I LOVE rock star romances. I can't get enough of them, in books or movies. Nalini Singh's Rock Kiss series is one of my favorites and "Beyond the Lights" was a good movie in the genre. Of course I cried over "The Bodyguard" with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner but didn't love the ending. I always need that HEA to happen. I even enjoyed George Strait's venture into the genre with "Pure Country," taking the backroads to Las Vegas. I also devour backstage documentaries like the one on the making of the Backstreet Boys (hey, no judging!) and the two on Katy Perry’s tours…
But I never thought I could write a rock star romance because everything I write turns to science fiction. Contemporary romance is just not me. I’m the co-organizer of the Pets In Space anthology, about heroes, heroines, scifi romance tales and heroic pets, and when it came time to write this year’s novella, I had just read an article about cruise ships on Earth running special cruises where a rock band or singer would do a gig for their fans, on the ship during the cruise. I thought the concept translated perfectly to my interstellar cruise liner the Nebula Zephyr.
And so my story Star Cruise: Songbird came to life! Here’s the blurb:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.
Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.
Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?
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When the singer emerged from the room where she’d been getting ready, he was astounded. She looked as if she’d stepped straight from a trideo, her sexy costume elaborate and glittering in the lights, her multicolored hair caught up in coils by all manner of elaborate, bejeweled accessories. Even he could tell her shoes were works of art, with heels designed to resemble stacked planets, standing six inches high. She smiled, obviously enjoying his reaction. “Well?”
Pirouetting on those absurd heels, she laughed and held out her hand. “Escort me,” she said like a queen.
He did so, surrounded by her team, including the backup singers and the six dancers, all of whom joined Karissa when she reached the backstage area. Gently she let go of Grant’s arm and stepped away, gathering her team around her for a pep talk. He stayed alert, watching everyone else in the area, ready to challenge anyone acting suspicious.
The show was already going on at full volume. Karissa’s was the final set of the evening and when she ran onstage, her dancers bouncing and doing acrobatics around her, the roar was astounding. Grant stood in the wings, as close to the stage as he could, and watched the performance. Karissa strutted, she danced, she teased, she brought a child on stage for a brief chat, she sang full throated. The crowd loved it all. He had a hard time keeping his eye on the audience, watching for problems, because she was so riveting.
“First time at a show?” asked an older woman standing next to him. “This is nothing compared to what she’ll do at the big concert on Calillia next week. There’ll be multiple costume changes and aerial components. And maybe some new songs, although she’s been quiet about that. She doesn’t want Ted getting the rights to any more of her stuff if she can help it. Things are really sour between them now.” She laughed self-consciously and held out her hand. “I’m Desdusan, by the way, her chief makeup artist. Chief busybody too. I try to look out for her as much as I can. Been with Karissa for nine years, ever since she hit the bigtime with ‘Twisted Comets’. She’ll probably sing that for the encore.”
“I hate to admit it but I’ve never heard her music before—it’s all new to me,” he said as they shook.
The woman did a double take. “Really? You’re probably the only person in the Sectors who hasn’t heard at least one Karissa song.”
“I have now,” he pointed out, annoyed to feel so defensive.
As expected, Karissa left the stage briefly at the end of her set and returned to deafening applause to sing the encore. Then she waved to the crowd and danced off. Grant followed her as Desdusan gave her a bottle of water and the two women headed for the dressing room. “Did you like it?” Karissa asked him over her shoulder.
“Full of energy and feeling,” he said. “Clearly I missed a lot while I was on active duty.”
She seemed pleased with his answer. “Give me a few minutes to freshen my makeup and then we’ll be off to the official afterparty.”
The gala was held in one of the Zephyr’s big ballrooms and attendance was restricted to high rollers who could afford the steep ticket price for mingling with the members of the various bands. Karissa’s group was in the far corner, with an extra cordon of security staff in dress uniforms, who verified the eager passengers had paid the extra rider to spend time in her orbit. Grant’s job was to stay close to her but unobtrusively, which he did.
Blurb for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2:
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!
10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.