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Authors: Kathryn Kelly

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BOOK: Incendiary
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Another brow lift directed at me makes me examine my deepest throughts.

“Mother, she was my daughter—”

“She’s still your daughter.”

Squeezing my temples, I ignore her hard tone. “She needed to learn to stand on her own two feet. Parnell and I thought it best. Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen…those are important years. If we solved all her problems, she’d never learn to fix her own life.”

Mother’s snort grates. “Remind me of how old you are, dear? Aren’t I still fixing your problems?”

“That’s different!”

At my words, she returns to her seat and crosses her legs again. “Humor me and explain how.”

“As if I know. It just is. Daddy died years ago. You had nothing else but me to concern yourself with. It’s your duty. I would never embarrass you or compete with you. I know better. Georgiana didn’t back off when her father made me feel as if I were worthless. She encroached on the younger man who thought I was beautiful and made me feel alive.”

Why can’t she get that? How many times will I have to reiterate why I needed Sloane to need me? Tears rush to my eyes. “While Parnell had his affairs, I could’ve been happy sleeping with Sloane.”

“Would you have been?” she asks in a gentler tone. “He would’ve been traveling the world and sleeping with every woman who wanted him. Which is
every
woman.”

I cry harder. “You don’t.”

She chuckles. “We repel one another,” she admits. “But I’ve had my share of younger men. The gardener for instance. He’s thirty. Happily married. A great lover.”

Disgust dries my tears up. “That’s goddamn gross, Mother.” Just the images are vomit-inducing.

“Suppose you’d seen him first and wanted him?”

I know what she’s getting at. “She didn’t see him first!”

“She did, and we both know it.”

After Mother told me, I found out about it. How she discovered Georgie met Sloane at the party the day before he fucked me, doesn’t interest me. I remain silent.

“Cassandra, dear, as your mother, if you were interested in my gardener, I’d step back and let you have him.”

“Again, Mother, it’s your job to make me happy. I have a son, a husband, and a social life. My time is more valuable than focusing on her.”

“Your insight amazes me, dear.” Mother’s smile is condescending. “When you gave birth to the child, what did you expect of her?”

“Does it matter?” I ask crossly. “This has nothing to do with Sloane. By the way, I’d never compete against you for a gardener.”

She taps her fingers on her knees and purses her lips. “You’re as much of a groupie as Georgie is. And as obsessed.”

“Obsessed with him? Are you kidding me? I loathe his music.”

“But not his status. You’re ill, and it ties back to your daughter and her boyfriend. However, I hold your husband fully responsible. You never knew of Sloane, until Parnell’s little sex games brought him to your bed. If not for him, Sloane would never have run across Georgie again and you never would have gone from ignoring the child to despising her. You want the satisfaction of claiming the sex symbol, rock god, everyone wants.”

“That makes me ill?”

“It makes you human. What makes you ill is your obsession. My God, dear, I’m almost worried you’ll hurt him one day.”

I’d never hurt Sloane. Georgie? I doubt I’d sully my hands ridding the world of her, but my position remains firm. I wouldn’t lift a hand to save her life. If analyzing my behavior eases Mother, then she’s welcomed to do it.

“Yes, I admit, his lifestyle fascinates me,” I concede. “His fame puts stars in my eyes. And, yes, if he were a gardener or…or Reed Hamilton, I’d step out of Georgie’s way. None of that is the case.” This appointment is a waste of time. I can’t see the reason for it, when I had worked the situation out to how I wanted it. “Why is Reed here?”

“Sloane’s been arrested,” Mother explains unnecessarily. “As I sat with Georgie in the hospital, she made me promise I wouldn’t put her baby up for adoption.”

“And you agreed?” I screech, betrayal slicing through me at her nod.

“In exchange for her promise she won’t ever contact him again. A better arrangement for your peace of mind than allowing those people to adopt my great-granddaughter.”

“You paid them off, didn’t you?” I whisper dully. “They aren’t going to adopt the baby?”

“I did,” she answers without remorse. “But I also found another child for them. My gardener helped me.”

Mother’s capabilities continue to astound me. Suddenly, I’m tired and weary, and sick of it all. I want my life to start over. I don’t want to be stuck in this body, my actions and thoughts and mistakes limited due to age.

What if I
am
a groupie of Sloane’s? Of the whole goddamn band? That’s acceptable for Georgie, but not for me? I’m as caught up in the Sloane Mason frenzy as every other woman. Except Mother, of course, who fucks her thirty-year-old gardener.

Oh my God…EW!

My shoulders heave as I gag and clap my hand over my mouth.

“Stay out of my bedroom, dear, and concentrate on your own.” She smirks at me, always knowing the workings of my mind.

“Why don’t we bring Reed back in and settle the details? Then, you go home and rest. I’ll call you when Georgie and her daughter are released from the hospital.”

“Shouldn’t he be there to sign the birth certificate?”

“Then you’re on board?”

“Reluctantly.”

“Excellent, dear. He’ll sign in due time. I want Georgie to meet him, so there’ll be no complications.”

“You know best, Mother.”

My words mollify her and she offers me a genuine smile. “I love you, dear. I do what I do for you. No one else.”

My hurt eases at her admission and it helps me to accept her decision to allow Georgie to keep Sloane’s baby. For now.

He’s
my
rock star and there’s no bigger fan in the world than me.

 

I’m having a little girl. I’m carrying Sloane’s daughter. I just want him to know.

Those words roll in my head as the high-tech, security doors shut behind me. A grating grind of metal upon metal that makes me grit my teeth. I’ve been in custody for eight fucking days that feels like ten goddamn lifetimes. Some assholes are really locked up for life. The extent of their hopelessness is unimaginable.

Two deputies stand beside me, but they aren’t rushing my exit. We’ve already left the secure area and are now in a corridor, where I’ve halted in front of the door that will open into the waiting room.

For fucking days, I’ve been working on fumes, with little sleep. After being whisked away from the hotel and to a police station, my father used his power and influence to have me extradited back to the States within twenty-four hours. A battalion of press corps documented every humiliating moment. Back in Houston, I was fucking
charged
with statutory rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, coercion, and sexual battery, then I stewed in my solitary cell for another four fucking days. Two days ago, I had my arraignment, where I offered up my
Not Guilty
plea. Finally, my exorbitant bail was set late yesterday.

It’s morning, and I’ve bonded out.

My father’s doing again. I owe him and we both know it. With all the crimes I’m accused of, and the severity, I would’ve been in jail until my preliminary hearing at the very least. Wallowing in my self-righteous, self-pity, I made a deal with the devil. Everyone believes the head honcho of hell is named Lucifer. Satan’s
real
alias is Rand Mason.

Does that make me his demon spawn?

Georgie would have the world believe so. Thanks to her, my life’s under a microscope. Yet, no scrutinizing every fine detail of my antics over the last eight years has yielded one example where I’ve fucked an under-aged girl. Not even Georgie. I hid her very well. Therefore, her credibility is questionable, and public opinion is solidly in
my
favor.

Before I open the doors to freedom, I draw in a deep breath, anticipating the fucking frenzy on the other side.

Bitter hatred toward Georgiana McCall wells deep within me. When I get my hands on her, she’ll be so fucking regretful she betrayed me and had rape charges brought against me. I hate her to the same extent I once…
loved
her.

Whether I like it or not, I
did
love her. It’s a grudging admission, one I’ve resisted for months, but it’s the truth. I fell in love with her and had to let her go. At least until she turned eighteen.

The little cunt.

Words from her radio interview roll in my head, the moment she betrayed me tearing me apart.

“Do you intend to file charges, Miss McCall?”

“Yes, Sloane seduced me. I'm only sixteen.”

At this point, her voice cracked. I don't need a fucking recording to remember every fucking word. Her conversation has replayed nonstop in my head.

After everything I did for her, she betrayed me.

“He never once returned my calls. I left so many messages for him.”

Yanking my hair in frustration, I pace, sorry I ever listened to her interview while behind bars. I had too many hours to think about her. At one time, I lost myself in our time together. When my days grew dark, memories of Georgie lifted me up. No fucking more. These days, the mere thought of her infuriates me.

Happiness built on a shaky foundation is as lasting as a castle created from sand, knowledge I gained through dealing with my father, but forgot the moment I met Georgie. By the time we’re done, she’ll be fucking lucky not to face charges herself.

If that plan doesn’t work and I’m formally indicted by the grand jury, we’ve already started preparing my defense.

“Little bitch!” I snarl.

The deputies eye me, one of them resting his hand on his gun.

“Give me a few moments,” I say.

They nod. Though they’ve already obtained my autographs, they really don’t know if I’m the violent pig I’m being accused of.

“I don’t envy you,” one of them says, shaking his head. “Give me anonymity any day, over crazy fans who’ll have me sent to jail.”

The other one offers me a skeptical look. “Well, her belly is evidence.”

“Bitches lie all the time,” the first deputy argues.

Not caring if a dozen girls an hour lie to them, I tune them out. Georgie never once fibbed about anything, which makes her allegations that she called and left messages for me even more ridiculous and outrageous. If she’d called, she would’ve known my phone number had been changed, so she couldn’t leave messages. If I’d heard her voice, I would’ve gone to her. I didn’t want to fuck with temptation, so I got a different mobile number.

So many days and nights I agonized over not fighting for Georgie when I had the chance. Not even the groupies I lost myself in mattered. They were there to fill the void.

“Do you claim any responsibility, Miss McCall?”

I ball my fists, her remembered answer deepening my anger.

“He’s the adult. I’m just a child.

How pathetically helpless and naïve she sounded as she fed the reporter that pitiful line.

Lying little cunt bitch.

As soon as I have a moment, I’m listening to her bullshit again. Fortify my hatred of her.

She’s ruined me.

Justice right, Sloane?

For who? Her? Steffie? Dietrech?

I scoff at the thought. Georgie’s actions in no way compare to how I used Dietrech to fuck with Kiln.

“Yes, Sloane seduced me. I'm only sixteen.”

Though not sixteen now, she was when we had our affair. Her current age—almost eighteen—is conveniently overlooked.

I slam my fist against the door and grunt in pain.

“Whoa, whoa, partner,” the friendlier deputy says. “Man, we don’t want to have to tase you.”

The rage inside of me threatens my freedom. I refuse to let her fuck over me any more than she already has.

Deceiving little bitch.

Nostrils flaring, I make the sign of the cross, adopting my pre-stage ritual. But this isn’t a fucking concert. I don’t have my music to lose myself in. This is my life. The one I’m determined to reclaim the moment the word
pedophile
linked with my name is dismissed.

“Fuck.” I knock open the heavy metal door and a roar rises around me. Shutters and lights go off, clicking and flashing like fucking crazy, momentarily blinding me. Once my eyes adjust, I stand tall and proud, allowing the world to see me.

Let
her
see me.

Questions hurtle my way. If not for the deputies, I’d be in a fucked up way, with everyone rushing me. But not only is it their job to keep these rabid fucks at bay, most of these officers now have my autograph, too. My fans come from all walks of life.

“Sloane!” Kiln calls, close enough for me to see him. Fifty feet away, I’d recognize the asshole. I’d fucking know him anywhere. Burning in the pits of hell. Lost in an Amazonian rainforest. Blanketed in a snowstorm on an Arctic tundra.

“Let me through, goddammit!”

I know
that
voice, too. My father, Rand Mason. Everything I said about Kiln? Ditto for Dad.

“That’s my son!”

Raising my hands to shield my eyes against the constant light flashes, I see Dad’s face, flushed with anger and lined with a few more wrinkles than when I last saw him. His gray hair isn’t as thick anymore, but he’s still the same physically fit, emotionally bankrupt, morally corrupt motherfucker he was eleven years ago. He’s never forsaken his suits and ties. If geriatric
GQ
Magazine existed, he’d be perfect.

“Fuck, Kiln. Earn your fucking keep. Get me to my son.”

I smirk at Kiln, only feet away, with Dad right on his heels. Dad’s last comment was completely unnecessary. As far as the world knows,
I’m
Rand’s son. Kiln’s just the hired help. Kiln and I exchange glares. Pres, the head of the band’s security, stands near the exit. Hired personal protection officers are poised to bulldoze me through the madness, and safely to the car.

Dad clutches my arms, regards me in
‘fatherly’
concern, and then hugs me to him. Cognizant of what his fucking hands are capable of, I recoil and stiffen. His touch is almost unbearable.

I can’t bring myself to return Dad’s hug. His arms around me are suffocating. I can’t think of anything but Steffie’s death at his touch.

“You want your freedom?” he whispers on a growl, tightening his vile hold. “Do your fucking part.”

Orders given, I pat Dad’s back, satisfying him. The father-son display drags on until I move. Turning toward the crowd and shielding me with his body, he raises his hand. He achieves a semblance of quiet.

“My son is innocent of all charges, which are in the process of being dropped,” he declares the fucking lie as if it’s gospel. How easy it is for
me
to think of ways to exact revenge on Georgiana, but having Dad do it, is abhorrent. “DNA results will prove Sloane isn’t its father. According to our attorneys, there are several men who will have paternity tests. To my understanding, this young lady—and I use the term
lady
loosely—is a drug addict who needed a way to get cocaine. After trying to extort money from my son, and failing, she falsely accused him of inappropriate actions. We are currently looking into what, if any, charges can be filed against her.”

More questions fly our way, but Dad ignores them. I do, as well, unsatisfied with what the attorneys intend for Georgie, despite trying to convince myself otherwise.

For the thousandth time, I remind myself
she
deserves my wrath, but my child doesn’t. Because of it, my inability to admit I’m the father of Georgie’s baby is abhorrent.

An image of Georgie’s face rises in my head. That black hair I loved to wrap my hands around. Her amethyst eyes that captivated me from the moment I came across her.

I’m jarred forward, suddenly moving through the crush of reporters and photographers. As my personal bodyguard, Kiln barrels through any fucker in his way.

My hands tremble as I open the doors to the outside world. Freedom. Fresh air. I breathe in. Do it a second time. I’m free, surrounded by bright sunlight and a hot July day.

July. Almost a year to the day I met Georgie.

Now, I
hate
her. How quickly things change.

An Escalade limousine awaits me, which Kiln ushers me toward.

“We love you, Sloane!” a female voice screams.

“Sloane, you’re innocent!” someone else says.

A chant begins. “Sloane, Sloane, Sloane.”

A smile curves my mouth. I know what to do. I’ve been in the public eye too long not to. Even when my life is going to shit, I pretend otherwise. At the moment, I bask in the glow of my supposed innocence and how my Phoenicians have risen in support of me. Age aside, they know I’d never take what wasn’t freely given.

Georgie
gave
her pussy to me and her saying otherwise galls the fuck out of me. I had every intention of claiming the baby when the time was right. Forcing my hand achieves nothing. For me or for her.
Her
name will be synonymous with
drug-addicted slut
and
crazed fan
.

BOOK: Incendiary
7.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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