Is their love strong enough to survive their real lives?
Desperate to keep her ailing mother-in-law, Doreen, in the woman’s home, Carrie Gable agrees to board a handful of Hollywood’s most elite actors at the manor. Despite her resentment of the demands being placed upon her, she can’t help but be taken in by actor Will Walker.
Will, in a last-ditch effort to save his career, has agreed to a project he has no interest in. The more time he spends with his egotistical co-stars, the more drawn he is to Carrie. Long nights spent talking about the paths their lives have taken make him realize he’d rather have a simpler life, but his ties to L.A. aren’t as willing to let him go.
With the temptation of stardom pulling Will in one direction and the need to care for Doreen tugging Carrie in another, the couple struggle to hold onto the happiness they were missing until finding each other.
2014 EPIC Finalist - Contemporary Romance
“It must be heart-wrenching to see Doreen fading away like that,” Will said.
Carrie’s face sagged. “It isn’t easy.”
“It’s a lot of work trying to keep up with her.”
“Sometimes,” she said dismissively as she looked at the menu. She glanced at the clock again. “Well, I won’t be slow roasting chicken tonight, will I?”
“I’m worried about you.”
“About me?” she asked lightly. “Why?”
“This is a lot for one person to handle.”
“You keep saying that.”
“Because I am.”
“Carrie.” He coaxed gently.
Turning from the menu, she seemed to plea with her eyes. “What do you want me to say, Will?”
“You can start by telling me how you are doing.”
“How the hell do you think I’m doing?”
He took in the deep creases on her forehead and the puffiness of her eyes. “Not nearly as well as you’d like everyone to believe.”
“Falling apart is not an option right now.”
“Well, burying it isn’t either.”
Carrie opened her mouth as if to argue with him but, after a moment, she stepped back, putting space between them. He watched her pull out a Dutch oven and carry it to the sink to fill with water.
Moving to her side, he looked down at her. “Can you just talk to me? Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“What I’m thinking?” she asked. “I’ve spent the last two years pretending that my dead husband is at the grocery store,” she sat the pot on a burner, “returning insane purchases, picking her up from all over the county after she’s driven off to some place that no longer exists, if it ever did exist, but somehow it didn’t seem real until today.”
“I know,” she said turning to look at him. “I know what it does. But I never really felt it. Pretending Mike is running errands, taking away her access to money, hiding the car keys, it all seemed so ordinary. Laundry? Check. Dishes? Check. Lie to Mama? Check.”
He saw fresh tears shimmering in her eyes before she turned toward the drawer where she’d hidden the knobs for the stove to prevent Mama from turning on the heat.
She tried several times to get the knob in place but it resisted her push, refused to fit. Cursing under her breath, Carrie slammed it down and turned to face him. “I’ve read the books, I’ve done the research, I’ve talked to support groups and doctors, but nothing they said could have possibly prepared me for that,” she said as the tears that had made her eyes shine fell down her cheeks. “Nothing could have prepared me for her not knowing who I am.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered as he reached out to her. When he wrapped her in his arms, she leaned into him and buried her face in his chest. A sob escaped her causing her shoulders to shake and he soothed her by whispering softly and running his hand over her back.