Candy J Starr - Fallen Star Series - Week Blitz

New Adult

Date Published: February 7,  2017


Working for a cranky, old hermit in an isolated house sounds like Ruby’s idea of heaven – but her boss isn't quite what she expects.

Tex is a fugitive from the rock and roll world – a tragedy abruptly halted his career. No one knows why he quit, no one knows where he is.

The two of them live in the same house, avoiding each other, until Tex screws up, endangering their lives and forcing them to move into close quarters. Suddenly, the idea of human contact seems more appealing, if only with each other. The sanctuary they have built is enough for Ruby -- the man she grows to love is Tex the hermit, not Tex the rock star -- but the outside world encroaches.

She thinks their fledgling love can’t shine brighter than the rock dream but can Ruby bear to let Tex go?



Excerpt One:

A man stood in the middle of the kitchen who most definitely had to be a burglar. He wore a hoodie and stubble covered half his face. He looked like he hadn’t bathed in a while. He wasn’t a ghost but he was scary.

“Stop right there, buddy,” I said.

I tried to sound tough but my heart pounded like a wild thing. He had a look of desperate danger in his eyes and looked like he hadn’t been outside much. Maybe because he’d been in prison.

He really did seem like he might have killed a man once. Maybe more than once. Bits of broken crockery splayed around his feet – those plates I’d spent all day cleaning.

I lunged at him, even shocking myself with my bravery. I was the head bitch of this house and no low life was stepping on my turf. I’d spent the day cleaning that kitchen and he was NOT going to trash it. The rush of adrenalin overruled my brain. He obviously wasn’t a guy to be messed with but he was near my phone. I had some pretty damn personal stuff on that phone. No way was he stealing it.

As I got close to him, he grabbed my hand and twisted the pencil out of it, then he backed me up against the bench, pressing his body against mine. He had me pinned tight.

I struggled but couldn’t get loose. He hadn’t looked that strong but he had some power in his grip. His body felt like steel against mine, harsh and unyielding. And he towered over me.

I’d die there in that kitchen and no one would even find out until I was just bare bones.

I didn’t know what was going on with his hands. My skin buzzed in a most disturbing way where he touched me. Was it a chemical thing?

I swung my foot and I kicked him really hard in the ankle. He didn’t loosen his grip. He didn’t even react. I was screwed.

Maybe it was really inappropriate in the circumstances but I noticed that despite his ragged, unwashed appearance, he smelt really good. The smell of him tantalised my nose and stirred some of those nerve endings that never, ever stirred in my body. It just wouldn’t do. It might’ve been an age since I’d been that close to a man but I sure as hell wasn’t desperate enough to get turned on by a manky house robber.

“You’ll want to bugger off, buddy. My husband is in the other room and you won’t want to mess with him.” I figured, if he thought there was another man in the house, it might scare him off. Not likely but it was worth a shot. He might not know that I was alone in this house in the middle of nowhere with no one but a feeble old man.

The man chuckled and let go of my arms. For a moment, his face softened and his eyes wrinkled into a smile – just for a split second – until he put the tough guy face back on.

That smile disarmed me, like the zap of an electric fence that makes the fillings in your mouth zing and your body hairs stand on end. He really was one of your better-looking robbers. He had a chiselled face and well-defined jawline. Not to mention, strong eyebrows. He leaned against the bench like he owned the place. I guess robbers could be disarmingly good-looking with a huge measure of arrogance thrown in.


Excerpt Two:

O’Malley got bored, so we wandered over to look at homewares. He picked up a red bowl.

“I want this. You can have the yellow.”

“Screw you, I want red.”

“Red is my colour. If you don’t want yellow, you can have green.”

“Then our bowls will look too Christmassy. I’ll just get a red one too.” I picked up the matching red bowl.

“No.” He snatched the bowl out of my hand. “If we have the same, we won’t be able to tell them apart. Just have the yellow. Yellow’s a great colour.”

“Yellow sucks. I should have red because my name’s Ruby. You can have yellow because it’s a Tex colour.” Then I realised I wouldn’t be sticking around for too long and it was really stupid to be having an argument over bowl colours. It wasn’t like he had red bowls in his old house but who knew, maybe he’d had a red bowl when he was a kid and it was comforting to him.

“Okay, I’ll have the yellow one, but I’m having the red plate and you can have the yellow.”

He actually pouted at that.

“That will get confusing. We can’t just swap colours. We need a system.”

“I guess. We should get the blue and green too in case we have guests.”

Then we both looked at each other and laughed because, what guests?

“You know, Ruby, you are really pretty when you smile.”

Whoa, that caused a whole whirl of confusion in me. For starters, he thought I was pretty. But did that mean I looked like a total pig-dog when I didn’t smile? Maybe it wasn’t that much of a compliment. Maybe it was actually an insult. And, anyway, what right did he have to even bring my looks into the discussion? I was his employee and we had that whole distance thing working for us.

But, he thought I was pretty.


Excerpt Three:

I was curious to know what he was like on stage. Could the brooding man that had been thrown into my life actually capture a crowd? It sounded like that festival he’d been asked to headline was a huge deal. He wouldn’t be offered something like that without a reason.

The signal on the beach was a bit dodgy and I had to wait for an age for the video to load. I’d found a clip of him performing, not just a video clip with him lip syncing to a backing track. Finally, I had enough cached to play the thing without it jumping around like a mad woman.

It wasn’t like I had the experience to know what made a band good or not, so I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. That man who walked on stage at the beginning of the song was just a pimped-up version of the Tex I knew. He walked proud instead of slouching but he had the same sardonic smile.

As the lyrics belted out to be carried away by the wind, the man on stage took control of the thousands of people watching him. What he did wasn’t natural. It was some kind of witchery or voodoo. He became someone else. A powerhouse of thrusts and growls. Every move he made was larger than life.

Feelings welled up in me while I watched him. Strange, unfamiliar feelings. Sensations powered through my body, heating me up despite the winter chill. My skin flushed and tingled. As soon as the song finished, I replayed it, needing to hear it again. Needing to see him again.

I imagined what it would be like to have that man on stage sweep me up in his arms, pressing his lips against mine, stripping me naked.

Oh. My. God. I wanted to have sex with that man. But that man was Tex.


Not possible.

Excerpt Four:

I sat beside him on the ramshackle porch, my feet dangling into the weeds, and ripped the top off my beer. I didn’t drink a lot but it seemed the companionable thing to do, joining him in a drink.

“I wish the pizza would get here. What’s taking them so long?” he said.

“I just got off the phone to them, they’d not have even started cooking it yet — hey, you’re trying to be funny, right? Give me some warning next time.”

Tex didn’t reply he just leaned over and bumped me, shoulder to shoulder.

Because the studio was set back lower on the block, we didn’t get the full view of the bay like we had in the house, but you could catch glimpses of it through the trees from the porch. I couldn’t see another house at all and it felt as though Tex and I were the only people alive. We sat like that for an age, just sipping our beers and watching the changing colours of the sunset. Strangely enough, being with him like that felt comfortable, even though spending time with anyone at all normally made me a bit edgy. I knew Tex didn’t expect me to chatter away or rush to fill the silence.

I almost wished he’d put his arm around me and draw me closer to him. I shook myself to get rid of those thoughts and shuffled away from him.

“Look, Ruby, the stars are coming out,” he said. “Do you wish on the first star?”

“Sometimes,” I said. I laughed. I always did when I thought of it.

“What do you wish for?”

“To be left alone, most of the time. Peace and quiet. That’s awesome.”

He gave me a searching look.

“Well, what do you wish for?”

“It won’t come true if I tell you.”

“Hey, you made me and I was stupid enough to tell you. Hell, now I’ll never get left alone again. That’s going to suck all the balls.” I punched him on the arm.

“Okay, I’ll tell you.”

I waited for some amazing insight into the mind of Tex, something about his deepest desires. Somehow, the distance between us had closed again and we touched, shoulder to shoulder.

“I wished that the pizza would get here.”


“That’s not cheating — and hey, is that the pizza guy? Yes, my wishes always come true.”


Excerpt Five:

Our gazes met and, for a moment, it felt like I could see right into his soul. What I saw there was not the same pain I felt but the mirror image of it, something different but connected. A thread twisted between us and it seemed we were fated for something bigger. Then I broke away, unable to handle all the sludge being stirred up inside me.


He didn’t sing, he just played a melody that sounded like hearts breaking and things deep inside dying. I wondered why he played that to me. It was too raw and too painful. Maybe somewhere, wrapped inside that music were the real reasons he’d stopped playing. In that moment, I felt I understood something essential about him. That he had been broken deep inside and somehow the broken parts of him matched the broken parts of me. I wanted to hold him tight but I wasn’t a person who could do that. Instead, I just sat and listened.


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Candy J. Starr used to be a band manager until she realised that the band she managed was so lacking in charisma that they actually sucked the charisma out of any room they played. “Screw you,” she said, leaving them to wallow in obscurity – totally forgetting that they owed her big bucks for video equipment hire.


Candy has filmed and interviewed some big names in the rock business, and a lot of small ones. She’s seen the dirty little secrets that go on in the back rooms of band venues. She’s seen the ugly side of rock and the very pretty one.


But, of course, everything she writes is fiction.

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Twitter: @candyjstarr

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Fallen Star Series

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