Today we’re revealing the cover for Chasing After Knight! From Beyond the Break author Heather Buchta comes a funny, romantic novel about a girl trying to make amends with a former best friend. The thing is: healing someone else’s broken heart has its complications, especially when he’s now an A-list movie star.
High school senior Alexa Brooks had it all figured out. Study hard, nail the extracurriculars, stay focused, and life would follow the carefully crafted plan. The problem is this plan was designed for one thing: making her forget all about her once-best-friend, former-potential-boyfriend, Carson Knight. Four years ago, he was the boy who always made her laugh, the boy she loved, and the boy she mistakenly and very publicly betrayed. Oh, and he was also the boy who grew up to become a heartthrob A-list actor, named Cayden McKnight.
An innocent-enough school assignment suddenly brings Cayden to the forefront of Alexa’s mind, and her celebrity-crazed best friend Lindsey discovers the old connection. Convinced that his Hollywood bad boy image is the direct result of Alexa and Carson’s fallout, Lindsey convinces Alexa to find Carson and reconcile, but reaching an A-list movie star is not as easy as it used to be when he was the kid Alexa called every night before bed. Unable to apologize in person but determined to somehow right her wrongs, Alexa goes on a quest to remake Cayden’s image, doing good deeds in his name. But nothing is as it seems in Hollywood, and even when she’s able to finally face Cayden McKnight in person, Alexa can’t break through to the Carson she once knew. Is it really too late to make amends?
Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak preview!
Design and photo composite credit: Lynn Portnoff, @lynnpo
Phantom Bar reminds me of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland: curvy tables like the curvy cars you ride along the curvy track. Fluorescent lights offer a ghostly glow to the dark indoor area. I rub shoulders with myriads of young men who brush my waist or the small of my back, not in a creepy way, just the casual passing protocol in a bar, apparently.
“Miss?” A tuxedoed man with white gloves touches my arm. “Your jacket?” I hand it to him, and he places a ticket in my hand, then disappears to a private room to hang it up. Outside, past the dance floor and bouncing heads, I see a silhouette leaning against the rail, and although I haven’t seen him in years, I know it’s him by the way one shoulder still drops a little lower than the other. My legs feel like they do in the final four hundred yards of my races—Jell-O. Determined, I wobble across the dance floor toward the lookout until I stand on the edge of a glass floor, where you can look straight down fifty-five stories. Carson stands at the other edge, looking out across the skyline of Las Vegas. We’re less than twenty feet from each other. Before I can approach him, he turns to a server. She writes down his drink order, and he hands her a folded bill with one hand, touching her cheek with the other.
Over her head, he glances my way. His eyes stop on me, curious for a moment, until it hits him. He knows it’s me. He steps off balance, catches himself. We stare at each other, and my heart would knock me over if my feet weren’t drilled to the floor. There’s no way to describe what another human being can do to you when they’re that person—the one you meet and immediately feel as if your life is supposed to include them, and any day from then on without them feels incomplete and foreign. It’s crippling; it’s fantastic. And nothing changes it, not the twenty feet between us. Not the three years we spent apart. Not a Hollywood lifestyle of agents, publicists, and movie-promotion tours.
His blond hair lifts with the warm desert breeze, like it doesn’t want to disturb his perfect face. If we could just look at the view together, the view that always made everything okay between us, then—But the moment is interrupted by a girl, the same girl who passed me in the VIP line, who walks up to him and slides her hand around his hip. Our gaze is broken, and he writes something on a slip of paper—a receipt?—and then turns to her.
He leans in and kisses her neck, looking at me while he nuzzles her. He slips a hand into her jacket pocket to tug her closer, all the while never breaking eye contact with me.
I’m real, I want to scream. You’re not imagining me! My eyes are wild with apology, but he doesn’t acknowledge them, or wink, or even blink. He stays with her. Doesn’t come over. Doesn’t find out why I’m here, why I’ve run four and a half miles at night across the desert just for him. Instead, he removes her jacket. I’m guessing she put it on again so she could feel him take it off. He breaks his gaze and motions for the white-gloved man, who appears out of thin air and retrieves the coat, replacing the tip in Carson’s hand with a white claim ticket. As Carson continues to caress this girl’s arms, he again looks my way, his eyes revealing nothing. Not that he’s forgiven me, or the opposite—that he’s angry and trying to make me jealous. His gaze is flat, not even a hint of curiosity. But it’s no mistake that he’s looking at me.
And that’s when I know.
He wants me to see that I no longer exist to him. I back out, foot behind foot. My high heel twists downward, causing me to stumble and reach for a passing guy who steadies me. “Sorry,” I mumble, and I can’t tell if it was to him, or to Carson for ever thinking this would be okay.
I hurry to the coat check, but no one is present to receive claim tickets. There are only a few jackets on this warm summer night, mostly worn by those who spent all day in the air-conditioned casino. I can see the gold threading hanging closest to the door, so I reach in and slip it off its hanger, worried that my embarrassment will flood the bar if I stay a moment longer.
As I approach the entrance, I see Lindsey standing on tiptoes with one hand on the bouncer’s shoulder for balance. “Well?” she squeaks. “Did you tell him? What did he say?”
Lindsey looks at me, and then, on her tiptoes, she looks over the many heads at the bar. “Is he there? Did he see you? Maybe he didn’t recognize that—”
“Let’s go,” I say again.
She nods, once to me and once to Devon, exhales deeply, and ushers me away with a hand on my waist.