Genre: YA Romance
Published: July 12, 2013
Tour Host: Life with Lesley
Julian is a disgraced superstar, hated by everybody in America. Accused of a crime he didn't commit. He leaves everything behind and goes back to his roots, changing himself enough that he can go unrecognized by the people around him. He meets Sandy a young woman who teaches him how to laugh and live again. The two of them will have to confront his ghosts and the man responsible for Julian’s fall.
This book contains adult/mature young adult situations.
It was a dark rainy day. I was looking out at the waves hitting the beach. The ocean was restless just like me, so I went out and started walking, knowing the physical exertion could help calm me. I was completely exhausted by all the negative media attention focused on me. I still couldn’t believe how close I’d come to being convicted, the thought of going back to jail for even one more hour scared the shit out of me, let alone for the rest of my life.
Last year I’d been on top of the world and now at twenty, my life was in ruins. After being accused of raping and killing my co-start, who had been one of the most beautiful teenage stars of our generation, I became America’s most hated man. Hundreds of people had stood outside the courtroom asking for my head.
I was acquitted but the general belief was that I got away with murder. Everybody in America thought that I was guilty. They were convinced that I was free because of my wealth and celebrity. All the people who only a year ago had been begging for a closer association with me now ran for the hills, avoiding me like the plague. The same people who used to gaze at me with respect and admiration now looked with hatred, and fear.
I couldn’t go anywhere without causing a scene, people could start screaming, calling me a rapist and a murderer. And I never wanted to kill more than when they did that. I never considered myself violent until now. But the rage inside of me was a crawling insidious thing, and all I wanted to do was use my fists until they were bloody. I wanted the blood of all those smug bastards who crucified me in the media. It had been a witch-hunt, and the media gleefully went after me, they never even considered that I might be innocent. I guess it wasn’t good for ratings.
Six months had passed from the day the verdict was announced. And I still couldn’t rid myself of the fear, the anxiety, the shame, and the rage! Everybody had turned against me. My so called friends, my record label, even my employees looked at me differently. So I made sure to keep all of them away from me. I hated to be around those fuckers anyway.
I wasn’t close to my parents and I hadn’t been close to them for years. So I didn’t expect much from them. And they certainly didn’t offer me their support when I needed it the most. The only member of my family who supported me without reservation was my grandfather. He stood by me, just as he always had. Beside him the only two other people who believed in my innocence were Maria Jones, and my lawyer and confidant Kyle Jenkins. I was extremely grateful that they remained loyal to me. After seeing every person around me turn against me their loyalty meant everything to me.
Maria Jones, who had been like a mother to me, never doubted me. I never once saw an ounce of mistrust on her face, her unwavering support for me and my grandfather kept me sane. She now lived in New York and often called me, I heard the messages she constantly left on my phone. I should call her back, I knew that ignoring her calls was fucked up, but I hadn’t been up to talking with anyone.
Kyle, I met when I was fourteen and he became my lawyer when I signed my first record deal. He’d become like a cool older brother, he was always getting me off scrapes, but it was just a lot of innocent pranks. He knew who I was he never believed any of the accusations against me. The three of them were the only people in the world I trusted.
I remember when I first met my grandfather and Maria. I was ten years old when my parents shipped me off to my grandfather’s home, it was supposed to be only for the summer, but they never came back for me. They just started new lives without me. It was easier for them to go their separate ways without the baggage of a ten year old son to weight them down. I guess it was still easier to pretend I didn’t exist. Not that I cared, not anymore. But when I first arrived at my grandfather’s house I cared then, that was when my childhood ended.
I knew that my family was falling apart. My parents were always yelling. They were so busy fighting that they never had any time for me. I didn’t feel any sense of security around them. So when they sent me away to be with a grandfather I didn’t remember, a stranger with whom I was supposed to stay all summer, all I felt was dread. I think deep down I knew I could never go back home. There was no home to go back to.
My grandfather Ben had become a widower five years back. He was living almost in seclusion, trying to cope with his loss. It was awkward at the beginning when he tried to make conversation. I was so nervous I could hardly talk to him, not the best start. But he proved to be very patient, and moving in with him was the best thing that ever happened to me, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
“Come I’ll show you to your room” He said briskly, leading me to a small room on the second floor. I remember following him, trying to be good and quiet. I set my luggage on the bed, looking at him somberly, trying to blend in. I didn’t want him to get angry, to start yelling. I had enough of that with my parents.
“I’ll make you some lunch, and you can get settled in.” He said, as he left the room.
I sat down on the bed, crying silently. I was so scared. What if my grandfather didn’t want me around either? Where could I go? I didn’t want to end up alone, so I decided after a few more minutes of crying that maybe if I made myself useful my grandfather couldn’t send me away. So I dried my tears and I left in search of him, finding him in the kitchen, cutting some vegetables.
“Do you want some help?” I asked hesitantly from the doorway.
My grandfather took a look at my red eyes and decided to let me help him. “Do you know how to cut vegetables?” He asked quietly.
“Not really, but I can learn.” I said eagerly, with just a hint of a smile.
“Ok let me show you what I want you to do, but first wash your hands.” He ordered, as he collected more ingredients from the refrigerator.
I went to the sink washing my hands dutifully, looking at the ingredients my grandfather put on the counter.
“The first thing that I want you to do it’s to cut the carrots. It’s really easy but you need to be really careful with the knife, I don’t want you to cut yourself.” Ben said, taking his time showing me how to cut the carrots, and other vegetables. He kept an eye on me, making sure I was careful.
“Who taught you how to cook?” I asked curiously getting involved in the process, my curiosity coming out despite my best efforts to suppress it.
Ben Laughed at the question a happy smile coming to his face. “It was your grandmother that woman was a tyrant, she always had to have her way, and she wanted to make sure I could feed myself when I had to travel for work.” Ben said fondly.
“How was she a tyrant?” I asked intrigued.
“She could nag, and nag, and nag until she got her way. I thought a man didn’t have to cook, that it was women work, but she worked on me until it was either learn how to cook or go crazy from all the nagging.” Ben said ruefully and I laughed delightedly.
My grandfather had been so consumed by grief that he’d forgotten a lot of the fun stuff that he shared with his wife. But sharing the memory had been very freeing for him. So we spent the rest of the day cooking, doing shores, and telling stories. Later that day he took me to meet his friends Derek and Maria Jones.
We arrived at their house around six in the afternoon. The house was an old colonial house, warm and inviting. Derek was delighted to see his old friend. “Ben good to see you man, you’re looking good.” He said giving Ben a slap in the back.
“Thanks, you too,” Ben said with a smile. “This is my grandson Julian” He said as pushed me forward. I stumbled slightly, but Ben kept me standing up. Holding me like a puppy, he grabbed my sweater.
“Julian nice to meet you,” Derek said with a warm smile, shaking my hand “So your grandpa finally decided to show you off?”
“It’s nice to meet you too.” I said with a shy smile.
“Come on in, Maria is in the kitchen finishing dinner.” Derek led us towards the family room where he had a game of solitary on the coffee table.
“Oh come on I think we can do better than this.” Ben said with a smile as he glanced at the cards “Let’s play some poker.”
“You’re on! And this time you’re going down.” Derek said with a laugh “What about you, do you want to play kid?”
“I don’t know how to play.” I said with a shrug
“Oh well, we need to fix that” Ben said seriously
“We sure do.” Derek said as he started gathering the cards together.
They spend a good part of the evening teaching me how to play cards, laughing, and having a great time. Maria finally came out of the kitchen, telling us dinner was ready. From the first moment I met her, Maria had been very friendly and loving. She teased me gently, urging me to eat more. And she argued well naturedly with her husband and Ben. It was a nice change from the terrible fights I was used to seeing my parents get into.
After dinner we all went back to the family room, where Derek feeling festive took out his guitar and started playing for us. I was sitting next to him, watching him play mesmerized. I was looking at his fingers intently, trying to see how Derek was playing, loving the music. Finally Derek finished the song and looked down at me. “Did you like it?” He asked me smiling.
“Wow that was great!” I said in awe. I wanted to learn how to play.
“You didn’t know your grandpa and I were in a band?” He asked curiously, looking at Ben, who shook his head smiling at the expression in my face.
“You were in a band grandfather?” I asked in amazement, my opinion of him doing a one-eighty.
“A long time ago… yes.” Ben said laughing.
“And can you teach me how to play the guitar and stuff?” I asked pleadingly. There was nothing I wanted more than to learn how to play the guitar. I had been bitten by the musical bug.
“If you want.” Ben said nodding his head, looking pleased.
“I’ll help too. I think I might be a better teacher anyway.” Derek said teasingly.
“We’ll see about that.” Ben said with a mock scold, making me laugh.
The rest of the summer passed by so quickly, I spend it not only with my grandfather, but also with Derek and Maria. We spent most of the time between the two houses just having fun, playing cards, which I became very good at, and learning the guitar. When I mastered it, they taught me how to play the piano. I was a very quick study, learning a lot quicker than anybody expected it. But while I was happily oblivious, consumed with music my family was falling apart.
After they sent me away, my parents quickly realized that the only thing that had been holding them together had been me, without me in the picture they couldn’t find any common ground. The fights became more heated and vicious, and after a few weeks of living in the same house in a constant state of war my father decided that he had enough. He packed his bags, accepting a job as a correspondent overseas. The following day my mother filed for divorce.
They’d been renting a house and as it happened their lease was about to expire. As soon as my mother found out that he had left the country she sold all their furniture, returned the house and she accepted a job as an assistant for a millionaire named Donovan Reeve. She met him at a party a few days after Greg left, she was a little drunk when she started flirting with an older man who showered her with attention. Donovan Reeve she later discovered was a millionaire who wanted someone to travel with him and handle his affairs as he moved between his three main residences in New York, California, and London. She moved in with him as his assistant, but their relationship changed very quickly and they became a couple.
I didn’t know just how drastically things had changed until the end of the summer, when my mother called my grandfather, asking him to keep me for a few more months. Those months later turned into years.
I used music to keep at bay my feelings of abandonment. I spent almost every waking minute emerged in music. Since my grandfather and Derek taught me to play the piano and the guitar. I decided to learn other instruments, I took violin, cello, and flute lessons in school. I was an A student, but my real passion was music. By the time that I was fourteen I had been experimenting with music compositions and lyrics for some time. But when my voice changed I started experimenting with my singing. And my voice took me on a path straight to fame and fortune, but it also led me to where I was today, completely destroyed, completely isolated.
I currently live in Miami Florida. I went to FAU for accounting but my real love has always been books and I’m excited to start doing what I truly love. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved books more than anything else. I remember my father bringing me a collection of stories. And I remembered reading them and being transported to new and amazing worlds. Worlds where magic carpets existed, places full of adventure. And ever since then, I’ve never stopped reading. But what I wanted to do was to create my own stories and now the time is right to start sharing those stories with other people.
I’m lucky to live close to the beach. I love going with my family and friends and getting inspired with the gorgeous view of the ocean. I’m currently working on a couple of new novels, the second and final book of The Tenor’s fall, should be out in late 2013.