Romance By Catherine: The lovely and talented, Helen Hardt

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The lovely and talented, Helen Hardt

Please welcome Helen Hardt as she talks about her latest release.

CB: It's been some time since you've been on my blog, Helen... tell us, is there anything new and exciting in your life right now?

HH: Thanks for having me, Catherine! New and exciting? It's been a rather slow year for me writing-wise. After seven releases in 2009, I needed a break! I did have several releases in February/March of this year (Loving Eve [EC] and Lessons of the Heart and Rhythm of the Drum [TWRP]), and one in July (Primal Instinct [TWRP]).

CB: Any future books we should be looking for in the near future?

HH: Calendar Boy is coming to Aspen Mountain Press soon, though I don't have an exact date yet. But edits are done and I have my cover (featuring Jimmy Thomas!) so it should be pretty soon. Like my other AMP story, The Cowboy and the Cougar, this one is part of The Cougar Club series.

I have a werewolf story in the works for my EC editor, and I also have a few shorts in the works that I'm going to submit to Harlequin.

CB: Tell us about your new release:

HH: Pianist Envy originated as a submission for EC's music theme (due out in November) but my editor decided it would be better as a stand alone release. I'm big on sensory detail, so I love incorporating the arts into my stories. Rock music and classical music play central roles in this story and the theme recurs throughout. I hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


Huge success has so far eluded musician Jane Rock. Coming from a modest background, she’s had to work hard for everything she has. When a music agent attends one of her rock band’s performances at a local club, she thinks her big break has finally come, until an inebriated—though handsome and muscular—patron spoils her show.

Classical pianist Chandler Hamilton has had most of his success handed to him due to his family name. He has his reasons for detesting rock music, but he finds himself drawn to beautiful and talented Jane. Although the two sizzle between the sheets, outside the bedroom they bicker endlessly and envy what they perceive as the other’s good fortune. When Jane needs a favor, Chandler resists. Can love blossom amid clashing notes and tempos?


She didn’t bother knocking. He wouldn’t hear her anyway. Normally she wasn’t so rude, but the music called to her. His anger, his passion, called to her. Still holding the pot, she stood, mouth agape, as Chandler pounded out disharmonic chords on his nine-foot black lacquer grand.

Disharmonic, yes, but they made a certain musical sense. Discordant in a harmonic way. Sweat covered his brow and a drop hit an ivory key. He didn’t stop to wipe away the perspiration. He punished the keys, ground out eerie yet beautiful music in his raw madness. His fingers danced, his facial muscles tensed, his full pink lips pursed. Another drop of sweat hit a key as he slowed the tempo, softened his strokes, then from piano to forte again as he trilled two notes and boomed through the lower keys.

Jane’s heart thudded in time with Chandler ’s now increasing tempo. As he crescendoed, so did she, her breath coming in rapid puffs, her breasts heaving against her chest. His playing conjured images in her mind of a bullfighter twirling a red cape. Vivid reds and oranges swirled through her head.

More chords. Louder, faster…banging, clashing…

Then silence.

His eyes closed and his chest dropped, as though he were only now cognizant of the fact that he required breath. More drips of moisture emerged on his corded neck and rivered down his chest through the few blond hairs that peeked out of his black button down. The stark onyx contrasted against his fair skin in a beautiful way. Jane’s breath caught.

She stood, still holding the empty coffee pot. Should she applaud? Her hands were occupied, and applause seemed inappropriate anyway. This hadn’t been a performance. No, this had been a catharsis, a purging of negativity, a ritual cleansing.

This had been solely about Chandler . Pure, raw emotion not meant for an audience.

Regret flooded her. She shouldn’t be here.


Shelley Munro said...

Congrats on the new release, Helen. I LOVED the excerpt. The sensory detail is excellent.

Catherine Bybee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shelley.

Helen Hardt said...

Catherine, thanks for having me today! Shelley, thank you for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the sensory detail :).

Lynne Roberts said...

The title is brilliant and the blurb is great.

I can't wait to read this one, Helen!

April Vine said...

Hey Catherine and Helen

Every time I read a Helen Hardt book, I think that's my favorite and Pianist Envy is my best so far....until I read your next book, of course:)

Loved it, the sensory detail, the combustible characters, everything!!

Looking forward now to Calender Boy - that cover is amazing!

Helen Hardt said...

Thanks, Lynne -- I hope you enjoy it!

April, my friend -- I'm one of your biggest fans as well. Thank you so much for your continued support. You're the best!

Rebecca J. Clark said...

I love anything piano. :) Can't wait to read this one.

So your current release schedule is you not being busy? Sheesh. You're a goddess.