She was too young.
He was too famous.
Shaelyn Monroe was only seventeen when she met larger-than-life action star, Garrett Riordan.
He thought she was a breath of fresh air.
She thought he was out of her league.
Their attraction was something neither could ignore.
They shouldn"t have worked"
But somehow, they did.
Everything was perfect.
Until it wasn"t.
Could their love survive what happened on the way down- or had it always been too good to be true"
On The Way Down is book 1 of The Retake DuetBooks by Author:Ella Fox Books
The ability to continue functioning when you were completely dead inside was one of life"s cruelties. In my opinion, losing everything and having to go on without any outward signs that you were dying inside was bullshit. Without visible clues of pain or crisis, people assumed that everything was fine"even when that wasn"t the case. I"d spent the day working with packers and moving men, all who probably thought I was okay. They hadn"t known the emotional cost I paid with each box being taped shut. It should have been a relief when they left for the day, but it wasn"t. I was unsettled, and nothing was going to change that.
Being alone in the house had me at loose ends. The ghosts of a life I"d once loved but had destroyed danced around me like tiny motes of dust in sunlight. I bit my lip and twisted a lock of my chestnut-colored hair between the thumb and index finger of my right hand as I surveyed the fruits of a day full of labor. The front entry area that we"d utilized as a staging zone for my move was full of boxes of my things, all stacked in neat and orderly rows, taped shut, and labeled. The closet I"d spent the afternoon putting into wardrobe boxes lined one wall and the furniture I was taking, just a desk and a sewing table, had been wrapped in moving blankets. It was unsettling to realize that my life had been condensed into one of the smallest rooms in the house. Still, it was done, and everything was ready to be put on the truck in the morning.
And yet" and yet" I knew something was missing. I couldn"t put my finger on what, but I was positive that whatever I was forgetting was the most important thing. I checked the stacks again as I racked my brain to figure out what it could be. Something teased at the edge of my mind the way a gnat buzzed around whenever you ate fruit outdoors. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn"t figure out what was missing. When my train of thought was derailed by the sound of the garage door opening and closing, I knew.
It wasn"t what I was forgetting.
It was who I was leaving behind.
My immediate reaction to his arrival was joy"he"s home"until reality slammed into my bubble of denial and it burst, allowing all of the things I was trying to avoid thinking about to crash into me.
The house was no longer a home. When the moving men came back the following morning to load the truck, that would be it for me. The next place I"d rest my head was temporary"a bridge between one part of my life and whatever came next. I didn"t know what that meant long term, but I did know I needed to meet it head-on. I couldn"t waffle or allow even the smallest opening.
I was no longer the girl who"d fallen so in love she"d foolishly allowed herself to forget that life was cruel. I"d re-learned that lesson a dozen times over and it was imperative that I retain that knowledge.
His footsteps echoed across the travertine tiles on the floor in our kitchen as he got closer to where I was. Pushing my hair back, I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, and gave myself a quick pep talk. I"d called and told him what I was doing eleven hours earlier. Surely I could do it again in person.
His choked inhalation told me he"d made it into the room"which meant he was seeing all the things that were packed and ready to go.
"Jesus, Shae" I can"t believe you"re really fucking doing this."
In a lot of ways I couldn"t either, but I"d never tell him that. As prepared as I was ever going to be, I turned to face him, keeping my expression as blank as possible as I did. It had only been six days since I"d seen him last, but it felt like a hundred years. It hurt like hell seeing how exhausted he looked because I knew what was happening between us was the reason. In addition to the dark circles under his eyes he"d lost some weight. I wanted to soothe him, but that couldn"t happen anymore.
"Why are you here"" I demanded. "You"re should be on set in New York."
His head reared back as if I"d slapped him. "Fuck the job and fuck anything else that would make you leave me. I"m here because you"re here"and I belong wherever you are. If you need me to quit, I"ll quit. Tell me what you want and I"ll give it to you. I’ll walk away from everything but you without hesitation. Don"t quit on us, baby."
The sadness on his face paired with the desperation in his voice was physically painful. It felt as if the weight of a thousand bricks had just settled on top of me, and I could feel myself sinking even further emotionally under the weight. I was so exhausted it was a miracle I was still upright. I was tired of him, tired of us, but most of all, tired of myself. No matter how I presented my reasons for doing what I was doing, he"d never understand.