INSTALOVE: THE THING YOU CANNOT FIGHT
Every love story starts with a moment. The erstwhile couple, the star-crossed pair, the jaded cynics, lock eyes. And fall tumbling deep into irreversible, soul-altering love. Some couples take a while before they get to that moment. In Blooms of War, I am pretty sure that my world-weary, too-young-to-be-on-the-frontlines nurse, Vera, and the pure-hearted, stubbornly optimistic, duty-bound doctor Nick, fall in love the minute they meet. It’s fate. It’s inevitable. And yet, Vera and Nick will do their very best to fight it. Because there’s a war raging. Because there is espionage underfoot. Because they are SCARED.
In trying to capture their emotions, to build the tension, and peel back layer after layer of angst, I needed a song. Something to capture the chemistry and connection between the two. Something to put me in the right frame of mind so the words would flow. And the song I found was Maggie Roger’s “Say It.” The lyrics are simple, her voice is sublime:
I cannot fall in love with you
I cannot feel this way so soon, so soon
I had this song on repeat for hours (days) as I captured the push-and-pull of attraction and self-denial, of trying to be practical when your heart beats hard. It is hard to deny hope:
Our foreheads pressed together, our lips a single, silvery breath apart, we look into one another’s eyes, communicating things that have no words, without spilling a single secret—who I really am, where he really was, what he’s done, what he’s willing to do to keep humanity from tearing itself to pieces, how deep my faith runs.
In this silence, tenderness wells and weaves a spell of dark of night and summer breeze, of instinctive trust and yearning. I murmur, “I will not love you.”
He chuckles, his warm breath teases my parted lips. “Promise me you won’t.”
The spell between us does not break. Will not break. You cannot fight intangible forces—air, gravity, whatever it is that holds constellations in their place. We do our best. Pore by pore, inch by inch, we part, turning away from each other and toward the sky.
I point to a row of stars. “Big dipper.”
He gestures to a distant, but bright, orange light. “Arcturis.”
Star by star, we map out the Milky Way. Far safer than mapping out the tumult of our hearts.
If you’re interested, I’ve compiled the songs behind Blooms of War into a Youtube Playlist for your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZAQzR8c7tFQOGTMCkrrNWrAt7yC5qoFh
Blooms of War
In war, she fell in love.
Vera Betts shouldn’t be falling in love with the enigmatic doctor she suspects of espionage. Reeling from her family’s betrayal, she’s faked her nursing credentials, invented a new name, and run away to the frontlines of the French battlefield. Four years into the Great War and she knows who she is and what she’s meant for—to save the living and sit vigil by the dying. When the cagey-yet-earnest Dr. Nicholas Wallace arrives, so do mysterious explosions destroying hospitals. Even as Nick raises her suspicions, he lowers her defenses. He wants the war to end. Are his acts of sabotage politically motivated or a desperate attempt at peace?
In peace, she fell apart.
A year later, Vera is back with her oppressive family, living under her real name, and Nick is on trial for murder. Trapped in grief and guilt, she cannot speak about the past and does not believe in the future. With Nick refusing to defend himself, she ventures to London to understand why he is so willing to embrace the hangman’s noose. Who is he trying to protect? What secrets does he plan to carry to his grave? And why does Nick insist upon hiding her true identity? To save the man she loves, Vera must tear open the past and confront the tragic price for peace.
Author Bio –
Writer of lush, historical happily-ever-after tales, Suzanne Tierney believes in true love. But she takes delicious pleasure in making her characters fight, flutter, and find their way to each other. Her books have won numerous awards and she has twice been a Golden Heart Finalist® with the Romance Writers of America.
Suzanne grew up in Oregon, adulted in the San Francisco Bay Area, and somehow ended up in Florida, where she is very much a cold-water fish learning to navigate humid, salty seas. She loves chatting with readers.
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