In The Mood is free for two weeks starting 23rd September! Get your copy here! or use the Amazon link at the bottom of the page!
When I started to write In The Mood I had no idea it would turn into a series. I just wanted to write a book about people who interested me in a city I love - Chicago.
The characters had been bothering me for some time. A burned-out ex-lead singer for a rock band, now reinventing his life after rehab, and a saxophone player with stage fright.
When you walk past blues clubs in Chicago the most wonderful music drifts out to meet you and this is what happens at the start of the story. Matt is walking past a blues club and he hears a saxophone playing "Summertime." He goes inside and he's confronted by the woman of his dreams.
The way the story unfolded shocked me, because it led to more characters I felt I just had to write about. Murder City Ravens is a rock band on a fast trajectory to the top, but that sudden success brings problems with it. I had to write about the different band members and the way that fame impacts on each one, but V is the start, and she will always have a special place in my heart. Each book can be read as a standalone title.
"Fascinating Rhythm," the fourth book in the series, came out earlier this month. That has the Swedish drummer for the band and his deaf girlfriend.
Here's the book description and a brief excerpt. And don't forget, it's free for two weeks!
The sound of a saxophone drifting out of a Chicago blues club sends Matt inside, hoping to sign the player for his recording studio. Instead he finds V. Passion drives them from that moment on, and Matt can’t get enough of her sweet body and generous spirit. But as a former drug addict who spectacularly crashed out of the rock band Murder City Ravens, he has a lot to prove.
V thinks she’s happy with her lot until she receives an offer to join one of the most innovative and exciting bands in the world. Joining Murder City Ravens could sever her from Matt forever. How can she join the band when she’s spending her nights with the man who nearly destroyed everything they had?
Matt and V have decisions to make that might give them their life’s dream, but could split them apart. Which is more important, personal fulfillment or love? Is it possible to have both?
She stared at the tabletop and traced a ring with the tip of her finger. “Why is it so hot tonight?” she wondered before she looked up and saw why.
Most of the heat was generated by his avid gaze. She’d glanced up too fast for him to look away, or maybe he never meant to.
His gaze met hers and they burned together. She’d never felt closer to anyone in her life before, never felt anyone’s soul pass into her and through her, taking her on a wild journey to a new country.
She blinked, deliberately breaking the connection, and forced a laugh. “You’re good. Is that what you did to your fans?” She didn’t have to ask. She’d seen him once, when the band had come to Chicago on its one and only world tour when he’d sung lead.
Now she knew charisma wasn’t intangible. It existed. It sat at this table with her, watching her, daring her to do—what?
“What did I do to my fans? You saw me?”
“I-I— Yes, I saw you.” She decided to come clean. Surely she could talk about that without the situation getting worse? “You came to Chicago on your world tour. I saw what you could do then. You grabbed the audience by the balls and didn’t let go. You held them in the palm of your hand.”
He grinned and leaned back, the flimsy bentwood chair creaking under him. “It’s okay, I know what you mean. I used to watch myself and wonder what was happening. I knew I could sing, but other people sang better, did more. I had something else. I can’t define it, but you have it too.
“I couldn’t walk by the club tonight. I was getting some air and wondering how to perk up this song I’m producing. It’s a great song, and it’s definitely standout, but if I could add something else it would get to the top. Rock bands say they despise the pop single, but give them a number one, and suddenly it’s the greatest art form known to man.”
She laughed, feeling the tension splinter around them like shattering ice. “All because of you, huh?”
He shrugged. “Sometimes. They write a kickass song and then forget the arrangement. I show them how they can turn something good into great, or add a few tweaks that make a track commercial.”
She knew that was far too modest. A good arranger and a good producer could make a good recording amazing. “Is that what you’re doing? Making the Murder City Ravens track commercial?”
He lost the smile and shook his head. “No. It’s very, very good. It’ll sell because it can’t help itself.” He paused and bit his lower lip, his teeth gleaming in the low light. “But when we listened to it today I felt it could do with something more. That’s you.” His smile warmed her, and she couldn’t help but smile back.
“When did you come in tonight?”
“I heard Summertime from outside the club.” He paused. “I’d have come in anyway, just to listen. You’re very talented.”
She glanced down, taking in her sexy though not overly revealing gold dress. “Yeah, right.”
He laughed. “Believe me, you’re the model of Victorian modesty compared to some of the outfits I’ve seen in my time. Shared a stage with on occasion.” He leaned forward slightly, not enough to intimidate, enough to set up an air of increased intimacy. “But you are ten times sexier.”
Waves of heat washed over her, making her feel helpless under his gaze. She felt sexy, wanted, and although she’d felt that way before, it hadn’t happened for a long time.
The lights went out over the stage area and she looked around, startled. “Sorry. They’re getting ready to close.”
He got to his feet. “You have a coat?”
“In this weather? You bet.” She grabbed her coat from the stand by the door, then went to the bar, where the barman had her bag ready. She carried only a small purse, but since it held her credit card and keys, they always locked it away for her when she performed. Ernie winked as he handed it over and murmured, in a voice so low she wasn’t entirely sure she’d heard him right, “You go, girl. But take care, you hear?”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s like I never left home.”
“There’s a reason for that.” Ernie picked up a rag and wiped the bar, dropping her a wink. Ernie, her uncle’s best friend. He lived over the bar, so usually closed the place up. Only one other member of the bar staff remained, so pretty soon they’d have dropped the lock on the front door. Those routines came as second nature to V.
She lifted her coat only to find it taken out of her hands and held so she could put it on. She wasn’t used to that kind of treatment, except from her older relatives and she found it kind of sweet that he had such old-fashioned courtesy. Even Ernie’s deadpan expression, honed from years as a barkeep, softened a little.
She picked up her purse. “Shall we leave Ernie in peace?”
Ernie followed them to the door and, as they stepped out into the chill evening, the lock snicked behind them, followed by the sound of bolts being thrown. Now Ernie would set the alarms, clear the empty glasses and make his way to his apartment upstairs.
A few people still wandered about outside. This area didn’t sleep, and some of the clubs stayed open until much later. This wasn’t one of their late nights. But she felt as if she were in a bubble with him.
She glanced around but decided to walk to the busier street five minutes away. “Do you have far to go?” he asked.
She shrugged. “Not far. I have a place in River North.”
He raised a brow. “Coincidence, because my place is there too.”
She gave him a sly smile. “Bet you have one of those swanky loft apartments.”
He laughed. “Don’t you?”
“Not exactly. Do you mind walking, or do you want to get a cab?”
For answer, he raised his arm and like magic, a taxi drew up at the curb. She climbed in and gave him her address. “I’ll get out with you,” he said. “I don’t live far away. There are some advantages to having a well-known face,” he said, and grimaced.
“What are you talking about?”
“Would you have climbed into a cab with me if you’d just met me tonight?”
Now she understood. “Nope.” She spared him a glance. The lights of the city flickering past gave him a changeable expression, lighting up those remarkable eyes and then casting them into shadow. He sat so still, she suspected that was part of his appeal, that tranquility he projected seemingly without effort.
He was right. If she hadn’t known him for sure, she’d never have left the bar with him, much less gotten into a taxi. “Must be useful sometimes.”
He grunted an assent. “Sometimes. Sometimes it can be a pain in the ass.”
“Nope. Whatever people say, fans are good. Most of them are respectful of your space, and in any case, it’s easy to put them off if you want to. But there are other people, less straightforward.”
Should she go there? Damn right she should. “Drug dealers.”
“For sure. And other people too. People who want something. To meet the lead guitarist. To sleep with you. To hang around backstage.” He shrugged. “I don’t miss those.”
“I see.” While she could understand it intellectually, she couldn’t take the last step that took her to his exact position, but she could imagine how terrible she’d find being the center of attention all the time.
The cab drew up and they got out. He touched her waist, steadying her. The contact shimmered right through her. How could she resist this urge, stronger than anything else she could ever remember feeling before? Apart from showing a general attraction and calling her sexy, he didn’t seem affected the same way. Not so all-consuming, with that ache of sheer hunger inside, longing to be—completed.
When she encountered unexpected or strong emotions, she tried to put them aside, so she could draw on them another time, when she played her sax. Every unusual feeling made her playing stronger. Not this time. She didn’t care if it helped her artistry.
They stood on the sidewalk outside the café. “I know what you’re thinking,” he said, his voice rumbling in the quiet. This place was quieter, but lights glimmered behind some windows.
“What?” she challenged him, lifting her chin.
He caught his breath and in the next moment, he was looming over her, smiling. “Musician, remember?” He tilted up her chin and stared at her. This close he overwhelmed her, his warmth surrounded her. “Try putting this into music,” he challenged before he bent his head and kissed her.
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