False Front by Debbie Baldwin

FALSE FRONT by DEBBIE BALDWIN

Back at her desk, Emma flipped through article after article on Nathan. He had so much media exposure, it was staggering; he deliberately wanted to put him- self in the spotlight, which was not like the boy she remembered.

These articles painted a picture of a man she didn’t know and didn’t particularly care for. He was on the cover of Rolling Stone after Knightsgrove-Bishop funded a huge multi-use stadium in Dubai. In the photo, Selena Gomez was shining his shoes, and Taylor Swift was filing his nails as he sat reclined in a spa chair; both women wore white lab coats with neon lingerie peeking through. New York Magazine did a feature on his arrest record: two counts of public indecency, one count of assault, one count of public intoxication.

And of course, there were the women. There were stories of kink, infidelity, broken hearts, and public catfights. Models swore they were engaged to him, a movie star left her husband for him, a royal had claimed to be pregnant by him. All the stories were sourced through the women; Nathan had never once commented. On any of them.

Coming a close second to his sexcapades, were his adrenaline rushes. He rode mountain bikes in Chang Mai, parachuted in Odessa, did a survival hike in Afghanistan, climbed K2, raced camels. His extracurriculars read like a rich playboy bucket list. As she scrolled down the posts, the man painted on the page felt wrong. Was this vapid, live-for-the-moment, roué what Nathan Bishop had become? Why? The thought made her feel … empty.

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Debbie Baldwin is a successful print media and television writer. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Debbie and her husband live in Saint Louis, Missouri with their puggle, Pebbles. They have three children in college. False Front is her first novel.