Title: Before He Was Famous
Author: Becky Wicks
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton – the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?
The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?
A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.
‘Noah!’ she yells again. ‘You have to spin for aunt Madeline, remember?’
It feels like so long since I saw Chloe laughing and something lifts from my shoulders almost instantly. Aunt Mads told us she and her boyfriend danced and span in the rain on the deck of a ship once, just because she’d seen it in a movie and always wanted to do it. Then, when it rained, she dragged us to her yard in The Bronx and we all span around till we were soaked and hysterical, doing stupid high kicks on the grass.
I can’t take my eyes off her as she spins and spins and spins. And I feel it hit me. It smacks me hard; the thought that Chloe is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen, right here, right now, spinning like a figurine in a silver snow-globe.
She bounds up to me, giddy and still laughing. Raindrops are careening down her cheeks and her eyes are huge now. ‘Come fly with me, Peter,’ she breathes, reaching for the hand that isn’t clasped around the umbrella. ‘Or are you too grown up for that now?’
The wind picks up and clutches at her dress. I reach out instinctively to her face, run a thumb along her cheek, swiping at raindrops. ‘You’re drunk,’ I whisper, but even as she frowns and rolls her eyes at me I have to smile because I see her; the kid who held my hand when my dog died, who gave names to the snails in her yard, who made me jump about her bedroom carpet like it was an ocean full of islands.
I see the seventeen-year-old who clung to me when her dad died. The secrets we left in the branches; the way our desperate lips searched frantically for some modicum of sense as we let our minds go out the window and fucked with more passion, more heart than I’ve ever experienced with anyone else in my life; even if she was drunk, even if we were grieving. It doesn’t change what it meant to me.
Fuck. She’s amazing. I love her. Why the hell did I let her go back to Cooper? Why the hell did I not just tell her sooner? Would it even have made a difference?
She’s tugging on my arm and I realize I haven’t spoken yet. ‘Chloe…’ I start. But the flash strikes us like lightning. I’d know it anywhere and it has nothing to do with the weather.
‘Paparazzi,’ we say in sync, and I grab her hand, pull her with me as we both break into a run.
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