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Alyson Noel


  For Charlie and Rachel, my A-list friends


  No man is rich enough to buy back his past.





  One: Girl Afraid

  Two: Heart-Shaped Box

  Three: This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf****r

  Four: Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That

  Five: I Would Die 4 U

  Six: Hotline Bling

  Seven: The Bitch Is Back

  Eight: She Sells Sanctuary

  Nine: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

  Ten: Been Caught Stealing

  Eleven: Rude Boy

  Twelve: Love Drought

  Thirteen: Can’t Feel My Face

  Fourteen: Whisper to a Scream

  Fifteen: All Apologies

  Sixteen: Music to Watch Boys to

  Seventeen: ’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore

  Eighteen: Paint It Black

  Nineteen: Building a Mystery

  Twenty: I Know What You Did Last Summer

  Twenty-One: Guilty Filthy Soul

  Twenty-Two: Ex’s & Oh’s

  Twenty-Three: Used to Love You Sober

  Twenty-Four: Drink You Away

  Twenty-Five: The Killing Moon

  Twenty-Six: Dear Future Husband

  Twenty-Seven: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

  Twenty-Eight: You Shook Me All Night Long

  Twenty-Nine: Our Lips Are Sealed

  Thirty: Burning Down the House

  Thirty-One: Walkashame

  Thirty-Two: Victim of Love

  Thirty-Three: Enter Sandman

  Thirty-Four: Calling All Angels

  Thirty-Five: Watching the Detectives

  Thirty-Six: Evil Ways

  Thirty-Seven: Interstate Love Song

  Thirty-Eight: All the Young Dudes

  Thirty-Nine: Janie’s Got a Gun

  Forty: Highway to Hell

  Forty-One: Hotel California

  Forty-Two: Welcome to the Jungle

  Forty-Three: Fight Song

  Forty-Four: Gangsta’s Paradise

  Forty-Five: Don’t Fear the Reaper

  Forty-Six: Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

  Forty-Seven: Dirty Laundry


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  About the Author

  Books by Alyson Noël



  About the Publisher

  Breaking News: Discovery of Blood-Soaked Dress Leads to Arrest of Night for Night Party Promoter!

  By Trena Moretti

  Just in—Mere hours after teen heartthrob Ryan Hawthorne was called in for questioning regarding the disappearance of his former girlfriend, Hollywood A-lister Madison Brooks, Los Angeles police received an anonymous tip leading to a blood-soaked dress thought to belong to Night for Night party promoter Aster Amirpour.

  While the official statement released by the LAPD states that tests are under way to determine the source of the blood, an LAPD insider assures us they’ve received confirmation that the blood on the dress is a match for the missing celebrity.

  According to our sources, the dress was turned over to police when a W Hotel employee became suspicious.

  “I was only doing my job, which requires me to double-check the number and type of clothes found in the guest’s laundry bag with the number and type of clothes the guest logged onto the form,” said the employee, who wishes to remain anonymous. “This is the same standard procedure we always follow before we send the laundry out to our vendor. You would not believe how many people don’t know the difference between a chemise and a dress. Anyway, in the middle of checking I noticed that a black dress had been improperly marked as a blouse. When I looked closer, I saw that the dress was covered in large dark stains that struck me as suspicious. It was then that I alerted my boss and they took it from there. If it really is the blood of Madison Brooks, then all we can do is pray for that poor young girl, because it really was an awful lot of blood. The dress was completely covered in it.”

  At the time of writing, Aster Amirpour was being booked into LA County Jail. We’ll have more as this story develops.



  Madison Brooks grudgingly surrendered the fading remnants of her dream and blinked into the blackness before her. The room was soundless, still. The air hung weighty and stale. Despite the promise of sleep, her waking life remained a living hell.

  While she had plenty of fears—fear of forgetting her lines during a live performance, fear of her secret past being revealed—a fear of the dark had never been among them. Even as a child she understood that the mythical monster dwelling under the bed could only pale in comparison to the all-too-real parental monsters getting high in the den.

  And it was no different now.

  She pushed away from the soiled mattress she’d slept on and crept toward the solid steel door, alerted to any hint of scent, sound—anything that might provide a clue as to who had taken her, where they had taken her, and why. Over thirty days spent in captivity, and Madison was no closer to answers than the night she’d been snatched. She’d gone over the incident countless times—the memory playing on a continuous loop as she searched frame by frame, hunting for revelations, some small but crucial detail she might’ve missed. Yet every viewing remained stubbornly the same.

  She’d broken up with Ryan only to be rescued by Tommy, and after sharing a few beers (along with a few memorable kisses), she’d received a text from Paul instructing her to meet him at Night for Night, and she’d fled without question. Though she should’ve known the moment she arrived at the closed and empty club that something had gone terribly wrong. Paul was professional. Punctual. If he’d truly intended to meet her, he would’ve been there already. She’d walked straight into a trap, but that was all hindsight now. Yet another item to add to the long list of things she’d chosen to ignore until she found herself with nothing but time to second-guess and berate herself.

  How could she have been so trusting? So naive?

  Why had she continued to wait on the terrace, reminiscing about a past she was desperate to keep buried while ignoring her gut instinct that urged her to flee?

  Last thing she remembered was a curl of wind at her back, the wisp of a scent she still couldn’t place; then a hand was clasped firmly over her mouth and time folded in on itself.

  And now, several weeks later, she remained locked in a windowless cell that offered little more than a sink, a toilet, a bare mattress tossed on the floor, and a succession of bland, lumpy meals served three times a day.

  Not a single sign of her captor.

  Not a clue as to why she’d been taken.

  Her diamond-encrusted Piaget watch, the hoop earrings Ryan had given her, the Gucci stilettos she’d worn, and the cashmere wrap she now used as a blanket served as the only reminders of her former Hollywood It Girl status.

  If it was money they were after, they would’ve stripped her of the luxuries long ago. Allowing her to keep them seemed almost cruel. Like they wanted her to remember who she’d once been, if only to show her how quickly they could strip it away.

  She sprawled on the cold cement floor with her legs splayed before her, wondering, as she always did, what was happening outside the cinder-block walls. Surely the whole world knew of her disappearance. There was probably even a task force specifically assigned to her case. So why was it taking them so long to find her? And more importantly, why hadn’t Paul directed them to her when he was the one who’d insisted on embedding the microchip tracker into her arm, just under the burn scar, in anticipation of this very thing?

  Right on schedule,
the lights switched on—sending the fluorescent bulbs flickering, humming, and washing the room in a garish green glow. A moment later, when the slot snapped open, Madison crouched right beside it, stretched her mouth wide, and screamed from the very depths of her belly.

  But just like every other day, the tray of lumpy food shot past, the slot slammed shut, and Madison’s cries for help languished hollow and unheard.

  She kicked the food aside and glanced around the small room, searching for something she might’ve missed, something she could use to defend herself with. Paul had taught her how to see past the mundane. Nearly everything has a dual purpose, he’d told her. Even the most ordinary item can be used as a defense. But even if she could fashion her stiletto heel into a weapon, there was no opponent—no one to fight. She was trapped all alone in her cinder-block cell.

  With a frustrated sigh, she turned her attention to the pictures of her eight-year-old self spread across the ceiling and walls. The repeating image was occasionally spliced by a random strip of mirror meant to reflect the sorry state she currently found herself in. In the photo, her hair was tangled, her feet dirty and bare, an old doll dangled from the tips of her fingers as she regarded the camera with a deep violet stare.

  It was the same picture someone had sent Paul as an unspoken threat.

  The one he’d assured her had burned long ago with everything else from her past.

  In the ten years since the photo was taken she’d traveled such a great distance, rose to great heights, only to come full circle and find herself as powerless, desperate, and filthy as she’d been as a child.

  Everything Paul had told her was a lie. Her past had never been erased. It had been there all along, patiently waiting for just the right moment to remind her of the sins she’d committed on her rise to the top.

  Someone had connected the dots between the hopeless child she’d been to the triumphant star she’d become.

  Someone had uncovered the darker truth of her journey—the lies she’d told, the people she’d betrayed—and now they were making her pay.

  While she refused to believe Paul was behind it—he’d been protecting her for too long to turn on her now—she couldn’t rule out the idea that maybe someone had gotten to him. Either way, it was clear she could no longer count on him to find her.

  Absently, she ran a finger over the web of fresh scars that covered her knuckles and hands—a reminder of an earlier bid to escape that had resulted in a broken pinkie, a badly strained wrist, and the loss of three nails. She’d acted impulsively, allowed herself to be driven by fear. It was a mistake she would not make again. Her next attempt had to succeed. Failure was no longer an option.

  She remained like that, staring at the wall and formulating a plan, the images of her past and present selves merging into one, until the last meal was delivered and the cell went dark once again.




  Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Yo!

  By Layla Harrison

  Warning: If you landed on this blog looking to revel in the usual sarcastic celebrity snark fest, then you might want to get out while you can and save your clicks and comments for Perez Hilton, Popsugar, or wherever you go to fuel up on your daily dose of Hollywood gossip when you’re done reading me.

  Don’t even try to pretend we’re monogamous.

  I know you’ve been clicking around.

  While I’m usually all too happy to provide the sort of low-level, derisive, Hollywood dirt you’ve come to crave, today I’m afraid I’m unable unwilling to come out and play.

  Unless you’ve been hiding under the proverbial rock, you’re probably aware that Aster Amirpour has been arrested for the murder of Madison Brooks. A good source confirms the Bravado Channel even cut a very special Real Housewives of Hades episode in order to report the breaking story, and I think we can all agree that the willingness to preempt the daily digressions of everyone’s favorite cloven-heeled, cleavage-enhanced, pitchfork-wielding blondes shows just how very serious this story is.

  As it turns out, it is serious, and I was there when it happened. Which means I watched in horror as an innocent person was unfairly handcuffed and hauled away in a squad car in front of dozens of paparazzi.

  Until you’ve watched someone being accused of a heinous crime you know they did not commit, then you probably won’t have any empathy for what I’m going through now. Thing is, I know beyond a shadow of doubt—well beyond any and all reasonable doubt—that Aster Amirpour is innocent. Which means I will not write about her arrest in my usual way.

  While I’m more than happy to continue to report on all manner of Hollywood debauchery, I cannot and will not use this blog to bring down an innocent or perpetuate a story that simply isn’t true.

  Also, as we so often seem to forget during times like these, allow me to remind you that our legal system works on a little thing called the presumption of innocence, which translates to mean: the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on the one who denies.

  Look it up:



  Your a fucking idiot.


  Your friend is a murderer and you’re both going to hell.


  Aster Amirpour is a slut and a murderer and everyone knows it but you.


  You’re blog is as ugly and boring and basic as you are.


  If the dress don’t fit, you must acquit! But we all know it fits, so . . .


  I hope you end up as dead as Madison.

  Layla Harrison sat at her desk, mindlessly sipping her coffee and glaring at the comments section emblazoned across her computer screen. She was supposed to be working. Supposed to be making her mark by ensuring that the party to herald the launch of Ira Redman’s new Unrivaled tequila label was the most hyped, most talked-about party of the season. Instead, she was using company time (along with the company computer) to read the comments a bunch of media-manipulated morons had left on her blog.

  “Innocent or guilty?”

  Layla looked up to find Emerson, the guy from a few cubicles over, standing too close for comfort and peering over her shoulder.

  With a click, Layla minimized the tab along with the other pic on her screen—the one of a frightened and pale Aster being ushered into a police car, the headline above it screaming, Party Promoter Aster Amirpour Arrested for the Murder of Madison Brooks!

  It wasn’t like she needed to study it. She’d stood right beside Tommy Phillips and watched the whole sordid scene play out just one week before.

  “Definitely, one hundred percent not guilty,” Layla snapped. To Emerson the case was little more than a hot piece of gossip about a fellow Unrivaled employee. It wasn’t personal for him like it was for her. She resented him using it as an icebreaker, and had no problem letting him know it.

  “Not like it matters.” Emerson regarded her through wide topaz-colored eyes that his thick lashes and perfectly groomed brows only seemed to enhance. It was Layla’s first day on the job, and it was already the second time she’d been on the receiving end of his go-to condescending expression. Thankfully she’d started midweek, so there were only two more days left until the weekend.

  The first was when she got lost in the maze of identical cubicles on her way back from the break room, and Emerson escorted her to her desk with an eye roll and an audible sigh. Layla had spent the next half hour silently fuming. How was she supposed to recognize hers when they all looked the same? When it came to designing his clubs, Ira Redman spared no expense. So why wouldn’t she expect a cool millennial campus, brimming with espresso bars, basketball courts, spa rooms, and maybe even a yoga studio or meditation den? But the Unrivaled Nightlife corporate offices, which basically amounted to a study in greige with th
eir matching wall-to-wall carpet and workstations, were so opposite of what she’d envisioned—so disappointingly bland—that when she’d first walked in, she was sure she’d arrived at an accounting firm.

  The rest of the day was spent online, researching Madison Brooks’s disappearance a little over one month before and the evidence the LAPD had managed to stack against Aster in the ensuing weeks, only to get caught slacking off by Emerson of all people.

  “Cases like that are all about perception.” Emerson was still standing too close, still peering over her shoulder even though there was nothing to see—her screen had gone blank. “And perception always drives results.”

  Layla allowed her gaze to roam the fine planes of his face—the high cheekbones, square jaw, finely sculpted chin, smooth dark skin—and found herself frozen, unable to breathe. Extreme beauty often had that effect—as did the paralyzing fear of getting fired on her first day of work. She could only hope Emerson wouldn’t inform Ira of her less than stellar performance.

  “Figured you would’ve known that,” he said. “After all, isn’t that what our department’s all about? Manipulating public perception into believing Ira’s clubs are the only worthy place to see and be seen, and that his tequila is the only brand worth drinking?”

  Layla fidgeted, fingers picking at the strands of her platinum bob while swiveling back and forth in her seat. While she was beginning to resent Emerson’s presence, even she had to admit there was truth in his words.

  “Anyway,” he continued, in a light, breezy tone she didn’t quite trust. He had it out for her, of that she was sure. “I’m guessing this was meant for you, seeing as it has your name on it.” He dropped a rectangular package onto her desk.

  Layla squinted at the parcel. On the surface, it seemed innocuous enough, but something about it set her on edge. For one thing, there was no return address. For another, it was her first day on the job—she wasn’t expecting any mail.

  “Found it on my chair when I came back from lunch. A simple mail room mix-up, I’m sure.”

  Layla’s fingers fumbled awkwardly at its edges, but she had no intention of opening it till Emerson was safely returned to his cubicle. “Okay, thanks,” she said, her voice as dismissive as she could possibly make it. She waited until he rounded the corner and disappeared from view.