One of the funnest parts of releasing a new book is creating a playlist to go along with it. I've always enjoyed including musical references in my novels, and Harmony to Heartburn — whose release is scheduled for May-ish — is no exception. (If you'd like to read the book's description, just go to my Home Page.)
In this post I've included little teasers related to each selection. I'd love to know which song is your fave!
Then my musically brilliant granddaughter begins to play. It takes me a few moments to recognize the melody is “A Thousand Years”—that song from one of the Twilight movies. She performs flawlessly for about a minute or so when her dad takes over on the keys and she begins singing the words. Granted, her singing isn’t nearly as good as her playing, but her innocent voice coupled with her father on the piano is quite simply one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.
Luke and Richard are still as statues, tightly gripping each other’s hand with their sights on Claire. Soon their eyes are moistening, along with my own. As I scan the room, there is not a dry eye in the place. Guests are wiping their faces, sniffling and chuckling with embarrassment.
When the lyrics are over, Jason relinquishes the keys to Claire, and the room is spellbound by the notes coming forth from those tiny fingers. Though I’ve heard her play many times, I always seem to forget how truly gifted she is.
At last, the song ends and everyone applauds as Luke makes a beeline for Claire and scoops her into his arms.
“Happy Anniversary, Poppy,” she says. “I kind of messed up on some of the words.”
“You were perfect, Claire Bear,” Luke answers. Richard stands beside them and smooths her hair with a trembling hand, and immediately lowers it to his side. Then there’s this weird moment when they’ve become aware I’m watching. Though Richard looks downward, Luke meets my eyes with a pained gaze before setting Claire down.
We stand face to face, but say nothing. As his fingers lightly skim my shoulder and run down the length of my arm, he briefly scans my body from head to toe. My breath comes heavier and I wonder why I suddenly feel like a teenager about to be kissed for the first time.
His hand takes its time finding its way around my waist, his fingertips gently pressing into the small of my back. While I wrap my arm around his shoulder, Kiran’s other hand collects mine and leads it to his chest, holding it there. His every movement is mindful, deliberate, as his eyes focus on mine; though occasionally his gaze strays to my hair, my mouth.
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as cherished as I do in this moment, and the simple act of swallowing becomes difficult. Slowly we begin to move to the music, and though there are still several inches separating our bodies, there’s an exhilarating heat in my belly pleading with me to move closer.
I don’t. As long as I’m the object of such adoration, I’m unable to.
*This song has a really long opening -- too long, IMO -- but it was my inspiration while writing this scene. Jump to about two minutes in.*
“I am so sorry, Anna!” Gretchen jumps out of her seat when we reach their table. “This is all my fault.”
“Oh please! Don’t apologize for including him in your plans. I’m still not even sure if I should be here, but I didn’t want you guys feeling like he was your responsibility.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, he’s not behaved… inappropriately with this woman.” Gretchen peers past me. “He’s just having a good time.”
Aghhh! I do not want to be here having this conversation. Mom and Dad are “on a break,” and I don’t even know what the ground rules are for this break.
“But this woman,” she continues. “It’s obvious she’s into your dad.”
Seth scrunches his face and looks behind him to see if Dad has noticed me yet. He hasn’t. He’s now doing some kind of shimmy thing with his shoulders that looks nothing like salsa, and the woman circles him, trailing her fingers over his arms, his back. Definitely not something I’m up for viewing.
“Umm…” I’m at a loss for words at first, trying to take in what I’m seeing. Kiran’s been known to let his guard down after a few cocktails, but this I would never have anticipated. “Is he trying to find a song for someone else? Or is he actually going to sing?”
Geena gives no reply, her mouth slightly parted in what I can only assume is shock.
As the music begins, it’s clear that he has no intention of handing the microphone over to someone else. After clearing his throat he offers the room a wide, intoxicated grin.
“Oh my God. He’s really going to do it.” Mechanically, I bring my glass to my lips.
In old Rat Pack style, he holds his drink in one hand and the mic in the other as he begins his serenade, eyes on me. “Some-day, when I’m aw-ful-ly low…”
A sip of wine gets trapped in my mouth as I slowly blink at Gina, and I’m afraid to swallow it. Her face is just hilarious, as I’m sure is mine.
“And tonight will be one more we can add to the list.”
I give him a friendly pat on the leg, but when I go to draw my hand away, he covers it with his and holds it there. He opens his eyes with an innocent grin before squeezing my fingers and releasing them.
Returning his smile, I take a sip of my drink.
“You were heavy into Depeche Mode for a while. I remember,” he says.
I was. I loved their broody, often sensual sound. However, a couple of songs on my cassettes I wouldn’t listen to because they creeped me out a little. “Yeah, I went through a phase where I had some serious fantasies about Dave Gahan.”
“You and me both.”
I smack him in the arm. “You did not... Wait, did you?”
“I’m kidding! I wasn’t even out to myself at that point.”
“Oh yeah. Well, I wouldn’t blame you if you did. That voice. And those eyes! Even though he was such a string bean.”