Played! (Shamwell Tales Book 2) by J.L. Merrow 2 Stars
Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.
As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.
Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realises his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtain’s even opened.
There are some lovely moments in this book but overall its very unsatisfying.
Tristan is not very self reflective, entitled, self centered, arrogant and often cruel. He is 24 not 6 and as an actor one would hope be way more in touch than he is.
I think Merrow sets him up to be a study in unexamined privilege but he but he is mean and so thoughtless his road back to redemption needs to be longer than this book allows. We also have to spend time with his even more awful friends Amanda and that is not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Con is lovely but a bit of a doormat. The rest of the plot is engaging which is why I finished it but Tristan should have had to work harder and longer on his change to get a HEA.