Devin: A rock star with a political conscience. At the height of his career, he appears to have everything--money, fame, respect from his peers. Yet, the people closest to him know Devin O'Keefe is a man haunted by a painful past growing up in Northern Ireland. Everyone he has loved, he has lost, either by a bullet, betrayal or the sheer drudgery of life in Derry's Bogside ghetto. Devin's life is his career. There is no room for love...until he meets Fonda.
Fonda: An American photo-journalist commissioned to do a pictorial on Devin's U.S. tour. Although a child of America's heartland, Fonda is no stranger to violence. A sniper's bullet has taken the life of her twin brother just weeks after Fonda's two-year romance with a Swedish editor crumbles. Devastated by her loss and hardened by life's cold reality, Fonda has thrown herself into her career at Spotlight Magazine with a single-minded intensity. But when Devin enters her life and slowly allows her glimpses of the real Devin beneath the rock-star hype, she discovers that idealism is not dead...that there is hope in a world full of cynicism.
Two worlds collide when Devin and Fonda meet, setting off an explosion filled with passion, intrigue and danger as forces from Devin's Republican past converge to thwart his new-found happiness. Will he be forced to give up his career to protect the woman he loves from the evils of his past? Or will the violence of Northern Ireland's troubles destroy their love for each other--and perhaps their very lives?
"Last year, Carole Bellacera proved that she was a talent to watch. Now she is back in a big way, with another timely, emotional and thought provoking story. Ireland's troubled history plays a key role in this totally gripping drama."--Jill Smith, Romantic Times Top Pick, 4 1/2 stars.
The stage was dark. Suddenly a beam of blue light pierced down onto the drum paraphernalia, and the crowd began to applaud. The low tone of the synthesizer vibrated through the air, growing gradually in volume. There was movement on the stage. The drummer, Barry Pearse, climbed onto his stool, and immediately began to swish his drumstick against the cymbal in a slow steady rhythm. An instant roar erupted from the crowd. Two other shapes moved on-stage, Seamus MacBride, the lead guitarist, and the bass player, Liam O'Toole. With a practiced touch on the strings of his guitar, Seamus' signature riffs fueled the stadium. The crowd noise intensified. There was more movement on stage. Devin!
Fonda caught her breath. She'd never seen the beginning of the concert from this angle before. Center-stage, several rows back. Next to her, Bram, who'd suggested she watch the concert's start from the crowd, flashed her a grin. Like her, he was caught up in the excitement of the moment, even though he'd been through more concert openings than he could count.
Fonda couldn't keep her eyes off the shadow of Devin's lithe figure, dressed completely in black. A spotlight shot down from above, capturing Devin in its circle. The crowd roared their approval, and he acknowledged them with a wave. He moved back and forth on-stage, his body in harmony with the building music as he waited for the intro to end. When it did, he launched into the opening lines of "Eclipse," and the floodlights flashed on, illuminating the crowd. A deafening roar shook the stadium, and Fonda realized she was on her feet with Bram, yelling as loud as everyone else. How easy it was to become a fan!
When the first song ended, Bram grabbed her arm and shouted over the noise, "The man is on tonight, for sure."
Fonda could only grin back at him. There was no use trying to talk. She could never make herself understood in this noise. Her eyes returned to the stage. Devin was singing one of his early hits, "The Forgotten." She snapped a couple of photos, then slung the camera strap onto her shoulder.
How different it was seeing the concert as a fan, instead of as part of the crew. Somehow, it was more electric, the excitement of the crowd almost palpable. They fed off Devin's presence, who, in turn, caught their intensity and gave it back ten-fold. Like a voltaic creature, the atmosphere in the stadium writhed and twisted, moving from person to person and row to row, back and forth from the front of the stage to the highest "nose-bleed" seats. It was the most incredible phenomenon Fonda had ever experienced, this dynamic power generated by one man. Devin.
The crowd erupted in applause with the last note of "The Forgotten." Abruptly, the spotlight went out, leaving the stage dark. Except for sporadic whistles and shouts, the stadium was quiet as they waited to see what he would sing next. There was the sound of a guitar tuning. A soft lavender light beamed on Devin as he played the first notes of a plaintive, haunting melody on the keyboard, one all too familiar to Fonda. It was "S.O.S.," the song he'd been rehearsing during the sound check just before he'd stalked out. Fonda's chest tightened. Caitlyn's song. The one that mourned her death. Years had passed since he'd performed it in concert. Why was he singing it now?
His voice was ragged, almost hoarse with emotion as he belted out the somber lyrics. Even from this distance, Fonda could see the naked pain on his face, and inwardly, she wept for him. Why wasn't her love enough to make it go away?
"Can't you see/I'm falling under now/I reach for you/You're not there."
With every word he sang, Fonda felt as if he were hurling darts into her heart. Suddenly Devin stopped singing, but the band played on. What was wrong? Had he forgotten the words? Devin released the microphone from the stand and moved toward the edge of the stage. He motioned for the band to soften the music, and for a moment, he stared out into the crowd, his face a mask of anguish.
He lifted his mike to his mouth and spoke, "Hello, Seattle!" The crowd roared. He waited for the applause to die down and went on, "I had the great opportunity to celebrate your Independence Day here in your grand city. And I met some of you who welcomed me with kindness. Indeed, I'm grateful for that. But there was a black moment when one American came up to me and asked me to drink a toast with him. To celebrate the revolution in Northern Ireland."
"Oh, no, Devin," Fonda whispered.
He was slapping one hand against his thigh, over and over, and with every word he spoke, the rhythm began to pick up. "A toast, he said. To celebrate the killing, the bombings, the horror that is Northern Ireland. He made an assumption that because I'm Irish, and because I'm Catholic, I believe in the violent methods of the resistance, that the end justifies the means." His words rang with contempt, bristled with anger. "I say to him, and to you, that the men who join these organizations--and we all know who I'm talking about--are blood-thirsty animals! They don't care about Ireland. Power is what it's about, my friends. Money and power! And to some, killing is what it's about." His hand stopped pounding his thigh, and he stood very still. His voice dropped. "America...stop believing in these people. There are a lot of idealists out there. I know. I was one of them. Perhaps I still am. But killing...and helping the killers with money and arms...will never save Ireland. Only the Irish can do that, and by peaceful means. By legislation. By sitting down and talking with the people we don't agree with. Peaceful methods. It's the only way!"
Devin turned and walked offstage. The silence in the huge stadium was almost eerie. Finally, the applause came, followed by fans screaming for more. Fonda, shaken by Devin's ferocity, turned to Bram and was startled to see his blue eyes glinting with fury.
"Jaysus! The bloody fool is committing suicide!"
"What do you mean?" Fonda asked. Her stomach churned. She'd never seen Bram so deadly serious.
He stared at her. "If Devin tries to go back to Derry after that, the Bogside boys will put out a price on his head. His life won't be worth a pint of Guinness!"