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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

💕 New Year, New Books Fete and $75 Gift Card Giveaway presented by N.N. Light's Book Heaven 💕

A decade-spanning tale of soulmates torn apart by each’s pursuit of a career in the late 20th century.

Paul Montgomery’s dreams are of music, of writing it as well as performing. His journey takes him from covering Beatle songs for high school dances in the mid-1960s to being acclaimed for his diversity in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Particularly for composing a library of love songs. With sold out concerts around the world, singles and albums that repeatedly go gold then platinum, and innovative music videos on MTV, he seems to lead a charmed life. At least, professionally. Along the way there is tragedy: the loss of a friend to the Viet Nam war, the attempt to save a fellow rocker from her drug addiction, but it is winning and losing the only woman he’s ever loved – twice – that is a never healing wound in his heart.

For Aurora Chambers, it is the world of fashion that beckons. A scholarship for a summer design program in London is a carrot even her love for Paul can’t best. Hurt by his seeming denigrating of her aspirations, she throws herself into the heart of Carnaby Street in 1967, and the arms of her instructor, Trevor Harris, a self-serving man who plans to use her talent as his stepping stone to better things. Unaware of Paul’s continuing love for her, Rory binds her future to Trevor’s. It is a step she soon learns to regret though it does bring her career success beyond her previous dreams. With a clothing line that repeatedly wins accolades on the catwalks, she has only one stumbling block. Her designs all carry Trevor’s name, not her own. Aurora must marshal some of Trevor’s own devious traits to take back what is hers. Secretly, she follows Paul’s rise through the music trades, occasionally mourning the loss of what they’d had. When a second chance at happiness with him appears, she grabs it. And nearly destroys them both.

Because, sometimes love simply isn't enough.

Revisit the recent past with SUPERSTAR as career dreams and love lock horns in the late 20th century (1964-1994). "If you grew up in the 60's and 70's, you'll feel like you are reliving that time. Beth nailed it. You feel the hurt these characters are going through, and you understand why they make certain decisions. They aren't always the best decisions, which, of course, makes the story that much more compelling. Good times!" 5*

Autumn, 1964

The giggles of the two girls greeted the tired young man as he stepped inside the house. He hefted the duffle bag, dropping it near the door, raising a cloud of dust from the olive drab canvas.

“He is, too,” Bobbie Montgomery insisted.

“Is not,” the second girl said. “Mark Lindsey is the cutest of the Raiders. Paul Revere is just okay.”

“Okay!” Bobbie exploded. “Cor, Rory, how can you say that! Look at that fab blond hair! It’s ssooo thick, and he’s ssooo cute!”

The man in the hall smiled. What had happened to the plump ragamuffin who’d been such a thorn in his side? Although only five years separated them, that fact made him feel ancient. His enlistment had lasted a lifetime.

“You’ve got a thing for blond hair,” Bobbie’s friend said, her soft voice emphatic. “I don’t.”

The man’s gaze went past his sister to rest in amazement on the other girl as her altered voice registered on his senses. The years had changed his sister but Aurora Chambers…Rory had metamorphosed. Her bright copper hair was longer, thicker, more luxuriant. It reached almost to her waist in a shining, straight sheet of burnished satin that he longed to touch. Her once coltish form was now soft, willowy, exuding grace. Her voice had a soft purring quality he didn’t remember. Why should he? She’d been thirteen when he joined the Army. She’d been just the pigtailed brat next door, one he’d always considered nearly a relative since their families were so close.

“Mark’s got a great voice, too,” Rory said. “And he’s got a really gear…”

Conscious suddenly that she was being observed, the girl glanced up, past Bobbie, to meet his eyes. She frowned faintly, knowing she should know him but unsure. He supposed he had changed as well. He hadn’t shaved in over a week and no doubt looked scruffy, his beard unshaped, ungroomed. Whether she recognized the boy she’d known in the man he’d become, when her lips curled slightly in a bemused grin, he knew his obvious appraisal of her had pleased her.

As Rory’s voice trailed off, his sister glanced away from the television in puzzlement. “Gear what?” she asked before noticing Rory’s attention had strayed from the show.

Bobbie’s head snapped around. Her pale blue eyes widened in recognition and surprise. A deep dimple appeared just left of her mouth.

The man’s attention drew away from the mischievous invitation in Rory Chambers’ eyes to meet the delight in his sister’s face.

Holy crap! Bobbie was turning into a knockout!

A knockout who scrambled to her feet with very little grace, her voice rising to an excited treble. “Pauly!” she screeched.

Paul Montgomery withstood the assault as his sister fell against him, making him uncomfortably aware of her new womanliness as she threw her arms around him and pressed her cheek to his broad chest.

Paul gave her an affectionate squeeze then pried her loose to plant a kiss on her cheek. Bobbie’s squeal was a clarion that brought Marian Montgomery from the kitchen. Paul savored the picture of his mother, framed in the doorway, a blue gingham bibbed apron covering her neat blouse and polyester slacks. Her hands were powdery with flour. She held them up in a parody of a surgeon, fresh scrubbed.

“Paul,” she breathed. “Oh, Paul,” then she was in his arms. Her hands flew, touching him, searching for…he wasn’t quite sure what. That he had returned whole, in one piece? The hall mirror showed the quest left floury prints on the shoulders of his dark shirt and a smear along his unshaven jawline.

“It’s good to be home, Mom,” he said.

She stepped back, the better to view him. Her hands went to smooth her bouffant sweep of dark hair then halted as she remembered the state of her hands. “Why didn’t you call?” she demanded. “Oh, but you’re home now, safe and sound, thank God!”

Over his mother’s head, Paul met his sister’s eyes. Bobbie rolled hers in an exaggerated gesture. He grinned. Some things hadn’t changed. His mother still scolded in the same breath she praised. His sister was still in silent league with him, exasperated with their mother’s suffocating affection.

Paul’s glance slid past Bobbie to the lithe form of Aurora Chambers still seated on the living room floor, her legs folded, her bare knees at opposite poles. Beneath the long, thick fringe of red hair, solemn grey eyes surveyed the family reunion.

His mother apparently noticed his attention had strayed from her to rest on the redheaded girl. “You remember Rory Chambers from next door,” Marian said, as she wiped her hands on her apron.

The girl rose to her feet in one fluid movement. She tossed back the mane of hair.

His smile widened. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “Hi ya, Red.”

Her eyes lit, flashed at the old nickname. “I see the Army didn’t cure your bad habits, Paul,” she purred.

He recognized the growl from of old. “How could I forget?” he murmured, amused. Since she and Bobbie had shadowed his every move when they were all kids, he’d always treated her like another sister. Now she was incredibly lovely and what he was feeling wasn’t brotherly at all.

“So, how’ve ya been, Red?” he asked, using the hated pet name as a shield.

Long lashes, unnaturally dark and thick, fluttered. “Fab,” she said.

“Great,” he murmured and turned back to his mother. Hell, despite the flash of anger he’d instigated, the invitation was still there in her eyes: gorgeous deep gray eyes.

Marian put an arm around his waist urging him toward the kitchen. Paul went eagerly, uneasy around this new Rory Chambers and the affect she was having on his senses.

He’d thought getting screwed by the Army, sent to Nam, had been dangerous but with Rory Chambers living just next door, his old neighborhood had just become a veritable minefield.

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BETH HENDERSON spent a dozen years writing and rewriting the same three books during the 1980s but all those rewrites paid off via a romance spinning career now 30+ years long. Romantic-comedy and historical romantic adventure are her forte, but the story that took the longest to tell – nearly 30 years, because it was nothing like her other stories – is still the one featuring the hero she’d run away with if he crooked his finger her way. Yeah, she’s given her heart to Paul Montgomery of SUPERSTAR.


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