By Laurel Osterkamp
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First Robin gets the email with its simple demand: dump your fiancé or else. Then someone puts up the slanderous Rotten Robin Website that threatens to crush her chances to win The Standout, a ballet-themed, fashion reality show. Surrounded by backstabbing co-contestants and haunted by mysterious ghosts from her past, Robin can’t trust anyone, including herself.
This new psychological thriller by Laurel Osterkamp, author of The Holdout and The Next Breath, is Black Swan meets Project Runway. Get ready for a breathtaking novel about love, betrayal, tall buildings, and finding the courage to jump.
Later, to calm the waters I apologize to Andrea and we all carry on like things aren’t totally, bat shit crazy right now. Still, I don’t sleep well and the next day I feel like one big flesh wound. Nick drives me to the airport and when he drops me off at curbside check-in, I grab him in a hug and refuse to let go. How can I possibly live without the spicy scent of his hair for two months? “Maybe I shouldn’t go,” I mumble into the side of his head.
Nick places his hands on my hips and gently pushes me away. “Rocky, you’ll be fine.” He attempts a smile, though I can tell it’s hard for him. “I’m the one who will be a mess without you.”
“Then I’ll stay!”
“Don’t say that unless you mean it.” Nick looks down at his feet, scratching at his temple, while the smell of exhaust accosts my nose. “If I asked you to stay you’d be pissed. You’d feel smothered and you’d tell me this is something you have to do, for yourself and your career.”
Cars are lining up, trying to find a place to park along the curb, and an airport traffic cop is circling, ready to enforce the three-minute parking rule.
“You don’t know that for sure.”
Nick sighs. “So you seriously don’t want to go?”
I wonder if this is a moment I’ll look back upon one day, and pontificate, if only I’d chosen differently, would everything have changed? Would everything be better?
“I’m sorry,” I tell him. “You’re right. I should go.”
Nick rolls his eyes heavenward as his chest heaves. “Good! I promise I’ll be here when you get back.” He gives me a crooked smile that almost says I still own his heart. I kiss him, hard, sniffing as I pull away.
“You’d better get going, before you get towed.” I tell him.
“Go get em’, Rocky.” Nick belts out the movie’s theme song as I walk away, and I shake my head, laughing and crying at the same time.
“I love you!” I call out, suddenly aware I hadn’t said it yet, and that this will be the last chance I have for two months, unless you count saying it on the phone while being filmed.
Nick doesn’t hear me. The traffic has drowned out the sound of my voice, and his song is over anyway. He’s gotten back in his car and he’s ready to drive away.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laurel Osterkamp becomes very attached to her characters. The Standout, The Holdout, The Next Breath, November Surprise, Blue State, and American Angst all feature the Bricker family, but these books can be read in any order. Laurel teaches English and Creative Writing in Minneapolis, where she tries to stay warm, hang out with her husband and two chatty children, and find the time to write. Her other novels are the award-winningFollowing My Toes and Starring in the Movie of My Life.
You can find Laurel on Twitter but she needs to work on sending clever Tweets. A better idea is to follow her blog atwww.laurelosterkamp.blogspot.com.
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