Superstar by @Beth__Henderson is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #vintageromance #books #giveaway
Author: Beth Henderson
Genre: Vintage Romance, 20th-century Historical Romance
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*
Much as he hated to admit it, Tom was right about his music. It sold, but it could be better. He could see a difference in the songs he’d been writing for the third album. Jim Gordon’s hitch would be up in a matter of days. That meant getting the band back together. Or, rather, replacing the missing members. Steve Rawlins was too tied up with producing the Visions artists to be the lead guitar for Nova. And Will Simpson had disappeared into the flower culture of San Francisco. They had lost track of him entirely after Midnight had been released.
Jim had a good feel for people. He’d be able to find the right men to fill the void.
It would be great to see Jim again. Not for the first few weeks, of course. If Jill was any indication, the Gordons wouldn’t surface from their bed for a month. She’d been beside herself with excitement, and for a change, without plans.
He was surprised to find her sitting on his porch when he got home.
“Got a drink for a thirsty friend?” she asked.
The girl who’d worn a bridal glow of anticipation was gone. He wondered what had changed her into the stoically stiff woman who waited on his stoop, her eyes hallowed by dark sleepless circles.
“Sure,” he said, unlocking the door. “What’re you drinking?”
“Gin. How’s Tom?” She followed him inside, taking a seat on one of the bar stools in his tiny kitchen.
“Close minded as ever.”
“Another rotten grade?”
“I’m improving. He condescended to give me a C this time.”
Jill accepted her drink and sipped it. “Show him any of the new stuff?”
“I don’t want to depress myself,” he said. “What’s up, Jilly? Hear from Jim yet?”
She buried her nose in her glass, making a negative sound as she drank.
“Don’t forget Bobbie’s pool baptism is this weekend.”
Jill nodded and finished off her drink. “I haven’t forgotten,” she said. “Could I have another?”
It wasn’t like her to resort to booze. He wondered what had happened to send Jill hot foot to the bottle. It hadn’t been her first drink of the day, he realized. Her eyes were blood shot, red and puffy. As if she’d been crying.
She finished off half the second glass before she handed him the telegram.
Jill took the bottle from his hand and poured another couple fingers into her glass. “The chaplain helped me fill out the papers yesterday,” she said. Her voice was as steady as if she were handling a business contract. It was crisp, devoid of emotion. “I chose a private ceremony.”
“Sweet Jesus. When did you get this?”
She studied her glass. “Two days ago. His body arrived today.”
Paul slammed down his own drink and grabbed her shoulders, forcing her to look into his face. “Why didn’t you come get me? Christ, Jilly, you shouldn’t have been alone.”
“I had to do it myself,” she said quietly. “He was all I had.”
Paul’s hands dropped. He stared at her in silence. “I was here, Jill,” he said.
She turned away. “God, isn’t it bad enough that Jim is dead? Do I have to put up with your pity, your damn concern? I don’t want it, Paul. I need something different from you. Something I’m not sure I have the courage to ask of you.”
Jill stood up, crossed the room to where the grand piano stood. “Did you know Jim was jealous of you?” she asked, one finger dragging over the keys, as if she was concentrating on the smooth texture of the ivory. “Oh, he never told me, but I knew. I think he thought that we were lovers.”
Paul leaned against the wall, forcing himself to stay where he was rather than go to her, offering the concern she’d already damned him for feeling. “Jim was my friend,” he said softly. “I would never have done that to him.”
“It wasn’t anything you did, Paul,” she whispered, her voice now tight with emotion. “It was me.”
He watched her silently, knowing she was struggling to explain. Jim had been a fool to think Jill had ever considered loving anyone else. But love made you crazy. Who knew better than he did?
Jill took a deep breath. “You see, I never sent your letters to Rory,” she confessed. “I burnt them.” Words tumbled from her lips in her eagerness to damn herself. “I was afraid she’d convince you to stay with her, to give up the band. When I looked at Rory, I saw ivy covered cottages, a second-hand station wagon and a thirty-year mortgage. She had that effect on you. You would have given it all up for her. And we needed you. There wasn’t anything without you.”
He didn’t move. Had no idea what to say. She’d betrayed his trust. She’d cost him the future he had so desperately wanted.
And he’d always known Jill had somehow been the architect.
She looked up, glanced at him fearfully. She probably expected to see hatred in his eyes. That it was missing seemed to surprise her.
“I guessed, Jill,” he said quietly. How long ago had it dawned on him that Red had not known of his plans, of his unbanked love? It didn’t matter. It was in the past. Aurora was lost to him, not through Jill’s act, but through his own.
Jill stared at him, her eyes now brimming with unshed tears.
“I’m sorry, Jill,” he said.
She shook her head sadly. “No, Paul. I’m sorry. She never knew you loved her.”
“So now we’re both alone.”
They stared at each other across the room. “Yes,” she whispered. “We are.”
What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
As I don’t like the heat of summer, Fall = a delightful drop in temperatures but no snow to shovel. I love the trees all donned up in their golds, rusts, and reds. As a natural redhead with hazel green eyes, fall colors have always looked good on me, too!
What inspired you to write this story:
Daydreams of having a boy next door to fall in love with – such did not exist in my neighborhood when I was growing up though – plus a fascination with musicians, period. And I’ve always loved clothes. Still buy far more than I’ll ever wear out, so having a heroine determined to enter the fashion world when Carnaby Street ruled was a given. So, in a way, I lived out fantasies through Paul and Rory, though they got the brunt of the things not going well for them.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or CA account to win.
Runs September 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on October 1.
Beth Henderson is the author of both romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and historical romantic adventure. Superstar was a step aside from these niches because it is more “contemporary” history, there isn’t an emphasis on comedy, and the suspense element really doesn’t show up until the end of the book. She blames the hero, Paul, for forcing her to write this story. It has always been his story. It’s also one she rereads at least three times a year because she misses him. Otherwise, she writes urban fantasy comedy mystery as J.B. Dane, teaches online workshops about writing genre fiction, and watches a lot of Marvel movies over and over and over again.
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