve heard wonderful things.”
Max’s captivating eyes lit up. “Oh marvelous, you haven’t been here before? I’d love to share with you some of my favorite things they have. What do you like? I can make some suggestions.” He stopped, turning almost shy for a moment. “That is, if you don’t mind.”
Roman cleared his throat and tried to maintain his composure. All thoughts of potential employment had been temporarily eradicated. Something told him that he needed to keep all of his focus on not behaving like a complete dolt in front of the sensuous morsel seated next to him. He held no delusions that the delicious Max Vogel would ever be interested in his ancient ass, but regardless, Roman didn’t want to make a fool of himself.
“Not at all. I’m sure any suggestions you make would be quite enjoyable.” A bit of his previous rakishness had come to the surface before he could prevent it. “I love it when a man knows what he wants.”
Dear Lord. I do believe my cock is actually hardening.
Max’s eyes widened just enough so that it was noticeable. “Excellent. I’ll bring the waiter over so we can order lunch and get to know one another a bit before we move on to business. Unless you’re pressed for time?”
Oh yes, I’m so frightfully busy these days.
“I cleared my schedule just for you, Max. You may have me for as long as you wish.”
Max’s cheeks reddened a tad and Roman had to adjust himself again. He was most definitely hard for the delightful man. It had been so long since he’d felt real desire for someone, he’d thought it no longer possible.
“I’m very glad to hear that. Let’s enjoy our meal then.”
Max favored him with a warm smile.
I would like to enjoy much more with you, Max Vogel.
Available at Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/play-acting
You can find Morticia lurking about at these places:www.morticiaknight.blogspot.com