Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…
Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.
Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.
Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.
Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.
New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Disappearing-Girl-Heather-Topham-Wood-ebook/dp/B00CMR7GFQ
Cameron’s temper was building. I could feel the tension in the air. He was showing restraint when all he probably wanted to do was to scream at me for my irrational behavior. His voice was strained. “Kayla, you’ve been here all day and you haven’t eaten a thing …”
My expression was deadly as we locked gazes. “When the hell did it become everyone’s business whether or not I eat? Last time I checked, it was my body.”
I could tell what he was thinking by the way his features twisted. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t the quiet and meek girl he’d been dating. This girl was bitter and wanted to unleash her rage on those around her.
“Lila called me, Kayla,” Cameron said in a resigned tone. I hadn’t successfully incited his anger. He refused to be pushed away. I could play chicken with him endlessly—he’d still never be the first one to yield.
“Why would my sister call you?”
“She told me she heard you throwing up in the bathroom. She found a stockpile of snacks and thinks you’ve been forcing yourself to get sick for a while now to lose weight…”
“Lila is sixteen years old. She’s a child and has no right to make accusations and go behind my back and call my boyfriend.”
“Kayla, she’s scared. And so am I,” he admitted. “You never want to do anything because you’re tired all the time. You’re constantly canceling our plans because you claim you’re not feeling well …”
“I don’t want to hear this. You and Lila had no right to talk about me behind my back.” I jumped up from the table, knocking over my chair in the process.
“Kayla, you have to start eating better. These habits aren’t healthy,” he insisted. Getting out of his chair, he took careful, measured steps across the room.
“You said Scarlett does crazy diets all the time. It’s not that big of a deal to try different things to lose weight,” I countered.
“That’s not what you’re doing. Your diet has turned into something else entirely,” he said softly.
“Fine! You want me to eat, then I’ll eat.” I shoved past him roughly and headed to his cupboards. Opening one of the cabinets, I blindly grabbed at packages of food. After ripping into a box of cookies, I shoved a handful in my mouth. Crumbs tumbled out of my mouth as I demanded, “Is this what you want? Does it make you happy? Because I’m sure I won’t be hearing from you once I become fat again.”
“Cut it out.”
I removed a box of cereal from his cabinet. I shoveled fistful after fistful of the sugary flakes into my mouth. Rummaging through his other cabinets, I found a half-empty box of doughnuts. I devoured them in quick bites, powder caking over my lips.
“This is fucking crazy, Kayla.” Cameron was planted in the center of the kitchen. I saw the suffering on his face after I polished off a third donut. He appeared unsure if he should stop me since I was actually eating or if he should protest my binging in his presence.
“What, Cameron?” I taunted. “You don’t like to see the fat girl inside of me eat? Or you don’t like the realization that this disgusts you and deep down you’re actually a hypocrite?”
“That’s not it and you know me better than that.” I could hear a quiet rage in his voice. “You need help and you refuse to do anything about it. You’re better than this, Kayla. Your dad would hate to know his death was doing this to you.”
I stopped guzzling down a can of soda at his words. “Don’t you dare bring my father into this.” I darted away from him, heading toward the bathroom. Three feet from the door, Cameron’s strong arms encircled me from behind. “What are you doing?” I cried.
“You’re not going into the bathroom and throwing that food up,” he said fiercely to my back.
I tried to squirm out of his hold, but he only tightened his grip. “You’re the one with the problem,” I said. “Does it make you feel like a big strong man to be able to hold down your one-hundred-and-five-pound girlfriend?”
“I know you probably hate me right now, but I can’t watch you hurt yourself anymore. We’re going to get you help,” he said, clearly agonized.
“Cameron, let me go!” I screamed.
My thoughts were irrational. I couldn’t think of anything else except getting the food out of me. The more seconds that passed, the more time the food would have to digest and be stuck inside me forever.
I swung around and pelted his chests with my fists. “Why are you doing this to me? Can’t you see what kind of pain I’m in? Just let me go to the bathroom. Please!”
“Kayla, please, we can get through this together. Why can’t you see that you’re so fucking beautiful? It wouldn’t matter to me if you were three hundred pounds …” he choked out. His eyes flooded, and I turned my face away in horror. I bucked wildly against him and his hold slipped enough to permit me to free myself from his arms and sprint into the bathroom.
Slamming the door shut and locking it, I desired nothing more than to collapse onto the floor and disappear into oblivion. Instead, I shoved my finger down my throat and vomited. By the time I was finished, my cheeks were soaked with tears. With a sob, I clutched at the edge of the porcelain sink.
How could I leave the sanctity of the bathroom? Once my body had been purged of every last morsel of food, lucidity returned. I’d just screamed at and assaulted the kindest, most honest person in my life. What kind of sane person could deal with my baggage? It was over. I suspected I’d finally pushed Cameron to the point where he’d no longer want anything to do with me.
Cameron’s eyes were red-rimmed when I slunk out of the bathroom ten minutes later. My plan was to leave; to grab my things and disappear wordlessly, an attempt to give him an easy out.
“I’ll just leave …” Docile Kayla was back. My enraged other half fled the scene of the crime, leaving behind tears and recriminations in her wake.
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