Laine Cartwright has had to scratch and fight like a Bengal tiger to get to the top of her game as a member of the reviled paparazzi. They who are constantly chasing after an A-lister for a gotcha’ photo op in a compromising or embarrassing situation. That’s her game and she’s damned good at it. A childhood spent getting bounced from one foster home to another only to finally give up depending on the system and try to make it living on the streets of L.A. made for a hard-scrabble existence for a ten year old. Now at twenty five she owns L.A. from the glitzy Hollywood hills and Rodeo Drive, all the way down to the underbelly of the city’s gritty streets.
But then one day she comes eye to eye with her childhood first love, Michael Graydon, now an A-list film actor. Not wanting to give her an all important photo op, he grabs and tosses her $7K camera rig through a plate glass window into the street. Kaboom! There went her livelihood right out the window, now smashed beyond recognition. What’s a girl to do?
It’s not easy to segue from that disaster into a torrid love affair but somehow Laine and Michael manage it. But will her gritty unwholesome past undo his Mr Squeaky Clean Nice Guy image and bring him low or will her association with him elevate her status to acceptable levels for his friends and associates? There are no easy answers to those questions.
C.D. Reiss has quickly become one of my favorite authors because her work is always original, fresh and never formulaic or trite and “Star Crossed” is no exception to that rule. A great blockbuster plot full of grit with a seamy shot of child abuse and some love scenes for those of us who don’t mind having the wallpaper come peeling off from the steam build up. Yowzah! Her characters are so flawed they’re flawlessly believable and getting heavily invested in them is so easy that having to come back to the real world is almost a letdown. But what an awesome accomplishment for a world class writer such as Reiss. Five stars.
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