Release Day Review by Rafa: Runaway Rock Star, by C.J. Anthony

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Runaway Rock Star, by C.J Anthony
Collection: States of Love (Ohio)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 10, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars


runaway-rock-star cj anthony

Just hours before Brandon Harris is supposed to head home to Cincinnati for a Labor Day family picnic, his boss at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame forces him into giving a private tour to bratty British pop-rock star Lucas Black. Before he knows it, he finds himself swept up in a whirlwind road trip through Ohio with Lucas riding shotgun.

Lucas grabs hold of this wild opportunity to run away—even for a few precious days—from the gilded cage that is his carefully managed life. He’s just looking for a little fun and freedom as a normal person. From roller coasters to a college football game, Brandon begins to see the real Lucas Black buried under the famous persona. But by the time he and Lucas discover their mutual attraction, they only have one night left before both of them have to go back to their real lives. The fun is over…unless Lucas can run away for real this time and keep their adventure going.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
New Adult
Road Trip
In the Closet

Having previously enjoyed the Kentucky edition in the States of Love collection, I jumped at the chance to review Runaway Rock Star, which is set in the neighboring state of Ohio. I’m a huge fan of road trips (and road trip romances!), and that cover and blurb totally sold it for me. Plus you could say I’m somewhat familiar with the Buckeye State.

Runaway Rock Star was a sweet (and for me personally, surreal) ride across the state, but just like the actual road trip in novella, it was over much too soon. I loved everything about the premise of the story; boy next door and incognito rock star take the scenic route through the back roads of Ohio on a much-needed getaway while bonding over their shared love of music and eating some dodgy and not-so-dodgy food at random stops along the way. I mean, what’s not to love? I wanted the road trip to go on forever.

Parts of it did read a bit like a tourist handbook rather than a romantic ode to the state, but this probably carried over from the guided tour at the start of the story. The author tried to work little details into the story as naturally as possible (ie. Brandon explaining Amish life to Lucas, who’s British), but I did find a some of it unnecessary and a little awkward. However, if you’re not familiar with the places they visited, you might see things completely differently. I have to admit, it was a bit weird for me (but also kind of cool) to have personally visited pretty much every single stop they made along the way, including being intimately familiar with several places, such as a certain restaurant or concert hall <shifty eyes>.

As I’d mentioned, time was not on their side and unfortunately I really felt that sense of impermanence in their blossoming romance. I thought the author made a smart choice by focusing on their developing friendship rather than a full-blown love affair. There was just enough flirting and mixed signals to keep things interesting and I loved the way their passion played out in the end. I thought that the exploration of Lucas’ true musical aspirations was a particularly nice touch, and definitely solidified their connection for me.

The ending was rushed and whimsical (ah those rock stars and their wild ideas), but the last few lines left me with a smile on my face. I would recommend this novella if you like road trips and whirlwind romances. And wayward rock stars. And maybe Ohio.


C. J. Anthony started reading and writing at an early age. She attributes her love of reading and romance to her mother who not only taught her to read but also made countless trips to the library lugging piles of books home for her to read. She loved getting lost in the people and places and adventures she found in books like the Little House on the Prairie™ series, Nancy Drew™, Trixie Belden™, just to name a few. It wasn’t a far jump to start writing her own stories, early childhood tales about flower families and travelling to the moon with her best friend.

Writing, however, quickly fell by the wayside as she grew up and turned to other creative pursuits. Recently she was inspired to try writing again, this time with beautiful men in love speaking to her and wanting their stories to be told. C. J. has always been a hopeless romantic, believing in true love and soul mates, and HEAs even if there is a little angst and pain along the way–life is never perfect, after all, but everyone deserves a happy ending and someone there to catch them when they fall.

When she’s not writing—or trying to find time to write—she spends most of her time juggling a day job and freelance design work on the side, enjoying music, movies, spending time with friends and, of course, reading.

You can purchase Runaway Rock Star at:
Dreamspinner Press

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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