Behind the Playlist

What’s the worst possible playlist for a funny, sexy romance novel? How about one filled with {…wait for it…} “boner-killer music”.

Yup, that’s how a friend described some of my favorite songs a few years back. {NOT these, lol.} It was her very effective way of saying my music preferences trend in the angsty direction. And, yeah, I like a good, plaintive, someone’s-about-to-tear-their-heart-out love song. The kind that played in the background of some super dramatic moment on The Vampire Diaries — and that I shazam’d as fast as I could stop staring at Damon Salvatore’s insanely blue eyes. {True story. That’s how I discovered Florence and the Machine. And I LOVE Flo. Will always love Flo, will go down fighting for Flo. #floforlife}



warrior lyrics

Did I slip a few of those angsty melodies onto Arya & Gavin’s playlist? Damn straight I did. ‘Cause I love them. But, more to the point, because even in a rom-com you stumble into a few fraught moments. You’ve got to sneak some tension in somehow, right? For everyone’s favorite Ninja Lumberjack, it comes in the form of a backstory. He’s a little damaged, like all of us, and trying to work up the guts to bare all to the lady he’s seriously crushing on.

She’s watching my face, waiting for God knows what. Then, in a move as quietly bold as she, Arya steps forward and places her fingers on my neck. It’s a flutter of warm silk brushing the edge of my beard before settling over ruined skin and kamikaze pulse. “Is that how you got this?”

walk the moon lyrics


As for our girl Arya, she’s putting herself out there in a way she never has before. Some of my favorite parts in the book are when she goes full-blown New York-Adventure Arya, closes her eyes and just jumps.  The escalating beat of The Chainsmoker’s New York City feels perfect for her in those moments. {That, and I love a dance jam as much as I love Flo.}

new york city lyrics

Almost to the street, the thought makes me hesitate. A whisper of city air spins through the revolving front door of 425 Madison, carrying the scent of diesel and coffee and ozone with it. California Arya wouldn’t have noticed. Probably because she’d be upstairs in her p.j.’s right about now. Faux-goth, New York Arya? It’s the exact hit of the drug she needs.

I wish I could say I was super organized and had all these songs in mind before I started writing. God, I wish I could say I was super organized and had the plot and the black moment and the HEA sorted out before I started writing {spoiler alert: I didn’t!}. But I’ve loved catching snippets of songs while driving or procrastinating on YouTube or watching Riverdale {seriously, don’t judge} and realizing how perfect they are for Gavin and Arya. close to me lyrics

I feel her. The hyper-awareness sends a shiver across my limbs, defining the line where I end, and the world in which she lives begins. Stepping through the door will strain that connection. Very likely break it. And for the first time in my adult life, I start to suspect that if I vanish into the night, I run the risk of losing more than a chance at happiness. I run the risk of losing a piece of me.

The forgiveness in The Chain. The simple, straightforward joy in Kings & Queens. The wicked, wicked beat of Hurt People {like, I can jam to it all. day. long.}. Putting these songs together felt a lot like writing Arya and Gavin’s love story all over again. Fun and upbeat, slow and sexy, a little reckless, a little unplanned, but undeniably full of all the feels.

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