Review by Riley
About Star Hero
An imperfect hero battles his inner demons in a race against time to save the woman he loves…
First he had to rescue her. Then he’d try to win her back.
A Marine serving in the galactic frontier, Lieutenant Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive–and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Captain Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender–his heart. Lukas’s struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing in action. Now the rugged, emotionally scarred Marine and his K-9 partner must find Carlynn and bring her home, or risk losing everything he has finally found worth fighting for.
(Expanded from the novella “Stray”, originally published in the Pets in Space 1 Anthology)
A note from the Author:
Star Hero is a stand-alone HEA novella in the world of the Star Series. It’s not necessary to read this one in series order (it contains no spoilers) but if you would like to know the suggested reading order, Star Hero takes place simultaneously with Star Champion (previously titled The Champion of Barésh) and after “The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy” from Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2. I hope you enjoy this latest installment in the Star Series!
Review of Star Hero
I first encountered this story in the original Pets in Space 1 Anthology. It was one of my favorites, so I was very please to be able to read the expanded version.
I loved the story of the scarred hero, Lukas, and the cheerful heroine, Carlynn, who get together with the push of a dog, Bang-Bang. It is practically love at first sight, but things get rocky when Lukas has problems with PTSD. Like any new relationship, the first glow of love is dimmed by real life issues and unless Lukas and Carlynn can work through them, there will be no HEA.
Who is the hero of the title? Star Hero is full of heroes/heroines. Bang-Bang, Carlynn and Lukas are all heroic in their own ways, each characters getting his or her own moment to shine.
Why did I connect with this book? There was one defining moment. It happened a bit later in the story. Carlynn, in an effort to distance herself from a fiance who is not dealing with his problems, takes on a mission away from the station. Lukas and Bang-Bang get left behind. Then this happens:
He bent down on one knee, and Bang-Bang’s paw hooked over his forearm. “She’s missing.” He managed to get the words out. Inconceivable words. It seemed surreal that he might never see Carylnn again. Might never hold her…
The softest of sorrowful, high-pitched whines exited Bang-Bang’s throat, and Lukas almost lost it. He pressed his check to Bang-Bang’s. Kindred spirits, they were.
I’ve had that experience too. My dog Cocoa, who missed her sister dog who had just died, came to me to get and to give comfort. That was 20 years ago, but I still remember that moment clearly. I imagine many people who have bonded with a dog have had a similar experience. The author’s depiction of that comforting bond between pet and human is something I connected with very strongly.
So read Star Hero for the romance, for the heroics or for the story of a special dog. All are great reasons! Then, then I recommend you check out the connected story in the anthology Embrace the Romance, Pets in Space 2: Susan Grant’s The Prince, the Pilot and the Puppy.
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Note: for a little while longer, a portion of the proceeds from sales of Embrace the Romance will be donated to HeroDogs.org, who provides service dogs for US veterans.