Starboard by Ava Olsen
Book Title: Starboard (Voyagers Book 2)
Author and Publisher: Ava Olsen
Cover Artist: Angela Haddon
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, collaborators to lovers, close proximity, second chances, bisexual rep
Themes: coming out – bisexual rep, second chances, redemption
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 262 pages
Starboard is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Dylan Aylmer is a Hollywood actor struggling to make a comeback.
Falling in love with his ghostwriter wasn’t part of the script.
Dylan: I’ve lived my adult life under the Hollywood spotlight, but no one really sees who I am. I’ve gone down the dark path of drinking my anxiety away, along with my career, but now I’m searching for the light again. My struggle to stay sober has me releasing long held secrets.
A contract to publish my autobiography means laying everything in the open. When I meet Max, my ghostwriter, I’m not sure how our collaboration is going to work. He’s a university professor from New York with more degrees than I can count and I’m a guy from West Texas that barely finished college. And he may be my ghostwriter, but Max is anything but invisible.
Intimate confessions lead to heightened emotions and an unexpected love that fills up all my empty places. I don’t know what the future holds, but I want Max to be a part of it.
I’m done hiding in plain sight. It’s time for this star to finally shine.
Max: I’m an established university professor and a celebrity ghostwriter. Why ghostwriting? Because it pays. And I need the money. My ex-husband likes to threaten me with legal battles over custody of our daughter and while he has family reserves, I don’t.
So I take a summer ghostwriting contract, a celebrity tell-all. I expect to meet another self-absorbed actor, but Dylan Aylmer doesn’t fit any pre-conceived mold. His eyes are so haunted that I can’t look away and now I’m curious to unlock all his secrets.
What I find is not only a man trying to mend his broken soul but a beautiful person that is so much more than outward appearances. I swore I’d never be vulnerable to heartache again, but Dylan has me breaking all my steadfast rules.
Am I chasing a shooting star, soon to be gone, or is our love the kind that shines forever?
“My part in this book deal is supposed to be kept confidential. There’s a reason it’s called ghostwriting. I hope to hell that reporter didn’t get my photo.”
The worst-case scenarios ran through my mind, but I forced myself to remain calm. We arrived at the gate and after we provided our ID, we were escorted to a private waiting area. At least in this section, there were two security staff on standby. Neither of us were in the mood for small talk and sat quietly until Warren entered the room a few minutes later.
“I had security escort that guy out of the airport. It’s all under control.”
“Are you sure about that? Did he get any photos?” I asked, concerned that my anonymity was no more.
“He didn’t, Max. And we’ve done our best to ensure your name is kept out of the press. That’s part of the reason why you’re working on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean instead of downtown New York. But Dylan is still a celebrity, and he gets attention, and yes there is always the possibility of news leaking. You’ve done this kind of work before, so why the concern now?”
“Usually everything is done virtually.”
“The in-person request was my idea,” Dylan replied. “Mainly because of the timing with my film and for other privacy reasons.”
“I agreed to the contract. It’s just that I have a thirteen-year-old daughter.” I ran an agitated hand through my hair. “You see where I’m going with this.”
“I do, but again, there’s no reason to be worried,” Warren replied. “It was one reporter and he got nothing.”
“If my ex-husband sees my name or my daughter’s in the tabloid news, he’ll flip out.”
“Husband?” Dylan asked with a raised brow.
“Ex. Is there a problem?” I said, turning in my seat to face him. Dylan better not have any issue with my sexuality, or I would walk out of the airport right now, contract be damned.
“Nope,” he shook his head and smirked at me. “Just nosy.”
I let out a surprised laugh, despite my growing anxiety.
“An honest answer from someone in show biz.” I placed my hand on my chest. “I’m honored.”
Dylan’s smirk faded as quick as it came, and I could sense the shift in his mood. “I can tell that you really don’t want to do this, and I won’t blame you if you want to back out. You have priorities you need to consider.”
The look of resignation on Dylan’s face touched something in me. That was highly unusual. My ex often accused me of being unfeeling because I didn’t let my emotions get involved in certain decisions, and maybe he was right. I tended to be more rational and analytical. So why this man, a stranger, should spark my empathy was beyond my comprehension.
“I’m going to hit the head before we board. Thanks for seeing us off, Warren.” Dylan shook his hand and walked away, leaving a vacuum of sorts. Like he’d taken all the oxygen along with him.
Warren motioned to the exit. “Time for me to get going. And stop worrying, Max. Focus on the book. That’s the priority.” He paused and shook his head. “Look, I won’t bullshit you. There’ve been many times when I wanted to kick Dylan’s reckless butt to the curb. But he’s worked hard for a fresh start. He’s got a new movie role. And the book. I want to ensure both succeed, and Dylan along with it.”
“I’ll do my best,” I responded as Warren nodded and walked away.
Part of me wished I’d never have to work with Dylan, but the bigger part of me called me a liar. I didn’t even know the man and yet I was intensely curious about him, and that right there made the writer in me stand at attention. There was more to Dylan Aylmer than a model pretty face and a salacious past.
It was those sad, hypnotic eyes. He’d cast a strange kind of spell on me, and I was determined to find out why.
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About the Author
Ava Olsen writes steamy and dreamy contemporary romances filled with heartwarming characters, cheeky banter and swoony moments.
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