Challenged, yes—but never broken.
celebrity life and willingly dedicated hers to serving and protecting
her best friend’s rise to stardom. But when Abigail learns of
Kessia’s own behind-the-scenes battles with a predator, her sense
of friendship drives her down a path that blurs the lines between
loyalty and revenge at all costs.
pulls into the studio lot.
“Okay, turn it down!” Abigail shouts over the music.
“No, keep it up!” I yell. “I love this song.”
Barry, of course, listens to Abigail.
“I can’t,” she starts to yell but realizes she’s shouting
when the music has been turned off. “I can’t let them hear
me singing a promiscuous song. It’s irresponsible. I’m a role
model,” she says softer. “Child actors have a higher rate of
getting into trouble instead of moving onto bigger careers as
I roll my eyes a little. “We’re just having fun,” I mumble
to myself. “It’s just a song.”
I throw my badge lanyard over my head before getting
out of the car. Abigail hoists her Louis Vuitton purse over her
shoulder, and we walk into the studio. It looks like a big
“I’m gonna miss this,” Abigail says to me.
I hook my arm through hers. “I know, but we have Paris
to look forward to.”
She smiles and perks up. We say hello to people as we
walk by, making our way to her dressing room.
As soon as the door closes behind us, there’s a knock.
“Come in!” Abigail shouts.
“How’s my favorite star?” Pete Hallman’s head pops out
from behind the door.
With my back to him, I make a face as if I were gonna
throw up. He pushes the door all the way open and steps in,
closing it behind him. I feel as if the air has been sucked out
of the room.
At least Abigail is here. I panic inside whenever I’m alone
with him. I always try to find an excuse to leave as soon as
Abigail moves to him and reaches her arms out to hug
him. “Hi, Pete. How are you?”
“I’m very well, thanks,” he says to her. Then, he looks my
way. “How about you, Kessia? Where’s my love?” He puts
his arms out and expects me to touch him.
I’ve never told Abigail the extent of how uncomfortable
he makes me because I can tell she doesn’t feel the same way.
It’s also partly because of how I was raised. My mom insists
that producers, and directors are like gods and goddesses. I
always have to use my absolute best manners.
Abigail and I have known Pete since we were seven when
Abigail joined the cast of Heart of the Family, playing the
youngest daughter. Now, she’ll be filming the final episodes
in Paris soon.
“Of course. Hi, Pete,” I say to him and move closer to
When his arms wrap around me, he lets his fingers fall
under the top of my jean shorts, touching my bare skin on my
backside. His hand almost goes so far down that he could cup
my butt cheek with his palm, but he stops and pulls his hand
out before Abigail notices anything.
Pete stands up and backs away, as if nothing ever
happened. It makes me feel crazy for thinking that something
His hand touched my butt.
I just wish someone could see what he does so that I
don’t have to be the one who says something.
It’s not just Abigail. Nobody ever seems to notice. If they
did, they might not say anything anyway since he’s the
studio’s most successful and awarded producer. “Walking
Gold,” is what Entertainment Weekly once referred to him as.
“Unstoppable,” was in another publication.
I step back, giving myself even more distance from Pete,
and pretend to organize Abigail’s vanity.
“So, Pete, what’s up?” Abigail asks.
He leans back on his heels and rubs his round belly. “I
thought I’d pop in and watch the final studio taping. We
might have a project for you.”
Abigail looks surprised. “Really? That would be great. I’ll
have Tammy call you.”
Pete’s eyes dart to me before looking at Abigail again.
“All right. You go get ’em, kid.” He puts his arm around
Abigail and taps her lower back. He takes a step toward me
and does the same thing, except his hand lands a little lower.
When he leaves the room, I feel like I can finally take a
“This is great news,” Abigail says to herself, grabbing her
phone. “Hey”—she excitedly looks up at me—“did I ever tell
you that Pete—”
“You should probably call Tammy,” I quickly interrupt
her. I do not want to hear anything about Pete.
“Right,” she says, putting the phone to her ear, calling her
University of Oregon, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in
journalism. From there she moved to Denver and spent the next seven
years searching for the love of her life and building the family of
on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a
successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a
Realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book (and
binge-watching the subsequent films) in the New Adult genre. Feeling
hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story
leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she
discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in
love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first
novel in the Angles trilogy.
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