My mom brings me a steaming mug of black coffee,
setting it down on the table in front of me. “Shouldn’t
you be at work?” she asks, taking a seat at the other end
of the sofa.
Skippy lies peacefully between us, having just ingested
his morning ration of dog food and insulin.
“I switched with Kenny so I could stay home with
Skip today on his first day back from the vet. Right,
Skippers?” I scratch his shoulder and he stretches his
arms and legs out lazily.
My mom rolls her eyes as she brings her cup of tea
her lips, takes a slow sip, then sets the mug down on the
coffee table. She flips back her shoulder-length
prematurely gray hair and leans back. She’s going to
tell me what I should be doing today.
“You should be working on your book, not watching
TV. Where’s your ambition?”
I grab my cup of coffee off the table and take a sip,
mentally cursing my mom for knowing how to make
coffee better than I do. “My ambition, or lack thereof,
has nothing to do with why I’m not writing.”
“Are you stuck? Because you know I’d be glad to help
you. Just give me a few pages and I’ll tell you why
My mother taught high school English for twenty-five
years, until she retired a little more than three years ago.
My parents’ divorce came about six months after Hallie
died; just two weeks after Houston and I broke up. That
was definitely the worst summer of my life. Then one
year later, my mother retired. She declared her classroom
days were over and she would be starting fresh, without
I assumed this meant that she would finally write that
novel she’d had kicking around inside her head for the
past twenty-some years, but I was wrong. She’s spent the
past three years trying to live vicariously through
me. She desperately wants me
to write my novel, though she has
no idea if it’s actually any good, since I refuse to
get anywhere near it with her English-teacher-eyes.
“I don’t need you to look at it. It’s not even edited.
It’s a first draft. I just need to put it in a drawer for a
while. Come back to it with fresh eyes in a month or two.”
My mother crosses one slender ankle over the other
and purses her lips at me. “You’re so afraid I’ll hurt your
feelings by insulting your writing. That actually hurts me,
you know. I would never purposely tear apart your
Yeah, she would never
purposely tear it apart.
What’s this dangling
and that cardboard character there?
And how about this
misguided attempt at theme?
Rory, you call this fiction?
My mother is probably the perfect
person to provide feedback on my novel, but she will
never get her hands on it because it’s too personal.
want her to know how deeply I fell.
“Fine. If you’re not going to write, then you need to
get up and get out of those lady boxer shorts. Go find
yourself a man so you can wearhis
“Ew!” I shriek. “Don’t talk to me about that kind of stuff.”
“Oh, please, Rory. You’re twenty-four years old. You
can have an adult conversation. You can’t keep denying
yourself. We all have needs.”
“Double-ew. Please don’t talk to me about
She glances around the living room as she slides my
mug aside and sits on the coffee table in front of me.
“Maybe you should make one of those online dating
profiles. You’re a beautiful girl, Rory.” She smiles as she
reaches forward and pets my hair. “You’re smart. You’re
self-sufficient. You’re healthy.”
“And I’m purebred.”
“Oh, Rory, stop making everything into a joke. Men
will see it as a defense mechanism and they’ll wonder
what you’re hiding.”
“I’m hiding from men. Isn’t that obvious?”
She sighs heavily as she lays her clasped hands in her lap.
“Okay, that’s enough, Mom. If you want to make an
online dating profile, make one for yourself. Leave me
and my defense mechanisms out of it.”
I stand from the sofa and scoop the coffee mug off
t know why
I’m taking it to the kitchen, other than I need an excuse to get
away from my mother.
She calls out after me. “You know, you have more
than one soul mate in this world, Rory.” She pauses
this sink in. “There really
plenty of fish in the sea.”
“Yeah, and most of them are slimy eels or boring
sand dollars,” I shout back at her as I dump my coffee
into the steel sink. “I want a smart, spunky dolphin. Is
that too much to ask?”
A smart, spunky dolp
hin named Houston.
Just thinking these words makes me sick to my
My mom arrives in the kitchen with her tea mug. “A
smart, spunky dolphin? Is that how you remember
Houston? Because I remember him being an arrogant frat boy.”
After five years of hearing these kinds of insults
directed at Houston, it still makes me as angry as it did
the first time. “This conversation is over.”
She follows me out of the kitchen and I brace myself
for more criticism as she trails behind me. “Rory,you
don’t need to be ashamed for loving Houston as he was,
s been five years. You need to stop remembering
him through the telescopic view of young love. You
to look at the big picture. At reality. And the reality is that
he left you. He. Left. You.”
“That’s enough, Mom.” I stop in the hallway and
round on her. “That’s. Enough.”
The Way We Fall Synopsis:
From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a twisted and passionate love story that pushes the boundaries of loyalty.
Maybe we shouldn’t have fallen so fast and so willingly.
Maybe we shouldn’t have moved in together before we went on our first date. Maybe we should have given our wounds time to heal before we tore each other to shreds.
Maybe we should have never been together.
Houston has kept a devastating secret from Rory since the day he took her into his home. But the tragic circumstances that brought them together left wounds too deep to heal.
Five years after the breakup, Houston and Rory are thrust together by forces beyond their control. And all the resentments and passion return with more intensity than ever.
Once again, Houston is left with a choice between the truth and the only girl he’s ever loved.
The Way We Fall is the first book in The Story of Us series, which follows the tumultuous love story of Rory and Houston. The sequel, The Way We Break, will be released Spring 2015.
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Cassia Leo Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading – sometimes both.
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