Twenty-eight year-old Thomas Walsh is a production assistant for a studio in Vancouver, Canada, and a closeted man. He’s almost a virgin, hiding his sexual identity following a personal nightmare and family tragedy that left his elder brother, Luke, dead. Thomas rarely returns to his home, and his grieving parents and younger sister feel the lack. Wracked by guilt, Thomas isolates himself from nearly everyone, and his iron will to atone for his “mistake” has made him ever more lonely. That doesn’t mean Thomas can’t appreciate a sexy leading man, and that includes the new star on the set, Peter.
Peter Erickson turns up on-set of a new indie film directed by his old friend, Lisette. She is one of few people that Peter believes knew about his clandestine relationship with a closeted power player, Desmond Lau. Peter had spent nearly ten years as Desmond’s “secret” lover and hadn’t really considered coming out.
When Peter arrives on set, he finds out Lisette has literally flipped the script, creating a gay love story instead of the sanitized het romance a disgraced producer had originally green-lighted. Peter is somewhat horrified by the prospect of playing a gay man in the film, because he’s spent years hiding his sexuality. Will this impact his cowboy-action hero mystique? Will people realize he’s gay? And, well, there’s the perky PA, Thomas, whose comments could easily be innuendoes.
So, eager-to-please-the-talent Thomas offers to show Peter some of the Vancouver highlights (from a budget-conscious standpoint) and they hit the food truck court on the sea wall. That’s where Thomas shares his favorite Tiger Tail ice cream with Peter, and a paparazzo catches their semi-suggestive interaction for a tabloid. That leads both Peter and Thomas to acknowledge a relationship that did not previously exist.
For me, there was a LOT of this plot that didn’t seem to make sense. Both Peter and Thomas are fiercely closeted men and, in a hot second—and following a completely innocent evening—are willing to “come out.” It boggled my mind. Likewise, the whole movie set-up was preposterous. Peter shows up one day, is told he’s playing the love interest to a man, and by the next day, they are reading lines and filming. Really? I get that they are professional actors, but the time frame was inexcusably compressed, and I can’t fathom why. There should have been chemistry reads between the love interests and, while Lisette acknowledged Peter had the full ability to walk, he was basically coerced by his friend to stay in the production. To me, that seemed shameless and abusive. It felt like an unconscionable manipulation, even if Peter agreed.
Let’s be clear, a happy ending and forever love occurs in this story that spans about 2.5 weeks. Thomas, who is smitten, agrees to be with Peter in exchange for the complete sexual education he lacks, and Peter, somehow someway, falls in love with Thomas because he’s cute, young, “down to earth,” and isn’t a gold digger. For me, the rapid pace from meeting to swooning was on the wrong edge of cringey. Reading this book, the repeating question in my brain was: Why the compressed time frame? There could have been many a moments of realistic connection forged over weeks of rehearsals, on-site conferences, and, much later, the on-location tryst. Truly, I really couldn’t get over how fast this situation escalated, and how these two deeply closeted men ‘fess up about their sexuality on account of one innocent tabloid photo. It was good that Thomas eventually reconciled with his family, but that too seemed stilted and incongruous. However, if you are a huge fan of movie star romances, you may like this one.