I'm having a bit of uncertainty about a couple things in the story I'm working on and I'd love some feedback. Thanks!
1: Is this conflict strong enough?
My hero, Clay, is a country singer who is suppose to be recording his third album. Trouble is, his father passed away from a heart attack six months ago while Clay was hundreds of miles away giving a performance and he has not been able to forgive himself for not being there for his dad. He feels like he has really let his family down, because he is always away when anything awful happens. His sister, Julia, is always there--and always takes the opportunity to let Clay know how crappy he is for being absent.
Unable to handle his guilt / sorrow / frustration, he has gone beyond simply blaming himself and actually blames his career and the woman who really helped get it going: song writer Claire Mansing. He figures that without her help he would never have gotten to where he is, and without his family (or anyone else) to love, the wealth, fame, etc. is pointless.
My heroine, Megan Sinclair, is a woman who desperately needs to take control of her life away from her overbearing parents. In an attempt to force her to move back to Toronto, where they can commence plans to try and push her to marry her ex, Wesley, her parents sell the house Megan has been living in while at college. Fortunately (or not...) for Megan, it's purchased by Clay, who is an old buddy of her brother, Mitchel. Mitch convinces Clay to let Megan stay and finish her final semester of college so that she can graduate. But living under the same roof as her favorite country star--whom she has a ridiculous crush on--is going to prove anything but easy.
Megan dreams of being a country singer herself, and has been writing music since she was seventeen as--you guessed it--Claire Mansing. As she gets to know Clay, and comes to appreciate the man behind the music, she is determined to help him find a way to truly live again. But when she learns how much he despises her alter-ego, Megan is torn between owning up to who she is or finding a way to put Claire behind her and pursue her dreams of making music under her own name. Aside from Mitch and her grandma, Clay is the only person who has truly supported Megan in going after her dream, and she is desperate not to lose the love that is growing between them.
2: Is my hero's reaction too nuts?
Clay and Megan work on a song together throughout the book, and she puts it up on her music blog. Her father hears the song and during a concert Clay agrees to give to help Megan's grandma raise money to repair her bakery (Megan will not take direct money because she feels guilt for not telling Clay she is Claire.) he goes up on stage at an intermission and tells everyone he will donate $15,000 to the cause of Clay and CLAIRE sing it together.
When Clay agrees he will sing the song he has no idea who is actually going to walk up on that stage to sing with him. He's pretty shocked when it is Megan. They manage to play and sing the song and he finishes the concert, although he is extremely angry / hurt / annoyed / confused about what has just happened.
While Megan's dad was making his announcement, Clay got a phone call from his sister, Julia, telling him their other sister Blair is in the hospital. Clay doesn't even bother asking what for--he figures if Julia is calling it must be bad. The quickest flight he can book takes off from Toronto at 5 a.m. the next morning and he is debating whether to ask Megan to go with him.
After the concert is done, the two drive back to the house they are sharing in Clay's truck. The silence between them is very tense, with him trying to figure out how he is going to sort out what he feels for Megan and what he feels about Claire. Megan is terrified that he totally hates her, and figures he's going to tell her to get her things and get the hell out the minute they get there.
They get to the house and go inside. They have a pretty huge arguement: why didn't Megan tell him sooner? Anything would have been better then finding out like this. What did he expect--he said he HATED Claire and she was a totally made up person. etc. Plus, all she did was write music. She didn't kill his parents (his mom died while he was on his first tour, so the dad dying was the straw that broke the camel's back) and was not the one who kept him from them, etc.
He notices that Megan's hands look sore from playing the guitar on stage with him (she has something that causes this--carpal tunnel? juvenile arthritis? something else? still researching options. It's important because it's the reason her parents have discouraged her music career.) He tries to make them feel better, ends up kissing them, one thing leads to another, they wind up in bed... (Clay is known to be a bit of a player. It would make sense for him to react this way, since he is attracted to Megan even if he's Really Not Happy with her; meanwhile SHE thinks it means things will be okay between them. She's in for a heck of a shock.)
When his alarm goes off, telling him he needs to get up and catch his flight, he leaves the unsigned deed to the house with her, puts money into her account so she won't run back to her parents (whom he Really despises--her dad, who runs the record label he's signed with, was angry he wanted to cancel tour dates to attend his mother's funeral several years ago.) and walks out of her life, presumably forever.
Obviously things will happen so that they will end up together (and I need to consider, based on what happens, what will *need* to happen for the reader to believe they will be happy.), but have I gone too far and made him too big a jerk? (or too nice with what he does? he has lots of money and only bought the house to find a yearbook and old love letters his dad mentioned in his will--his father's dying wish. Ironically, Clay's father was seeing Megan's mother in high school and she dumped him because he wanted to be a musician, she feared he would fail, she didn't want to continue being poor, and she ended up marrying Megan's father who is wealthy but controlling... so these two are kinda like a second generation that actually works out.)
Thanks so much for your time. Have a great day!