Today I am so pleased to welcome Amy Lane to Joyfully Jay. Amy has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Bells of Times Square. She has also brought along…. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
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 $10 Riptide store credit 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!
The Bells of Times Square Blog Tour: Excerpt 2
I’ve said before that the Great War threw men together in every conceivable permutation. Often, they forged into a tight knit group—brothers.
But not always. The same prejudices that drove Hitler drove the rest of the world, and in Great Britain, Americans were not always a blessing. (I believe the expression was “Oversexed, overpaid, and over here!” ) And, in this case, Nate is subject to the same prejudice that Hitler is using to kill his people just over the ocean. The fact that Nate and Hector and Joey all give each other a gentle ration of shit over the prejudices against them adds to the camaraderie. Hector and Joey know what is said about Catholics, Nate knows what is said about Jews, but the three of them aren’t going to let that bother them.
We all need friends when we’re far away from home—I like this scene, because even if Nate feels he has that one last barrier between himself and his fellows, we see that he has friends.
“You ready?” Albert stalked around the corner in midconversation. Well, he often did that—he didn’t like small talk for one thing. For another, he was in charge of settling new recruits. He met with his staff sergeants in the morning—the mother hen of the Menwith Hill barracks. He was busy, and he had no time to worry about OSS recruits with one lousy skill.
“We’re not going until . . .” Nate left the end meaningfully. He hadn’t been given a time; that was Albert’s purview.
“Twenty-one hundred,” Albert told him shortly. “Be outfitted and ready to belt in, yeah?” As though Nate had ever not been ready to belt in. “Meet me on the field, no fucking off to spank your monkey or bugger the rabbi or whatever the hell else you blokes do.”
“Yes, sir!” Nate saluted, because Albert was a superior officer and for no other reason. “Sir?” he asked, when it looked like Albert was going to stomp off.
“Where we going tonight?”
Albert grimaced. Yes, all destinations were classified, but it did help a photographer to know what he was dealing with. Albert called Nate over with a jerk of the head, and Nate left off his insouciant pose against the barracks.
“Stuttgart, like that means anything to you,” he said, voice low enough for Joey and Hector to be left out. “Looks like there’ll be good cloud cover, but there’s nothing friendly for pretty much everywhere. Be prepared to keep a sharp lookout and not just through the viewfinder. Can you do that or is it some sort of holy day?”
“I’m up for the job, sir!” Nate saluted again, and Albert glared, then stalked off. A good pilot, but not a kind man, at least not to Nate. And it was clear his heart was so very with the family he saw once a month on leave. Well, good for him. He could see family on leave. Nate couldn’t—and apparently Hector and Joey could only get hints of getting laid, and not all of that was Joey’s fault.
“Really, Meyer,” Joey asked, looking up from his calculations and leaning on his elbows, “what did you do to that guy?”
“Besides make him fly reconnaissance?” Nate asked with a shrug. “I have no idea. You think it’s because I’m a Jew?” That was rhetorical, of course.
“They don’t got Jews in England? Get out!” Hector laughed, turning his head to spit. “I thought that was Hitler’s problem. They got Jews everywhere!”
Nate raised an eyebrow. “We’re not cockroaches, but yes. Jews populate Europe much like Catholics—wherever there is a warm place to breed.”
Hector and Joey didn’t take offense; they laughed instead. No, you could not spend months smelling your roommates’ farts and not learn to be tolerant of one another’s differences. Of course, Hector had started to thaw with the postcard of St. Croix. With Joey, it had taken a tiny gold pin of the cross, which Joey wore on his hat, underneath the brim. Not Nate’s faith, no, but then, giving it some honor had made Joey feel like it wasn’t under attack by Nate’s very “otherness.” He had friends from college who would have been angry at this—why should Nate pacify the ignorant?
But Hector had his zoot suits, and Joey had his crosses, and Nate had the six-pointed star he wore under his shirt with his dog tags on every mission. His father may have thought Nate was weak for becoming friends with the gentiles, but Nate had to believe that faith and goodness were things to respect. Wasn’t that what his own faith taught?
He had only needed to spend a week playing cards, listening to Joey’s record player, and exchanging family stories with Hector, to know that if these men didn’t come back from their mission, or the next, or the next, he should be very sorry.
“Have we all put our letters under our pillows?” Nate asked carefully in the silence following Albert’s departure.
“Same letter as last time.” Joey grunted. “I’m starting to think it’s a good luck charm.”
“Yeah, well, as much as the captain hates me, I’m thinking I can take all the luck I can get.”
Hector grunted in return. “I’d let Joey here fly you, but he’s the only one who doesn’t scare the hell out of me at thirty thousand.” Hector shuddered. “Dios. What a man like me is doing in that much cold, I don’t even want to think about.”
Nate smiled at him, liking him very much. “Penance,” he said, eyes twinkling. “For all the bad deeds you’ve left to do.”
Hector laughed again, and Nate felt an unfortunate stir in the pit of his stomach. No. No. Not this. Not this, that had kept him aloof from his fellows through school. Not this, fear of seeing the sun on a cheekbone, filtered through someone’s eyelashes, or the shadow of a jawline, and feeling . . . this thing. The thing that poets spoke about, but not like this. Not for the girls at the dances with their shy smiles and sturdy prettiness but for the boys, milling about on the other side of the room in navy shirts and red ties, looking, by turns, bored and nervous and happy.
“I haven’t done anything truly bad yet,” Hector said, chuckling low and evil. Then he kicked Joey’s chair. “I’ve got an albatross around my neck keeping me from all the wickedness!”
Joey cast him an irritated glance. “Yeah, and it’s called a dame in the States. Now gimme two more seconds, and we can go do some PT before we go up!”
“I’ll go change,” Nate said, because his camera equipment was flawless, as it always was, and because whoever thought of doing PT before a mission had been inspired. Getting the blood flowing and the muscles pleasantly exercised took away some of the feeling of confinement in the small space of the cockpit, and some of the restlessness, as well. Not too much—not enough to tire one out—just enough to make the body easier at rest.
And it was a perfect excuse to get away from Hector and his bronzed skin and square face and the way his brown eyes seemed to invite everyone in on the joke.
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.
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.
Connect with Amy:
- Website: greenshill.com
- Blog: writerslane.blogspot.com
- Twitter: @amymaclane
- Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/amymaclane
Amy has brought a signed copy of The Bells of Times Square, along with a $10 Riptide gift card to give away to one reader on her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter.
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