Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Amy Lane for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: The Bells of Times Square
Author: Amy Lane
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Prism recently reviewed The Bells of Times Square. You can find the review here.
Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.
When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.
Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.
Hi, and welcome to the blog tour for The Bells of Times Square! This book is close to my heart– if you read the extra front and back matter in the story, you will see that I drew inspiration from my grandparents and their roles in WWII. There was a lot of research involved here and also an unusual romance. I hope you enjoy this stop on the tour, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below for the giveaway of two ebooks from my backlist and a signed copy of The Bells of Times Square! Feel free to comment, or to contact me at any of my links below–I’d love to hear from you!
Writing romance, I am well aware that the first meeting of the romantic leads is important. Since I don’t usually write action adventure, I have to depend solely on characters to do all the heavy lifting.
Lucky me—there was some action adventure in this story, and Nate and Walter’s first meeting is less than conventional. It also had the effect of removing some of Nate’s natural reserve—it’s hard to stay reserved when your adrenaline is up and you’re in pain. (I remember cracking jokes in an ambulance after a car accident once. I’m sure the EMT’s thought I was a laugh fucking riot.)
Walter’s adrenaline is also up, and he’s extremely natural here with Nate. Once the differences—in class, rank, and education—catch up to him, he’s not nearly so cocky. That’s okay though. Cocky Walter is sort of fun to get to know.
Pain—aching, slicing, ripping pain—in his side, in his arm and shoulder, in his thigh.
And heat, humid, like the residual warmth of a hot summer day, seeping through his many layers of flight suit, leaving him nauseated, disoriented, weeping with discomfort.
“Shut up. I’m getting there.”
The voice was so unexpected, the flat accent of the American Midwest like a slap in the face.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Nate mumbled, his eyes at half- mast. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know . . .”
Didn’t know what? What didn’t Nate know? Had he forgotten to mention something as the plane had landed?
“I didn’t know, either,” the voice said, sounding disgruntled and irritated.
“One minute I was sleeping, and the next minute, I got a plane screaming down on me. Caught completely by surprise.”
Sounds—unfamiliar sounds. Tree-snapping, tortured- foliage sounds, and that flat Midwestern snap, swearing at it all. “You swear like a thug,” Nate muttered, his breath coming short. Your ribs, you think? Yes. Yes, and they’ve punctured a lung. “Do you know what it is? To doctor a rib?” Nate asked, out loud apparently.
“Yeah, I can do that,” the voice said. “You’re sounding sort of breathy. Probably a punctured lung. I can do that too.”
“So it was a lucky thing I crashed here then,” Nate said, hearing his mother in his head. Oh, so your father is the worst thing to happen to you? Well, it’s a lucky thing you were born into this family or you would have nothing to complain about, would you?
His unseen companion laughed a bitter cackle, crackling like twigs, dry and ready to light. “Not so lucky for your pilot,” he said, voice almost gentle.
“Isn’t that nice. You’re worried I have lost a friend.” That was nice. It was something Hector or even Joey might do.
Nate grimaced. He did not like to speak ill of the dead but . . . “He cursed me for a filthy kike with his last breath,” Nate said, feeling tired. It wasn’t until he said it that he realized a man with this voice might just stalk off and leave Nate to die in this cockpit in the middle of . . . Gott, where?
“Well, that was damned foolish of him,” the voice said practically. “But he did do you the favor of deploying the canopy—that was good of him.”
“He was probably planning to eject,” Nate muttered. “Not that he’d tell me.”
“Humph. Those of us who aren’t Jewish would call that an asshole. What would you call it?”
Nate grunted. His eyes were closed but the silver specks behind his closed lids swam and scattered like amphibious birds. “Schtik dreck,” he said succinctly, his father’s Yiddish coming to him unbidden when he’d tried so hard to leave it behind him. “Filthy, worthless piece of—”
“I get it!” the voice said gleefully. “You’re damned feisty for a Jew. I thought you people were all about peace and
“You’ve never met my father,” Nate mumbled.
There had been clattering and clambering, the sound of feet on the wooden paneling off the wing, the hollow thudding and rustling of tree limbs, the thump of someone walking on something not designed to be used as a doormat.
Rough hands, brusque and practical, worked the latches on Nate’s belts and those around his shoulders.
“You got anything in this wreck we can use for food or tinder?” asked the voice attached to the hands.
“Under the seats, I think,” Nate told him. “GI rations. Can burn the plane for tinder.”
“The coating on it might make it burn black, but if we’re still here come winter, I’ll think about it.”
The voice was so practical. Nate forced himself to open his eyes to put a face to it.
Small. Narrow chin, narrow cheekbones, middling brow. Eyes that were probably blue-green in the sun, with lashes that started out orange and turned white at the tips, even in the moonlight. The healthy scattering of freckles across what was still a fair-skinned face, and a military cap with the brim turned up.
A lean, pursed mouth, minimized with concentration.
Nate’s brain framed the shot, clicked the shutter; the picture would be there in his mind forever.
The man wasn’t looking at Nate’s face—he was too busy assessing Nate’s body through the flight suit—but Nate was struck with the urge to brush his fingertip along one of the nearly transparent eyebrows.
So pale. Translucent. Like an angel.
A pain center detonated inside Nate’s body, and all thoughts of angels were forgotten. His brain was murky with images of blood clouds in black ink, and he let out a cry.
“Yeah, sorry ’bout that,” the young man muttered. “’Kay, gonna pull you outta there. Gonna fuckin’ hurt. Your plane’s the only one that went down, so feel free to make all the noise you want.”
“Reassuring,” Nate panted, but when his rescuer clambered into the tiny space in front of the pilot’s seat, reached down into Nate’s cockpit, and hauled him up by the armpits, he let out a bellow that probably startled birds.
Swinging his leg up, over, and around the edge of the plane was one of the bravest things Nate had ever done. The pressure in his stomach, against his ribs, defied description.
He couldn’t remember sliding down the wing after that, although he must have. The man next to him was short— barely five foot six, and Nate was a big, strapping man. Nate had to have borne some of his own weight, right?
He certainly was moving his own legs when he came to his senses minutes later, although he was leaning heavily on his new companion.
“Captain Thompson,” he gasped, although he had hardly any wind at all to do so. “Must get . . .”
“Dead, remember?” The smaller man was panting too, holding up most of Nate’s greater weight. “And besides, he sounds like an asshole. Not sure I want to go out of my way to save an asshole.”
Nate stumbled, and his side and thigh and arm twisted, his vision grayed around the edges, and he couldn’t draw the breath to defend his captain.
Why defend him? The soldier is right.
Was that what he was? A soldier? He had a uniform cap on, wool, with corporal’s bars on it. So, not a private—not an officer, either.
“Where . . .” Oh God, his voice was barely a whisper. “Where are we going?”
“Do you even know where you are?”
Cocky man. “Moselle?”
“God, you’re good! I ain’t had any idea where I am. I’m talking months. So, yeah. Moss-ell. Some fuckin’ woods not far from Germany. That’s where we are, and that’s where we’re going. You’re all caught up now.”
If he’d had the energy, Nate would have either laughed or glared. He wasn’t sure which. “A military station? A home? A hole—” Ah! Hells, that hurts! He couldn’t see where to put his feet in the darkness. “A magical hospital in the woods?”
“A cottage out of Snow White, no dwarves?”
They burst into a clearing then, and Nate sucked in a gasp of air that almost killed him. “I thought . . . you were . . .”
“Joking. Lucky you, everything’s here but the broad with the broom. C’mon, airman. Let’s take the stairs one at a time.”
About the Author:
Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head. She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies. She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.
Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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