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Falling in love is easy…
New Hope, South Carolina is my home. It’s where I grew up, got into trouble, and fell in love for the first time. Scarlett Kincaid was more than the girl next door, she was my best friend, until she decided that small town life wasn’t for her. One minute she was here, and the next she was gone.
The girl I used to fish with down at the creek is now the biggest name in country music. She headlines world tours, has won four Grammy’s, and I haven’t seen her since. Until today when she sped through town in her fancy car. One look at her big brown eyes was all it took to stir up a whole slew of emotions. Emotions I’d long ago buried and sure as hell don’t have time for.
It’s the aftermath that’s hard…
There are two things in my life that matter. My music, and my dad. Twelve years ago, I packed a bag and chased my dream. Leaving New Hope and escaping the gossip mill was the easiest decision I ever made. I never planned to return, but my father needs me, and he always comes first. So, I did what I had to do. I cut my tour short and came home, despite having a sister who hates me, and a community that doesn’t trust me. And then there’s Tucker Andrews.
When he propped an arm on the roof of my car, pulled down his sunglasses and flashed his police badge, I nearly swallowed my tongue. Gone is the lanky boy who used to throw rocks at me and pull my pigtails. Tucker is now a six-foot package of brawny, sexy man wrapped in more muscle than I have hit singles. Did I mention he’s a cop and a single dad?
My goal was to help Dad, and get back to my life. But what am I supposed to when the life that used to strangle me suddenly fits like a glove, and makes me dream of things I never thought I’d have? What happens when the boy I walked away from years ago becomes one of the most important people in my life? I don’t have room in my life for a man much less love.
Because it’s impossible to hold onto someone who’s already gone.
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I’m not gonna lie. I fucking love being famous. And it’s not for the reasons you might think.
Don’t get me wrong, the money is great. It affords me a lifestyle that most people pine for, and one that I never would’ve dreamed possible as a kid. And the perks of being a celebrity are endless. Private parties, fancy cars, more jewelry than most women could ever hope for, and A-list celebrities vying for front-row seats at my concerts. And my absolute favorite perk…award shows. There’s nothing better than strutting down the red carpet in a designer gown with an equally gorgeous escort.
But here’s what it all boils down to: I love fame because it was my ticket out of New Hope, South Carolina, the small town where I was born, raised, and never truly fit in. It wasn’t until my boots hit the bustling streets of Nashville, Tennessee, that I felt at home.
Music brought me fame, which in turn gave me the one thing I had been searching for: an identity.
Of course, I worked my ass off to get here, and I have God-given talent that I’m eternally grateful for.
So, when I burst out on the stage in front of a hundred thousand fans who all came to scream my name, it’s the thrill of a lifetime.
Every damn night.
“You’re on in three,” I hear in my ear. I’m in my green room alone, my hair and makeup done, and I’m wearing the first of twelve costumes for tonight. We’re on the last leg of my Starlight World Tour.
This is show one hundred twenty-three of one twenty-five in four months, and I’m exhausted. My voice is tired, my body is beat, and I want nothing more than to curl up in my California king and take the longest nap on record.
But not one soul in the audience will know that tonight. I’ll give them the best damn show they’ve ever seen in hopes that they come back for the next tour—and bring their friends.
I take a deep breath, smooth my hands down my white, off-the-shoulder T-shirt and ripped jeans held on with a few strands and a prayer, then grab my rose gold mic and hurry out to my spot under the stage.
The rest of the band is already in place, and I can hear the first few notes of one of my most popular songs, just as the stage floor opens above me, and I begin to rise onto the platform.
“Hello, L.A!” I scream, making the crowd lose their shit. For the next two hours, I work the audience, running from one end of the stage to the other, moving down the catwalk, and belting the lyrics to their favorite songs. At one point, I’m hoisted fifty feet into the air on ropes. My show is physically demanding, with no room for error.
If I screw up, I could get hurt, and I won’t let that happen.
I also don’t allow for any lip-syncing in my show. I sing all of my songs live, something I’ve always prided myself on.
After the fourth encore, I throw my hands into the air and decide to call it a night. “I love you, L.A.” A thunderous roar ripples through the stadium. Chants and screams, begging me for one more song. “You’re the best there is. I’ll see you soon!”
I take a minute to soak in the noise, the faces, the energy, before running backstage to spend another two hours doing meet and greets.
This is my life, and it’s amazing.
Part of it is the attention it brings. I enjoy it, and I won’t apologize for it. But really, I love everything about my job. They want me to stand for hours meeting with fans for autographs and photos? No problem. They want me to go to hospitals to spend time with sick fans? My pleasure. Another city, another tour, another song? Whatever it takes to breathe life into what I love to do.
But it’s not just the music and the notoriety, I also love the community of the country music scene. It’s smaller than you’d think. The artists are brilliant, kind, and down to earth, and writing music in Nashville is every musician’s dream.
And I’m living it.
I never plan to stop making music. I’ll do it until I’m on my deathbed.
“Excellent show, Scar,” my manager, Susan, says after the final fan leaves and I collapse in my green room, still wearing my last costume—a rhinestone-covered jacket and booty shorts over fishnet stockings—a bottle of water clutched in my hand.
“It was a fun one,” I agree with a sigh. Jesus, I’m sweating. My heart is still pounding, and I’m happily exhausted. “I can’t believe we only have two shows left on this tour.”
“Well, we need to talk about that,” Sue replies, and the concern in her eyes has me sitting up.