The Sound of Love Senses of Love Book 1 by Kyle Shoop Genre: Contemporary Romance
"Words that can't be spoken can still be sung."
Experience the compelling, heart warming romance of Charlotte and John as they express thru music what can't be said in words.
Charlotte and John grew up as young orphans in the secluded outskirts of a rural town. Each day, they’d sneak out to the nearby forest to escape the cold grasp of the orphanage’s tyrant-ruler. However, the safety that came from their friendship was suddenly ripped apart when they got caught.
Years later, Charlotte conquered the marketing world in downtown Portland. Having gained normalcy in her life since her days in the orphanage, Charlotte never expected her world to be turned upside down by John abruptly being thrust back into her life.
But the years since the orphanage had not at all been kind to John, leaving him unable to open up to Charlotte about the details. Can John’s love for songwriting be the key to finally opening up?
Would the reunited friends discover that John's rekindled love for music also rekindle their long-awaited, and much desired, love?
"I adored every second of this sweet, heartwarming story." - Amazon Reviewer
This book includes a free music soundtrack that can be listened to while reading along the lyrics contained in the story. The songs were written and recorded by the author, providing a unique way to experience this compelling romance novel.
One of the common tragedies in life is seeing the world around you degrade as time forges on. Eventually age may not be seen as an accomplishment, but instead an unyielding reminder that life will never again be as you once knew it. The places that used to remind you of home subtly change with time into a rustic ruin of familiarity. Those scenic images enshrined as memories of significant moments in your life fade along with your recollection of those memories. In time, the past that you may have once cherished as treasured or ideal eventually becomes an unrelenting reminder that the future will be a lot less memorable.
But not for Charlotte – not at all. For her, the past was not cherished, nor was it memorable. Rather, she had often gone to excruciating lengths to forget her past. Once, she stumbled upon a photograph in the newspaper of where she’d grown up. Whether out of retaliation or an instinct for survival, she set it afire, hoping that any memories she still had of the place would also dissipate into the air along with the ashes of the photograph. She then cancelled her newspaper subscription.
Charlotte’s life was the antithesis of human nature.
Indeed, it was the antithesis of nature itself. In college, she’d learned about a law of nature called entropy. Under this law, everything loses energy and degrades over time. Matter falls away from each other into a lesser, more-chaotic state of existence. Charlotte instantly rejected this idea and consciously determined at that moment to do everything within her power
to avoid this from occurring in her life. She had to. If she was to allow entropy to occur at all for her, then she might as well be homeless. This is because homelessness was the natural step from where she’d grown up.
So, rather than embracing the hopelessness of the natural trajectory of her life, Charlotte instead did everything she could to succeed. She declared a major at that same college, naturally science. She then spent all of her time holed up in the campus library focusing on educational success instead of allowing herself to succumb to the temporary happiness that the other girls sought in relationships or friendships. At nineteen years old, she was the youngest person in her college’s graduating undergraduate class. But nineteen was much too young to be able to seriously jump into the workforce with any ability to earn the salary that she knew she deserved, and which would be necessary to pursue the financial successes that she thought she’d earned. With her hard work, Charlotte became married to the fact that she was deserving of a successful life. Not because she was entitled to it or even belonged in that social arena, but because she knew that she could attain it. She knew that she was worth it, even if the laws of nature disagreed. And she was willing to sacrifice all other aspects of her life to obtain what she knew nature did not want her to achieve.
For this reason, Charlotte declared her graduate degree in marketing rather than science. She was not naive; she knew she somehow lucked out in being attractive. If there was one thing gifted to her from birth, she recognized that was it. With her
tall, gracefully slender appearance, Charlotte also knew she’d easily get an entry-level position in almost any marketing firm in
any large city. And once she got it with her looks, she was confident that she’d then be able to impress the decisionmakers
with her wit and hard work to quickly reach maximum earning potential. This is what she desired, but also what she’d strived so hard to achieve to avoid entropy. Always, in the back of her consciousness, was the self-doubt that she actually belonged in the company of those decision-makers. She truly believed that nature had selected her trajectory as eventually being homeless, and she had cheated it.
Perhaps that was why she despised her short, daily commute to her downtown office at the marketing firm which she’d chosen to conquer. She wasn’t sure why she’d chosen Portland for where she’d begin her career. Perhaps it was because the city was up-and-coming and becoming modern.
Perhaps it was because the idea of conquering a larger city like Chicago or Los Angeles was too daunting. Or perhaps it was because of its close proximity to where she was originally from in Battle Ground, Washington. That’s right – she grew up in a battle ground, in all senses of the word.
But location had nothing to do with why she loathed her drive to and from her office each day. Rather, that had everything to do with Pioneer Square.
It was necessary to drive by some corner of Pioneer Square to reach her building located just across the street from the corner of that depressing city center. So, it was inevitable that her morning each day would begin with seeing the multitude of homeless men and women that congregated at Pioneer Square. And at the end of a long work day, her evening every night would conclude the same way as her day had begun – by driving by that same dreadful square.
If Portland and its suburbs were becoming the modern, happening location for young adults, then that modernization was forcing the area’s homeless into the middle of the city. And that middle was Pioneer Square. It didn’t matter if it was the heat of summer or the dead-cold of winter, there were always homeless people using Pioneer Square as their temporary home. But it wasn’t actually the homeless individuals themselves that Charlotte despised. Indeed, over the past year, she had become visually familiar with the regulars. She began to recognize many of their faces, and even looked forward to seeing them throughout the week – so as to provide her with the assurance that they were surviving despite the difficult circumstances that they’d been given in life.
Over time, she’d recognize faces disappear from the corner. It was sporadic and random with who would disappear, and Charlotte never knew why. She began making stories up about what the disappearing faces’ fates were, even though it was just a ruse to shield her from reality. She’d imagine that some of them decided to travel to other, larger cities – hoping to start over anew there. Others were found by distant relatives and provided an opportunity to improve their situation. And a lucky few were fortunate to have found a selfless stranger who would gift them with a new life – as if they had won the lottery.
Maybe one or two of them even struck it luckier and found someone from a wealthier class to start their life with anew, who saw them for who they really were on the inside despite their unfortunate life circumstances.
Though these were all fantastical stories Charlotte would imagine about complete strangers, they were all made up dreams to avoid what she knew was the likely outcome of several of the unfortunate individuals who had stopped congregating at Pioneer Square. It would seem to many that being homeless is the low point in life, but Charlotte knew that the majority of people would stop being at Pioneer Square for just that reason – because the loss of life was the natural next step from homelessness under the law of entropy. And if Charlotte knew that she really belonged on that street corner among her true peers, then she knew what the forces of nature really wanted her ultimate fate to be. She was determined, at all costs, to avoid this.
But on this cold, late January evening, Charlotte sat in her warm, luxurious car on her way home. The stop light seemed to linger on red longer than normal. The hue of the red light pulsed behind the backdrop of snow being wiped off of her windshield repeatedly from the cascading rate at which it fell. The rhythm of the windshield wiper seemed as if it would never end, and Charlotte’s internal pull toward Pioneer Square intensified. As if drawn by natural instinct, she peered at the square just to the right of her stopped car, wondering which of the familiar homeless she would see battling to brave the bitter cold that night.
Then she saw him. A new face. Actually, two new faces.
But it wasn’t the fact that there were two new faces which ignited her impulse to immediately get out of her car. One of those faces was a first for her. One of those faces was a homeless child.
The image was seared into her mind, and the internal pull toward the square’s corner intensified. She had never before seen a homeless child – on any street, let alone at Pioneer Square.
It wasn’t the shock of seeing the child that struck a chord most with Charlotte. Rather, it was an image in her mind that she couldn’t escape. Flooding into her mind was the unwelcome memory of herself being homeless on a corner at the same young age. Nothing could ever block the memory of sitting shivering in the snow with no hope for the future – let alone each passing minute that made her more terrified of what the deathly cold evening on the street corner would bring. Five years old was too young for a girl to be put in that situation – unless it was what the scoffing desires of fate craved. But then it happened. A simple act by a stranger. The act was so simple that even the stranger probably wouldn’t remember it all these years later. But it meant the world to her. Indeed, it gave Charlotte the world, as without the grace of that stranger while she was so young, Charlotte knew that she would have been left braving the night on a cold, snowy street corner just like the child before her eyes now. Without the act of that stranger, the cold grip of entropy would have surely sealed her fate so long ago.
The image looming large in Charlotte’s mind suddenly became reality when it was interrupted by a car horn behind her. Charlotte looked up to see that the light had now turned green. Panic unexpectedly set in. She didn’t want to leave this situation, but also didn’t want to make a decision that could somehow be contrary to the trajectory she had chosen, and worked so hard for in life. In an instant, she was conflicted. She didn’t want to do something to allow fate to know that she recognized she was cheating it. But at the same time, she did not want the young child to never receive that same simple act from a stranger.
With the blare of another horn from behind her, the whim of Charlotte’s stronger instinct won. She owed that stranger from long ago her life, and tonight she was going to repay that debt. She quickly pulled to the shoulder of the road right next to the cold street corner on which the child lay.
She decided to give the child her warm coat. That was it.
Charlotte felt guilty for it not being an act of the same magnitude which the stranger did for her so long ago, but she justified her decision of giving the coat as being all that would be needed for tonight. Then, if she still saw the child on the street the next night, she might decide to do what the stranger had done for her. Besides, this child wasn’t alone out there like she was all those years ago. An adult was with this child. Her situation was different than this child’s.
“It’s just a coat. That’s all.” Charlotte actually said out loud to herself as she got out of her car and into the frigid night air. At the moment she realized she said the words aloud, Charlotte was instantly angry at herself. Not for the decision she was making to give the child the adult-sized warm winter coat she was wearing. Instead, she was mad that, for the first time in a long time, she had actually verbalized the internal struggle she had with fate. And now fate could hear that she knew it existed.
But she had made the decision. Charlotte was going to do something to help the child. If she changed her mind now, then fate would know it had leverage over her. Charlotte was not about to let that happen.
She approached the street corner, with the intent to make this a quick transaction. But as she approached the child and the adult, Charlotte instantly knew her plan wasn’t going to work out. The scene was not at all as she imagined. Quicker and quicker her mind raced in a panic as she tried to figure out what to do on this deathly-cold night.
The child was on the corner, shivering and huddling into the adult as much as he could to find warmth. But the adult was not moving. And as she got closer, Charlotte noticed that it was a man – also not wearing a warm coat and obviously unprepared for the freezing night. As she drew even closer, she noticed the man was not moving. The shock of seeing the man as still and pale as ice made her run up to him.
“Hello?” Charlotte said, as she shook his shoulder. “Wake up!” At the sound of Charlotte’s yell, the child barely moved due to how cold he was. Instead, his young eyes just opened and moved in Charlotte’s direction, silently pleading for help. A coat was not going to help this situation. But Charlotte still didn’t hesitate to start with that – to protect the young boy from even a second more of the freezing.
As she laid the coat over the boy’s icicle arms, she heard the adult man moan from underneath the veil of his cheek-long hair covering his face. The moan was weak, but it was still something nonetheless. The frail and fragile sound was enough to give Charlotte a glimmer of hope that the man could still make it out of this situation alive.
She looked around, hoping someone else would come up and help. Nothing. No one was passing by on the sidewalk at this late hour. She ran over to the corner, trying to hail a car to stop with her arms outstretched. Car after car slowed or stopped at the streetlight, and she tried desperately to get someone to help her with this dire situation. But car after car pretended to be too busy to even notice her. Even the passengers avoided eye contact, not realizing that she wasn’t actually among the homeless who routinely dwelled on the street corner. Undoubtedly, they were unable to distinguish her from the usual occupants of Pioneer Square, so many of them passed by without even really noticing that she was there.
Charlotte felt it. She felt the cold grasp of fate trying to wrangle her back to where she belonged. The memory of herself on a street corner on such a similar night stung like an icicle shard piercing into her veins. The same thing wasn’t going to happen to the two frozen people by her. Not tonight. She knew that she must do the same thing that the stranger did for her so many years ago – take a chance and bring them home for the evening. Home to a warm apartment, a full meal, and good night sleep. Then, in the morning they would pursue options at a better opportunity for the boy and the man – whatever their relationship was.
This is what that stranger did for Charlotte. Instead of just giving her a coat, that old man realized that Charlotte needed something more. She needed a home, even if just for one night. And she still remembered that night. She remembered being laid down on a comforter so soft that as she closed her eyes, she imagined being in a bed of clouds. And the feeling of just laying on a mattress was so foreign that she felt like a princess as she drifted off to sleep. The warmth of the blankets wrapped around and welcomed her to the promise that life maybe wasn’t as bad as she thought it was. She had asked for a small lamp to be left on while she fell asleep because she didn’t yet trust the dark – let alone any person. But she trusted the stranger because he gave her what she needed most that evening – a home. All of these memories were much more than the distant past to Charlotte – they were reality, and she used them for motivation to avoid entropy.
She remembered that, in the morning, she woke up without the aches and knots that she always felt from sleeping on a concrete sidewalk or the compacted ground in a park. She remembered being more thankful to the old stranger than he even seemed to understand. And when he turned her over to child services the next day, she understood and was beyond grateful. At five years old herself, she didn’t even have a clue that such a thing existed, and just initially felt fortunate to have some kind of a bed every night. Even though that feeling would dissipate the longer that she lived in the orphanage, she always remained grateful to the stranger. She owed that stranger everything. And though these memories all flashed before Charlotte’s eyes in an instant, she knew that these two people now in front of her needed that same opportunity. It would take more than a coat.
She wasn’t going to get any help from the many people who drove by. She considered calling for an ambulance, but this man needed help now and not in thirty minutes. Because every minute that passed could be the man’s last breath, Charlotte made the decision in an instant to do it alone. She ran back to the man lying frozen on the ground. He was obviously on the brink of succumbing to hypothermia, so Charlotte placed her hand on his chest to feel for any movement at all. It was barely there, but there was still enough to indicate that he was alive.
She moved her large coat so that it better covered both the boy and the man, trying to give him some protection from the cold as well. In doing so, she rolled the man from being curled up on his side, to lying flat on his back. She moved a box that was next to the man on the sidewalk out of the way, so as to give him more space.
As she moved him, the man’s cheek-length, curly hair still lay draped over his face. But it was the lack of any reaction by the man to being moved that made Charlotte even more disheartened. More of the man was now on the sidewalk and he didn’t even seem to notice or have any reaction to this new position. His situation was more dire than she expected. But with the man now lying on his back, she was able to try to give him mouth-to-mouth, hoping that her warm air would somehow help reignite him. She moved up and leaned over his head. As she bent over to blow into the man, she glanced at the young boy right beside them, to check his condition. The coat seemed to be helping, as the boy now was moving more than before. This was the hope that Charlotte needed. She moved some of the man’s long hair from over his mouth and began to blow into the stranger.
Charlotte was cold, and nothing about her breathes were abnormally warm. But she knew that her temperature was still much warmer than the frigid condition of the man underneath her. She blew and she blew, over and over, watching the man’s chest rise and fall each time. What felt like several minutes passed and the man still had no reaction. Charlotte continued on, despite the frozen temperature and her physical fatigue starting to set in. With each blow, she imagined what the boy needed. The boy needed this man, whoever he was. This gave her purpose and strength with each passing moment. She wasn’t just doing this to somehow pay forward what had been done to her when she was a child – she was now doing this because another child depended on this man.
Several more moments passed, and still there was no reaction from the man. Charlotte needed a break – she physically could not continue on any longer without one. She stopped, and folded her arms to cover them from the cold. She couldn’t help but wonder what she should do, if she should continue on. The guilt of not having previously called for an ambulance came to mind, and she decided she had no other option but to continue on.
She kneeled again to blow into the man’s mouth, but stopped short when a piece of his hair returned over his mouth. This time, when she moved his hair, it revealed his eyes. Instantly, Charlotte lost her breath. The sight of the stranger’s eyes was as stinging to her as the cold was outside. She knew the man.
With even more motivation than before, Charlotte’s strength returned. She leaned over again and blew into his mouth. But just once was all it took this time. He gasped for air and slowly opened his eyes, staring straight up.
“Hey, John.” Charlotte said with a smile, while brushing the rest of his hair aside. “I need you to wake up for me, John.”
Charlotte commanded, seeking to give him strength. John made a faint sound, as if he was still figuring out what was happening.
“John, listen to me. This is Charlotte. Charlotte from Cross Roads orphanage.”
John made another sound. Though it wasn’t decipherable, Charlotte was just thrilled that he was responding to her.
“John, I need you to walk now. I’m going to take you to a safe place, ok? Some place warm. But I need you to walk – I can’t carry you on my own.”
“…. Jack …” John feebly said, the word being exhaled with his short breath so soft that it took a moment for Charlotte to understand what must have been said. Figuring that he was talking about the young boy huddled under her coat, Charlotte replied, “Yes, Jack’s here too. I’m going to carry him to my car and come back for you. When I return, I need you to walk. I’ll be right back.”
Carrying the boy was not the difficulty. Rather, choosing whether to take the coat to the car with Jack or leave it for John was much more difficult. But she left it over John, figuring that the warmth of the running car would have to do for the young boy. When she placed Jack in the rear of her car, he cracked a smile before closing his eyes again to drift off to sleep. This glimmer of hope that one of them appeared ok was instant motivation for Charlotte to return back to John. Charlotte was now much more elated at how John was doing from his condition just a couple minutes prior. He was now trying to raise up on his frozen legs, which appeared so unresponsive that it looked like he was trying to stand up for the first time on stilts. Charlotte rushed over and put her shoulder under John’s arm to help him balance.
“Charlotte?” He asked, still very weak, but in a much improved tone.
Charlotte couldn’t tell if John had a question for her, or if he was repeating the name because he couldn’t remember who she was.
“Yes, Charlotte from Cross Roads orphanage. You remember Cross Roads, right? We were so young then.”
“Jack.” John stated, with only Jack on his mind. “Take me to Jack.”
Charlotte didn’t hesitate. She let John put as much weight on her as she could handle, and hobbled over to her car. The whole time she honestly didn’t know what to think. Fifteen minutes ago, she never would have guessed that she’d be bringing the man and child back to her apartment for the evening. But knowing it was John made all the difference in the world. If she had known it was John at the corner from the beginning, then bringing them back to her place would have been her plan all along.
She opened the door to the rear of her car, and helped John lay on the seat right beside the young boy. Charlotte sat behind the driver’s wheel and exhaled out loud. She looked in the rear-view mirror at the two guys in her back seat, and for the first time, was amazed at who was sitting back there. It was John – after all these years. Though she should have felt nervous about the situation due to their dire health and the completely unexpected turn of events, John’s next words provided her comfort beyond words.
“Charlotte?” John asked weakly.
Charlotte’s glance shot back to the rearview mirror again, to find John staring straight back at her. He said one last thing before closing his eyes to also fall asleep.
“I remember you.”
Kyle Shoop is a multi-genre author of compelling stories. His new "Senses of Love" series is a romance series that provides rewarding and inspirational stories.
Kyle is also the author of the Acea Bishop Trilogy, which is an action-packed fantasy series. All books in that series are now available, with Acea and the Animal Kingdom being the first book.
At a young age, Kyle was recognized for his storytelling by being awarded the first-place Gold Key award for fiction writing in Washington State. After spending several years volunteering in his wife's elementary classrooms, he was inspired to write the Acea Bishop Trilogy. He is now motivated to finish his the new romance series. In addition to writing novels, Kyle is also a practicing attorney.
Kyle and is wife and two children are currently living in Utah.
Ever come across an artistic idea that seems so obvious you wonder why it took so long to be done? For example, mixing a children’s story, a fantastical chocolate factory, and little guys called Oompa-Loompas seems like such an obvious idea I can’t believe that it took humanity until 1971 to finally tell the story! Ha. But seriously, I’ve written music and books for many years and I always wished an idea like that would happen to me.
Then it did. It wasn’t the light-bulb moment I had hoped it would be. And I didn’t immediately recognize it as that type of artistic idea until I was in the middle of writing the second book in my series. But once I realized it, I knew. Let me explain.
I set out to write a single book about a compelling, uplifting love story. After having toiled between about five titles for it once my first draft was complete, I ended up calling it The Sound of Love. It involves a musician expressing thru song emotions that he otherwise has a tough time expressing in just words, when he reconnects with a childhood friend under surprising circumstances.
But having completely enjoyed the experience of telling a love story, I jumped write into telling a second – completely different – love story. This one told the story about a talented painter who finds love at first sight but whose love is tested thru the unexpected, heart-wrenching trials of life. Halfway thru writing the story is when the idea hit me, to title it The Sight of Love. It was perfect for the story, but more importantly perfect for what innate idea about love had compelled me to write the stories. Each of us experiences or expresses love differently, yet this singular, compelling idea of “love” can motivate someone to no end – much like the rare golden ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I recognized a pattern – the synthesis of my desire in telling my new stories. A series was born, the “Senses of Love” series. The series will be five books, with each one telling a different love story focused on one of the five human senses. It just makes sense, right? At least, to me it does. My first novel of my series is The Sound of Love and it is free for a limited time only through the blog tour through the link provided. The second novel is The Sight of Love and is also now available on Amazon in ebook, paperback and Kindle Unlimited. The third novel, A Taste of Love, will be released this summer- likely in July. The books can be read in any order, and I hope you enjoy the different compelling love stories which they tell.