Title: Starstruck (A Dreamspinner Press Anthology)
Author: Multiple Authors
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Genre(s): Gay romance, gay erotica, famous people, heroes, rock stars, doctors, rodeo champion, defenders, chefs, drag queens, video game designers, reality tv stars
Page Count: 328 pages
Reviewed by: Natosha
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Lights, camera, action!
To the average person, celebrities seem to have it all—money, fame, and droves of adoring fans lining up to fawn over them. But a life in the public eye can make romance challenging, and deep down, these guys are looking for the same thing as any other man: someone to share a steamy tryst with between acts or to ride off into the sunset with after the curtain has gone down. Luckily there are those willing to love the men behind the billboards and on-air personalities, and they’re looking for a private performance from their favorite drag queens, musicians, reality TV stars, actors, rodeo champions, and video game designers. Even superheroes and legendary defenders. Money and fame might not always equal happiness, but these celebrities will leave stars in their lovers’ eyes.
Love, Stage Left—L.A. Merrill
Eli Gold has worshipped renowned Shakespearean actor Brandon Lee Williams from afar for years. The actor led the kind of life homeless, painfully shy Eli could only dream about, until Brandon disappeared from the spotlight after a disastrous production of King Lear. Now Eli’s coworker at Beth El Synagogue needs his help. Her production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is falling apart, and she needs a trained actor, stat. Fighting his crush on Brandon becomes secondary to the stage fright they’re both battling, and when a famous name in local theater crashes the performance, the stakes get even higher. The show must go on—but can Eli and Brandon’s newfound romance continue after the curtain falls?
Rodeo Champion—Jay Starre
TJ Davis set his sights on a career as a broncobuster. He left the small town of Rockville and hasn’t looked back in ten years—not until he returns home, as the headliner of a rodeo that he organized himself.
Graham followed his friend’s meteoric rise to fame and even attended a number of his events. But his shy nature prevented him from contacting his childhood friend, even though he still has strong feelings for TJ. Now Graham is working as a paramedic at TJ’s Easter weekend rodeo, and he’s determined not to let this chance—or any more time—slip through his fingers.
Marked by the Queen—George Loveland
When Jake enters his favorite London pub, he doesn’t expect to see one of the stars of the TV show The Queens. Shelley Gardens takes him to the stage and leaves more than a lipstick impression on Jake. Jake makes sure he’s in the front row when Shelley performs the following night.
When Shelley introduces Jake to Andrew, the man underneath the makeup, Jake is smitten. But his jealousy of another man being marked by the queen threatens their new relationship. Jake must prove to Andrew—and Shelley—that he’s interested in something deeper than the sparkling surface.
The Ruby—Avery Vanderlyle
Though it’s taken all night and all his character’s money, Ezra has done it! He’s won the Ruby Radiant—an in-game item that grants him a real-life dinner with the creator of Weird West, a virtual reality video game that’s become a runaway hit.
Self-professed shy nerd Toby Rodriguez is having a hard time being the poster boy for the game he created, but the dinner contest is part of the game’s publicity campaign. Toby is pleasantly surprised as he and Ezra learn they have more in common than a love of video games. When their date is cut short, Ezra embarks on another quest—to track Toby down and tell him how he feels.
Pride and Panoramas—Asta Idonea
Cameraman Gregory Ward is thrilled when he’s chosen to work on a new drama based upon a recently discovered lost work by Jane Austen, especially since Alaric Devin, an actor Greg has loved for years, is playing the lead. However, Alaric is nothing like the dashing heroes he portrays in his period pieces; he’s haughty and unpleasant, and Gregory wants nothing to do with him. But when Alaric falls ill, he steps in to help, and they see that if they can both move beyond their hang-ups, friendship and love might be found outside of fiction.
Such Beautiful Music—M.T. Aspen
Rock star Marshall Burns doesn’t date. So there’s a learning curve involved when he meets gorgeous librarian Nick. Because rather than taking him straight to bed, his first instinct is to take him out to dinner.
With Marsh in Chicago for only six months, Nick decides that he can pull off this casual dating thing, no problem. As long as he keeps the rock ’n’ roll strictly separate from his real life and his daughter, everything will be fine.
Out on Stage—Elizabeth Coldwell
Stewart has never let his multiple sclerosis stand in the way of his passion. As the artistic director of the Harlequin Theater, Stewart has doubts when soap star Bradley East is hired for their latest production. He’s impressed by Bradley’s talent, and stunned by the attraction developing between them. Not that there’s much chance of a relationship, with Bradley firmly in the closet and planning to stay there. But Bradley is full of surprises….
Shooting Star—Rob Rosen
Jack Black—no relation to the Hollywood version—thinks he’s dreaming when he learns his favorite star is coming to his small town to shoot a film. Not only will Jack’s home be used in the movie, but Trey Jones will be staying in a trailer right outside. Just when Jack thinks things can’t possibly get any better, Trey invites him into the trailer for dinner—but they decide to have dessert first. Soon enough, Trey’s planning an announcement that will rock the entertainment industry, and he wants Jack by his side.
Drastic Measures—Sydney Blackburn
Keith’s gay nightclub packs a full house on weekends, but is deathly quiet during the week. He needs the restaurant at the front of the house to start making money or his dream is over. Desperate, he contacts reality makeover show Restaurant Take Two, who’ll match his investment in renovations and provide a new menu courtesy of a professional chef. He’s not prepared for celebrity chef Dominic Margolan. Dom’s high-handed ways could leave him in more trouble—and not just financially!
Garden Variety—Bell Ellis
Derek Vinquist, handsome star of a sitcom that recently ended, would rather do anything than star on a reality show about gardening. But he finds himself on Garden Variety anyway, doing his best to maintain his dignity while covered in dirt. Noah, the show’s head gardener, doesn’t particularly enjoy replacing plants that have been damaged by inexperienced celebrities either. When the two meet, attraction blooms instantly, but Derek must prove to Noah that he’s more than a spoiled celebrity while simultaneously protecting Noah’s beloved plants.
Defying Gravity—Charles Payseur
As superheroes go, Gravity’s not top tier, but he does okay. He’s got a nice apartment with neighbors who don’t mind him flying in and out at all hours and enough of a following to crowdfund his living expenses. Until a strange man shows up determined to become his sidekick.
Bruce isn’t a bad guy (and he certainly looks good in tight clothes), but now Gravity is suddenly getting trounced by enemies he used to have no problem with. Is he just distracted by his growing attraction to Bruce, or is there something else going on that might explain why every villain suddenly has no problem defying Gravity?
The Defender of Ruldan—Jessica Payseur
Cade the Defiant. Cade the Determined. Cade the Defender of Ruldan. Ithrean, the Queen’s Master Painter, knows every title the hero holds, despite not even living in the same nation as the man. There is little he wouldn’t do to collect one more overseas paper on Cade, and he paints images of his obsession in his spare hours.
But news of the famed hero becoming the next ambassador throws the entire palace into chaos and sends Ithrean’s world spinning out of control. His abusive ex, Master Chef Mizean, will do anything to ruin Ithrean’s chance to snare Cade… if Ithrean’s sudden inability to speak in Cade’s presence doesn’t do it for him.
I truly love a good anthology. I love how even though they are several short stories in a big book, each short story is so totally different from the last. It makes it an exciting read becaus you never know what you are about to get. In Starstruck Anthology it is a variety of short stories that are all based on famous characters finding love with usually an average joe.
There are at least twelve short stories in this book if my count is right by different authors. The only thing each book has in common. Is they are based off of a famous character whether they are a rock star, a super hero, an actor, or even a rodeo star to name a few.
Each story has its own story line and they also range from serious, to comical, to loving, and even to enemies becoming lovers. It is a great mixture of stories that will warm your heart and have you smiling.
Of course with any anthology I had my favorite short stories I loved more then the one before and I also had the story that will stick with me for time to come.
One of those stories was “Such Beautiful Music” by M.T. Aspen. This short story really got to me because it was packed with so much emotion. It was beautifully written and the characters, Nick and Marsh, did not just get their happily ever after easily. They had to work for it. It was not an easy journey all of the time and they had not only themselves that was affected by their relationship but also others that knew them also. This story was one that will stick with me.
Such Beautiful Music may have been my favorite of the stories but that does not mean the others were no less good. I enjoyed reading every story in this book. Each story had something different about it then the last one did and I enjoyed each of them for different reasons. I recommend that others read this anthology because I believe there is something in this group of short stories for everyone.
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