This Friday, August 8th, Dissonance will be released by Dreamspinner Press! And midnight if release day is also the last chance to enter the pre-release giveaway (enter below using Rafflecopter!). You can pre-order Dissonance in ebook and paperback at the Dreamspinner Press website! Just click on the book title or on the cover to find the pre-order link.
Today is Monday, and I usually do a “Music Monday” gig where I share music I love on social media. Today, I’m sharing the Dissonance playlist: http://www.shiraanthony.com/books/dissonance-blue-notes-6/#extras. These are all the songs and pieces that appear in the novel. I chose each of them to capture an emotion or a mood in the story. And if you listen to them, you’ll realize they are mostly introspective, melancholy pieces. Not a coincidence. For me, they mirrored Cam’s sense of loss and grief as he struggles to hang onto the shreds of his former existence. From trumpeter Galen Rusk’s lonely trumpet in the New York City subway, to Cam himself playing the piano, each piece echoes the emotions of the story.
So if you’d like, queue them up on YouTube, grab a glass of wine, and close your eyes, because this music is meant to be savored slowly, and it’s meant to linger even after it’s over. Just as I hope Cam’s story will linger with you as well.
Don’t forget to enter the pre-release contest, because it wraps up in a week! You can enter more than once (in fact, you can enter every day!). You could win a cool Blue Notes Series swag bag filled with paperback books of the first 5 novels in the series (or ebook copies if you live outside the US). Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/Y2YwYmE5NDkzMTY4MjgyZWNiMzcwNjVhODk2ZTBjOjQ=/
Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from Dissonance. Enjoy! –Shira
Blurb: British lord Cameron Sherrington has hit rock bottom. The love of his life, opera sensation Aiden Lind, is marrying another man, and Cam knows it’s his own fault for pushing Aiden away. Then someone tries to set him up and take away his family business. Facing arrest by US authorities on charges of money laundering and with no money to return to London, Cam decides to run. But with no money and no place to stay, it’s not exactly the Hollywood thriller he’d imagined.
When Cam hears Galen Rusk play in a lonely subway station, he’s intrigued. But his assumptions about Galen are all wrong, and their unusual relationship isn’t exactly what Cam bargained for. Add to that the nightmares that dog him nightly, and Cam’s world is shaken to its core. Cam figures he had it coming to him, that it’s all penance due on a life lived without honesty. He just never figured he might not be able to survive it.
New York, New York
“NOT HAVING breakfast this morning, my lord?” Luisa asked as she turned from the mirror she was diligently cleaning.
Cameron Sherrington cringed inwardly as he breezed into the foyer. He’d come to abhor the title with a passion. And although he could hardly deny that the money that came with the title paid for his life in New York, he felt a bit removed from all it represented. He loved spending time in the penthouse towering high above East 57th Street. It was his escape from days spent in long meetings arguing with board members over transactions they shouldn’t even bat an eye over.
He knew Luisa liked using his title. She liked to brag to her friends that she worked for royalty, which suited him just fine. Though he did have noble blood, it wasn’t worth shit. He’d met the queen once when his father had dragged him to some gala fundraiser, but it wasn’t as if he could simply ring her up on a whim and ask her to join him for tea. But Luisa didn’t need to know that.
“Not today. I need my cashmere scarf,” he snapped.
She immediately dropped what she was doing, opened the coat closet door, and reached for a scarf.
“Not that one, the beige one,” he snapped again as he snagged it from the shelf above her head.
She closed the door softly and stepped back as Cam checked his reflection in the mirror. He worked his fingers through a particularly stubborn curl that insisted on flopping into his eyes. He frowned at his reflection. He was meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant downtown and needed to look his best. He’d chosen a pair of D&G jeans, a button-down Armani shirt, a light blue hand-knitted Burberry sweater that matched the startling blue of his eyes, and a tweedy Fendi jacket he’d picked up in Italy a few months before.
“Very nice, Lord Sherrington,” she said politely.
Cam shot her an irritated look. What the bloody hell would she know? “Where are my Oliver Peoples?”
She opened the drawer in the small cherrywood table that stood sentry in the foyer and handed the sunglasses to him. “Will you be dining in tonight, sir?”
“No. But make some of that leek and potato soup before you leave for the weekend. I’ll have it for lunch tomorrow.”
She nodded timidly as she waited to return to cleaning the mirror. “Of course, Lord Sherrington. I’ll see you on Monday.”
He finished fiddling with his hair, donned the sunglasses, and pressed the call button for the private lift. “You will. And make some of that greek salad.”
He paid her well—Sherrington Holdings paid her well, more accurately—even paid her when he wasn’t staying at the penthouse, just to keep it up and water the plants. The least she could do was make enough food for the weekend.
“Certainly, Lord Sherrington.”
He stepped onto the lift without a word, exiting into the lobby a minute later as his mobile buzzed. He pulled the phone from his breast pocket, glanced at it, and tapped the screen.
“Uncle. So good to hear from—”
“I’m late to a meeting,” Duncan Sherrington said with obvious irritation. “You asked for an update.”
The clipped response stung. Since Cam’s father’s death, Duncan had been like a father to him, and Cam had tried to make the man happy. Make him proud. But no matter what he did, he never met Duncan’s expectations. He was never good enough, never smart enough, never dedicated enough. He was yet another annoying gnat his uncle was forced to deal with, and lately it seemed an entire swarm of gnats dogged Duncan’s every move.
“Calling with good news, then?” Cam said.
“If nothing new is good news.” In many respects, Cam appreciated Duncan’s forthrightness. Blunt was always better than bullshit. Still, the only interactions he had with Duncan were in the form of verbal swats. Cam stifled his disappointment and bucked up.
“Might be.” Cam waved at the doorman and strode into the bright sunlight.
“I’ve had Henry contact his friend. Nothing more about rumors of an investigation here. Seems Revenue and Customs has better things to do with its time.”
Cam figured as much. He could handle rumors, or ignore them, if he chose to. “Glad to hear it.”
“Are you staying in New York until the end of the month?” Duncan asked.
Cam got the distinct impression that Duncan would be pleased if he stayed. One less irritation. He’d originally planned on staying a week, maybe two. He’d used the excuse that he’d pay a visit to their US subsidiary, Raice Corp., headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, when he’d actually come for Aiden’s Metropolitan Opera debut. He supposed he’d need to make an appearance at Raice’s offices before he headed home. Not that he was in a hurry to return to England—Duncan was more than capable of running Sherrington Holdings. Best damn decision his father had ever made, to appoint Duncan CEO of the company should anything happen to him. And there was no better time to be in New York City than late September. The days were warm and the evenings cool and breezy. Cam had been for a run in Central Park that morning, and the trees were a riot of color. Perfect.
“Possibly,” he answered at last. “Next board meeting isn’t until October. Unless you think you might need me to—”
“We have things under control here. Take your time.”
“Thank you. I will.” Fine. If that was how Duncan felt, he’d stay. Duncan clearly didn’t need him. He tried to brush off the deepening insecurity. What did it matter if Duncan or anyone else at Sherrington Holdings didn’t need him? He liked the idea of staying in New York a few more weeks. Maybe by the time he got back to London, his mother would have fled to warmer climes and he’d spend a peaceful few weeks at his family’s estate in Surrey before the board meeting. Time spent with Lady Vanessa Baines Sherrington anywhere, especially at the estate, which his ex, Aiden, had affectionately referred to as “the castle,” was downright grueling.
Cam heard the sound of rustling paper through the phone and a woman’s voice in the background.
“Good. We’ll speak later, then,” Duncan said curtly.
Duncan disconnected the call before Cam could respond.
Happy bloody birthday to me. Had he really thought Duncan would remember? Fuck him. When had his life become a fucking cliché? Poor little rich boy—no one remembers his birthday. No doubt his mother would forget as well. She usually did. He’d enjoy himself more without a lecture about what he should be doing with his life, anyhow. Maybe turning thirty wouldn’t be so bad. He would rather have celebrated with Aiden, of course, but he’d spend the evening at an impromptu party at a friend’s instead, and he hoped he wouldn’t be going home alone. Aiden would be spending time with Sam. As it should be. After cheating on Aiden—on several occasions—Cam couldn’t expect Aiden to stick around, could he?
A quick glance at his watch told him he had time to take the subway to the restaurant. He loved the subway. He’d ridden it for the first time when he’d visited New York City with his mother twenty years ago, on a school holiday. Not that his mother had known about it. He’d managed to escape his mother’s grasp (which wasn’t all that tight since she preferred to spend as little time with him as possible) and he’d slipped under a turnstile and ridden the Lexington Avenue subway for hours by himself. Before then, he’d ridden the London Tube with his father a few times. His father had preferred it to negotiating London traffic when he stayed in the city. He’d enjoyed that, but riding alone had been far more exciting.
As it always was this time of day, the 42nd Street subway station was filled with people headed in a dozen different directions. Cam had always thought of this station as the heart of New York. The first time he’d come here, he’d gotten lost in one of the underground passages and ended up on a train to Brooklyn. Since then, he’d learned his way around the twisting tunnels so well he could navigate them in his sleep.
He headed for the Uptown platform, mixing in with the stream of people coming from Grand Central and managing not to get jostled. The woman ahead of him wasn’t as fortunate. She pivoted to avoid a couple of schoolchildren and fell, dropping her shopping bags on the dirty concrete floor right in front of him.
Cam didn’t have time for this. He looked around, hoping someone would come to her aid. No one did. Bloody hell. “Are you all right?” He offered the woman his hand.
She smiled at him with blue eyes and a face full of wrinkles, took his hand, and got to her feet. “Thank you,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh. Cam helped her straighten her coat, which was open and had fallen off one shoulder. “I’m not much of a ballerina.”
“Not a problem.” He gathered up a few stray grocery items that had fallen out of the bag when she’d taken her tumble, waited until she dusted herself off, and handed the bags back to her. “It’s a bit like entering a race course,” he said as he reciprocated her smile.
“You’re English, aren’t you?” she asked.
“Indeed, I am.” He glanced at his watch. He’d be late for lunch at this rate.
“I visited London a few years ago with my husband.” Her expression grew wistful. “Before he died. We always said we’d make the trip.”
Cam stifled his rising impatience with the woman. “Did you enjoy it?”
“Very much so. We saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and spent a few afternoons at the British Museum. We took a train to—” She stopped herself. “I do babble on sometimes.”
He offered her a false smile. “It’s quite all right.”
“Thank you, young man,” she said. “My son says I should take the bus, but I like the subway. There’s music too.”
She nodded. “Listen.” She inhaled, pressed her lips together, and began to hum “Ain’t No Sunshine.” For the first time, Cam heard the sound of a trumpet through the noise of the passengers and squealing brakes of an incoming train. He vaguely remembered seeing someone playing for loose change not far from the passage to the S train.
“Oh, but I shouldn’t keep you,” the woman was saying as Cam came back to himself. “I’m sure you have somewhere you need to be.” She patted him on the arm. “You’ve been very kind to an old woman.”
“It was my pleasure.” He wanted to make his escape. He’d wasted enough time with the woman, but she’d piqued his curiosity. Instead of rushing to catch his train, he walked over to where the musician was playing and stopped to listen.