Turning Point book 1
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
2007 Winner Lesbian Fiction Reader’s Choice Awards: Favorite Lesbian Romance Book
2008 Golden Crown Literary Society Finalist for Lesbian Debut Author
It’s Hollywood. Actresses hate getting passed over for roles and cold shoulders are common. Petty sniping is part of the fabric of the place, but it takes two to fight. Actress Cassidy Hyland is throwing a birthday party for her son which she hopes will spark a truce with her cold co-star Brenna Lanigan. Instead the encounter becomes the first step of a journey neither woman ever imagined her heart could take: to love another woman.
Turning Point explores the struggle of these women caught between what is safe and sure, and what the heart truly wants even if it doesn’t understand.
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Publisher: Supposed Crimes
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Age Difference, Coming Out Later in Life, Enemies to Lovers, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Office / Workplace Romance, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 144100
Setting: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Cassidy Hyland's small home buzzed with the joyful laughter of children; adult voices filled her living room. She smiled with pleasure at her success. Her castmates did not seem put off by the number of her neighbors, parents of Ryan's playmates, also attending the party. Though, she sighed, one important face was still missing. She had tried several times to break through the ice that existed even off camera between herself and Brenna Lanigan, nominal leader of the Time Trails actors. She had understood from the beginning that Brenna's opinion mattered to most of the other actors and that they were only following her lead in leaving Cassidy mostly shut out of whatever socializing they did away from the set. She'd hoped that a birthday party for a child would be something so non-studio that everyone would see her as
just another person.
Rachelle Cheron had been the first to arrive, with her daughter and husband, then Rich Paulson, along with Sean Durham with his son, followed quickly by Terry Brown and his daughter. Each had accepted enthusiastically while between takes at various times in the past month. With everyone else here, Cassidy hoped that she could be an accepted member of the troupe now. It had been more than a year, after all.
There was a light tap on the window separating the kitchen from the screen porch. Cassidy looked up to see her neighbor, Gwen Talbot, mouthing the word, "Cake?"
Realizing she was holding up things over a clearly false hope, Cassidy put down the tray of juice cups and turned to a nearby drawer to withdraw the cake knife.
"Can I carry something?"
Startled by the warm, rich voice that reminded her of smoky jazz clubs, Cassidy spun, knife still in hand.
"Um, hi. Rich let me in." Brenna backed up and gestured toward Paulson, just closing the refrigerator door, beer in hand. "I hope I'm not too late."
With a tap of the bottle's neck to his receding hairline, a twinkle in his brown eyes, and a grin in salute, Rich was gone. Cassidy took the opportunity to watch him go and spend the few seconds collecting herself. Lowering the knife, she took a step back and slowly turned to Brenna.
Brenna Lanigan, swirls of gray in otherwise midnight blue eyes, was a beautiful, petite woman. She had brown hair pulled back in a low ponytail, but if Cassidy wasn't mistaken, the red highlighting was from the woman's Irish-American heritage, natural, rather than from a bottle. She had always appreciated genetics over Hollywood facade.
Taking in the other woman's attire, she was pleased Brenna had understood this was an informal party. She wore a sweatshirt with cropped sleeves bearing a New York University logo. One smooth, slender hand rested against the kitchen's island countertop. The fingertips of Brenna's other hand were tucked into the front pocket of figure-hugging, stone-washed jeans. "You look like you had a good night's sleep."
"I...yes, I did. Thank you."COLLAPSE
Kristi on The Lesbrary wrote:
I've always thought of Hollywood actresses as being vain, self-absorbed, insecure narcissists. And I almost gave this book a pass because the blurb seems to imply it's all about these beautiful but shallow creatures. But wow, did the author prove me wrong. Or rather, her characters are anything but shallow and self-absorbed.
Brenn is the lead actress of a sci-fi series and stars as the commander of a group of time-traveling operatives. A few seasons in, Cass was brought into the series, presumably because of her sex appeal, to boost the ratings of the show. Brenn understandably feels threatened and resents the newcomer. This is the main premise that attracted me to the book. How our ladies cross the wide gulf from bitter rivals to inseparable lovers.
The author takes her time to develop the relationship, which is as it should be. For the first third or so of the book, while they tiptoe around each other, we read a lot about their daily grind, their families, and some interesting tidbits about TV filming. This part was a bit rambling at times, and there were a couple of scenes (like the dialogue from the tv series) that we could have done without. But once the two women start to feel a more-than-friends attraction, the tension, the action and the hotness kicks up a notch and doesn't waver till the end.
Everything about the book felt very realistic, from the details about the daily grind of TV actresses, to the various characters' actions and reactions. The plot was very well thought out. Imagine two top TV actresses, both straight, with underage children, and one still married, falling for each other. The complications are headache inducing. The potential fallout may be career ending for both. I was totally absorbed not just in the romance, but in their plight as well. The author takes no shortcuts or easily solutions here. Unfortunately, this meant that things are left hanging at the end of the book. Good thing though, this book is just half the price of a regular ebook. 🙂
Hollywood has its stars: as one begins to fall, another is there to shine. Cassidy Hyland has gotten the cold shoulder from her co-star on the hit sci-fi show Time Trails, Brenna Lanigan, for long enough. Hoping that her son’s birthday party will find a way to spark a connection between them, Cassidy has no idea that she will find herself longing for much more than a friendship with Brenna. From the warmth of an surprise hug to the heat on a sunlit mountain top, learning about each other brings Brenna and Cassidy closer to a truth – and a love – they never expected to find.
In Turning Point, Lara Zielinsky highlights two women who find themselves on opposite sides of the acting divide: Brenna is approaching the “over-the-hill” status that actresses over 40 find themselves facing; Cassidy is the younger, gorgeous woman brought in to bring a fresh face and look to the series. After a period of time of aloofness, Cassidy uses her son’s birthday party to show Brenna that she is a good person, sparking more than a truce in their dealings with each other.
The friendship that grows between the two women is born of work and motherhood, but the attraction is there from the beginning, more so for Cassidy. As she tries to figure out what draws her to Brenna, she works on disentangling herself from both her issues with her abusive ex-husband and her relationship with show writer Cameron, which puts her in more and more uncomfortable positions on set. Brenna’s second marriage to upcoming politician Kevin Shea was a fast decision and one that does not provide Brenna the stability she expected it to bring. The emotional connection between the two is tenuous at best, living and working long-distance. Brenna’s sons still refer to him as “Mr. Shea” even after a year.
At first I was concerned about how slow the story seemed to be progressing. Hollywood is full of “in bed in fifteen minutes” storylines, as are lesbian romances. After finishing the book, I realized that I knew so much about these two women and how they deal with their changing feelings. While the story take a long time to build, readers get to see not only the development of Brenna and Cassidy’s relationship, but glimpses into their lives as actresses and mothers. The plot uses some devices that seem a little far-fetched: both women travel to the same store in all of Los Angeles to shop for their fateful camping trip, Cameron catches the two in a kiss and immediately wonders if “Cassidy will let him watch”. Even with those trite moments, the growing love between the two, and the self-reflection that it causes them both, is sure to touch a memory in many readers’ minds. It certainly did mine.
Turning Point is a slow but steady heart-felt story of two women discovering their feelings for each other. Decorated in the glitter of stardom, it is the people behind the television characters that have to strip away the artifice to find the love they really want.
The sequel is Turn for Home, second edition also published by Supposed Crimes.