Today I have Stephanie Cage back on my blog. It's been ages since she dropped in for a visit. And standing with her are her hero and heroine from her adorable new novella, Music to her Ears, the second book in Modern Magic: A Quartet of Fractured Fairy Tales.
Good friend, it is a pleasure to have you back. I'm going to turn this space over to you because I can't wait to meet Mike and Hannah.
Hello everyone. I planned to ask my characters a few easy questions, but as you’ll read below, the conversation got a little away from me!
What would be your perfect date?
Mike: I’m torn. Either a quiet day out in the beautiful hills of England’s Peak District, or dinner and a show in New York. I love that Hannah would enjoy both of those equally. I’ve so had it with women who won’t take a step off the path in case they break a heel … ouch! What’d I say?
Hannah: Enough with the heel jokes already. I know storming off into the woods in the middle of the night in high heels wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. But in my defence, I’d had a few cocktails earlier in the evening. And you had just given me one heck of a scare!
Mike: No more of a scare than you gave me! I thought the house was empty, and there you were sleeping in my bed… It was quite a sight to behold. Not that I’m complaining.
Hannah: Can we try and keep this family friendly? I thought you were supposed to be used to dealing with the media. You’re the big star, after all. Well, you and your brothers.
Mike: Yeah, The Ursa trio have done all right. But honestly, I’m not sure how many people have a clue who we are, individually. They know the three young musicians who play funky pop-classical crossover music, but us? Jamie, Mike and Bill? I doubt most people can even remember which one is which.
Hannah: You might disagree if you’d heard my friends carrying on about you guys the year you played the New Year’s countdown show. They practically came to blows over which of you they liked best.
Mike: And which one did you like best?
Hannah: Now you’re just fishing for compliments. There are times when a girl just has to maintain a dignified silence.
Uh, ok. I guess you’ll have to read the story to find out who turns out just right for our Goldilocks.
Hannah: It’s Hannah. Not Goldilocks. The only person who gets to call me that is Kayleigh, and only because we were best friends in school and she helped me out getting the job working for the Ursa trio. Nobody else gets to call me that stupid name! Believe me, it’s not fun going through school with fair hair and the surname Loxley.
Sorry. My mistake. Hannah it is.
~~~Thank you Hannah and Mike for coming by today. I just love the premise for Music to her Ears.
Hannah: Stephanie has an excerpt just to give you a taste of what I have to deal with around this guy. I hope your readers enjoy it.
“So, tell me about yourself … Goldie, is it?”
Hannah pulled a face at that most hated of interview questions.
Kayleigh kicked her under the table, and she hastily rearranged her features back into a mask of blandness.
“Actually, it’s Hannah. Hannah Loxley. I’m twenty-four; I live in Surrey. I worked as a PA for three years, in London, and recently moved into marketing, but I’d like to get back to being a PA.” She wasn’t lying— just being a little selective with the truth.
“Hannah. Not Goldie?”
“That’s my nickname,” she explained. “As Kayleigh said, we’ve known each other since school. Nobody else gets to call me that, though.”
Hannah gulped as she realized she’d just laid down the law to a major celebrity. And a major hunk at that. Even on this small screen, his charisma was obvious. Though he presumably hadn’t been expecting Kayleigh’s call, and it was late in the day, his dark hair was perfectly slick, and his dark navy suit jacket sat smoothly over a perfectly ironed striped shirt. Altogether too perfect for Hannah’s liking, but she wasn’t looking to date the man, just get a job and a roof over her head.
“Noted.” Jamie’s face softened as he laughed at her, but in an instant, the cool maskwas back, as he carried on speaking. “Bear with me a moment, if you don’t mind. I’d like my brothers to speak with you, too. Mike! Bill!”
A rumpled head of equally dark hair joined Jamie on the screen.
“This is my youngest brother, Bill,” Jamie explained, as if she hadn’t seen them on screen a dozen times and even giggled drunkenly over their gorgeousness when they appeared on the big New Year’s countdown show on television. She remembered Kayleigh and Sharon practically coming to blows over whether suave Jamie or casual Bill was the more attractive. Hannah had diplomatically refused to join the fray, though if she had, her vote would have been for the middle brother, Mike, in any case.
“This is Hannah,” he went on, “not, under any circumstances, to be referred to as Goldie.” From the way Bill’s eyebrow twitched, she had the feeling he was looking forward to finding out what happened if he uttered the forbidden nickname.
“Hi, Bill,” she said, then winced inside. She couldn’t have sounded lamer if she tried.“Is there anything you want to ask me?” she added.
“Has big bro given you the third degree yet?”
“Not at all,” she replied politely. She could imagine him doing so, though.
“Oh well, I’m sure Mike will when he gets here, so I’ll hold off for now.” Bill gave her a grin clearly intended to charm.
“Will what?” came a voice from off camera.
Bill put his fingers to his lips, gesturing to Hannah that she shouldn’t tell him what had been said.
“Will give the lovely Hannah the third degree,” Jamie spilled the beans.
“There’s a difference between asking a few simple questions and giving someone the third degree. If one of you had thought to ask ‘the lovely Kiki’ a few simple questions last week, we might not be searching for a new personal assistant this week.” The speaker, presumably Mike, got louder over the course of this speech, as if he was coming closer to their webcam, but he still remained out of view.
“Oh, sure,” Jamie said, his lips curling. “Because she was so going to tell me she was on the run for conning little old ladies out of their life savings, if I’d only asked her a few simple questions.”
Without warning, Jamie’s face shot out of view as he ducked a mock punch. The figures on screen shuffled around, and this time there were three. And what a third.
Yes, Hannah thought, he was definitely the most attractive of the three.
More about Stephanie Cage, author of Music to her Ears:
Stephanie Cage is a British romance writer, author of 'Perfect Partners' (Crimson Romance) and 'Desperate Bid (The Wild Rose Press). She studied English Literature at Oxford University and Creative Writing at Bath Spa. One of her most exciting writing moments was winning a holiday to Sicily in the Woman's Own Short Story Competition. More recently she won the Yorkshire Ridings Magazine's Romance Story competition. Oddly, both short stories were set in the same location in Yorkshire.
Where to find Stephanie Cage:
~~~If anyone has any questions for Stephanie about her writing or Music to her Ears, please don't be shy. If you can't get the little comment pencil to work, just send me an email by clicking on the Contact Me icon above and I'll post the comment for you.
Next week we will be able to get a little insight into Jennifer DeCuir's version of Beauty and the Beast, A Late Blooming Rose. Until then, be safe, and as always, be kind to one another.
Hugs to all,
Nancy C. Weeks