#MusicMonday with Sara Claridge

Hi CeeRee and thanks for inviting me to participate in #MusicMonday.

I always have a playlist for each book I write. It’s normally a mixture of English and French songs. Some will be new releases, others old favorites or something that invokes the character or the setting I’m writing about. When I was writing French Restoration I always started by listening to Debussy’s Clair de Lune and imagined Chateau Vauquelin, the main setting in the book:

But on nights such as this, when the moonlight struck at a certain angle, the chateau lit up like a diamond. Darkness hid its flaws, and only the majestic elegance of the centuries gone by shone through. It was said, when the air was still, even the gentle ripple of the fountain could be heard.

The track that follows this is Indila’s Love Story. You might not understand the meaning of the words, but they sound as musical as the tune. I love the video too, particularly near the end when she sings Une bougie peut illuminer la nuit – A candle can illuminate the night. Somehow it sounds so much more romantic in French.

But it was Meghan Trainor singing Walkashame that gave rise to the “lift scene” between Alessandro and Chantal. It made me think of how fun it would be to make her do the walk of shame through his hotel. Yeah, I do have a mean streak 😉

Excerpt from French Restoration:

The door closed with a click, and Chantal winced. In the silence of the early morning, it was enough to wake the dead. She smiled to herself, picturing Alex as she’d left him, sprawled out across the bed, sleeping on his stomach, his tanned back exposed, white sheets hiding the rest of his body.

The brightly lit corridor made her blink a couple of times as her eyes adjusted from the semi-darkness she’d gotten dressed in. She leaned against the jamb and lifted her foot to slip on one of the shoes she carried, pausing when she remembered the look in his eyes as he’d slowly, seductively removed it last night.

Alessandro. She could feel his name around her tongue, even as she spoke it silently in her head. Her heartbeat sped up, and a familiar warmth swept over her. She slipped on the other shoe and sauntered down the corridor to the lifts, hoping the ding wouldn’t be too loud when it arrived.

She pressed the call button and waited, listening to the sound of the lift as it made its way up from the lower floors. After what seemed like an age, the doors swooshed open and she stepped inside, hitting R as she walked past the door panel. Catching sight of her reflection in the mirrored walls, she ran her fingers through her hair. Her nails straightening it into some semblance of order.

The doors were almost shut when a tanned hand appeared and forced them to reopen automatically. She jumped out of her reverie with a small cry and turned around.

Hey.” Slumberous grey eyes regarded her with caution.

Salut.” The greeting came out slightly strangled as she recovered from the surprise.

You snuck out.” His husky voice travelled softly across the lift.

Sneaked—don’t you know how to speak English?”

He grinned, and her belly somersaulted at the sexy look that went all the way to his eyes. Her gaze drifted back down, and a wave of heat hit her as she admired his broad chest and taut stomach. At least he’d put some boxers on.

Are you trying to give hotel security something to talk about?” She nodded to the camera in the lift.

Nah, they’ll be too busy gossiping about you.” He winked and leaned against the side of the lift door. “Where’re you going?”


Can’t persuade you to come back to bed?”

No. I’ve too much to do.”

I could order breakfast? Strawberries, yogurt, champagne. No need for plates.”

His boyish, hopeful expression made her smile. “I thought you disapproved of rich girls playing at working?”

I’d make an exception for you.”

The lift dinged monotonously, less annoying than an alarm clock but still a constant reminder she was already behind on what she wanted to achieve that day.

I’d love to stay, but this client, he’s very temperamental. I need to make sure everything is a hundred percent ready for his visit this afternoon. Otherwise there will be big trouble.”

I’d ditch him.”

Believe me, I would, but he pays well.”

Something she’d just jeopardised by sleeping with Alex. Henrique would kill her if he knew.

Keeping the wolf from the door?”

Actually I think he is currently blocking it.”

She straightened up, grateful for the heels that gave a few extra inches in height for leverage, and pushed him away from the lift door. “Allez.” She pressed the button. The doors swooshed closed, and Chantal was left staring at her reflection as the lift descended.

She wore the same dark suit as yesterday but hoped that different staff manned the front desk than the ones when she’d arrived over twelve hours ago. She glanced at her watch, 5:30 am. A pity it wasn’t later. Then at least the lobby would be busy and she could escape unseen.

She quickly straightened her skirt and smiled to herself. If she was going to do the walk of shame, the least she could do was look her best.

Her heels clicked loudly as she walked across the marble floor. She didn’t need to glance around to know that at least six pairs of eyes watched her cross the concourse from the elevators. So much for her plan of escaping unnoticed.

As she stepped into the foyer, the doorman stepped forward.

Un taxi, Madame Chevalier?”

Oui, merci.”

Chantal stood outside on the pavement and raised her face to the clear sky, still pale in the early morning light. The air was already warm, promising another hot summer’s day ahead.

Madame.” The doorman held the back seat door of a taxi open for her, and she got in.

Montmartre, s’il vous plaît.”

As the taxi sped away she collapsed back into the seat, unable to stop the grin that stretched across her face and the laughter that fell from her lips. The driver caught her gaze in the rear-view mirror and shook his head at her madness.

Learn more: http://geni.us/2h4L

Download the first four chapters: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/aVier

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6 Replies to “#MusicMonday with Sara Claridge”

  1. The excerpt snagged my interest, reeled it in, and wouldn’t let go! I was thrilled by the description and the medley of new words built into this world. I can’t wait to get a copy and read more!

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