Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with another wonderful Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. This week, I’ll be sharing a teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin.
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
As Friedrich approached the hotel room door, he heard the soft sound of piano music drifting through it. He hadn’t seen a phonograph in the room, but doubtlessly the Fräulein could order one up if she was in the mood for music.
He knocked, and the piano music ceased. A moment later Sam answered the door in his shirtsleeves. “Colonel, good to see you,” he said, admitting Friedrich into the suite. “I’m afraid Kat’s still primping for the evening. We may have a bit of a wait.”
“That’s quite all right.” Friedrich followed the limping American into the parlor. To his surprise, Sam sat down at the grand piano, long fingers drifting skillfully over the keys and teasing out the melody he’d heard in the hall. “I didn’t know you played piano.”
“Since I was a boy.” Sam moved over a bit on the bench and nodded at the space. Careful not to jostle, Friedrich sat next to him. “Mother made sure I had lessons, like all the little well-bred little monsters in our clique. I think I was the only one who actually liked to practice. Making music is one of my favorite things in the world.”
Friedrich let himself relax, listening to the tune Sam coaxed from the instrument. “That’s very nice. What is it?”
“Just something I’ve been noodling around with in my spare time.”
“You write your own songs?”
“Mm-hm, and lyrics, too.” Sam’s smile fell a bit. “Although Bart was always better at the music part than me. We used to talk about running away from Connecticut and heading down to New York City, try our luck at writing songs for the Broadway shows. You know, like Irving Berlin and Cole Porter.”
Friedrich could easily see Sam in something natty, strolling down a brightly lit street on the way to his opening night. “Why didn’t you do it?”
One shoulder rose slightly. “Lots of reasons. Uncle William might have let Bart go for a year or so, just to sow some wild oats and get it out of his system, but my father never would have let me do something as plebeian as write for Broadway.” His fingers touched the keys softly. “And then the war happened. Afterwards, well, there didn’t seem to be much point in going anywhere. So I just play for myself these days.” His mouth curved. “And friends, of course.”
Friedrich was surprised by the warmth he felt at Sam’s admission. “Would you play something for me? Something of yours, I mean.”
Brown eyes blinked at him. “Really? You don’t have to flatter me or anything if you don’t want to hear it.”
“No, I’d like to hear it. I can’t play anything myself, but I like to listen.” Lilli was an accomplished pianist, and going to Oskar’s house and listening to her after-dinner performances of Beethoven and Schubert had been a delightful occurrence.
“Okay. Well, then.” Sam paused, a thoughtful expression crossing his face. “This isn’t finished yet, but I really like how it’s going. Tell me what you think.”
Rippling through a minor flourish, he started playing a melody that was beautiful and wistful at the same time. Softly, he sang:
Across the ocean blue,
Across the sea so wide,
We’ll find a place to go,
And there we’ll both abide.
The storms will never part us,
I swear on Heaven above,
My home is where your heart is,
My ever after love.
He stopped singing, although he continued to play softly. “It needs a little work, obviously, as well as a bridge.”
The emotion in the song brought a lump to Friedrich’s throat. “It’s about the Fräulein’s brother, isn’t it?”
“Bart, yes.” Sam stared at his fingers on the keys. “I miss him. Five years on, and I still miss him.”
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