All the Lies - Charlotte Byrd Page 0,1

he's going to be on his lunch break soon.

I stop into Just Thai and order two of our favorites to go and text him again. It’s not like him to ignore my texts, so I actually get worried that something might've happened.

Alex and I have been together for two years today. We decided to hold our engagement party tonight, on a Thursday, because it is our two year anniversary. We both took tomorrow off to have a little staycation in Laguna Beach in celebration of our impending nuptials.

I'm not much of a party planner, so my mom and sisters are taking care of all the details. My parents are even hosting it at their Calabasas home, which is tucked in the hills above Malibu.

My phone rings.

I answer immediately and then realize that it’s Lindsey, my very helpful, but often annoying, sister.

She’s three years older than I am, married and expecting her first child with her husband, who is an attorney in my father’s firm. While I have always been somewhat of a tomboy, favoring the color black and refusing to wear a dress even to prom, Lindsey is totally Blair from The Facts of Life.

She has never encountered a pink that she did not like and her room, growing up, always looked like a bottle of Pepto-Bismol had exploded in it. Her style matured in her twenties and now she always shows up so stylish and put together that I feel like she is walking out of an issue of Vogue.

“Listen,” Lindsey starts talking as soon as I answer. “This is an emergency. The caterer has totally flaked and now we have no idea what to do.”

My mouth drops open.

I shake my head and stare at my reflection in the mirror on the counter.

The front desk woman hands me my boxes of food and hungry patrons usher me out of the door.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“That's exactly what I mean. We didn't want to worry you, but it happened this morning and Mom and I are trying to find someone else. So far, we haven’t had much luck.”

“I'm really sorry,” I say after a long pause.

I know that I should be more concerned, but if it were up to me, I wouldn't even be having an engagement party. It was really Alex's idea to have this big bash and to bring the families together so that they can meet each other before the actual wedding.

“No,” Lindsey says. “I'm the one that’s sorry. I found that stupid caterer and a few celebrities had used her so I thought that she was reliable, but just because you have been written up in Cosmo doesn't mean shit. Sorry about my language.”

Lindsey is the kind of girl who curses like a sailor but then apologizes like a church lady, as if there is anyone in the room who hasn’t heard that word before.

“Lindsey, don't worry about it,” I say as calmly as possible. “You’re six months pregnant. You really shouldn't be getting all worked up about this.”

“How can you be so calm?” she gasps in frustration. “Agh. I knew that I shouldn’t have called you. Mom and I will deal with it. Don’t worry.”

She hangs up before I get a chance to say another word. I stare at the phone as I wave hello to Larry, the security guard in Alex’s building, and then wait for the elevator.

After all these years, I'm pretty used to getting railroaded when it comes to parties and other family gatherings by my mom and by my sisters.



The inside of the elevator is all glass and looks out onto the skyscrapers of LA. The city is sprawling and big, but most of the buildings are about two or three stories. The tall, massive ones are concentrated in the downtown area.

I ride all the way to the 18th floor in this silent elevator while my thoughts return to the impossible interview. Corrin wants me to interview D. B. Carter, who is as reclusive a writer as there is one.

For one thing, no one even knows what he looks like. For another, I'm not even entirely sure if he is even a man.

Since I don't know the sex, I'll refer to him as him for now. So much for smashing the patriarchy, right?

D. B. Carter is an international best-selling author of a very popular fantasy series.

He is prolific, with over a hundred books and perhaps even more titles if you count all the novellas, short stories, and standalone novels he