My name is Sandine Tomas and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to discuss my first published novel, The Music of Love. When I write I like to examine a theme, appreciate it like a gemstone with many facets. This book examines the timeless conflict between pragmatism and passion. If you’ve ever felt caught between the two, stay till the end for a chance to win a free e-book!
The Music of Love went through many evolutions before reaching its final stage. That is mostly because my protagonist, Julian, is a rather loveable neurotic that changes his mind. A lot. Frankly, I share some of his idiosyncrasies and have been known to have a freak-out or two myself from time to time.
In a nutshell, Julian’s an odd bird—a highly creative musician who plucks melodies out of dust motes—and who also suffers from anxiety and a really bad romantic history.
When the story starts, Julian is settled into his routine of diligent paralegal during the day and dedicated musician at night. He doesn’t follow many rules but has settled on one that he deems immutable: falling in love is a no-go. You see, he’s done that three times before and each time he was dumped and left a wretched mess. So he’s sworn off men. Emotions are his enemy. He feels them too quick and too deep. And. Just no.
Enter Zachary. He started at the law firm a few weeks ago and crushed on Julian just from hearing his voice. As he gets to know Julian better, Zach comes to appreciate Julian’s brilliance and work ethic. But for Julian it doesn’t matter that Zach is funny and smart and tall and handsome and has eyes that magically change color in the sunshine. That’s not what matters. Protecting his heart is what matters.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from The Music of Love:
“Great work, guys! This is fantastic. We’re gonna bury those bastards.” Brian pressed his lips together, edges rising like a jackal’s. He rose from the desk chair of his spacious office to pace the length of it, his reflection moving like a stalking twin within the dark open expanse of the window. The offices were emptying out as the evening grew late. Julian and Zachary had spent the last several hours in Brian’s office, poring over the emails they’d flagged for the Peterson Pharmaceutical class action case, showcasing those that were especially damaging to the other side. The sun had long set, and the street lamps created gilded swaths across the side of the office building. The light changed Zachary’s eyes to highlight the blue in his irises, the pupils disappearing in their depths in a captivating manner.
Julian forced his attention back to his boss. He knew Brian would like the emails they’d uncovered. All of him ached from the late nights they’d spent reviewing the discovery paperwork. Hadn’t left him time for anything else. He rubbed his neck, working out the stiffness till he heard a disturbing pop. Man, he needed to sleep for a month.
“Fucking great!” Brian cried. “We’re gonna crucify them.” Julian considered Brian—a lean, African-American man with cut-glass cheekbones, broad shoulders, and a disarming smile, Brian was about as tall as Zachary, not quite, but about. Zachary sat on the opposite chair from Julian. In an office typically dominated by a highly successful, good-looking man, Zachary stood out like a candle in the black of night.
He just lit up the damn room.
Their eyes met, and Zachary’s lips quirked up in a small smirk at Brian’s naked killer instincts. Look away. Look away. Look away. Zachary’s skin had this warm golden tone that bespoke his Hispanic heritage, and there were these faint moles on his face that….
“…schedule the depositions starting next week.” Brian stopped his pacing and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Peterson Pharmaceutical’s got that big gun firm on their side. Probably isn’t a big pharma they don’t represent. So, I don’t want to give them the home court advantage when we depose their employees. Our offices just aren’t going to impress—let’s book a suite at the Ritz. Neutral ground. And of course, record everything. Julian? You got that?”
Crap, he’d been staring at Zachary. Again. Dammit. “Um—”
“Yeah. We’ll take care of it.” Zachary rescued him.
Julian mouthed a quick thanks, but Zachary’s attention was still on Brian.
“Set the suite up as a command center for the duration. We’ll need transcripts after each interview. Zach, I’ll need you for brief prep. Jules, I want you on research. They’re lying. Those people got sick after taking that drug, and we’ve got the start of evidence that they knew more than they were letting on. Now let’s prove it. I’m shifting some projects around so Kat is at your disposal as well. Jack too, if you need him. Harrison really wants these guys. So let’s get to work.” Brian glanced at his watch. “Damn. I’m late for an appointment.” He looked at the two of them. “You don’t mind cleaning up on your own?”
Julian could only agree amicably as Brian walked out with a quick thanks, and Julian was left with a desk full of sorted emails, some with bright red flags, and six-foot-four inches of pure attraction. He shook his head slightly. He was stronger than this. He’d turned down lots of pretty faces. This was just another one.
Maybe Gabe was right. Maybe Zachary wasn’t even into him at all and this was just a silly one-way crush that would lead to nothing.
“So, looks like we’ll be joined at the hip for a while.”
You know, it wasn’t the words. Anybody could say that and it could come out whining, could sound matter-of-fact, maybe even bored. However, Zachary said it like he just found out Santa Claus was real.
His eyes locked back on Julian, moving slowly over his body, doing that not-sure-where-to-land-first thing, and Julian felt the heat first in his face and then considerably lower. “Um. Yeah. Looks like.”
“Hey. Don’t look so sad. Could be fun.”
Julian’s mouth instinctively twisted. “Working 24-7. Sure. Loads.”
Zachary’s voice deepened, smooth like honey pouring into tea. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
Releasing a soft sigh. Julian admitted, “I haven’t been able to get to anything except work and now, well, it’ll just be impossible. It’s frustrating because I was right in the middle of working something out.”
“Working something out?” Zachary questioned.
“Yeah, a song.”
Zachary crossed one leg over the other and rested his elbow on his thigh, leaning his cheek against his hand. “Tell me about your song.”
Julian’s facial muscles relaxed as his lips curved up involuntarily. “It was soft. Remember the rain about three weeks ago? Well. No. You probably don’t because who would remember a random rain shower from weeks ago. But. It fell real soft that Saturday, and I was walking.
That’s when I saw it.”
“What did you see?” Zachary studied him intently, peering into Julian as if he was made of glass. Before Julian could reply, Zachary inexplicably already knew the answer. “You see music.”
Julian blinked in surprise. “Yeah. It’s… how I work.” He ducked his head and colored slightly. “Know it sounds odd.”
“So you’re a songwriter. And you’re a musician too?”
“I play guitar. Sometimes I perform with my friends.”
Zachary startled at that. “Yeah?”
“I… um… I sing my songs.”
Lighting up like a Christmas tree was the only expression Julian had for what was happening to Zachary’s face. “Wow. I—you think maybe I could come hear you one day?”
Zachary almost fell into it but caught himself in time, lips twitching. “I’d love to come see you perform. Let me know next time, please?” Zachary’s gaze didn’t waver, twinkling like a lily pond on a moonlit night. “I want to hear what the rain showed you.”
Internal alarms sounded like a cat’s paws against glass. This was exactly how it started: Julian’s stupid unrestricted sharing. Then the other person seemed like he cared. And that led to the caring back and the mind-blowing sex, and it was all unbearably good. Until whatever it was about Julian kicked in that made the other person want to stomp on his heart until it lay pulverized on the ground.
He was so very royally screwed.
Everyone has their odd quirks. Share yours in the comments and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free e-book copy of The Music of Love! Please provide contact information.
The Music of Love Blurb
Sometimes the music of love skips a beat….
Paralegal by day, musician by night, Julian has an expiration date stamped on his forehead when it comes to love. No relationship has made it past a year, so Julian avoids romance like the plague and concentrates on his music instead.
Which works fine until gorgeous, smart, and funny Zachary joins Julian’s firm. One look at the man and Julian knows he’s dangerous. No matter what, he can’t fall for Zachary. He has to spare Zachary the pain of dumping Julian at the one-year mark. His brilliant plan? Ask a straight friend to pose as his significant other to keep Zachary away. Not surprisingly, his scheme does little to dampen the attraction—on either side.
When Zachary gives Julian a second chance despite his deception, Julian thinks his curse might be broken. But then he’s faced with the impossible choice between a life with Zachary and living his dream of touring with the band….
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About the Author
Sandine Tomas grew up an unapologetic bookworm, making friends with characters from the ancient past to the farthest reaches of the universe. Her career as a marketing writer has given her insight into the divergence between what a person thinks they want and what they truly need. Relationships are at the heart of her writing, and she enjoys creating characters who become so real that their stories beg to be told. Writing allows her to explore people and ideas from all sides, spinning a notion around like a gem until its facets glisten.
Twisting the old adage about writing what you know into writing what you feel, Sandine doesn’t shy away from raw emotions, turbulent circumstances, and above all, deep passions, fueled by humor, honesty, and trust. She enjoys instilling her characters with the flaws, courage, and idiosyncrasies that brings them to life.
Sandine lives in New York with her husband, two daughters and a Golden Retriever named Noodle. An unabashed TV and film enthusiast, she happily binge watches her favorites until her eyes glaze over. Her other guilty pleasures include attending fandom conventions, sleeping in on weekends, and recharging solo by holing up with a caramel macchiato and an amazing book.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandine.tomas