Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review of More Than a Superstar by Nic Starr

Nic Starr's More Than a Friend was released last week (7th October) and as I haven't read the series I started at the beginning, with More Than a Superstar.

Sam Miller’s dreams are simple—to give back to the aunt who supported him since his mother's death and to have a family of his own. He focuses on making a success of their catering business Poppy's Pantry, and his close group of friends. However, when Aunt Poppy ends up in the hospital, it's a stranger Sam meets in the corridor who gives him the support he needs.

Rob Taylor is a man with secrets. His life in the public eye has taken its toll, and now he lives with the repercussions. When he finds himself falling for Sam, he knows things are finally going his way.

But just as Sam and Rob find their happiness, another secret threatens to tear them apart.

Review: I loved More Than a Superstar. This is a well-rounded tale with great characters, both Sam and Rob, and all the secondary characters. In fact, I thought I was reading a later book in a series because the universe felt so comfortable. Nic Starr managed to pack a lot of story into More Than a Superstar. I particularly liked the way Rob comes across and his secrets aren't as predictable as sometimes happens in books about people in the public eye. That was great writing, Nic. Thank you for the read.


Chapter 1

PULLING ON the strap of his overly large bag to stop it slipping off his shoulder, and hauling the big bunch of flowers higher in his arms, Sam Miller resolutely made his way down the corridor. As he walked the path of tired olive green linoleum for the umpteenth time, he plastered a smile on his face and prepared to face his aunt. Reaching the door, smile in place, he entered the hospital room.

“Good morning, Poppy,” he greeted, his tone intentionally bright and cheerful. “How’s my favorite aunt this morning?” Without waiting for an answer, he plonked the bag and flowers on the chest of drawers and reached over to give his aunt a quick kiss on the cheek.

Aunt Poppy looked the same as she had every day for the last two weeks—which was surprisingly well for someone who had recently broken her hip in a spectacular fall—a few remaining bruises, now in fading shades of yellow and green, plus the fact she was in a hospital bed providing the indication that something was wrong.

“Just the same, honey. Better for seeing you, but I can’t wait to get out of this place,” she replied with a smile that highlighted her laugh lines. It didn’t matter how tough things got, Poppy always seemed to be able to put on a happy face. Sam just wished he had inherited that particular trait from his aunt.

Sam dragged the only chair, an ugly, gray, plastic thing, next to the bed and dropped into it. He shifted on the hard seat trying to get comfortable and sat up straighter in an effort to match his aunt’s enthusiasm. Poppy wasn’t fooled.

“You’re exhausted, Sam. I think it’s time we started facing reality. I won’t be out of here for a while, and you can’t go on the way you have been. It’s time we made some decisions about Poppy’s Pantry.” Poppy was right, but Sam didn’t want to acknowledge that he wasn’t coping with keeping the business going. Poppy’s Pantry was his aunt’s catering company, a business Poppy had started from scratch and was continuing to build. She couldn’t afford to slow down or, heaven forbid, have things slide backward.

Sighing, Sam reached for his aunt’s hand lying on the pale blue coverlet. “I’m sorry, Poppy. I guess you’re right.”

“Don’t be silly,” Poppy replied. Her voice was firm and brooked no argument. “No need to be sorry. Running that business isn’t a job for one person. I don’t expect you to pick up all the slack, and I’m sure we can afford to bring on a bit of extra help, at least until I can get out of this place. I may not be up to taking on the physical stuff, but I should be able to get back to the accounts and dealing with suppliers and customers soon.”

Sam owed Poppy so much already and hated to see her worrying about the business when she should be focusing on her recovery. Poppy had always been there for Sam, and he wanted to do the same for her.

It was hard to believe it had already been two years since Sam’s mother, Marie, had died in a car accident. Cancer had taken his dad when he was four, so it had always been Marie and Sam, facing the world together, and it was such a shock when Sam found himself alone. Thank goodness for his aunt; otherwise, he had no idea where he would be today. Poppy had swept in, taken one look at the distraught Sam, and pulled him into her arms for a hug. She had provided a home and a job when Sam found himself too grief-stricken to focus on college.

Now at twenty-two, Sam spent his life living with Poppy in the small house his mother had left him and working with Poppy at Poppy’s Pantry. They shared a home as Sam had needed company, hating to feel so totally alone, plus this freed up Poppy’s capital to invest in the business. Sam had found that he possessed a love and skill for arranging parties and functions that balanced with Poppy’s flair for publicity and promotion. Together, with their small team, they were building quite a reputation in the seaside town of Blue Point, and Sam knew the business would one day be his.

Dragging his thoughts back to Poppy, Sam nodded in agreement, knowing she was right about getting some additional help. Determined to make the most of the situation, he plastered the smile back on his face. Tomorrow they would review the event schedule and rosters and see what was needed to keep things running smoothly.

Sam stood, picked up the vase of wilting wildflowers from the bedside table and the fresh bouquet from the dresser. “Of course you’re right, Poppy. With a bit of juggling, things should get back under control.” He walked toward the door. “I’ll just change these over for you before I leave. Can’t have my favorite aunt looking at half-dead flowers!” He laughed.

THE BUCKET was full and still sudsy, although the water was dark gray—not very effective for mopping the floor. Well, at least not if you actually wanted it clean. After a final sweep of the mop, Rob shoved it into the bucket and bent to grab the handle. He hefted the bucket and made his way down the corridor in the direction of the utility room.

His shifts at the hospital were hard work. Not that he wasn’t used to hard work, just not this backbreaking, physical kind. Although even then it shouldn’t have been this difficult. After all, the only things expected of him were mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms, plus some general assistance. The staff always found things for him to do—folding linens, carrying supplies, and even moving the odd piece of furniture, although why they couldn’t just leave the various tray tables and chairs in each room, he couldn’t fathom.

He stopped halfway to his destination, propped the mop against a doorframe, placed the bucket carefully at his feet, and stood back upright. With both hands on his hips, he flexed backward, trying to relieve the tired ache in his back muscles. He felt a lot older than his twenty-four years.

If anyone had been watching, they would have seen a tall, good-looking young man. Dark hair, dark eyes, a hint of shadow to his jaw. A glimpse of some kind of tattooed shape peeking from under the sleeve of his T-shirt, suggesting that maybe he wasn’t totally the boy next door. It was only on closer inspection that you could see the weary expression and faint shadows under the eyes. And maybe the looseness of the basic jeans and plain T-shirt he was wearing would indicate that he could stand to gain a bit of weight. But no one at the hospital usually looked that closely.

With a final stretch and a resigned sigh, he picked up the bucket and mop, completed the trek to the end of the corridor, turned the corner, and proceeded to the utility room. As Rob approached, he saw someone leaving the room with a large vase of flowers in his hands. He had seen the same guy around the hospital the last couple of weeks. Hard not to notice him, really, with his pale good looks.

He was extraordinarily handsome, bordering on pretty, with wavy blond hair, chin length and tucked behind his ears, drawing attention to his high cheekbones and slim face. But it was his eyes that particularly stood out. Blue as the sky and huge. Rob didn’t think he had ever seen eyes that big before. They gave him a wide-eyed innocent look that appealed to Rob’s protective instinct. Rob wondered who he was visiting. It must have been someone very close for him to visit every day.

The man passed him in the corridor with only a brief nod, not really looking in his direction, and so Rob continued on, entering the utility room, trying to focus on the job at hand but wondering instead about the guy. It was nice to have something pleasant to think about instead of focusing on his own problems.

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