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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Star Power by M. J. Fredrick

Star Power by M. J. Fredrick
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Going to his twenty-fifth reunion isn’t Sam Justiss’s idea. He’s an action movie hero who doesn’t need to reconnect with those who shunned him in high school. But his mother still teaches there and wants him to attend. She’s sacrificed so much for him, he can’t refuse. He drags his assistant Lorelei Dormer along.

Lorelei has been Sam’s assistant for three years, and in love with him approximately two years, eleven months and twenty-nine days. When he asks her to act as his girlfriend, hoping to deter flirty former classmates, Lorelei resists. She’s no actress and must guard her heart. But when he promises a vacation abroad for her down-on-her-luck sister, Lorelei can’t refuse. These things always end well, right?

The intimacy she’s thrust into destroys the crumbly wall she’s built around her heart. Is she willing to risk everything to tell him how she feels?

This story was nothing like I expected, but couldn’t have been more enjoyable to read. It feels like a trite cliché: nerdy/outcast kid returns to his reunion as a great success as well as handsome and sexy as hell. This might have fallen into that rut, but thankfully the author skillfully steered it away from cliché and made it romantic and very realistic. She also managed to skip over the nerdy-now-sexy guy catching the girl who got away in high school. The fact is, nothing about this story was typical.

Hugely popular movie star, Sam Justiss is guilted into going to his twenty-fifth high school reunion and asks his assistant, Lorelei to act as a buffer from the fans, especially the female ones who just want to get him into bed. More, he wants to take this short vacation to show Lorelei what she really means to him

Sam, the Sam in the past that we don’t see but are caught up on painlessly through quips and memories, was quite the playboy in the past – a different woman on his arm every night. Lorelei had to watch that, building a wall around her heart so he wouldn’t be able to break it. She hid her feelings from him, successfully enough that he had no idea how she felt.

Until the kiss. And what a yummy kiss it was. Ms. Fredrick packs a huge, sexy punch into a “mere” meeting of lips and left me panting for more.

Sam is a good man. It seems as though he let his fame go to his head at first – but after his awkward and difficult teen years, who could blame him? Still, as he got older, he settled down little by little and became the kind of guy a woman could really fall for.

Lorelei is smart, frank and tender-hearted. She’s more than just an assistant to him, she’s practically part of the family. I loved watching her fight her feelings as her confusion with Sam’s behavior grew. It was almost as though she had to fall in love with him a second time because she’d walled in her heart so well the first time.

The ensemble cast of secondary characters were wonderful, especially Sam’s mother. What a joy she was! She knew what she wanted in life and took Sam’s gifts when she desired (who wouldn’t want a maid, cook and a mansion?), but still kept the teaching job she loved. She was frank and honest and so funny, I wouldn’t have minded her having a story of her own.

Sam’s classmates struck just the right version of star struck vs. normal and I suspect there’s a story behind Sam’s old best friend. I think I’ll be looking for her romance in the other Class of ’85 releases.

Star Power was an altogether solid, fun and breathlessly sexy story. So well-written and engaging I was sorry to see it end. If you’d like a full meal packed into a snack-sized story, then this is the one for you. I highly recommend it.