Ryan Lee is a hot mess.
In another lifetime, Ryan had it all. He was a child star in one of the biggest sitcoms on the planet. Now he’s an adult, unemployed, and a poster child for bad decisions. Okay, so he hasn’t robbed a convenience store yet, but only because he’s always either too high or too hungover. When the opportunity to film a reunion show comes up, Ryan jumps at the chance. He needs the money, but more than that, it might be what he needs to drag his career—and himself—out of the gutter.
Except seeing his former onscreen family again means seeing Chase Ellis–the guy who destroyed Ryan’s career by leaving the show, and the first boy Ryan ever kissed. Back when Ryan believed in fairytales, he thought he was in love with Chase, and the reunion brings all those old feelings racing back. But it drags up old secrets too. Ryan’s about to learn that, when it comes to Hollywood, the only happy endings are the ones that take place on screen.
Then again, maybe it isn’t a happy ending Ryan needs. Maybe it’s a new beginning.
Washed Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee is a standalone contemporary m/m second chance romance.
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An excerpt from Washed Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee:
WASHED UP FORMER CHILD STAR RYAN LEE SPOTTED ENTERING TREATMENT FACILITY.
In a Toyota Corolla, which was the worst part.
I tapped my fingers on the top of the steering wheel while I sat in the parking lot, then drew a breath and reached for the baseball cap on the front passenger seat. I put it on along with my sunglasses, and flipped the shade down to take a look at my reflection. Stubble, sunglasses, scowl. The uniform of every incognito celeb in the world. The question was, would I feel more like a dick if I was photographed like I still thought I was someone, or if nobody paid me any attention at all? There’s nothing more pathetic than someone who makes a whole song and dance about “How dare you invade my privacy? How dare you even look at me?” and the paps are like, “Who the fuck are you?”
Ask me how I know.
Still, the headline scrolled by on the news ticker that lived rent free in my head, so I kept the cap and glasses on as I opened the car door and stepped out into the heat of the day.
The parking lot smelled like hot asphalt and dust. I squinted through my sunglasses at the view over the dusty hills to the haze of LA, where the city drowned in smog down by the water. The day was so bright that everything seemed faded and not quite real. Then again, things in LA had a way of never feeling quite real, even at their most visceral.
Kristen was waiting for me in reception. She looked smaller than usual, her mouth turned down as she plucked at the sleeve of her hoodie. Her lank hair was pulled back in a ponytail, the mousy brown roots showing. She brightened as she spotted me though, almost knocking over her suitcase when she stood up to hug me.
“Ryan!” She smelled like cigarettes and mint chewing gum. “I missed you!”
It had been a long thirty days.
“Missed you too.” I squeezed her hard. Kristen was my best friend. We’d first met when we were kids, in that fucking circus that was stage parents and the audition circuit, and met again years later, when my star had fizzled and died a sad, pathetic death, and hers had never ignited. She’d been one of those kids who’d been born for the stage—she lit up when she was performing—but it had never worked out for her. Hence the rehab, I guess, but pointing to one thing as the explanation she always ended up in rehab was like pointing at a single grain of sand on Santa Monica beach. We were both fuckups in our own wonderfully unique ways, and we both had so many reasons why that it was impossible to isolate a single one.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” she said.
We got the fuck out of there.
Two hours later we were home, in the single bedroom apartment we shared in Koreatown. Kristen had the bedroom, and I had the living room. The living room had been open plan, but we’d screened it off to leave ourselves a narrow space for the TV and the couch, and an even narrower one for my bed and a chest of drawers.
An hour after that we were out, hitting the clubs. Time got fuzzy at that point—everything did—and the news ticker in my head scrolled on by:
WASHED UP FORMER CHILD STAR RYAN LEE NEVER LEARNS.
It sure had my number, I thought as I threw up in a back alley, somewhere between a Dumpster and the slightly more secluded spot where Kristen was blowing some guy for GHB because we were celebrating, Ryan!
“Hey,” said the guy. “Weren’t you that kid? From that show? Say the thing, man. Come on, say it.”
I vomited again.
Yeah, it sure had my number.