For this excerpt, you may like to know we are in the great city of San Francisco at the bar inside the Grand Hotel. It's about noon, and the bar is empty, but for Bo, the bartender, and Sebastian, the long-term manager who just asked Owen, our lead to try out the legendary piano.
“Fine,” Owen said again.
“Why don’t you want a crowd?” (Asked Sebastian)
“A woman unlike any other woman I have ever met ripped out my heart and stabbed me just the other day, and she did it for a good reason.”
“So you’re heartbroken. Good,” Sebastian said. “A broken musician is far better than a solid one.”
“I mean it. Right now, I like this room empty. I know you want to hear the living, but . . .”
“Stop. I’m here, and you are there. We toasted death before, so here’s to being alive. In this time.”
Owen tapped glasses, but this time, he sipped the contents and turned toward the piano that was as much a work of art as an instrument.
Sebastian took his glass from his hand, and Owen didn’t waste time.
Despite Sebastian’s words about the piano not needing to be tuned, Owen couldn’t help but test the notes. Every key that Sebastian hadn’t touched while he played—and that was most of the right side—Owen touched one at a time. It was like walking upstairs with a full load in your arms. He went slow, needing to be sure of each step.
When it was done, and every black and white key was accounted for, Owen felt a little zip of pleasure dance up his spine.
“You’re right. She is perfect, and I can’t feel the age in her. After this long of a life, I thought I’d feel some loose bits. A shading in the keys, maybe, but there’s nothing there. It’s as if she is fresh off the ship you unloaded her from.”
Owen didn’t close his eyes, didn’t fall into his mind. Instead, he leaned forward, and his hands danced over the keys. It was a warmup, a challenge to the cold room and stale air. Wake up, get out, live in the fresh air, his fingers and soul said through the harp and keys.
Sebastian made a sound and raised a hand for Bo to come over and speak to him, but Owen didn’t care. His well of ethereal magic was overflowing, and here in this space and time was a piano that was pure and loved and full of history, no matter what else they said about it.
Like a cage with a thousand locks, Owen opened his chest and pain poured out faster than he could hold it back.
I know why you couldn’t come with me, Alice. I know it. I understand you not wanting to hurt your parents. I know why you had to stay, but you don’t know what I know. That time changes everything. Everything changes with time. You can’t control it. You can’t escape the change.
And I waited my whole life to find you. The miles and miles and trials of my whole life, and then there you were. But you’re not here, and I couldn’t stay.
Owen let the waves of sound ripple over one another as his fingers spoke from inside. He lingered over his words and shouted across the room until his music spoke to the glass behind the bottles over the bar.
You don’t know, you can’t know, and I can’t have you,
I can’t hold you.
In such a short time, a tiny time
You became my world and now I am lost,
floating through an endless void of space amongst people who need me.
But what about my need, my heart?
I miss your voice, your skin, your touch.
I miss your soul next to mine,
I miss the burn and the fire, the heat.
Is this my punishment for all that I have done?
For all that I wish to do?
Is this the price of my sins here on Earth?
Could the powers that be not wait until I die to punish me,
or is such a thought far too simple for this world?
Owen let his hands linger, the melody he was rolling hanging in the air. The taste of Damon’s personal whiskey climbed up and bit him in the mouth, over his tongue.
Owen flattened out his fingers and pressed all ten down. The piano screeched and shouted as he lifted off, and the sound died.
Owen shook his head and rubbed a tear from his eyes. He wasn’t ashamed of his feelings as he noticed his surroundings once again.
There, standing with the red rope in between them, were the two We. Sebastian held Bo’s hand up to his chest, and both had tears running down their faces. Sebastian visibly shook, and it was clear he was trying to speak but couldn’t.
Bo gave a couple of nods, and Owen looked away.
He closed his eyes, and his head tilted to the side as a raw red pain sliced through his heart. One by one, he closed the clasps in his chest, locking Alice away.
“No one said you could do that,” Sebastian said, his voice shaking.
Owen didn’t speak, didn’t open his eyes, just folded the layers back over Alice even as the image of her face—the short hair, the full lips, those eyes that could see everything—wouldn’t wash out of his mind.
“That was truly amazing,” Bo said to his back. “Who is the person you wrote that for?”
Owen didn’t answer, he just wiped his hand over his face and then shook his head, trying to dislodge her.
“Bo, go get my last bottle of the black,” Sebastian said.
“No,” Owen said, raising a hand.
“You earned it,” Sebastian said. “Besides, it would be an honor to finish it with you.”
“I don’t think I can. I mean, I don’t think I should.” Owen shook his head again. And still, she refused to go away, out of his mind. “Whiskey is for doing the impossible, for doing the stupid, the insane. The reckless and the road.” Owen stood up. “I think, right now, I am afraid of the fire.”
With effort, he pulled ethereal magic back down into his well, because there was a part of him—a large, overwhelming part—that wanted to burn so hot that the fire would consume him. Free him from this world and the pain in his chest.
“Okay,” Sebastian said, reaching out a hand to thank him and seal the bond.
Owen shook the manager’s hand. The manager’s grip was firm and unrelenting, refusing to let go. “You are welcome here anytime. You understand me? Anytime. Night or day. During bad weather or sunny.”
“I understand. Thank you for sharing your mistress.” Owen smiled a little and Sebastian let out a popping laugh.
Before he could speak, musical notes danced through the air, and Owen turned to see the keys of the piano dropping down as if pressed by two invisible hands.
Excerpted from HARMONY OF LIES by Brian Feehan Copyright © 2023 by Brian Feehan. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
“I hope you enjoy the rest of Harmony of Lies.
A big thank you to Fresh Fiction for this opportunity”,
Sincerely Brian Feehan
Alice & Owen #2
Danger threatens to shatter the hope for a new beginning in a world of angels and demons in this explosive paranormal romance by author Brian Feehan, son of legendary #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
After being forced away for seventeen years, Alice is finally home. But home isn’t what she thought it would be, and every day the secrets she holds from her parents grow with weight. But how do you tell your mother and father that you’re not normal? That the world is a far more dangerous place than they have ever known and you are anything but the small, innocent child that was torn from their arms all those years ago?
Owen can’t say goodbye, and Alice can’t hold on to him tightly enough as the pressures of danger and obligation grow stronger and stronger. With a broken heart, Owen is headed to San Francisco with his crew of musicians. But the Golden City is filled with history and secrets, and brutal deaths are just lying in wait for Owen and his people. To survive these trials and this city, Owen will need everything he has—even the broken parts he gave to Alice—to have any hope of doing the impossible one more time.
Romance Paranormal [Berkley, On Sale: February 28, 2023, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593440551 / eISBN: 9780593440568]
Brian Feehan lives in his mind, creating vibrant characters who talk very loudly and far too often. When real life comes knocking, it is likely to be the love of his life, Michelle, or their son, Dylan. Together, the three of them live on the northern coast of California, which is far different than any other part of California.
Brian is fascinated by both the written word and learning new subjects. He is always up for a laugh, a game, or a drink with friends and family. He is also the son of #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, who started his training to become an author before he was old enough to walk.
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