Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lost and Found... and Lost Again by Jena Galifany

            Brian Cummings has come a long way from Leicestershire, England. Miles of hard road lay between then and now – hard road he's kept hidden—until the nightmares began again.
            Diane Starling loves Brian. If she were not carrying his child, she'd still do anything to make him happy—even letting him go to someone else. Who is the woman in his nightly dreams? Why does she make him scream?
           Valerie Leonard, journalist, dredged up history that should remain buried; history that could ruin Brian and hurt the people he loves most. Should Val keep his dangerous past to herself? Doesn't Diane have the right to know the truth about the father of her child?
           Brian and Diane fight to overcome the past, embrace the present, and build a future as they travel with ShadowsForge on THE LONG WAY HOME.
            Nineteen year old Brian Cummings had an affair with Mia Radley for three years. She finally sent him a letter saying she had to tell him something important and that she is leaving her husband, Nolan Radley, to be with Brian. An accident claims Mia's life. Before she died, she told her mother, Alison, to give Brian her journal and tell him that her son is actually Brian's son, not Nolan's. Alison brings Brian and Nolan together after the funeral to decide what will be best for young Brian, the son Brian never knew he had. Brian lost Mia but found his son, Brian Joseph Radley, only to lose him.

             "You two have a nice talk, now." Alison retreated down the hallway as the boy looked at Brian over her shoulder. Brian's heart went with the child. Mia's child. His child.
            "So, Mr. Cummings, we find ourselves in an odd situation. My wife was less than truthful." Nolan lowered himself into a chair before the fire, and crossed his legs in a casual but arrogant, superior manner. Brian wanted to stand but for the sake of civility, he took the second chair.
            "With both of us. Until today, I had no idea." Brian felt uncomfortable. Nolan's eyes seemed to audit Brian's net worth by the value of his suit. "I didn't know what you were talking about at Avery's."
"You've seen him before?"
"Never. Mia talked about him…"
"When?" Nolan raised an eyebrow.
            Brian weighed the consequences of telling Nolan about their meetings over the years. What harm could it do to tell the truth?
"She spoke of him every time she came to town."
            "You met with her each time she was here."
            Brian defiantly looked him in the eyes. He didn't like the way Nolan made statements instead of asking questions. "Each time. Do you want the details?" Brian felt heat rise along his spine.
            "I could probably tell you. You met at some dismal motel somewhere to have a meaningful toss in the sheets. She probably meant more to you than you did to her." He gave Brian a smug look; his blue eyes sparked with arrogance.
            "You were a means to an end. She wanted more children. I refused. She probably hoped to gain another one from you."
            "Odd you never brought it up to her. She feared you'd find out."
            "I'd hoped to gain more sons." He waved a dismissing hand.
            "She said he was named for his father. I assumed his name was Nolan. I called him Joey to save confusion."
            "Joey? Joseph. Brian Joseph." Nolan took a thoughtful sip of his drink. "I thought nothing of the name when she chose it. To be truthful, I didn't care. She trapped me into a marriage neither of us wanted. My family insisted I take the opportunity once it was presented. It worked out well, though, because she gave birth to a boy. If she had produced a girl, I would have seen to the divorce directly."
            Brian blinked. "Having a lover was acceptable but you'd divorce her for having a girl? There's a truly odd sense of morals in your family, Radley. Do you think you're Henry the eighth?"
            Nolan smirked, and gazed through his glass. "You see, there are no heirs in my family. I'm the last of the Radley line."
            "So you get a girl. Not that I would have objected to divorce, but try until you get a son."
            "Not possible. There were certain medical issues when I was a lad which prevent me from siring children."
            Brian narrowed his eyes. "How come you married her?"
            "As I said, my parents saw the opportunity to have an heir to carry on the name. They decreed I should marry and take full responsibility for the child even though we knew it couldn't possibly be my genetic offspring." Nolan drained the glass. He stood as he set it on the table, and faced Brian. Not to be looked down on, Brian rose. "Make no mistake, Mr. Cummings. He is my son and will remain so. You were merely a donor."
            "Did Mia know you're defective?" Brian inwardly smiled at the flinch his barbed remark produced.
            "She knew I'd only make use of her before her trips to visit her mother. She didn't know it was to keep up appearances in case she did conceive again. I wanted her to be unaware that I knew she was meeting with someone. I'd hoped it was someone of better breeding but…" He gave a resigned wave of his hand.
"I could take my son." Brian flexed his hands at his sides. He stood only two or three steps from Nolan; close enough to take him down with one swing.
            "You couldn't afford the legal battle." Nolan eyed Brian's hair and raised one brow. "What do you do for a living, Mr. Cummings?"
            "I'm a musician."
            "How do you intend to care for the boy on your income? Can you provide him a home, food, clothing, everything he needs?"
            "Not at the moment. I'm moving to London where…"
            "Where you'll spend your nights hanging about in pubs? Taverns? Nightclubs? Do you have a woman of your own, a wife? Someone to look after the lad while you're off doing what ever it is musicians do? Oh yes, drink yourself blind, sleep around with jaded women and dream of fame, is it?"
            Brian clenched his teeth, fighting his first instinct. Punching Nolan in the face would alleviate a lot of tension but it wouldn't change the fact Brian had nothing to offer the boy.
            Nolan smiled at Brian's obvious anger. "I am the vice president of an established investment firm. I can give him everything he will ever need or want. Let me tell you what you'll do, Mr. Cummings." He slipped his hand into his jacket. "You will take this," he handed Brian a cheque, "and you will walk out the door and not look back. This will see you on your way to where ever you care to reside. Payment in full for services rendered. Mia neglected to pay you a stud fee."
            Brian read the amount.
            Nolan continued. "This will get you out of Leicester. You may take your fond memories of my loving wife as well if it keeps you warm at night. Just forget about my son."
            "Five thousand pounds locked in a vault is not quite what I need." Brian glowered at Nolan. "Would you have a fifty pound note?"
            Nolan frowned. "You’re a strange sort, Cummings. Is this your way of having the last word?" He pulled the requested amount from his wallet.
            Brian folded it and placed it in his jacket pocket. He curled the cheque in his fist, and lashed out with all of the anger and humiliation he felt. He backhanded Nolan, and sent the man crashing into the chair. Nolan cried out, and held his face, shock-filled eyes locked on Brian.
            Brian stood over Nolan as Alison scurried into the room with the boy in her arms. Brian stabbed a finger at Nolan. "That's my way of having the last word." Brian took the lad in his arms. He hugged him, and kissed him on the forehead before looking him in the eyes.
"Always remember me, Brian. Ask your daddy," Brian tossed a nod toward Nolan, "who I am. Ask him every day of your life until he tells you the truth. Can you do that, son?"
            The child nodded.  His large eyes moved from Brian to Nolan, back to Brian.
            "That's my lad." Brian kissed him again, and handed him to Alison before he stepped in front of Nolan again. He savored the fear in Nolan's eyes. "You will take care of my son. I'll be watching. If anything happens to him, if he wants for anything, I'll come back. I'll keep coming back. I'll shadow you for the rest of your life." Brian looked with disgust at the cheque in his fist before he locked eyes with Nolan. "He's not for sale." He spat the words as he crumpled the cheque completely into a ball and threw it into the fire. "Neither am I."
            Brian grabbed the journal, stalked to the door, and jerked it open. The cold blast of air refreshed him as it cooled his anger. "Alison," he said over his shoulder, "thank you for your hospitality. I'll be in touch. See he takes care of my son."
Ty Synclair with beardless Brian Cummings
            With that, Brian shoved his hands in his pockets, and walked into the night with his shoulders hunched against the cold wind. He would spend his last night in the house. Tomorrow, he would pack what clothes he could into a sports bag, along with the journal and the envelope of pictures. The rest he would leave behind. Fifty pounds would see him to London and hopefully feed him for a few days, until he could hook up with a successful band and get on with his life.

         In the week leading up to this scene, Brian lost his family, his band, his job, Mia and was arrested on two counts of murder. Then he lost the son he never knew he had. I think this is the most emotional piece I've written for the ShadowsForge series.
        The fourth book in the series, The Long Way Home is the most emotion-filled book, following Brian Cummings from age sixteen to twenty-six. I spent two years writing Brian's story. We spent many nights in tears together.

         "ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home is a reader's dream. The tug of emotions I felt while reading of Brian's story is a credit to Ms. Galifany as a writer.

         Ms. Galifany has woven a tale of tragedy and love that is more genuine than any I have read in a long time.  I wasn't expecting such a deeply moving story from a series devoted to a popular British rock band, but ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home is just such a story."
    - Sabine Maurier, reviewer for Novelspot.net

Buy The Long Way Home HERE 
Read more excerpts HERE
See the Trailer HERE



Jannine Gallant said...

Powerful stuff, Jena!

JenaGalifany said...

And this is only a piece in the middle of the story. =)