Phillips. Susan Elizabeth. When Stars Collide (Chicago Stars #9). William Morrow/Custom House, 2021. ISBN 9780062973085
Opera superstar Olivia Shore and Heisman trophy winner Thad Owens are catapulted together on a marketing tour as brand ambassadors for luxury watch Marchand Timepieces: a month-long itinerary of radio interviews, dinners with account executives, photo shoots and press conferences culminating in a gala event. He perceives her as a stuck-up diva, which she thinks he’s an animalistic jock. Both are style icons and trendsetters, and have the skill to speak in sound bites and insert commercials for a product smoothly into any conversation about their respective careers. Olivia’s disdain and discomfort around Thad is based on a false accusation from early in his career. When she gets the story straight and tries to apologize, Thad is slow to accept and takes a little delight in dragging her out to a dive bar, when the paparazzi snaps a photo and starts a dating rumor. A grudging respect emerges, then friendship, with attraction simmering underneath all the while. There is more to Olivia than meets the eye; she has a stalker of some kind, and unraveling this mystery and keeping her safe becomes Thad’s welcome responsibility.
I didn’t find the characters highly relatable at first, but they became more and more complex and interesting as the story spun out. I’m not generally a fan of suspense, but the high drama worked with the personalities at play. I did enjoy the details of high society lifestyle; food, fashion, and travel; the sports allusions; the vocal instruction and opera details.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #WhenStarsCollide from #NetGalley.