Author ~ Tara Lain
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 1 March 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
He'll marry the maid to get $50 million but a secret could queer the deal.
Taylor Fitzgerald needs a last-minute bride.
On the eve of his twenty-fifth birthday, the billionaire’s son discovers that despite being gay, he must marry a woman before midnight or lose a fifty-million-dollar inheritance. So he hightails it to Las Vegas… where he meets the beautiful maid Ally May.
There’s just one rather significant problem: Ally is actually Alessandro Macias, son of a tough Brazilian hotel magnate. But if Ally keeps pretending to be a girl for a little while longer, is there a chance they might discover this marriage is tailor-made?
Another Fantasy Winner from Tara Lain
I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of Ms. Lain and her work. Sometimes I wrestle with rating a book: is it important enough, is it unique enough, is it well-written enough, does it move me in profound ways? But I always leave myself a bit of wiggle room, enough to laud both the deepest, darkest, most Shakespearian novel as well as gay books that leave me rolling on the floor, my sides splitting. And then there are authors like Ms. Lain, who pen blatantly unbelievable, hope-filled, funny and touching parables that put a smile on my face and reassure me that life is good. And that is more than enough to make me look forward to every new Tara Lain adventure, knowing that the heroes will be pretty, the situations absurd, and I’ll walk away with an ear-to-ear smile on my face.
“Taylor Maid” is exactly one such book. It’s precisely what I’ve come to expect from this talented author: evocative, accessible and very well-written. She never disappoints, and she certainly didn’t this time.
What marks this book as unique is that it’s not. In fact, it’s another take on the Cinderella tale, one she wrote about, only recently, in the “Sinders and Ashes” installment of the ‘Pennymaker’ series, her collection of modern gay takes on classic fairy tales. At first, I was ready to call “not fair!” or “unoriginal” until I realized what Ms. Lain was doing – riffing. Like a great jazz musician or classical composer, she was writing variations on a theme. The two books share the same basic theme – a Prince who needs to get married, and fast – with radically different takes, circumstances and attitudes, but with the same ultimate conclusion, the couple falling in love and living happily-ever-after.
Both books start with rich young gay men who need to find and marry a woman before a deadline. If they miss the deadline, the limo turns into a pumpkin and the prince becomes a commoner – a hot commoner, of course, but a penniless one. Well, almost.
In fact, Taylor is the scion of an enormously wealthy family. His crooked, miserable father (the wicked witch?) runs the family business, gleefully stomping on innocent victims on his way to ever-greater riches and power. Taylor works for his father. He is the only force that humanizes the operation and earns the trust of their partners and competitors through his integrity, unlike his father’s use of threats and intimidation. His father is too greedy and too stupid to realize that the only thing keeping his fortune afloat is his son’s talent and reputation. He’s also too greedy and stupid to not try to steal his son’s $50 million inheritance from his grandfather’s estate. He’s made absolutely sure that Taylor doesn’t realize that if he doesn’t marry a woman, in a love match, by his 25th birthday, his entire inheritance reverts to the executor of the estate, his father. So, no one (including his father’s crooked lawyers) has told Taylor about the stipulation, and it’s just a couple of days before his 25th birthday. Taylor finds out and loses it. He had already committed a large part of his inheritance to funding a chain of safe havens for homeless gay youth tossed out on the street by their bigoted parents. What will he do if he loses all that money?
So he heads to Vegas to find a quickie wife in the only nearby locale where he can secure a legal marriage without a waiting period. He contacts an escort agency and hires a woman to whom he will offer millions of dollars to marry him that very day. Unfortunately, she never makes it to his hotel.
His hope is revived when he walks in on the lovely young maid who is making up his room. She doesn’t realize anyone is nearby and is singing to herself - with one of the most beautiful voices Taylor’s ever heard. He is drawn to Ally, quickly proposes, and is quickly accepted. They marry almost immediately.
The marriage is filled with a comedy of errors and deception. Of course, the beautiful Ally is not exactly what she’s supposed to be – without her makeup and fashion, she’s a gorgeous young man. That explains why Taylor was so drawn to her - phew! He was afraid he was going straight. But that also puts his inheritance at risk, once again, as his father’s lawyers work around-the-clock to try to prove that his marriage is not a love match, as required in his grandfather’s bequest. It is, in fact, a love match. What Ally is not is a woman! It’s not that Ally is trans (though she makes a great, beautiful woman), so much that she’s living incognito, on-the-lam from her billionaire, old-school South American father who intends to marry [him] off to a wealthy young woman of his choosing. Ally, in fact, has no say in the matter, and his father has the muscle and power to do whatever he wants, including kidnapping his own son and shipping him to South America to be secretly wed. Of course, Ally, actually is wed, so that would make a bigamist of him, right? Things do get really, really complicated.
But since this is a riff on an old and beloved story, we know that all knots will be untangled, and true love will vanquish all at the end of the book; and it certainly does.
But, more important, is that this book is a dramatic demonstration of Ms. Lain’s stunning skills and talent in creating two similar books based on pretty much the same theme, but as different from one another as night is from day. “Taylor Maid” is an exercise in virtuoso writing, a moving love story enhanced by the author’s wonderful insight into feminine men, men who are gender-fluid, and the gay men who adore them. There’re no missteps here, not a word out of place and, like all of Ms. Lain’s books, it left me with that irrepressible grin that made my day just that much brilliant, that much better.
If you’re looking for an accessible romance that will most assuredly lift your spirits while it touches your heart, don’t miss “Taylor Maid”. It’s so worth it, even if just to see a real master flex her chops and demonstrate what she does so brilliantly - and seemingly without effort.
Meet Tara Lain
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!