Authors: Amy Lane
PO Box 1537
Burnsville, NC 28714
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. All person(s) depicted on the cover are model(s) used for illustrative purposes only.
Copyright © 2016 by Amy Lane
Cover art: L.C. Chase,
Editors: Sarah Lyons, May Peterson
Layout: L.C. Chase,
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher, and where permitted by law. Reviewers may quote brief passages in a review. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Riptide Publishing at the mailing address above, at
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One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.
Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show
might be just that.
The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.
To Mate, of course, because if we had worlds enough and time we would watch
every sci-fi show on every channel, and all the movies
. Because that’s who we are, and we’ve believed in sci-fi since we were little kids watching
and new lovers watching
Star Trek: The Next Generation
, and we will continue to believe it’s the best of storytelling and the best of literature until our kids are watching their own shows and we’re too old to get it and too deaf to hear.
To Mary, of course, because she looked at a news article and said, “YOU must write this,” and I said, “Why can’t you?” And she said, “Because this is an Amy story—I’ll bet you’ve already got half of it in your head.” And I did.
And to Sarah, who makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery whenever I give her a manuscript, and to Amelia, who is right there next to her with the confetti, balloons, and noisemaker, making me feel like I did good.
I hate watching celebrities self-destruct via public media. It feels like the worst of voyeurism and the worst of ourselves. And the most awful part is all of the things we’ll never see, and the knowledge that just the presence, the multi-thousand attention weight of the world is going to make every moment, every regret, every sordid article just ever so much worse.
So, for everyone who has ever felt the pressure of too many eyes, whether it’s in front of the world and the national press or in front of a classroom with social anxiety, here’s to finding out who you are and holding fast to what is true. We never look at a selfie and think, “Oh,
the best picture in the world!” Here’s to finding the beautiful person in every snapshot we take.
There was a terrible sound—a shrill cacophonic assault—and I closed my eyes against the crippling brightness in our—my—beach house and whimpered.
What had I done?
The cacophony erupted again, and I rolled to my side, pulling the covers over my head, groaning. I’d left the patio door open, and the ocean roared carelessly on outside. It should have been a soothing sound, but my brain felt like a land-mine detonation facility. The phone rang again, and another bank of explosives went off, including a few in my stomach that would have sent me running to the bathroom if I could move.
I couldn’t move.
“Vinnie,” I moaned. “Vince . . . baby . . . get the phone . . . Oh fuck.”
My voice pitched on the “fuck,” because I remembered why Vince wasn’t there. Suddenly my hangover was nothing, a torn cuticle, a pimple, a plucked hair, compared to that terrible, terrible voiding pain of the severed half of my heart.
Vince wasn’t there. He’d been gone for 366 days, and he wasn’t coming back.
Nope, Con, I’m not there. You need to get the phone, you lazy bastard.
The phone rang one more time, and I fumbled at the end table and answered it because that beat the alternative.
“Do we need a Bloody Mary?” Jillian Lombard’s voice was like a spring-powered launch of ice picks, all of them driven through my left eyeball to the back of the brain.
“I can’t do bitchy,” I whined. “Why are we bitchy? Make the bitchy stop.”
“I’m sorry, sweetums, am I bitchy?” she asked pleasantly. In the background I heard the sound of a lighter flicking, and a heavily indrawn breath.
“You started smoking again?” I was concerned. Jillian was in her early fifties and built like a fireplug. “That’s not healthy, Jillian—I thought you’d quit.”
,” she snapped bitterly. “I
quit, because you and Vince were happy, and you were making scads of money, and suddenly, my shoestring operation was in the black and I could afford to worry about my health. Things have changed, buttercup, oh how things have changed.”
I wanted to bitch and moan, but I couldn’t. Instead I swung my bare legs off the white-sheeted bed, leaned forward on my knees, and massaged the back of my neck, trying to remember grown-up skills. I’d had grown-up skills once—I was famous for them. In a land where people were prone to excess, where you had to talk your boyfriend into rehab once every three years or so, the guy who didn’t drink too much, didn’t do too much blow, didn’t party too much—
was considered a grown-up. I was that guy. I didn’t get into fights, I didn’t slip up our little cover, I didn’t make scenes on set. I did my job, I did it professionally, and I enjoyed the hell out of it—my God, I worked hard on my reputation as a good guy in Hollywood, I really fucking did.