This Much Is True by Katherine Owen
Publication date: August 11th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Fate brings them together
Fame & lies keep them apart
One truth remains…
She’s become the Paly High girl with the most tragic story…
At 17, Tally Landon just wants to graduate and leave for New York to pursue ballet. Her best friend Marla convinces her to attend one last party—a college party—where she can be among strangers and evade the whisperings about her heartbreaking loss of her twin that follows her everywhere she goes. She meets Lincoln Presley, Stanford’s famous baseball wonder and has a little fun at his expense—when she lies about her age and who she really is—intent on being someone else for the night and escaping her tragic story.
His only focus is baseball, but he can’t forget the girl he saved on Valentine’s Day…
At 22, Lincoln Presley’s star is on the rise—about to finish at Stanford and expected to be taken early in Major League Baseball’s upcoming draft—his cousin’s party serves as a welcome distraction. But then, he sees the girl from Valentine’s Day that he saved from that horrific car accident and can’t quite hide his disappointment when she appears to look right through him and not remember him at all. He vows to learn her name at least before he leaves. What’s the harm in getting to know this girl? What’s the worst that can happen?
They share this incredible connection, but fate soon tests these star-crossed lovers in all kinds of ways…
And yet, despite the lies being told to protect the other, and the trappings of fame that continually separate them, and in lieu of the deception by those they’ve come to trust the most; one truth remains.
This much is true.
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The lies have just built upon one another. One follows the other like connected dots on a
road map; but this path leads me to him, and I can’t stop now. Not yet. I hold my breath and
take quick inventory one by one of the lies I’ve told him. Name. Age. Birth control. What am I
doing? Why am I doing it?
He shakes his head. Then he walks over to his night stand, blithely opens the drawer, and
holds up a foil packet in triumph. I take in air and slowly exhale with relief and nod with approval
of his Cracker Jack prize. When it comes to contraception, I’m normally better prepared than
this—but then nothing is normal anymore.
“Oh, good. Yes, let’s use that, too.” Then my nerves get the better of me and begin to take
over. I’m shaking. What the hell is wrong with me? This is standard operating procedure. I attempt
to affect a casual air, slip off his bed and out of his arms, and resume my innocuous tour of
his room. The top two rows are filled with books. I finger each one and read the names aloud.
“Shakespeare, Hemingway, Cheever? Have you read any of these?”
“No. I’m pre-med at Stanford, but the major leagues are interested. The draft is coming up.
We’ll see what happens with baseball soon enough,” he says, looking a little uneasy.
“Stanford. Nice. My dad went there. He’s a doctor—a surgeon. They’d like me to consider
Stanford, but I like NYU…” I shrug with nonchalance and have to hope he won’t ask me
anymore and wonder why I brought all this up to him in the first place. I’ve sent in registration
papers for NYU, but I won’t have time to go there. But isn’t that what a twenty-year-old would be
doing? Going to college? Desperate at my over-sharing ways, I switch topics. “Dad saves a lot
people—most of them anyway.” I turn, look at Linc, and frown. I’m momentarily stopped by all
these thoughts of Holly that unexpectedly come rushing back at me in saying this. We can’t
save everyone, now can we? “Is that what you want to do? Save a lot of people?” I can’t keep the
sadness out of my voice.
“Saving people is the ultimate,” he says with this disquiet. His grey-blue eyes darken, and he
gets this intense look.
I’m not completely sure what I’ve done or said to upset him as much as I have myself. I
automatically step back from him, intent on fighting the demons plaguing me from the inside
alone. Our unsteady breaths begin to match up, and I look at him in growing bewilderment.
“I don’t need saving.”
“No one said you did.”
“Really? No one said anything to you at the party? Marla didn’t talk up my particular assets?
Lay the Landon girl because she fucking needs it.”
“I’m Holly and definitely not the one you want to get involved with.” I start toward the door.
For some unknowable reason, he scares me. I feel out of control. This whole scene has become
too much, and all I want to do now is leave. Then I remember my bag. I put it on his bed at one
point. I close my eyes for a second, willing myself to get it together. I turn around and face him.
“My bag. I need it. It’s got my stuff.”
He’s just staring at me—wary, of course—because I’m sure I sound like a flipping lunatic.
“Stay. I’m scared, too, because baseball is my sole focus.” Then, he shakes his head
and gets this apologetic look. “Med school is a plan B. I’m trying to finish early with an
undergraduate degree in biology, but it doesn’t really matter. My dad is intent on me having me
play in the Majors…Baseball is my sole focus. If all goes according to the plan, I’ll get drafted in
the first or second round, play in some minor league working up to triple-A ball and eventually
make my way up to Major League Baseball in the next couple of years. Baseball. That’s all there
is. That’s the way it has to be.”
He gives me this quizzical look as if to ensure I’ve heard all he’s said. Then he slowly
appraises me just like before. It’s disconcerting as if I’m auditioning for some kind of part. He
shakes his head and slowly smiles. “We should go.”
“We should go,” I echo his words, defiantly lift my chin, and look right at him. “Most definitely.”
He doesn’t say anything for a few minutes. He seems to be wrestling with indecision.
Frustrated by his silence, I turn and start toward the door again.
“You’re an incredible dancer,” he says from behind me. “But you know that.”
I glance back at him again with a little smile and then turn to face him more fully. “I’ve been
told…I have talent. I’m expected to be the next Polina Semionova.” I smile wide and laugh at his
confused face. “And you don’t even know who that is.” He gets this sexy half-smile and shakes
his head side-to-side, looking apologetic. I nod and flip my hand toward him. “That’s big, like
Major League Baseball kind of big, Elvis.” I shake my head at him. “Look, I don’t want anything
He looks relieved at what I’ve said and I battle this distinct feeling of crushing disappointment
at seeing it. “And you shouldn’t expect anything from me, either,” I say more unkindly than I
Now he looks surprisingly disconcerted by what I’ve just said. I take a step back from him
because, for some reason, I’m on edge again. As a counterbalance for feeling so mysteriously
out of control, I put my hands on my hips and breathe out, daring him to come closer, daring him
I hesitate and weigh my options—leave or stay.
I’m not really sure what I’m doing here any longer. Seducing guys is normally the easy part.
I get what I want. They get what they want. We move on. One night together, here or there;
sometimes not often, a party or two afterward together; and then there is the inevitable ending.
Because nobody gets that I have dance class. All the time. That I don’t ever have a night off.
That I don’t eat often. That I rarely drink. That I do little else but dance and train.
Sure. People admire the dedication but then they resent it. And me.
So. There are no promises. No phone calls. No texts. No birthday cards. No love notes.
No flowers. No dates. No prom. There is only dance class and training; and rehearsals and
performances. A decade of those. A decade of life on a stage or in a class. Five picture albums
capture every performing moment and every starring role I’ve ever had, but little else, because
there has been nothing else in all that time. Because when you’ve got the talent you have to
constantly train for it and perfect it in order to reach and remain at the top—the most exceptional
level of high achievement. Always.
Surely, the baseball player knows this.
It was easier to conduct these superficial encounters in New York last summer. Marla and I
soon discovered after our arrival there that everyone was on their way to being someone else.
The superficiality of it all was not lost on anyone in that town; there, everyone seemed to know
that relationships were deal-breakers on the way to fame and fortune. Surely, Lincoln Presley
knows this, too. Because who has time for such a distraction? The rules—in perfecting a Godgiven talent and ultimately seeking fame—are known, followed, and kept. Things are casual,
however physical, and definitely noncommittal. The way things are.
Even so, here in Palo Alto’s hometown sphere, the moral considerations for casual sex and
no commitments have become strangely confusing. I’m caught between who I was before Holly
died and who I am now. Is there a difference?
The old Tally needed casual sex; wanted it, in fact. I was noncommittal, detached and
uninvolved. That’s all I asked for and needed. Then.
And now? I steadfastly hold on to the belief that there can be no commitments of any kind
beyond ballet because I don’t want any complications. I still say no to: most phone calls, to most
texts, to most movies, to most parties, to all school dances, to all Friday-night football games, to
all prom and dinner dates. What’s the point of going to dinner with someone who is just going to
end up questioning why I don’t ever eat anything?
I don’t need them. I don’t want them.
I am so right about this.
“Would you like to go out sometime? Not this weekend.” He shakes his head side-to-side
and looks hopeful. “I fly out to Tempe, Arizona tomorrow, after my game. And then we have
Regionals next weekend, but I know this great Italian place we could go to sometime and
maybe we could catch a movie or something afterward.”
It takes a full minute to comprehend what he’s just asked me. I take a step back and eye him
in disbelief. “Are you asking me out? On a date? To dinner and a movie?” I’m incredulous that
he’s somehow guessed at my most recent and truly errant thoughts.
“That’s about the safest thing I can think of…to do…with you.” He half-smiles and looks a
little dazed and unsure of himself at the same time.
“The safest thing?” I wave my hand around his bedroom. “I don’t do dinner or go to movies.
And this is a strange conversation to be having here in your bedroom.”
“How about now? Did you eat dinner?” He moves swiftly past me, opens the door, and starts
down the hallway.
“No.” I follow him more out of curiosity than anything wondering why we’re talking about a
future date and dinner.
“Did you want to go back? To the party?” he asks, turning back to me briefly.
I don’t answer. No. I just slowly trail after him and watch him make his way to the kitchen.
“Yes.” I finally say, with this discernible, petulant whine. “I want to go back to the party.” I
cross my arms across my chest, but he essentially ignores what I’ve said and keeps on walking.
“I don’t eat, actually,” I say airily.
He turns back to me again, shakes his head, and gets this secret smile as if I just presented
him with the ultimate challenge. And maybe I have.
“Bring it, Elvis.”
About The Author :
Dark. Edgy. Contemporary. Romantic.
Were we describing me? Or my fiction? Sorry. I drink too much...coffee, not enough water.
I swear too much for God and my mother, and I slip these into my fiction. Sorry.
I'm impatient, a perfectionist, a wordsmith, a dreamer, which ends up being good and bad. I'm a workaholic; ask my fam-dam-ily.
I've written four novels in as many years: Seeing Julia, Not To Us, When I See You, and my latest release This Much Is True.
If you love angsty, unpredictable love stories, I'm yours. ♥