October 18, 2014

Sounds Like Love by Maris Soule

When Sam Blake walks into The Quarter Note, the bar that Megan McGuire and her father own, they are in desperate need of an entertainer. Sam's statement that "I've been told I'm a pretty good guitar player" is an understatement. 

He's not only good, he's soon drawing in customers and changing their financial situation. He's also enticing Megan in ways she doesn't understand. She doesn't want to get involved a man who will take off any day. She doesn't want to get involved with any musician. After all, she made that mistake once, and as much as she loves her ten-year-old son, she's older and wiser now. Or is she?


The Book Excerpt

"Tell me, what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" 

"Oh, brother—now there's an original line if ever I heard one." Megan laughed and came back to wipe a drop of beer from the counter. "Actually, I own The Quarter Note. Along with my father." 

"You own this place?" He looked around curiously. 

Old guitars and banjos hung on knotty pine walls, heavy drapes blocked out the glare of the afternoon sun, and old-fashioned electric lamps provided subdued lighting. The tables were round and wooden, surrounded by mates' and captain's chairs, and the front bar was made of pine and topped with a wood-grained Formica counter. 

The only patrons were three old fishermen, drinking beers and swapping stories about the one that got away; two middle-aged women, sipping margaritas and munching nachos as they talked; and a young couple in the corner, who were more interested in staring into each other's eyes than in drinking or talking. 

"It's not much, but it's ours." At the moment she wasn't sure if she should boast or lament the fact. 

His gaze returned to her face. "Somehow you don't fit the image I have of a bar owner." 

"Which is?" 

"The lady barkeepers I've known have either been built like Amazons or were as tough as nails." He held his hand up in the air, as if visually measuring her. "What are you, all of five feet?" 

"Five-feet-four, and I'm tough enough," she said with a chuckle. She'd learned to be. 

"And what do you do if one of your patrons starts flirting with you?" 

"It depends on who he is, and if I want to flirt back," Megan teased, looking him directly in the eyes. 

"You're not concerned for your safety?" The lift of his eyebrows showed his surprise. 

With you, no, she wanted to say. He was tall, and if he wanted to, he could easily overpower her physically, but she wasn't afraid of him. She'd learned to read her patrons' characters by their facial expressions and body language. He was no threat. She realized, though, that his question had a deeper meaning. "If one of the customers gets too unruly, I call for help." She nodded toward the closed office door. "Not many are willing to take on my father. Before our local high school closed, he not only taught art, he was the wrestling coach. And when Dad's not around, there's Pete, our other bartender." 

"So the lady is well fortified." His gaze held hers, even as he lifted his glass to his lips. A slight smile curved his mouth just before he took a drink, and when he put down the mug, he leaned forward slightly, narrowing the distance between them. "Do I have to ask your father's permission?" 

"Permission for what?" she asked coyly, pretending she didn't have the slightest idea what he might be talking about. 

"For a date with you?"

About Maris Soule
“Write what you love and know.” That’s the advice given to writers.

I fell in love with the Rhodesian Ridgeback the first time I saw one at a dog show. I love their temperament, their intelligence, and their personalities. I’ve shown them, bred them, whelped them, cried when I sent a puppy off to a new owner, and been as proud as a motherwhen one won at a dog show.

I also love living in the country. I have childhood memories of catching pollywogs in the creek that ran by our two acres in Walnut Creek, California; being able to pick ripe peaches from the tree (also almonds, pears, English walnuts, apricots and more); and sitting in my “thinking” tree making up stories.

When I married my husband, we were living in Santa Barbara, but his father was ill and we decided to move to Michigan to be closer to him. It was supposed to be a short-term move (just a couple years, my husband said). I won’t tell you how many years we’ve now lived in Michigan, but we now have grown children and teenage granddaughters. I haven’t regretted the move. Michigan is a beautiful state, and for 27 years we lived in the rural community of Climax. What a perfect location for a romance writer, and what a neat place to plot a mystery with a lot of suspense. (Yes, there are some similarities between the real Climax and my imaginary Zenith in The Crows and As the Crow Flies, but the events and people in those books are definitely fictional.)

We’ve now moved close to Lake Michigan (so my husband is near his sailboat), and we spend our winters in Florida, not far from the Gulf Coast. Both locations feed my love of being near water (remember that creek I played in and Santa Barbara) and are ideal places to nurture my desire to write. Whether I’m writing a romance, a mystery, or a combination of the two, I’m probably going to include an animal or two and there’s a good chance the characters will live in the country, the mountains, or near water. I’ve often used Michigan and California as settings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida shows up in a future book. I’m sometimes asked if the characters in my books are based on me or someone I know. My answer is: Maybe bits and pieces, but my protagonists are always braver and smarter than I am (along with younger) and the antagonists are always nastier than the people I’ve known.


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