Title: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna: Book Five)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 274 Pages
At a Glance: I totally recommend this book and this series from Tara Lain. If you are looking for solid romance with a sprinkling of angst and a heartwarming HEA, then this book and this series are for you.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.
Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?
Review: If you have not read the books from Tara Lain’s Love in Laguna series then… Why haven’t you??!! Lain has created a universe of feel good romances with sexy men, interesting dialogue, solid and realistic plotlines, and heartwarming HEAs. Fool of Main Beach falls right in line with the other books of the series, and features another great pairing in Merle and Tom. Oh, and a big shout out to Reese Dante, who has done the covers on these books; they are amazing! The books in this series are all written as standalones; however, Lain’s characters overlap so reading more than one gives you a better feel for the universe she has created and a more rounded view of some of the characters.
Merle Justice plays a teenage heartthrob vampire on TV. Even though he was nominated for an Emmy Award for the role, he still doesn’t feel like he’s worth the hype. Merle has discovered that trying to get directors to take you seriously as an actor, while simultaneously playing a vampire on television, is rough. Coming from a family of academic overachievers, Merle has always felt out of place and singular. Not fitting in with his family and not fitting in with the Hollywood movers and shakers either, he has convinced himself that being alone makes him happy. Until he is saved on the beach one night by a behemoth of a man who has a heart of gold and an intelligence not many take the time to recognize.
Tom Henry is a construction worker. Life hasn’t been all that good to Tom, but so far, he has taken it all in stride, and he takes time every day to appreciate what he has. Lain has written Tom’s character to run a fine line between totally guileless and a bit clueless. He isn’t slow or intellectually disabled, even though on first glance you might think he is. Tom is just a real simple person. He loves his job; has a boss who trusts him; he looks after his sister, Lily; and volunteers at the animal shelter. His life is good—almost. Tom doesn’t have many friends. Most aren’t willing or don’t take the time to look beyond the façade and see the man underneath. When Tom rescues Merle on the beach, the two become friends and unlikely lovers.
Merle spread his hand. “I only have one definition of happiness and that’s spelled T-O-M.” “That’s, that’s me.” “Right. T-O-M spells the kindest, most together, loving, and smart guy I’ve ever known. I know it’s a lot to ask. You’ll be taking a big chance on a-you know, actor. But honestly, I’ve tried to see my life some other way. I’ve even wanted to want it some other way, but I’ve only ever been truly happy when I’m with you.”
I’m not going to lie. The road to HEA for these two is full of potholes. Lain took two divergent stereotypes here and found a path to harmony, but it took a bit. I have to admit to reading a good portion of the book with a skeptical lens, but the resolution was worth the wait and highly rewarding. Many of the books in this series are about shedding stereotypes, being true to yourself and discovering what makes you truly happy and going for it. This book is no exception. Sometimes overcoming the voice in your head is the hardest obstacle and that is certainly true for Merle and Tom. I have enjoyed all the books in this series, and seeing the characters recur in later stories has been like visiting with old friends. I was relieved to the point of exhaustion when Merle and Tom finally quit listening to all the other voices in their lives and just concentrated on themselves and their love. The epilogue is perfect and shows how these two men melded together and made their love work.
I totally recommend this book and this series from Tara Lain. If you are looking for solid romance with a sprinkling of angst and a heartwarming HEA, then this book and this series are for you.
You can buy Fool of Main Beach here: