From the Award Winning Author: It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son’s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist’s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing―and with his final note, something within her breaks loose. After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life―an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband―but she can’t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo’s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ’s world―upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his bandmate, and filling a chasm of need she didn’t know she had. Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire.
You can read the first part of this excerpt at http://house-of-books.com/
Chapter One: Excerpt Two
MKT’s office was on Fifty-fourth Street between Broadway and Eighth in a building that housed a music school, an actors’ studio, a costume shop, and, on the second floor, a gym. Gorgeous young people were always applying a moistened finger to their eyebrows or flexing their muscles at the security mirror inside the elevator. Lily was convinced it was the slowest elevator in all of Manhattan—when it was in service at all.
Upstairs, she tossed her purse in a desk drawer. It pleased her that MKT was a small operation in a small building in the old Manhattan, the Manhattan of the garment district and seedy Times Square, before everything got glossy and sleek. The transparent partitions separating the workstations were so scarred and covered with pictures, they might as well have been cement, for all the visibility they allowed.
The office filled quickly, and against the familiar chatter of voices and ringing phones she updated the status of the videos she had in various stages of production and slid the finished ones into their slots in the temperature-controlled storeroom: HMOs for You and Me; A Day in the Life of a Longshoreman in Brooklyn, 1955. Her latest was a short on the founder of a biscuit company, commissioned by his adoring wife. Lily popped it into her computer: shots of the factory, archival footage of the original 1934 building. Yawn. The wife would love it.
Close to lunchtime, an artificial chrysanthemum slowly rose over the partition between Lily’s cubicle and the next and did a little jig. Diana, her closest friend at the company, peeked around the partition.
They stopped in the bathroom before heading out, their faces registering identical grimaces as they faced the mirror. Diana slashed at her mouth with a lurid red lipstick. Lily ran her brush through her wavy mousy brown-gray hair, but it sprang right back out.
They headed down the street to their favorite pub-restaurant. Lily walked on Diana’s right because Diana drifted left and they’d be banging elbows otherwise.
“I spent all weekend doing homework with Maggie.” Diana dumped her oversize leather bag on the seat between them. “I couldn’t wait to come in to work.”
“Oh, that makes me nostalgic,” Lily opened her menu.
“What, no romantic interlude after you dropped Colby off?”
Diana’s round blue eyes lifted to hers. Lily hesitated. Should she unburden herself? Trouble her friend with her depression? Be a total bore?
“It was awful.” She stirred her coffee madly. “I didn’t expect to feel so—”
Diana recovered first. “You poor thing. I can’t wait until Maggie finishes high school. But of course you feel sad. Everyone does.”
Lily shook her head. “This is worse. This is deeper.”
Diana furrowed her brow. Lily knew she was trying to signal concern while she pondered how to be of comfort. Around them diners were settling in, rustling chairs, clinking silver against glasses, opening menus. Someone sneezed; a waiter dropped a spoon. A small pitcher of water jiggling with lemon slices arrived at their table.
“You need something to distract you. A trip! Let’s plan something!”
Too late, Lily recalled why she tried not to complain to Diana. Diana loved to take problems in hand and shake them loose, like dust from a mop. Diana loved to travel, and Lily liked to stay put. When Diana brought brochures and travel books to tempt her, Lily saw beyond the beautiful vistas and mouthwatering food to the dirty bed linens and the missed trains and the sense of being totally lost and needing a policeman to help her find her mommy. Why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut?
“Maybe you’re right.” She’d think of a way out later.
“Yes, definitely I’m right. We’ll plan something.”
Upon the arrival of their salads, Lily changed the topic. “What project are you working on?” She vigorously distributed the blue cheese, apples, and pecans into the chopped lettuce. She loved loved loved this salad. How pathetic my life is, she thought, forking a load into her mouth. The salty pecans exploded against the apples’ tartness.
“Training seminar on sexual harassment.”
Lily dug her fork deep into her bowl. The company would call a meeting and they’d brainstorm about the video. There were only so many possibilities, given their limited budgets and the boundaries the clients set. She lifted her fork and stopped. Was this true of her life? Had she sealed herself into just a teensy-tiny existence in which to maneuver? Her elbow knocked her glass; water sloshed over her salad.
A soggy salad was not to be borne. Giving it up was unthinkable. Painstakingly, she began soaking up the water with her napkin, blotting lettuce leaves.
* * *
A soggy soul wasn’t to be borne either, but sopping that up proved more difficult. Lily even found herself tearing up at Hallmark-card commercials.
Maybe it was only that her forty-ninth birthday was upon her. Stephen left a big box in the living room wrapped in shiny blue paper. Espresso machine? Juicer? Had she mouthed off something stupid about wanting to go on a liquid diet?
“Go on, open it.”
The thick paper resisted her effort; she dug her nails in and ripped. A cardboard box with a picture of a camera was revealed. She sat back, mystified.
This excerpt continues on Apr 28 at http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.ca/
Praise Play For Me by Céline Keating“The author’s writing is exquisite and she was able to put together the story of a woman’s search for self and purpose, one with depth and complexity.”- Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous Blog
“With a background as a music reviewer, Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.”-Booklist
“Play for Me: “A best story of love, lust, and forgiveness.”- The Culturalist
“Play for Me is a serious, moving, and utterly delightful portrait of a woman wavering between the bonds of fidelity and the pull of desire. Céline Keating knows as much about the world of folk/rock music as she does about the workings of the heart.”- Hilma Wolitzer, author Summer Reading and An Available Man
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