Rawhide 'n Roses, A Western Romance Anthology will be released in March. Until then, I thought you might like a peek at one of the authors. Please welcome, Simone Beaudelaire.
What is the sound of a broken heart? How does a fated love rise from a pleasant note to a passionate symphony?
Budding musician Erin James knows all too well the noise of neglect and tragedy, and that her infatuation with her best friend Sheridan’s older brother, Sean, is doomed never to blossom into something more.
But when Sheridan plays matchmaker, Sean finds himself drawn to the studious, reserved Erin.
As their love reaches a crescendo, personal tragedies and impossible decisions threaten to end their harmonious, unlikely romance.
When the music ends, will these troubled lovers find a way to compose a life together?
Now, how about an excerpt:
“Okay, Murphy, spill it. Just what the hell were you hoping to accomplish by making me fall madly in love with you and then dropping me like a rock? Was I just an easy lay after all?” She tried to sound playful, but it wasn’t really that convincing.
“Of course not. Don’t cheapen what we had like that. I loved you and you know it.” He sighed. “I’m sorry Erin. I know I hurt you. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t see another way. I didn’t want to get in the way of you pursuing your dreams.”
“Sean, you were my dream, you and our life together. The symphony, the music lessons, the family...”
“It’s too small,” he interrupted, trying again to make his point, this time to the right person. “You could achieve whatever you want.”
She scoffed. “Funny, isn’t it, how people say that when it’s so clearly not true. Did you ever stop to ask what I wanted? I never asked to be famous, to be in some high powered orchestra and deal with all the internal politics and backbiting. I just wanted to play my instrument, make music, be part of a group and make people happy. And I wanted to come home to you every night. I told you that, but you didn’t listen. You were so sure you knew me better than I knew myself. What I wanted was to get my degree and come home. I certainly didn’t achieve that.”
“You almost have your degree,” he reminded her. “A few more months will do it.”
“But now I have no home to go to,” she told him, her voice bleak. That mournful tone told him something.
“Erin,” he said, trying to get to the heart of what she was saying, “if that’s true, why didn’t you insist I talk to you? You just let it go, didn’t ask any questions, didn’t protest. I thought you were done with me, glad I stopped meddling in your life.”
Erin shook her head. “I didn’t want to bother you. I guess I figured you were done with me, that you were sick of your silly adolescent girlfriend and wanted to move on, find someone else, someone not such a baby, not so…I don’t know…boring.”
“How could you think that?” He exclaimed, startled. “You’re not boring. You’re amazing. Didn’t I keep telling you that?”
“You know what they say, Sean, about actions and words.” Oh God, no, that hadn’t been what he had intended at all. But of course she’d seen it that way. She continued. “No one has ever really wanted me. I was glad you did for a while. I didn’t expect it to last. I dared to let myself hope, but then you did what I had expected. You got over me.”
“I never did. I thought you were over me.” Sean’s voice turned a bit irritated. “Oh, this is ridiculous. You know, both of us have been doing a fair bit of assuming. I think it might be a good idea for us to stop second guessing each other and just say what we feel.”
“That’s hard.” Her big brown eyes were filled with longing and fear.
“It is, but isn’t it time to be honest?” He touched the silky skin of her cheek with one finger.
Neither of them spoke for a long moment as they pondered their words. At last, Erin said, “Can I start?”
“Of course. Ladies first.”
“Sean, from the night you took me to homecoming, and kissed me in the parking lot until this day, the love I have for you has never wavered, never changed. I love you. You’re my one and only, Sean, forever. If I can’t have you, I don’t want anyone. Why, when I’ve already found my perfect love, would I even attempt to replace you? I would rather have your memory than any other man. And to this day I still want you as much as I ever did.”
She was close to him, and the temptation was too great. He kissed her, rewarding her sweet words with a tender,wet touch of his lips.
Sunshine woman, banishing night
From all around you,
Shine your glorious smile
On this one dark soul.
With those lines, Dr. Michael Burke attempted to express his years' long adoration for his colleague and former student, Sheridan Murphy.
Not content to be worshiped from afar, Sheridan urges her beloved to turn their unrequited passion into a blazing romance.
But will their love be able to survive the secrets each one is keeping from the other, or will their dream of a happily ever after eventually crumble under the weight of their tragic histories?
Because when the words are spoken, there's no going back.