Bring Down the Stars (Beautiful Hearts Duet #1)

Bring Down the Stars (Beautiful Hearts Duet #1)

Emma Scott

Robin Hill, if I never wrote another word, I’d still email or text you a hundred times a day and never run out of things to say. Thank you for every day. Love you so much.

Melissa Petersen, you are family and have shown that a thousand times over. You’re in my heart forever.

Joanna, I found the energy and confidence to finish this book because of you. Thank you for giving me that last push over the hill. Love you.

Grey, Sarah, Joy, Angela, Suanne, and Mom for helping me chisel the raw mess of words into something I hope pays proper tribute to Edmond Rostand’s masterpiece. Love you all so much.

Amy Burke Mastin, I see the house you built for her and I feel stronger. Thank you is not enough.

Joanne and Sharon, for LP. For connecting me directly to one of my deepest sources of comfort. Thank you, and with so much love.

Danielle Sanchez and Kelly Brenner Simmon of InkSlinger PR. You both have been more than business associates from Day One, but have proven to be an amazing support system, above and beyond. Thank you for being there for me. <3

Jade West, for knowing the rarity of a decent night’s sleep; we are stronger and will get stronger every day. <3

Kate Stewart, just knowing you are there, in the world, being Kate, brings me peace. All my love.

Kennedy Ryan, you are a gift to the human race, and I thank the universe every day our paths crossed and now run together, hopefully forever (and with a beautiful curb running alongside with which we can stop and serenade the unwilling masses.) Love you.

And to the book community. I have no words. Not enough. The volume of support, care, and love, you have shown me and my family has been extraordinary. I will never be able to thank you for not only being there during the sharpest agony, but through the longer, lonelier days where the ache dulls but doesn’t fade. Thank you for not leaving me alone. For remembering her. For being the best collection of women supporting women—not just me, but so many others too. I am indebted forever. Thank you and with much love.

Father of Mine, Everclear

Ocean Eyes, Billie Eilish

Be Mine, Ofenbach

I Feel Like I’m Drowning, Two Feet

Just Friends, Morgan Saint

Little Lion Man, Mumford and Sons

The Night We Met, Lord Huron

&Run, Sir Sly

Give Yourself a Try, The 1975

This book was written in the Before. Before my life changed forever. Before I stepped into the dark forest and realized I could not go back the way I’d come. It was closed to me forever. The duet itself is a story of transformation and overcoming tremendous adversity, and it’s happened more times than I can count in my writing career, that art and life intertwine in mind-boggling ways. There are no coincidences. I cannot go back, only forward, and so I give you this book, from the Before, with all my hope, best intentions, and my love because the first lesson the After taught me is that love is all that’s ever mattered; now, then, and forever.

For Katy,

a gift from the universe; the kind of person Izzy would have run up to and hugged on sight.

For Bill,

my love, my partner in this life; we clasped hands tightly when the forest became impossibly, agonizingly dark, and we’re still holding them as we slowly emerge into the light. All my love, honey. Always.

“Almost Empty”

by Weston J. Turner, age 12

I was seven-years-old when my dad left us. That morning, he showered, shaved, and dressed in a suit and tie, same as always. Drank his coffee at the kitchen counter while we ate breakfast, same as always. He kissed Ma on the cheek, told my sisters and me to be good, and drove off in his Nissan Altima. Same as always.

At school, in Mr. Fitzsimmons’ math class, I got a funny feeling in my stomach. By noon, my stomach churned, and my skin was hot. I barely made it to the big gray trash can at the end of the row of tables in the cafeteria before puking my guts out.

The lunch supervisor sent me to the nurse, and the nurse called Dad, but he wasn’t at his office. Ma had to come and get me, grousing the whole time that she’d had to take a bus from work—Dad drove our only car.

Ma and I got off the 9 bus and walked down the street toward our house. We lived in Woburn, a little north of the city, in a shabby little house with blue siding and a white roof at the end of a cul-de-sac. On the street, with two huge suitcases in hand, was my father. He was stuffing one into the trunk of his car and the other was at his feet. He froze when he saw us.

Ma started walking fast, then running, demanding to know what my father was up to, louder and louder. She let go of my hand because I could hardly keep up, and left me on the curb while she rushed to him. They talked but I couldn’t hear what they said through the fever that stuffed my head like cotton.

Ma looked more scared than I’d ever seen her. She started crying, then screaming. Dad talked in a low voice, then threw up his hand and slammed the trunk of the car. In my delirium, the sound was huge. A bomb going off. A meteor smashing us out of our home, destroying everything, leaving behind a huge crater. A hole blasted in the center of each of us.

Dad tore out of my mother’s slapping, grasping hands, and climbed into the front seat to start the car. Ma screamed and screamed that he was no kind of man, and then collapsed to her knees, sobbing and telling him to go and never come back.

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