Katherine Dawson was born into a life of privilege as the heiress to an apparel dynasty. Between judging a reality TV competition for budding fashion designers and having been the face of her family’s clothing line for most of her life, she’s one of the biggest celebrities in her field.
When she becomes engaged to up-and-coming television producer Nathan Taylor, she appears to have it all. To any outsider, she has a picture-perfect life, so when Katherine leaves her groom-to-be at the altar and disappears, the tabloids are full of speculation over her sudden departure.
Fleeing New York to hide out in Seattle, she quickly finds that living the life of an heiress in hiding isn’t as easy as she thought, especially after she meets a magnetic writer named Royce Reynolds. In her new life on the West Coast, she struggles to keep her anonymity, and experiences a relationship with a man who wants her for the person she is, not the celebrity she used to be.
Katherine Dawson’s voice echoed off the stone walls of St. Patrick’s cathedral. As one of New York City’s oldest churches, the structure had enough prestige and beauty to hold Sunday service, and memorials. It also provided the perfect setting for storybook weddings, like hers.
When her father didn’t answer right away, Katherine gathered the heavy material of her wedding gown in her hand and walked the few steps to reach her dad. She looked down at the enormous bouquet of flowers in her hand and almost lost her nerve. Yet, the longer she stared at the arrangement of white roses, calla lilies and orchids, the more it reinforced her gut reaction to this day. Like the stunning flowers arranged so perfectly in the bundle, she was also trussed up and made to look pristine. She too was arranged at her peak, the moment in her life when she was likely most attractive. She knew if she went through with this decision that just like the flowers, soon she would wither and lose her beautiful essence. Through the heavy wooden doors, she heard the faint strains coming from the fifteen-piece orchestra. They were preparing to play the wedding march. It was now or never. If she had any chance at escaping the glamorous affair, it was in this moment.
“Daddy.” She stood in front of her father and knew she must look as panicked and frightened as a wounded animal. “I have to get out of here. I can’t go through with this.”
Tears welled in her eyes, but she blinked fast to push them away. Once the waterworks started, she didn’t know when they might stop. She dropped her hold on the dress and reached for her father’s hand.
“I’m leaving. If you want to stay and deal with mother’s temper tantrums when she finds out I left Nathan at the altar, so be it. Daddy, I just can’t do this.” He stood silently, his gaze fixed on the flowers in her fist. Shame welled. She’d disappointed him. It felt like nothing she did could please her mom, but the idea of her father being upset with her was almost too much to bear. “Well, won’t you say something?”
Her father cleared his throat and brought his gaze to hers. It was then she noticed the tears that had formed in his eyes. She hated that she’d let him down, but she couldn’t go through life with such a momentous lie hanging over her head. She stood on tiptoe, wrapping her arms around him for a quick hug. “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. I don’t want to be a disappointment to you, but I have to stay true to myself. You won’t see me for a while.” As she said the words, she knew it was true. Although she had no real plan and no idea how she’d pull off escaping her insane lifestyle.
“I’m going away, but I don’t know where yet. I’ve got to go find out who I really am without all the pressures of being Katherine Dawson hanging over my head.”
“Kitty Kat,” he whispered, using her childhood nickname, “I could never be disappointed in you. I’m crying because you’ve made me happy. Go find yourself. Follow your dreams. That’s what I’ve always wanted for you. I love you.”
“Daddy, I love you, too.”
She turned her head toward the heavy wooden doors again. The wedding march was playing. She had to go now. Preparing for the sprint she knew she’d have to do to make it to the limousine that waited outside, she kicked off her silver-sequined Louboutin heels. Dropping her bouquet on the ground and gathering her skirt in her hands, she hurried out of the front door and down the church steps.
In her haste to escape the wedding, she’d forgotten about the crowd of reporters and spectators gathered along the sidewalk and in the street. At least fifty black cameras took aim at her and several eager members of the paparazzi stood right in her path, their camera flashes going off. She refused to look into their lenses, even as they called out to her by name. Her gaze was locked in on the back door of the limousine. Once she got there, she’d be home free.
“Katherine! Katherine! Why are you running?”
“Have cold feet, Katherine?”
“Where’s the groom?”
Ignoring the inane questions from the media, she opened the door to the back seat of the car. Franklin, her family’s driver, jumped from the front seat, prepared to help her into the vehicle. Katherine met his gaze and she shook her head. He took her unspoken command and hopped back behind the wheel. She could handle the paparazzi. After all, she’d been dodging the vultures since she’d been a teen. Pulling the door closed behind her provided a moment of peace. However, her relief was cut short as half of the camera-wielding assholes formed a semi-circle around the limousine while the rest scattered to nearby cabs. The car had to move before they got trapped—or worse—were followed by the bloodthirsty press.
A self-professed bookworm, Netflix junkie and all around story geek, Ariel Storm started writing as an adolescent and hasn’t looked back. In her late teens she picked up a paperback romance and was hooked. Her obsession with love stories stems from her desire to shine light and positivity into a negative, dark world.
Although she’s held almost every job imaginable, from working in a restaurant, a call center and public libraries, ‘writer’ is her favorite job title, and one she feels blessed to have.