I’ll be honest—I’m the type to play it safe in life, which might be why I like so much risk and angst in my love stories. My new novel, BAD JUDGMENT, is the story of warm-hearted bodyguard Brogan Smith, who falls for his dangerous client’s assistant (and boyfriend!), the cagey Embry Ford. Both Brogan and Embry know it’s smarter to keep their distance, but that’s never as easy as it sounds, is it? Cue the dramatic overture!
However, since I’m the responsible sort, sometimes I needed a little musical help to get me in the mood for gun runners and forbidden love. Here are some songs that helped me get started:
Embry’s a complex guy. He’d like to believe he’s part robot, but under the surface, he’s a cyclone of feelings (so, so many feelings). Chopin’s Nocturne is simultaneously one of the most restrained and most deeply emotional pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Sometimes called the “Reminiscence Nocturne,” the piece is deeply melancholic, surprisingly sweet, and littered with occasional chords and rhythm that are unsettlingly dissonant. Like Embry, Chopin’s Nocturne is torn between clinging to the past and letting it fade.
I think of this song as Brogan’s theme because they’re such a perfect match. The music of “Drop the Game” is both warm and bold, but what really caught me are the unabashedly romantic lyrics. The singer doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to revealing his devotion and neither does Brogan. It can be terrifying to lay it all on the table like that, and this song captures both Brogan’s bravery in sharing his heart, and his desperate need to have Embry return the favor.
This song serves as a sort of overall mood-setter. Sóley’s ability to layer elements into a coherent whole (and then sing in English, which isn’t her first language) always reminds me of the gears inside a clock. In the best novels, that’s how the plot works: a series of interconnected pieces coming together to build something bigger than the sum of its parts. Writing BAD JUDGMENT made me feel like a puppeteer trying to get everything into one place by the end. Only my readers can decide whether or not I managed it, but either way, this song got me excited to try.
And because Nina Simone played a tiny but emotional role in Embry’s backstory, no playlist for BAD JUDGMENT would be complete without a song of hers from Embry’s record collection.
Embry Ford was a quiet, ordinary guy—until tragedy ripped his life apart. Now he’s living under the radar, desperate to hide his identity and determined to learn the truth behind what happened. Even if that means working for—and bedding—a man he loathes.
As a bodyguard to a shadowy arms dealer, Brogan Smith knows distractions can kill as easily as a bullet. But when he sets his eyes on his client’s sexy assistant, he can’t get him out of his mind. Even more unnerving: the closer he gets to Embry, the more Brogan starts to suspect he might be protecting the wrong man.
Embry was sure nothing but vengeance would satisfy him—until Brogan offers him something far more tempting. Now Embry must choose: punish the people who nearly destroyed him or fight for a future with the man who has become his entire world.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise.
Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.