A Note from Kat:
Inferno's release day is finally near. I'm so very excited. I can't thank everyone enough for all the interest you've shown in Georgie's and Sloane's story. The subject is taboo, yes. A girl who is four months from her 17th birthday falling for a man five months from his 26th. Some of you know who inspired this Lolita-style, May-December romance.
This is the story of two broken souls who manage to find one another. Sometimes, when we are lost and shells of the person we should be, we do very stupid things. Despite all of Sloane's money and fame, he has no one who truly cares about him. With the self-destructive path he's been on, he feels disconnected from the one thing that has always given him comfort--music. His father is holding a horrible secret over Sloane's head while his band is giving him one last chance to redeem himself.
When he comes across Georgie, whom he believes to be 18 during their first meeting, Sloane sees himself in her. He's attracted to her, but he always wants to save her before she ODs. Georgie is a girl ignored by her family. She craves her mother's attention and love. One day her mother loved her and the next she didn't. When she meets Sloane, her idol, and he shows interest in her, Georgie doesn't want to lose him but she knows he'll walk away from her, too. Besides her age standing between them, he's also a rocker with a legion of women after him.
There's another component to Inferno--Georgie's mother, Cassandra. She's as broken as her daughter. When Sloane comes to her bed at the invitation of her husband, she is beside herself. She finally feels young again and won't so easily let Sloane go. To her, Georgie is no longer her daughter but competition. The world is obsessed with youth and Cassandra knowingly ignores Georgie, to feel better about herself. Sloane is the bridge that crosses the Georgie-Cassandra divide.
Finally, I apologize for the cliffhanger. I wasn't sure which would be best. The cliffhanger or a book close to 200K words. I chose the CH. To be fair, I know everyone doesn't have my reading tastes. However when I have a choice between reading a very long book or a book that will be split into two or three different novels, I choose the latter. That isn't to say I won't read novels that are 190,000 words. It takes me longer to pick it up because with my day-to-day schedule, a longer book seems more daunting to me. Once again, I thank everyone who took the time to read and review Inferno.
I’m a rocker with the eyes of the world on me. Waiting for my triumph or my downfall…just waiting.
My band, Phoenix Rising, arrives in Houston to cut a new album. Before we perform our first concert in the city and I choose my groupies of the night, I’m thrust into debauchery. Sleeping with a gorgeous woman twenty years older than me has its perks, especially when her husband orchestrated the encounter and eagerly watches. To me, performing is performing. If a man wants to share his wife, who am I to stop him?
Unfortunately for me, I don’t make a clean getaway as I leave the McCall mansion. Georgie, their sixteen-year-old daughter, is in the midst of her own intrigue, sneaking home in the middle of the night after an evening of drugs and sex with her older brother’s best friend. In her, I see me. She’s lost and drifting. Her hedonistic parents insist she’s old enough to make her own decisions. Instead of time and love, they give her money and things.
I’m a twenty-five-year old international superstar and I know better. I’m cocky and arrogant. I know it so I own it. Somehow, I’ve always bested the fates. I have all to lose—my reputation, my career, and my freedom. Her mother’s jealousy forces my hand and I take Georgie on the tour.
This is our story and our secret relationship and the destruction of my life. You know the adage about secrets? Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. Wise words from a wise man. If only I had listened. Secrets have a way of revealing themselves in the harshest way.
It’s been written, that, for the life of the flesh is in the blood…For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
The pain sliding across my belly represents the flesh, the blood, and the atonement. The weakness of my flesh, his flesh, the heat in my blood, has merged into the life I’m struggling to bear. I want this as an atonement. His, too, but I know it isn’t. Forgiveness for what I’ve done isn’t on the horizon.
If I could make it right, I would. Except making it right means I wouldn’t be laboring to bring his child into the world. Confused, I shudder and cry out at another sharp ache, wanting this over with. After writhing in labor for over twenty hours, I don’t know how much longer I can continue. I’m not dilated fully yet, but neither the baby nor I are in distress, so suffering through it is my only option.
How mistaken I was that I’d feel the agony only in my womb. It’s everywhere and it’s wearing me out. “I can’t do this anymore,” I complain, twisting at the cramping and the intense pressure spreading across my lower abdomen and back.
From where she’s seated in a comfortable rocking chair, Grandma’s unyielding eyes narrow. “You’re not fully dilated yet, dear.”
“Please,” I whisper. The wounded animal noises I’ve emitted for hours has hoarsened my voice. My pinned up hair is plastered to my head, long strands sticking to my face and cheeks. “Do something.”
She snorts. If not for my predicament, I’d mark this date on the calendar in my official remembrance of Helen Sanderson’s low-browed sound. According to her, ladies are prim, proper, and elegant.
The entreaty in my tone earns me a pinched glare.
“I’m not the one who did this to you. My assistance in this matter only gets you so far. I’ve done all that I can do.”
She nods to my delivery suite, the best money can buy, courtesy of her. Soft lighting, wood furnishing, a gorgeous view of downtown Houston. Music plays as a method of relaxation for me when, in reality, it tears me in two. I’m not sure why she requested to have his songs included in my playlist. Then, I remember.
She’s related to Mom. They’re both sadistic this way.
Sloane’s voice lulls me, soothes me, and breaks me. But it’s always been that way between us. From my first encounter with him when my brother’s best friend snuck me into a party I shouldn’t have attended. Fake IDs, a little makeup, and a lot of money works wonders.
“Court ordered DNA will prove he fathered your baby. Lock him away for years to come.”
When Grandma discovered my pregnancy, it sounded as if she’d made some type of agreement with Sloane. He’d thrown at me that she’d find a boy my age to claim paternity.
Double agony seizes me. Oddly, my emotional distress overshadows the physical torture. He lied to me. Again.
Tears rush to my eyes. Despite our history, I don’t want Sloane labeled in horrible ways because of his relationship with me. “Emancipate me,” I croak out, wishing the idea had come to me months ago when a haze of drugs claimed all my reasoning to remove my craving for love and search for someone to matter to. “Let me take control of my own life.”
“It doesn’t change your age, Georgiana,” Grandma scoffs.
“I’ll do anything except give up my baby for adoption.” For weeks, she’s attempted to secure my agreement for a closed adoption. “Whatever else you want.” My pulse thumps more frantically now than the hours I’ve suffered through labor. “Just help Sloane. Please,” I add.
Mouth pursed, she studies me. “You’ll never see him again?” she asks after a moment.
“As if he’d want to see me,” I mutter, unable to stop the words. The pain of how he feels about me makes me dizzy. “He hates me.”
“He never cared about you in the first place. He used you to make your mother jealous.”
A sob escapes me. “That isn’t true!”
“He had an affair with your mother,” she states coldly, a fact I already know. “He wanted more with her than she was willing to give, so he flaunted you in front of her. In the end, he rejected her and destroyed her.”
Mom and I might not have anything else in common but Sloane’s rebuff. Images run rampant in my head of the two of them together and Sloane doing the things to her that he did to me. Nauseated, I dry heave. I haven’t had solid food in over a day. By the time I went into labor, it had been five or six hours since I’d eaten.
“No more talk of emancipation,” Grandma says briskly. “You’ll be eighteen in a matter of months. It’ll take longer to finalize the legalities of freeing yourself from…” She waves a hand, her diamond tennis bracelet sparkling as much as the matching ring she’s wearing. Earrings, similar in style, are in her lobes. The straight strands of her silver hair are situated behind each ear. Money. Power. Ruthlessness. That’s Grandma. “You’ll do as I say to help your mother along.”
Bitterness assails me. No one really cares about my life. This is all to appease Mom and avenge her bruised heart and ego. My nostrils flare. After allowing another contraction to slide through me, I glare. “If helping her along means giving up my baby, then I’m not doing it. Disown me.”
Grandma clenches her jaw and huffs, tapping her fingers on the rocking chair’s wooden arm. Seeing I’m not backing down, she offers a terse nod and reiterates, “No more contact with Sloane.”
Weak and exhausted, I capitulate even as I wonder what makes her think Sloane would accept a call or visit from me. Humiliation aside, he supposedly used me to get back at Mom. Yes, he and Mom slept together, but I don’t believe he ever cared for her as much as he did me. However, with Grandma’s unyielding stipulations on me, I better understand Sloane’s ability to walk away from me when Grandma demanded it. That still doesn’t explain her renewed determination to make him suffer.
“Seeing you and Sloane together will only send Cassandra into another spiral.”
“Mom has Dad,” I point out. “It shouldn’t matter.”
“It’s your choice,” she interrupts. “His future, his career, is in your hands.”
Sloane’s music is his life. If there’s any chance for his band to be saved, I have to take it. “Whatever you want. Just help him.”
Satisfaction gleams in her eyes. I turn away, unable to bear it.
The baby kicks as my uterus squeezes and contracts and another groan falls from my lips at the hard wave of suffering. I second-guess my decision for a natural childbirth. Once I deliver, I’ll never think about having another baby again, or having sex again, or falling in love again. Sloane’s it for me, no matter how easily I was replaced. I understand his actions. I do. My age, his secrets, and lifestyle doomed us from the beginning.
Another pain hits me and I groan, tears slipping down my cheeks. Throughout it all, I wait for my hospital door to open, but it never does.
I’m alone, except for Grandma to torture me, but without my baby’s father at my side. A small photo of him and me is tucked away in my wallet, a selfie I snapped when we were happy and free, secluded at his Denver mansion. It helps to forget his hatred of me. Not that I really blame him.
I single-handedly ruined one of rock’s favorite sons and the baby inside of me is the proof.
Inferno was inspired after I read a news article about a much older man who fell in love with a girl when she was 16. My imagination took over from there and Georgie and Sloane were born. The ending to the real story was sad and heartbreaking. However, Georgie and Sloane will ultimately find happiness.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/KathrynKelly/e/B00H4BM862/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
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