Starstruck by Leslie Davis is a contemporary romance that I had trouble putting down. Actress Cassidy “C.J.” Hayes is famous for her role in The Alchemidens, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable, but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her, but can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?
Starstruck is a realistic lesbian romance. Both Cassidy and Aiden have trauma in their past or present to deal with, and are struggling with letting another person in. Cassidy is dealing with a stalker that has escalated from wanting to get close to Cassidy to wanting to kill her, because if he cannot have her no one should. Aiden grew up in the foster system, and escapes from the real world through watching movies and writing. When the woman of her fantasies moves in next door, separating fiction and reality should have been hard, the real Cassidy is wonderful in her own way and the attraction cannot be denied. Of course conflict, including communication fails, assumptions, and so on take place. Real danger from the stalker and character growth and interactions are present as well. The balance of completely realistic relationship and personal fears and doubts with the concerns of high profile people, are address very well. I also liked the little cameo of characters I recognized from previous books by the author.
Starstruck is a pretty perfect contemporary romance. It dealt with problems the characters might face in the real world, and they reacted as anyone might. I like that the fact that the gender of Aiden and Cassidy are more of a side note than anything else for me. LGBT issues are raised, but it was organic rather than feeling forced or done for effect. I had trouble putting this book down, and have added Davis to me list of authors to watch and read regularly.