Book Review – Runaway by Nic Starr

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 80
Characters: Nathan (Nate) Powell/Damien Sinclair
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, World of Love

Dr Nathan Powell is ready to settle down near his family, and hopefully find the man of his dreams. He returns to the small coastal town where he grew up, but while life is simpler than it was in the city, there are also complications—like patients’ reactions to an openly gay doctor. And like running into Nate’s first love, Damien, an out-and-proud local business owner who is unwilling to be any man’s dirty secret. The reunion reignites old desire even while it stirs up Nate’s guilt over the way things ended with Damien.

When Nate’s nephew runs away, Damien accompanies Nate on his mission to find the young man. The drive to Sydney, and the search of the city, gives Nate time to reconnect with Damien—and to wonder if he made the right decision years ago—when he determined a future for them was impossible. Is a fresh start realistic for two men in their forties? But before he can ponder the second chance they’ve been given, Nate must locate his nephew.

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I love stories about second chances, and I’ve also enjoyed every story I’ve read of Nic Starr’s so when I was offered a review copy of Runaway I said yes please. An added bonus for me was the setting of New South Wales and Sydney as it’s somewhere I’ve been, although it was years ago. I read this story in one sitting, sitting up way too late, as I couldn’t put it down.

Nate and Damien’s story starts when they are teenagers, and even then what Nate feels for Damien isn’t just physical. I really liked the description of first love, and the warmth in Nate’s heart when he thinks about Damien. It’s very sad—but realistic—how a comment can make someone second guess themselves, not just in that moment, but tainting something good for years to come. I appreciated the author showing this important moment in Nate’s life before time jumping to the present, as it brought home just how much it affected him more than just being told about it would have.

The rest of the story takes place twelve years later, and with Nate and Damien much older. I enjoy stories with older characters so this hit the mark for me with that as well. I found their second chance to be a sweet romance, and I really liked the supporting characters of Nate’s sister Trish and his nephew Jackson, and how Jackson’s story tied in with Nate’s. Although the story is in Nate’s POV, Damien’s perspective came across very clearly. I liked how he supported Nate, but made it clear what he wanted from their relationship. The sense of family is very strong in this story, and is one of its many strengths.

I also loved the descriptions of the settings in the story, and the references to all things Australian. I found the story quite visual, and I could imagine each scene clearly as I was reading. I loved the ending, and although it is a HFN, I think it finished in the right place, with hope for the future. I do hope the author revisits these characters though—I’d love to see more of them.

I’d recommend Runaway to readers who like a contemporary romance set in Australia with older characters, an interesting supporting cast, a strong sense of family, and a sweet HFN with hope for the future. 5 stars out of 5.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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2 Responses to Book Review – Runaway by Nic Starr

  1. Nic Starr says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review, Anne. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the story ❤


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