The Forbidden Muse
(Inferno Falls, #2)
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Gavin might just be the music that Abigail yearns for … if only his painful past will allow him to love again.
Just a few months after arriving at Inferno Falls, Abigail can’t see the light at the end of her tunnel. No one can complain about being overworked and broke when the rest of the country’s the same way, but that doesn’t make it any easier when Abigail has to live the story every day. It’s not the work or the meager lifestyle she minds. Abigail wants something more…something inspired…something raw.
Gavin is a grieving musician trying to re-find his inspiration. He’s mourning a crushing loss, and life has become too mundane, too typical, to give him the material for songs that used to come so easy. What could he expect to find in Inferno Falls that would truly stir his heart? After all, he’s been shattered by love too many times to find any comfort in a woman’s arms.
The song begins…
Strings play the moment they meet in Abigail’s section of the Nosh Pit, Inferno Falls’ latest and hippest restaurant, and their pulses thunder like a drumbeat from the moment their eyes touch. Abigail feels a stirring in her heart she never expected, while Gavin goes home to pour his inspiration into music.
But despite their obvious harmony, Gavin’s past won’t let anyone get too close. And after years of heartache, Abigail doesn’t have time for anyone who seems like they’re just playing around. Together they’ll have to learn to sing in chorus, or let the stage lights fade and bow out of each other’s lives for good.
I’m helping to move a few boxes in the kitchen when I hear an angry voice shouting in the other room. It has to be Gavin, yelling at the kid he’d been speaking to when I ran out. I can’t hear what’s said, but I recognize the tone — one man pumping his chest and telling the other to mind his own business and not tell him what to do. Artistic differences, maybe.
Sometime later, I’m in the converted loading bay when Gavin walks by. I’ve seen him sullen, but this is a new level. This isn’t really morose-sullen, and it’s not an angry, fuck-the-world breed of sullen. It’s almost depressed-sullen. One that, for a change, I find myself believing as genuine.
He vanishes down the hallway, and I don’t consider following. I’ve pretty much decided I’m done with Gavin Adams — and, in my defense, I wouldn’t be in a position to need to be done with him if I’d known who he was in the first place. I allowed myself to get a bit smitten that first day at the Pit, but that wouldn’t have happened if he’d never come in.
If he hadn’t plunked himself down in my section for Friday’s lunch, I’d have seen him for the first time on Friday night. Then I would have seen Gavin the Showman, whose face I recognize from my ex-fiancé, Brian the Showman. Mr. Popularity, no different from the guys I loathed in high school. Just like the guy who made me look like a fool right before I decided to pack up and go, leaving Hartford and ambitions of Princeton behind.
That was my old life. I came to Inferno Falls to start a new life.
Here, I’m a waitress. If I make it and become something worth being, it’ll be because I deserve it and built it on my own, not because of my parents’ money. That dream has taken a beating since my move to Inferno, but it’s still alive somewhere deep down. I keep telling myself I’ll write what’s percolating inside me someday. I’ll find people who know how modern writers make it, and keep doing what they do, then refuse to give up until it’s done.
I don’t have to be a waitress forever. I’ll create, like these musicians do.
I don’t need sympathy. Or my parents’ money.
And I sure as hell don’t need another two-faced man in my life.
When I met Gavin, I thought he was a different person. He was happy. He was funny. He was cute and clever and — as a nice but not necessary bonus — just happened to be attractive enough to launch more ships than Helen of Troy. I’ll admit, his personality and the way he looked at me (like I was worth looking at and being around, I suppose, less plain than I know I am) made me tingle.
In those first hours, before Gavin Adams ruined Gavin Adams for me, I was definitely taken. I wanted him to come back. I wanted to talk to him the next day, and the next. I wanted him to keep looking at me like he had, and make me believe in myself the way I’ll need to if I want my dream to come true.
I’d have been spared all of that unnecessary sentimentality if I’d just met the real Gavin from the start. If he’d never come into the Nosh Pit.
If the first time I’d seen him was onstage, I’d have probably felt the same tingle as the other female audience members during his set … but then been immediately repulsed by his actions afterward. It would have been over practically before it began.
As I look at the door into the hallway, I wonder why I’m thinking all of this. It’s like I’m trying to convince myself, or make myself feel better. My thoughts are full of regret: If only this had happened, or hadn’t. But you tend to think If only when what’s happened isn’t something you want.
I’m pretty much over Gavin. For sure.
Except, I wonder if I am.
The way he walked by just now, I almost wanted to go to him. To see what was wrong. But that’s what’s so dangerous about this, and what proves I need to get over whatever little crush I must still have as soon as humanly possible. Because Brian was that way, too, and sometimes I’m a sucker. He’d act horribly then seem lost with regret. And I’d go to him, like a fool.
Just like I want to go to Gavin now.
To find out what’s wrong, conveniently forgetting that he sleeps around. That he’s arrogant and self-absorbed in his rock star persona. That he’s dismissive. Two-faced. And that even now, as I feel the pull to follow and soothe him, I know that he just finished chewing someone out like an asshole prima donna.
I force myself to ignore my impulse. Whatever’s wrong with Gavin right now, if anything, is his damned problem. It’s his fault, and he surely deserves what he gets.
He’s wrong for me. I’ve been down that road before, and the worst thing in the world I could do would be to let him know I’m still interested in knowing him better. For a guy like that, it’d only encourage him. It’d only make things that much worse.
The bar is getting ready to open, so I find Danny and ask if he needs anything else. Richard, who hangs out near the door and always acts as if there’s a conspiracy afoot, tries telling me that he needs something, but I don’t particularly feel like playing games.
I need to hold onto my convictions and my focus.
I know what I want, and what I don’t.
I just wish the lines between the two would stop blurring.
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