It’s release day and a first for me: a second edition! It’s also the last day of my special Blue Notes giveaway where you could win the last of my 2014 Dreamspinner Press cover calendars. To enter, just comment on this post!
Yes, the original Blue Notes, the first book in the Blue Notes Series, has been released in a brand-spanking-new 2nd edition. Totally re-edited so it shines, the new edition also contains about 3,000 words of new text based on the short story, “Knowing,” which some of you may have read as part of the Gay-Straight Alliance’s Goodreads Group. That short story details a bit of attorney Jason Greene’s past growing up in Cleveland, Ohio (my home town!), and his first and only same-sex sexual encounter before he meets violinist Jules Bardon in Paris, France, many years later.
For readers who purchased the original book from Dreamspinner Press, you’ll find the new edition sitting on your bookshelves, should you like to re-read the story. Of course, all the Blue Notes Series books are standalone stories. Secondary characters in one story may appear later on in their own stories. In fact, you’ll find several characters in Blue Notes who already have their own stories: conductor David Somers and violinist Alex Bishop (Prelude), attorney Sam Ryan (Aria), and Italian attorney Antonio Bianchi (The Melody Thief) all make appearances in the original story.
Haven’t purchased the book yet? It’s 25% off on Dreamspinner Press’s website until midnight, February 19th (that’s today). So pick up a copy in ebook or paperback, and you’ll get a great release day deal, too! All the other books in the series are discounted, as well for Valentine’s Day!
I’ll leave you all with an excerpt from the first chapter of Blue Notes. Hope you enjoy it! -Shira
Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.
But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.
JASON GREENE leaned back against the headrest and watched the clouds beneath the wing of the airplane. Used to traveling business class, with all six foot three of him now wedged into the narrow coach seat, he cursed every aeronautical engineer who had ever suggested refitting wide-bodied jets to accommodate more passengers.
He eyed the center section of the cabin with longing, regretting that he’d chosen a window seat. Several college students with more foresight were already stretched out on the few empty seats in the back to sleep during the long flight from Philadelphia to Paris. In the final analysis, however (and, exceptional lawyer that he was, he always analyzed), it was his fault alone that he should suffer the indignities of traveling like an eighteen-year-old again; it was his foolhardy last-minute decision that had landed him here.
What the hell were you thinking?
The thought had run like an endless loop through his exhausted mind for the past three hours. He knew the answer, of course: he hadn’t thought at all, he’d just reacted. He’d done a lot of that lately.
A female flight attendant—blonde, attractive, and in her midthirties—stopped at his row with a stack of plastic cups and a pitcher of water. “Something to drink?” she offered, her voice a sensual undertone. No doubt she appreciated the lone well-dressed man amidst the myriad students wired to iPods, iPads, and other devices.
He’d come to dismiss such attention; he’d long engendered this kind of response from women. With his wavy auburn hair, strong jaw, and bright-green eyes, he was, as his grandmother often reminded him, “quite a catch.” Add to that a salary well into the six-figure range and his job as an equity partner at a large Philadelphia law firm, and Jason Greene had never had much trouble finding women to date. Except that he hadn’t quite managed to keep the woman he’d fallen in love with happy.
“Yes, some water, please,” he replied, offering the flight attendant the same pleasant, reassuring smile he’d offered his clients for the past ten years. The same smile he’d offered Diane upon his return home to their high-rise apartment each night, having missed dinner yet again. It was far more effective with the flight attendant.
She handed him a cup of water. “Business or pleasure?” Perhaps she mistook his politeness for something more like interest. (He wasn’t interested—he’d had enough of women to last him a lifetime.)
“Neither,” he answered, forestalling any further discussion. She responded with a slight chuckle, then moved on to the next row back.
He closed his eyes and pressed the button to recline his seat. It only moved about an inch. He looked around. He hadn’t noticed his seat was right in front of an exit row. Figures. He shook his head. Resigned to his fate, he grabbed the extra pillow off the empty seat next to his and pushed up the armrest to give himself more room. He pulled the slippery blue polyester blanket over himself and shifted on an angle to tuck his long legs under the aisle seat in front of him. It wasn’t comfortable, but it would do.
He looked out the window once more. It was dark now, and here, above the clouds, he saw stars. He closed his eyes and rearranged the pillows so that his head rested against the cool bulkhead. He drifted off into an uneasy sleep with the drone of the engines in his ears.
ONLY A day before, he’d been dressed in a charcoal-gray Armani suit with a yellow-striped Brooks Brothers tie, looking out a wall of windows at the thickening gray clouds over Philadelphia. The forecast called for snow. Again.
“You want what?” Scott Reston, the managing partner of Halwell, Richardson & Dailey, leaned back in his chair and gaped at Jason as though he were an alien.
“I’m taking a leave of absence,” Jason repeated calmly. “Starting tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Scott’s voice resonated with shock. “Jason, I know you’re pissed that Diane—”
“I’ve worked my ass off for this firm,” he countered before Scott could complete his sentence, all the while maintaining his calm resolve. His jaw tightened in spite of his control.
“I’ve been pulling in enough billables to more than cover a few months off.”
“Months?” The word came out in a half-strangled gasp. “You want months? Look, Jaz, if you need help, I can put the new kid—what’s his name, Sanderson?—on some of your cases.”
“It’s not about the caseload. I haven’t taken time off in years, except the trip with Diane to her sister’s wedding. I need—”
“Then take a few weeks,” Scott interrupted, no doubt hoping this settled the matter. “Go somewhere warm. You can use our apartment in Cancun if you want. Maybe you can pick up some cute Mexican babe while you’re—”
“Two months, Scott.” Jason lapsed into his commanding courtroom voice without a second thought. “The other partners won’t question it if you’re on board. Hell, if you want, I’ll take a smaller draw this year.” The rumble of Jason’s deep baritone caused one of the paperweights on Scott’s desk to vibrate.
“Hell, Jaz Man. It’s me, remember? The guy you pulled all-nighters with in law school? That lawyer shit won’t work here. And since when do you let a bitch like Diane—”
“Drop it.” Jason knew his tone was colder than the icicles that hung on the eaves outside the building, but he didn’t give a shit. This was one subject he wasn’t going to get into with Scott—or anyone else, for that matter. “This wasn’t her fault.”
“The fuck! She cheated on you.”
“I said, drop it. Whatever she did, she had her reasons.”
Reason one: too many hours spent at the office. Reason two: too few hours spent at home. Both your fault.
“Jaz Man….” Scott groaned and leaned back in his chair with the same party-boy look Jason remembered from law school. “Jaz, you’re killing me. I’m up to my neck in depos in the Alvarez case, and TransAllied just sent me a class-action complaint in a race case out of Cleveland. You’re the only one licensed up there.”
“Nothing’ll happen in the next two months on the Cleveland case, and you know it,” he shot back. “I’ll remove it to federal court, and one of your new hires can start on a motion for summary judgment and getting documents together for discovery. And if the judge wants a local guy in on the scheduling conference, you can call my buddy Phil Lane up there to handle it. He owes me one.”
Scott’s frown deepened. “I can’t convince you that you’re a crazy asshole, can I?”
“Unlikely,” he replied with a self-deprecating laugh. “You’ve had more than ten years to try.” He took a deep breath, allowed his shoulders to relax a bit, and made an attempt to soften his expression. “Look, Scotty… I need this. It’ll only be for two months. I promise I’ll come back and make it up to you. Just two months.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Scott exhaled, sounding a bit like a pipe releasing steam. “Fine. I’ll take the heat from the big guns. With all the money you’ve been pulling in for the past few years, they’ll squawk a little, but they’ll be more worried about losing you for good.”
“Thanks.” Jason turned to leave.
“So where’re you going? Backpacking in South America? Some desert island in the Caribbean?” Scott asked. “Buddhist retreat in Tibet?”
“Paris.” Jason stopped at the door with his fingers curled around the handle.
“Paris in January?”
“Cold as hell, I hear.”
“Yeah. Something like that.”
You can purchase Blue Notes (2nd Edition) here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4720