© 2007, Jena' Galifany
Reviews For SHADOWSFORGE 4: THE LONG WAY HOME by Jena' Galifany
"Diane loves Brian, the up and coming rock musician in her life, but it is obvious that something is haunting Brian Cummings. Investigating his past reveals the pain he has kept hidden. Not that long ago, a chance encounter brought him a forbidden romance with a married woman and a son who came of their love. Before his beloved Mia could leave her husband, an accident ended her life and anger allowed false accusations to nearly finish his. A new start in America has been rocky for him, and now, Brian has the chance to move on. But, is he ready? Diane has to know. Absorbing and complex, this takes you on a journey through one man's Hell as seen in the eyes of those who love him. Though this is termed romantic suspense, there was little of that genre applicable. However, nonetheless, this is a moving story, guaranteed to keep you riveted." - Amanda Kilgore, Independent Reviewer
"ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home is a reader's dream. The tug of emotions I felt while reading Brian's story are a credit to Ms. Galifany as a writer. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion and besieged by frustration as life worked against Brian, Mia and Diane. Page after page I was drawn further into the lives of the characters, wanting to know what would happen next, hoping that somehow Brian's life would finally end in happiness. 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.If you have not read the rest of the ShadowsForge series, do not hesitate to start with The Long Way Home. Ms. Galifany has woven enough history into the story that you will quickly learn about the other members of the band and some of the interesting adventures they have had. If you are a devout ShadowsForge follower, I think you will be intrigued by the in-depth look into the past of their drummer and the secrets he's been carrying within him all this time. As for me, I'm off to find the first three volumes of the ShadowsForge series so I can hear about all those amazing adventures these bad boys of rock have had a part in." - Reviewed By Sabine Maurier, Novelspot
“ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home is an exciting stand-alone suspense story that is riveting to the very end. If this book is any indication, the reader should pick up the whole series.” A Reviewers Top Pick, Reviewed by Gail, Night Owl Romance
Sample Chapter For SHADOWSFORGE 4: THE LONG WAY HOME by Jena' Galifany
Leicestershire, England, UK
Brian Cummings glared through blood-shot eyes at his rampaging father, hoping this lecture would soon be over so he could get some sleep.
“What kind of lot are you running with? Street trash!” Joseph thundered at his sixteen-year-old son. He seemed to scan his three younger children lined up at the side of the room, as if assuring himself they were also paying attention. Brian knew his father believed a lesson taught to one child could be beneficial to them all if they witnessed the discipline of the offender.
Brian tried to keep his speech clear and his muscular body from swaying as he responded. “People I work with.”
“You don’t work. Banging on skins with a stick isn’t work. I don’t like that pub and I don’t like who you hang about with.” Joseph faced his son. “I won’t pull you out of the borstal again; not after the last time. Once more and they can keep you.”
“What do you know?” Brian stood up to his father, arms crossed over his chest, feet planted firmly apart as much for stability as attitude. He looked his father in the eyes. In another year, he would be the taller Cummings.
Joseph frowned. “I know when to knock a lad on his arse for back talking.”
He curled a large hand around the sweet smelling leather pouch he’d confiscated from Brian’s jacket. He backhanded Brian with his fist. Brian rebounded from the sofa to the floor before he knew what happened. His three siblings cringed.
“Joseph.” Susan Cummings gasped, a mother’s desperation apparent on her face.
Joseph waved off Brian’s mother, as he stood over Brian, while he pulled himself to his feet.
Brian pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, as much to halt the words that would probably get him a further beating as to blot the blood from his lip. He stood, shaking his silvery blond hair from his face.
Joseph crushed the pouch and stabbed a thick finger at his son’s face. “What else are you doing?”
“Nothing. I’m a freaking model citizen.” Brian spat out the words and pushed out his chest. Being the oldest, he wanted his brothers and sister to know he wasn’t intimidated. His sculpted body and arms were a replication of his powerfully built father, though hours spent practicing on his drum kit and fistfights on the streets of Leicester added to his build. It made him appear older than his sixteen years. His hands hung at his sides, fists clenching and opening. He could feel his lip swell as his father continued yelling.
“Watch your mouth.” Joseph raised his fist, glanced at his wife and dropped it again. “You drinking? Smoking besides this? Women?”
Actually, well, yes. To all the above and more, but it would have been certain death to admit it. When a bloke appeared to be eighteen or nineteen anything was available for the taking, especially the women. If they offered, Brian took.
Joseph paced toward the fireplace as he examined the zippered pouch. He poured the contents into his large hand: a lighter, a pocketknife, a pipe and papers. He pulled out the packet of sickly-sweet scented leaves. For a moment, Brian thought his dad would throw the packet into the flames. The thought struck funny. He laughed.
Joseph turned on him, his glare ablaze.
Brian brought himself under control and smirked. “Sure, Dad. You put that in the fire and the whole family will have a better outlook on life.” He laughed again and glanced at three fear-stricken faces.
Twelve-year-old Pamela pleaded with teary eyes as she mouthed the word, “Stop.” Brian winked at his sister and turned to grin at their father.
Joseph’s ruddy complexion turned dark. His father threw the packet on the floor and ground it under the heel of his work boot, before he grabbed Brian by a handful of his jacket. Brian instinctively raised his fists. His mother gasped. Joseph frowned. He slapped Brian across the face several times. He caught his father’s hand and shoved it away. As his father dragged him to the front door, he struggled against the instinct to strike back.
Joseph thrust his first-born ahead of him out into a heavy snowfall. He bashed Brian in the center of his chest. Brian tumbled down four cement steps and splayed out on the snow-coated walk.
Joseph pointed at him, obviously declaring his final judgment. “You’re not welcome in my house if you have no respect for me and mine.” Joseph returned to the house and closed the door.
The light went out, leaving Brian in the cold darkness. The snow fell thick around him. He pulled himself to his knees and shook crystals from his hair. His shoulder and elbow ached from the impact and it was painful to breath. Brian packed a snowball and threw it hard at the sitting room window. When his father looked out, Brian held up his fist and converted it into a not so respectful gesture.
“For you, Dad,” he shouted. His father frowned and dropped the curtain.
Brian crossed the yard to the street.
Ten o’clock at night and it was damn cold. What a perfect night
to get thrown out. He wanted to be in his room, in his bed, sleeping
off the effects of the smoke and alcohol his mate Royce and he had indulged
in most of the day.
Brian pulled up his collar, shoved his hands into his pockets and walked away.
* * * *
Mia Sutton couldn’t believe how foolish she was. After all of the resisting, standing her ground for seventeen years, she had given in. Now she hated herself for being weak. She had allowed herself to be bedded by Nolan Radley. It was not making love, not what it should have been. Not what she expected. Animal lust was more the proper term for it. Weeks later, Mia was still in shock over the occurrence. They hadn’t used any protection either, and now she was only too pleased she hadn’t caught anything from him.
Mia chewed her lip as she carefully drove through the snowy streets of Leicester. It was nearly eleven and she hadn’t had the nerve to complete her task. Time was running out.
Nolan became cold and distant after the escapade. He was no longer interested in her. Obviously, all he wanted was her virginity. Now that he had taken it the relationship was done. Mia would be damned if it was going to turn out like this. Nolan would pay for treating her this way. She decided she’d hit him where it would hurt the rich boy the most. She’d become a liability to his financial future.
She turned down a residential street as, again, the warnings of her friends about rich older boys came to mind. They had been right. But she was determined to exact her revenge. Nolan would find out just what kind of trouble Mia could cause. Mia took the first step toward hitting him where it hurt. She sent a letter to his parents stating Nolan Radley was going to be a father. It was a lie but she wondered how he would weasel his way out of it.
Three weeks after her initial mistake, Mia compounded it by her accusations. By decree of his family with the blessing of hers, she was committed to marry the creep. Not only that, but how could she fake a pregnancy? There seemed to be no other way than to actually get in the pudding. It was her first thought, until she found Nolan would be gone right up to the wedding day. She had no luck in getting him to re-enact his original offense before he left. The thought of touching her was obviously as repulsive to him as it was to her. She could see it in his eyes.
Now she drove around Leicester late at night in the snow, seeking the only resolution she could think of. Mia had to find a willing but unknowing donor. She had dressed herself up, in the hope of appearing to be on the game. Surely she was too young to be a part of the world’s oldest profession but what choice did she have? She only hoped to find someone who wasn’t too horrid, or infested with something she didn’t want to take home with her by the end of the night. She grimaced. If she used protection it would defeat the purpose of the encounter altogether. Once more, as her car slid around another corner, she realized what a dolt she had been.
The headlights of her gray sedan swept the street ahead. Someone stood on the corner beneath the light a block away. She turned the wheel and trained her headlights on the form huddled against the flurries of snow. As she neared she straightened the vehicle. However, the icy road beneath the tires had other ideas.
* * * *
Brian stood on the corner, head down to keep the swirls of snow from hitting him in the face. His hair, jacket and trousers were soaked and his legs were frozen. His cheek felt tender where his father had landed several blows. He was distracted from the pain that thrummed in his chest when he heard a car. The headlights swerved. At the last minute, he realized the vehicle was sliding. It was not moving fast but it did not turn either.
“Bloody hell!” Brian pulled his hands from his pockets at the last moment as he bounced off the cold gray metal. His hip slammed against the fender as he was knocked to the ground by another sobering jolt. The vehicle scraped past the light post and crunched to a stop. Brian pulled himself up; his anger created a warm spot in his otherwise frozen being. He tromped to the driver’s door and jerked it open.
He shouted, “If you can’t drive the damned thing, park it and leave it.” As he huffed and pressed his hand to his throbbing hip, he focused on the driver.
The young woman looked terrified. “Are you all right?”
Long legs topped by a short skirt stretched out of the car as she tried to stand. He caught a glimpse of smooth thighs as she slipped and fell back into the seat. Brian grabbed a handful of her sweater and pulled her up. Her eyes widened. A squeal escaped her lips as she stiffened.
“Relax.” Brian looked down on her and the sight generated a warm spot deep inside of him that had nothing to do with anger. “You wanted to stand up. So—I stood you up.” He released her and stepped back. He took inventory of her curvy build as she smoothed the form-fitting pullover and tight skirt. Wool stockings stretched from her short boots to the skirt. Her brown hair was shoulder length, curled under. Dark blue eyes blinked at the falling snow and flakes caught on dark lashes. She was attractive—not much older than Brian, if at all.
She surveyed the side of her car and then looked at Brian’s face. She grimaced. “I did that?” Lightly, she touched his cheek with cold fingertips. Brian turned his head as he brushed her hand aside.
“Yeah, you really messed me up.” He tried to maintain his anger. “Is this your car or your daddy’s?”
“Are you going to pay me for this?” Brian pointed to his face.
“If we report the accident.”
Brian shook his head. “Never mind.” He pushed his hands into his pockets and walked away.
“Hey,” the girl called after him. He turned but said nothing. “Can I give you a ride?”
“Not the way you drive.” Brian smiled at her. Her face lit up when she grinned back.
“What if you drive?” She put one hand on her hip and one foot in the car, her skirt pulled tight across her thighs. She tilted her head and waited.
Brian briefly wondered how she made her living. Her outfit reflected the girlfriend he could rent by the hour. What kind of ride was she talking about? He shrugged. As cold as he was he could use a bed warmer. Hopefully she could provide the bed as well. If so, it could turn out to be a good night after all.
“Sure.” He strode to the car and moved up close to her. He placed one hand on the door, one hand on the roof of the car and trapped her in the circle of his arms. “I like to drive. Get in.”
* * * *
Brian pulled the car into gear as she settled into the passenger seat. He palmed the wheel and eased the vehicle into motion. The heater blasted and slowly thawed his frozen being.
He took a long look at her as they drove through the late night Leicester streets. His gaze played across exposed flesh between skirt and stockings. Each time she shifted in the seat the view improved. He raked his hair from his face. “Do you have a place?”
She frowned and looked out the side window. “I have one but I don’t want to go there.”
Brian nodded and checked non-existent cross traffic. “I’ve got no where to go.” He pressed his lip with the back of his hand. It hurt but the swelling wasn’t bad. “So, we can save the petrol—pull up somewhere and get cozy.”
“You’re sure of yourself, aren’t you?” She kept her gaze on his profile.
Brian grinned. “Sure am. What did you expect?” He traced one frozen finger across an exposed thigh. She gasped at his touch.
She tugged her skirt down. “The question is—what did you expect?”
“I expect what ever I can get.” He turned up a side street, pulled to a stop and turned to her. “So, how about it?”
“How about what?” She stared at him, her eyes wide. “You think I’m going to pop into the back seat with you on a whim? I don’t even know your name.”
“Is it easier for you if you do?” He stretched his arm across the back of the seat behind her. Her nervousness amused him. He toyed with her hair and waited for an answer.
“Yes. I mean no. I’m not agreeing to anything. I would like to know your name, though.”
“Brian. Remember my face. I’ll be famous some day.” He lightly stroked her cheek. “Yours?”
“Mia.” She sat rigid, seemingly captivated by his honey brown eyes.
“What are you doing out so late, Mia?” Brian curled her hair behind her ear and ran his fingers along her jaw line. “It’s late. Evil men are about their business this time of night.”
Mia swallowed as he cupped her face. “Could we get moving?”
“Where do you want to go?” He traced the neckline of her sweater. She shivered. He liked that.
“We shouldn’t keep driving around. I’ll get you a room. Then I’ll go home.” She swallowed again. “There’s an inn on Abbey Street.”
Brian grinned. “I know the place.” They didn’t ask questions and, more importantly, they didn’t ask for your age or identification. “Sure.” He eased the car into motion, warmed by the anticipation of what the next few hours might bring.