A Caryn Review: Sebastian & Owen (Storming Love: Tsunami #3) by Nic Starr

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

sebastian-owen-cover-200x300-pxThis is a sweet novella about an established couple, Owen and Sebastian, living and working together in Tasmania for the past 6 years.  After an injury leaves Owen, who is 6 years older, with chronic pain, disability, and depression, he starts to doubt his worthiness to be partnered with Sebastian.  It is a typical trope:  “I’m not good enough for you, so why would you want to be/stay with me?”  I usually see it written in the beginning of stories, when it hinders a couple from getting together in the first place.  This couple, however, has a very strong foundation, which makes it all that much harder for Sebastian to accept that Owen could possibly doubt his love and faithfulness.  And although it is a fairly tired theme, I liked how the author worked it into an established relationship, which actually made it more fresh and certainly more realistic.

With those misunderstandings in place, arguments ensue, and ultimately Sebastian ends up at their island house while Owen stays in their city apartment.  Owen has an epiphany about their relationship and wakes up determined to fix everything, and that is when he hears about the impending tsunami – about 75% of the way through the book!  Now he just has to get to Sebastian, and he races against the countdown for the wave to impact the island.

The story was predictable, but that did not lessen its sweetness.  It is always nice to see a couple facing the ups and downs that come with being together, and finding a way through them.  And of course they come through the tsunami closer than ever, as fear and danger make them see that loving each other is the most important thing, and everything else they can work through.  I also liked the description of the tsunami itself – not a monster wave crashing to shore, but a deceptively peaceful looking swell of the water that hides its destructive power.  If the author hasn’t seen one in person, she certainly did her research well!

The cover art by Kris Jacen is for all the novellas in the series, a picture of that monster wave that looks like something to make surfers salivate rather than devastate a shore, but it is pretty.  And very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

MLR Press 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 79 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by MLR Press, LLC
Original TitleSebastian & Owen
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorming Love: Tsunami #3

Storming Love: Tsunami Tales are Here with NIc Starr’s Sebastian & Owen (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)


Sebastian & Owen (Storming Love: Tsunami #3) by Nic Starr
LR Press

Cover Artist: Kris Jacen

Release Date: 7th October 2016

Sebastian & Owen is book #3 in the Storming Love: Tsunami series from MLR Press. Three authors each contributed a story about a couple facing the same tsunami event.


Owen’s eagerness to win Sebastian back turns to desperation as a tsunami threatens to tear them apart.

The last twelve months have been hard on Owen Hewitt and even tougher on his relationship. For six years, Sebastian Carmichael has been the love of his life, but that love is put to the test as Owen sinks into injury-induced depression.

Living with chronic pain and unable to do the things he used to do makes him feel like a failure, and causes him to believe he’s holding the younger Sebastian back.

When Sebastian takes some time out and leaves to stay at their holiday house, it could spell the end of the relationship. But as a tsunami bears down on the Tasmanian coast, it could spell the end of everything.

This book can be read standalone.

Exclusive Excerpt

It was only a couple of days into the new year and they were fighting already.  Sebastian’s expression was thunderous —his eyes were narrowed and his jaw was clenched so tightly that Owen could see the muscle in his cheek ticking.

“I’m sorry —”

“Don’t.” Sebastian held up his hand.

Seeing Sebastian holding him back, putting that distance between them, tore at Owen’s heart. He felt the emotion prickle behind his eyes and blinked back the tears.

“I can’t take any more of this, Owen.” Sebastian thumped his chest, his voice breaking as he continued. “You know I love you. I love you with all my heart. For Christ’s sake, I’ve loved you since I was twenty-two. There is no one else for me —you’re it.” Sebastian ran a hand through his dark hair and shook his head before meeting Owen’s gaze head on. “What is it going to take for you to believe that you’re enough, that you’re all I’ve ever wanted? The last year… Well, before that, I never would have pictured us here, doing this, arguing all the time, or tiptoeing around each other.”

“I know and I’m —”

“Don’t say it.” Sebastian’s eyes flashed. “If you say you’re sorry one more time…”

Owen bit back the automatic apology that teetered on the tip of his tongue. “You don’t deserve the last twelve months. I know I’ve been hell to live with —short-tempered and angry. It’s not fair on you and you don’t deserve it. Plus I haven’t been able to do the things we usually do. It’s no wonder you’re pissed off with me.”

Sebastian’s eyebrows rose. “Pissed off? Are you kidding? I couldn’t give a shit about you not being able to do things with me.” He huffed in obvious frustration. “I mean, I miss being able to share the time doing the stuff we used to. Kayaking isn’t the same with Matt or one of the other guys, but that isn’t why I’m pissed. I understand you can’t do what you used to be able to do, but it’s physical, Owen. You aren’t choosing not to be with me when I want to go out and do something active. You have a physical limitation. A busted shoulder. I understand that.”

“But you shouldn’t have to.” Owen hated that Sebastian had to change his life to fit in with him.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re the one who’s concerned, not me. I worry about you, obviously. Do I wish you didn’t have the shoulder injury? Hell, yes. Do I wish you weren’t in pain and could sleep undisturbed through the night? You bet I do. And do I want you to enjoy an afternoon spent kayaking? Too right. But I want all those things because I know how much you love the feel of being out on the water. I want you to be able to run and swim and paddle, but not for me —for you. If we can never do any of those things together again, I’ll be okay, because there’s so much else we do do with each other. My happiness and desire to be with you isn’t linked to outdoor pursuits, it’s linked to being with you whatever we are doing —our morning chats over coffee, walks out on the island, watching those stupid comedies you love so much. Hell, even doing the housework.”

Owen stood speechless, unsure what to say as Sebastian sighed and turned away. He watched as Sebastian strode to the window and stared out at the city beyond. Owen gathered his thoughts, trying to work out what to say so he didn’t open his big mouth and say something he’d regret. He seemed to have a habit of putting his foot in it lately and he didn’t want to make the already tense situation worse. Before he could speak, Sebastian spun around and faced him again.

“Look, Owen. As much as it pains me to say this, I think we need some time apart. We’ve both said what we wanted to say.” — have we? — “Some distance will give you some time to digest what I’ve said, and I really hope you think it over. I mean every word. I love you, Owen, bunged up shoulder or not. It hurts me that you don’t trust enough in my love to believe that. That’s what causes me the most pain —that you doubt us. I thought we were past that, that we were strong, that we were more than…” His voice trailed off and the look of anger had been replaced with sadness.

Owen swallowed past the lump in his throat, arms itching to pull Sebastian into his arms, but Owen remembered the raised hand from earlier in their conversation and didn’t want to risk Sebastian pulling away. He didn’t think his heart could stand the rejection. Instead, his hand dropped to his wrist and he toyed with the leather wrapped securely there. “I —”

Sebastian didn’t let him finish. He offered a small smile. “It’s okay, Owen, really. I think if I stay we’ll just ending up fighting more. So I’m going to Bruny.” Sebastian put a finger to Owen’s lips. “Now before you say anything, it’s not for long. I’m not leaving you. I’m just giving you some space. I’ll stay there for a couple of days, maybe a week. I’ll work from the house out there. While I’m gone, maybe you can work out what you really want, perhaps see the surgeon and talk about getting the surgery you need.”

Owen finally reached out his arms —there was no way he wanted to let Sebastian go but Sebastian put his hands up again. “Owen, let me leave.”

Owen fought the urge to ignore the gesture and the words, to pull Sebastian to him anyway, but eventually nodded. As much as his throat ached and his heart felt heavy, he knew Sebastian was right and he did have to get his shit together. But that didn’t make it hurt any less when Sebastian only relaxed once he had Owen’s agreement.

He smiled gently, stepped forward and wrapped Owen in a tight hug. “Thank you,” he whispered against Owen’s cheek.

Given Owen’s recent worries about their age difference, why did it feel like Sebastian was the grown up in the relationship?


Buy Links

MLR Press 

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About Nic Starr

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family-an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters-and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.


I’ve created a Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate the release of Sebastian & Owen. Here is the information in case you want to include it on your blog.

The prize is a $10 Amazon Gift card. The Rafflecopter will start shortly and close on 18th October.

Here is the link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d18d078d9/