Title: Anyone But Him
Author: Cassie Graham
Release Date: Fall 2014
Whitley Hayes is an ordinary girl with a gypsy heart. College is the only constant in her life. She’s made a lot of mistakes and she intends on keeping them in the past.
Move on and forget.
That’s her motto.
Jennings Cohen is no ordinary man—not at all. He would have never imagined his life would turn into such a spectacle. The tabloids exploit him, fans stalk him and the paparazzi are relentless. It’s not always fun being Jennings.
It doesn’t help that he has a secret. One that comes at a price he’s not sure he can pay.
Relationships get complicated and hearts shatter.
It’s not easy living a lie, but it’s easier than telling the truth.
“These people?” I question. I hadn’t noticed anyone else but Whitley since the moment I picked her up.
She levels her eyes, taking a drink of the water that was just delivered. I watch as she plays with the straw with her tongue, unintentionally. My mouth goes dry and I have to gulp past the lump in my throat.
“Yes, these people.” She slyly motions at the room. “Every person who’s made any sort of contact with you has this starry-eyed, dopey look to them.”
I put my arms on the table and lower my head. “You know,” I whisper. “I’m sort of famous.”
Next comes a swift kick to my shin and I wince, laughing. “Okay, okay. That was tacky.”
She covers her mouth from laughing. “Maybe a little.”
“What can I get you?” the waitress asks, interrupting us.
Whitley’s eyes widen. “Oh, umm.” She pushes the hair back from her face.
She’s so beautiful.
“Instead of the Mahi-Mahi, can I just get the one Mahi, because I’m not that hungry?”
My eyes bulge and I can’t contain my burst of laughter.
Saying nothing, the waitress pauses as Whitley looks up to her looking innocent and doe-eyed.
I have to give it to Whitley, she doesn’t break. She keeps a straight face and looks to the waitress, expecting a response.
“We,” the waitress, whose name appears to be Lacy, stutters, not understanding the movie quote. “We’re actually out of the Mahi-Mahi.”
Unaffected, Whitley closes the menu. “Oh, well, okay. I’ll just have the tilapia with roasted vegetables. Thank you.”
Lacy takes Whit’s menu, shakes her head and turns to me. “And, for you?”
Now she’s short with me.
“I’ll take the flounder. Thank you.” I smile at her, struggling to break the tension.
Lacy’s shoulders soften and she takes my menu and heads toward the kitchen.
When we’re alone, I look to Whitley. “House Bunny? Really?”
“What? I thought it was funny.”
“Me too,” I admit. Laughter is something that has been sparse in my life.
“Is it your favorite movie?”
She laughs. “House Bunny? God, no. Funny, but certainly not my favorite.”
“Then, what is?”
She takes a moment to think, not answering right away. “Honestly? I don’t really have a favorite movie. Well…I mean, maybe I do. It’s just so hard to choose. It changes all of the time.”
“Okay. Top three.”
“Umm…Princess Bride, Ferris Buller’s Day Off, and uhh—oh geeze, any Harry Potter.”
She seems embarrassed by her admission, but I sort of love her list. All classics in their own right.
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die.”
“Yes!” She whoops. “Best line, ever.”
I laugh. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
She stomps her foot under the table. “Inconceivable!”
We laugh together, and Whitley’s eyes sparkle with mischief.
“Okay, Mr. Famous, what is your top three?”
I hesitate. I’m always asked this question in interviews. Most are just hoping for their next endorsement, but I always give a generic answer. Usually, it’s the movie I’m filming or promoting at the time.
Cracking my knuckles, I try to really think about my answer. I’ve never genuinely thought about it. “Oh Christ, you can’t ask an actor that,” I laugh. “Really, I don’t know.”
Her shoulders sag. “You don’t know?”
“I don’t. I’m always in movies. I don’t have time to actually watch them. Hell, I’ve never even seen any of the movies I’ve filmed.”
“Wait, wait.” Whitley puts her hands up, stopping me. “You’ve never watched one of your own movies? Like, you’ve never watched yourself on the big screen?”
I shrug my shoulder. “Nope.”
“What?” she asks, dumbfounded. “Why? How? I mean—Jesus, Jenns, what do you do at premiers?”
I turn away, not really proud of my answer. “I leave. Slip out the back, or sit in the lobby. It’s always deserted while the film is running.”
“Then what? You return as the credits roll?”
“Wow,” she breathes.
“It’s just my thing. I don’t like to watch myself. In my eyes, I could always change my performance. I could have said something with more feeling, or looked deeper into the characters eyes. I’m hard on my acting, and in turn, end up beating myself up. It makes me a shitty actor.”
Whitley stares at me blankly as I give up one of my secrets.
It seems like hours before she blinks.
“What are you thinking?” I ask. Frankly, I’m tired of waiting for her to say something. I thought she’d at least have an opinion.
Slightly shaking her head, she drags her fingers through her hair. “Holy shit. You have no idea.”
My mouth quirks down, and I tilt my head. “I have no idea, what?”
“You are…,” her eyes haze, letting me see into that door of her soul. “You are phenomenal on screen. Charismatic and fluid. Compelling and magnetic.” She touches my hand. “You draw people in with looks alone, Jennings.”
Not that my ego needs anymore feeding, but, fuck me, hearing her say those words. Words that don’t mean shit from anyone else, makes me feel like jumping on the table and shouting for fucking joy.
My smile can’t be controlled. “You’ve seen my movies, Whitley?”
She rolls her eyes, a smirk breaking through her features. “Shut up. Everyone has.”
“I didn’t peg you for someone to watch those kinds of movies.”
She snorts a laugh and rubs under her eye. “Yeah, well, you’re sort of famous.”
“You can’t resist my raw magnetism, right? God, I’m sexy.”
Author of Unable to Resist, Cassie resides in Arizona with her husband, daughter and two dogs.
Cassie went to school to be an English teacher, but decided to quit to be a military wife. While, she always loved writing, she didn’t find her true passion for New Adult until she turned twenty.
Now, with one novel under her belt, she can’t wait to release Anyone But Him.
If Cassie isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her in the kitchen making baked goods for her family. She’s always believed the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and her husband proves that correct every day.
Cassie loves her readers and hopes she makes them proud.