Oz sat down at the piano and indicated Carrie should sit next to him on the bench. He ran his fingers over the keys. No prim and proper pastor’s wife here. Oz’s playing was decidedly masculine. His hand rested casually across the keys as if prepared to pounce but not indicating any eagerness about it. Carrie briefly entertained the thought of those hands flying over her with the same intensity.
“You play the piano too?” she asked.
He paused and gave her the smile. That smile. The kind that deepened the shine in his dark brown eyes. “As long as I’ve played the trumpet, though no one can play like Ellison does.”
“Ellison, he’s your piano player?”
“Righty-o, and partner, brother nearly. Been playing with him for as long as I can remember.”
He tore through the opening bars of a song, working from one key to another. When he settled on a sound, he fell into a rhythmic one-two-three progression across chords. Watching him work the music was so engrossing, Carrie didn’t expect what came next—his voice, a tenor. Quiet compared to the piano, but with a resonating tone that hinted at the power that he held inside him.
“It wasn’t music,” he sang. “Only drums.” He pounded the low keys for emphasis. “Of hearts beating, machines pinging, the roll of a cat’s purr…”
The piano interrupted with an interlude. His mouth tweaked up apologetically, and his eyes looked over her face. Carrie realized he searched for the next words. This was no mere recital. This was composition. She scanned the room and saw Vesta’s white egg timer.
“Clocks ticking?” she offered.
“The tipanic tock of clocks,” he improvised.
The piano hovered around the same one-two-three, one-two-three. Hearts beating indeed. Carrie felt her own rattling against her ribcage.
Title: Notes of Temptation
Author: Rebecca Halsey
Genre: Historical Romance
Hollywood Jazz, Book 1
When Carrie Cooper leaves her small gold-mining town to seek her fortune, it’s not until she arrives in L.A. that she learns her college certificate is a fraud. The only work available is in a less-than-respectable speakeasy.
The job comes with the opportunity to take the stage with Oz Dean, the club’s captivating bandleader. But rivals out for her blood along with her place in the spotlight lurk behind the curtain.
Oz Dean has the rare ability to “see” music as brilliant colors, but nothing has ever dazzled him like Carrie’s pure, choirgirl voice. With a mob debt hanging over his head like a guillotine, he organizes a revue that will launch them all to stardom. Unfortunately, his bold move attracts exactly the kind of criminal attention he’d like to avoid.
Mired in Hollywood’s underbelly, caught off-guard by their growing attraction, Carrie and Oz are forced to consider the cost of success. Or their one chance to make beautiful music together could be their last.
Unquenchably curious, Rebecca Halsey travels around the country looking for souvenirs and experiences to include in her fiction. For Notes of Temptation she curated mementos from a voodoo museum in New Orleans, a ghost town in Arizona, and the beach at Santa Monica.
She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia. When not writing, she works in cybersecurity and enjoys running, cooking, and painting portraits. She resides in Maryland with her husband and three children, all of whom tolerate her immersion into jazz music and black-and-white movies.
Notes of Temptation is her debut novel.
Author Website: http://www.rebeccahalsey.com/
Samhain site – https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5725/notes-of-temptation