Title: Downward Spiral
Author: Bria Starr
Release Date: September 15, 2014
DeAnn pops her perfectly curled head of short blonde hair in. “Someone’s asking for you out front.”
“What’s the matter? What happened?”
“Nothing that I know of. I assume it’s a friend of yours?” She’s unsure because she knows I don’t really have any friends besides Laura, and she knows her well from the time she used to work here.
I walk out to the dining room and look around for a face of recognition. DeAnn comes up behind me and points towards the far window in the back. There’s a small group of teens sitting there, your typical high school crowd. They’ve always seemed to favor this exact table throughout the years.
I approach them and smile. “What can I help you with today?”
“Is that her?” I hear one of the other girls ask her. I look over at her but she’s looking at the girl in the middle who is wearing a smirk on her face.
I politely ask again, “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Are you her?” she slyly replies.
“I’m the manager here. Is there a problem with your order?” I motion to their half-eaten plates of food.
“Are you the hero?”
I stiffen. “I’m no hero. Just a manager.” I want to smack that snotty look off of her face, but I continue to smile.
“I just wanted to see you. We all did. You’re nothing special.”
My patience is running thin. “No, I’m really not,” I reassure her.
Her eyes darken and her lip curls up in a grin as she quietly says, “You know he’s going to come back for you, don’t you?”
My body stiffens and I fold my arms across my stomach, suddenly feeling like I’m going to vomit. “If that’s all you wanted, I have work to do. Enjoy your meal.” I smile as I turn away and walk through the restaurant, trying not to run and draw attention to myself. When I hit the hallway, I scurry, the tears starting to form.
“Fucking kids,” I whisper after I shut my door. I squeeze my eyes shut and take a few deep breaths. It’s been a long time since anyone has dared harass me. But never here. I’ve gotten the occasional comments and questions, but no one brings it up anymore. It’s been six months for crying out loud.
“Oh calm your tits. It’s nothing bad!”
“I was always yours. You just didn’t know it.”
“Girls are not supposed to say it first! We wait it out until they realize that they love us and let us know. We hold that shit in and wait, that’s how it goes.”
A sweet second chance love story with a smattering of suspense, trauma, heartbreak, humor, rediscovery and recovery. The main characters have known each other since childhood and shared their first kiss as innocent teenagers. But things change, don’t they always? Ms. Starr does an excellent job of portraying the turmoil and inner conflict of PTSD as suffered by our characters as adults. She also does a good job of penning the heartbreak, self-consciousness, disappointments, confusion, and cruelty of those pesky teen years and social cliques. She squeezed my heart and stung my eyes. I was afraid I wasn’t going to get my HEA, but mercifully, the fates were with me on this. However, I don’t want to leave the impression it was all sadness and tears – no –no- no! There is also snarky humor and fun to be had. I confess to stealing my new favorite expression from her book, “Calm, your tits.” I initially used it on my BFF and she gasped, then we both broke into giggles. I have since used it several times and it made me feel so in the now! Not a steamy read but has some tender love scenes. The ending left me with a peaceful feeling of contentment. Ms. Starr is growing in confidence and skill, I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.