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Sun & Moon

Sun & Moon

Автор Lee Strauss

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Sun & Moon

Автор Lee Strauss

3.5/5 (7 оценки)
291 страница
2 часа
Oct 11, 2015


She has a past. He has a secret.

Katja Stoltz is a risk-taking singer-songwriter, hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah Sturm's a brooding uptown banker on a quest.

Driven to the streets, Katja is picked up by Micah - but he doesn't want what she thinks he does.

There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous.

And even if her life isn’t on the line, her heart most definitely is.

**Includes MP3 links to four original songs produced by Norm Strauss and performed by award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Kim June Johnson (McMechan.)

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

*not erotica - no explicit sex or coarse language

The Minstrel Series books can be read in any order but are best enjoyed in sequence. Sun & Moon #1, Flesh & Bone #2, Heart & Soul #3
Oct 11, 2015

Об авторе

Lee Strauss writes science fiction and historical YA for mature YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss.

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Sun & Moon - Lee Strauss


by Lee Strauss

Copyright © 2014 Lee Strauss

This is a work of fiction and the views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author. Likewise, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are represented fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual event or locales, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Cover by Steven Novak Illustration

Interior by Novel Ninjutsu

E-Book Distribution: XinXii


She has a past. He has a secret.

Katja Stoltz is a risk-taking singer-songwriter hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah Sturm’s a brooding uptown banker on a quest.

Driven to the streets, Katja is picked up by Micah – he doesn’t want what she thinks he does.

There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous.

And even if her life isn’t on the line, heart most definitely is.

The Minstrel Series is a collection of stand-alone contemporary romance companion books set in the singer-songwriter world, each with a HEA, a happily ever after.

Sun & Moon includes MP3 links to original music performed by Canadian Folk artist Kim McMechan.


Words and music by Joel Strauss. Copyright Joel Strauss. Remake recorded by Kim McMechan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Words and music by Sarah Brendel. Copyright Sarah Brendel. Remake recorded by Kim McMechan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Words and music by Norm Strauss. Copyright Norm Strauss. Remake recorded by Kim McMechan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Words and music by Kim McMechan. Copyright Kim McMechan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Table of Contents



Three Days Ago

Two Days Ago


Today, Take Two


His Place


You're Not Welcome

Not One of Those

The Girl with the Guitar and the Cane

What Drives You

He's Just a Friend

Empty Walls

Everything and Nothing

The Blue Note

The Door

Coffee Shop on the Corner

Birthday Girl

Chocolate Cake and New York City

His American Mother

Party Girl

The Hangover

The Story

Letting Go

The Ceremony

Pretty Woman

How Deep Can You Feel

Kiss Me Good

Play For Me

I'm Not That Person Anymore

Finally, Another Gig

Think Back to When You Were a Child

The Fight

Words of Wisdom

What Are You?

Culinary Arts

Logic and All That Other Noise


The Surprise

A Change of Plans


Don't Go Now


Strength in Weakness

Autumn in Berlin

Déjà Vu

Shadows Pattern on the Road

Sing Me One More Song

Lost and Found

The Boy Who Never Let Her Go

Ever After

About the Author

Books by Lee Strauss

Song Links


Katja poked a finger through the hole in the seam of her skirt. It ran to her ankles, three tiers of crimson fabric, like a gypsy would wear. It was made from soft crumpled linen, the kind that never needed ironing. She’d found it in a cool little second hand store on Alaunstrasse and had smiled when she realized she had just enough euros in her pocket to buy it.

She took a deep breath and tugged. The seam ripped and she kept pulling, feeling the heat of anger and frustration build in her chest as the bottom two tiers of her skirt fell to the floor. Now her legs, long and lean, were adequately exposed.

These were her tools, Irma had said. Rent was due tomorrow, and if she didn’t want to sleep behind a trash bin on the frost-covered streets, she’d better put those shapely legs and the rest of her youthful body to work. She had a nice face, Irma had said. She could make what she needed in one night if she played her cards right.

Katja’s knees gave out, and she found herself curled up on the floor, gripping the red fabric, pushing it against her face. She pinched back tears that stung the back of her eyes. She had to be strong. She was strong. Women did this every day, and it wasn’t like she was going to make a career of it. It was no big deal. Right?

Then why did her lungs feel like they were collapsing as she barreled down a dark abyss?

The sun shone like liquid yellow through the tall, east-facing windows, creating the illusion that the early morning on a day in March was warm. Katja shifted on the lumpy sofa until her chilled body landed in its rays. Her wallet rested on her stomach as she counted her money again. She was short on the rent due in three days by twenty euros. She shoved the bills and coins back inside. Inhaling, she filled her lungs and stretched. Twenty euros wasn’t so much. She could make that by selling two CDs. She’d just head to Augustus Bridge later that day and busk again. Surely she’d get enough donations before the authorities shut her down for not having permission. One way or another, she told herself, she’d make enough to appease her roommates, and get to eat dinner, too.

Look how lucky she’d been so far. The first thing she did when her train arrived in Neustadt, the new town area of Dresden, on a brisk January evening was head to the popular Blue Note Pub. She’d discovered the hangout online long before she left Berlin on a whim. A tingle of excitement had flared in her when she’d first read about it, and she’d felt something stir inside her that she hadn’t in a long time.


She knew her kind of people would be found in a place like that, and she was right. She’d met Irma, who shared this two bedroom flat with Martina, an art student. Irma offered Katja their sofa in exchange for a portion of the rent until she found her own place.

It was small and cluttered, but artsy, with one wall painted turquoise blue, the other crimson red and another tangerine orange. Much of Martina’s artwork filled the space. The kitchen ran along the blue wall and included a well-used, hip-high white fridge and a mini stove. Katja ran the calloused tips of her fingers along the thin, fraying upholstery of the sofa she slept on. It was part of the collection of mismatched livingroom pieces.

Her tongue found the ring in her lip. Even though Irma had invited Katja, Martina had been less than thrilled by her presence, and gradually Irma had taken the same stance. Her roommates had grown increasingly impatient and unfriendly. Katja’s savings hadn’t lasted as long as she would’ve liked. A pit formed in her chest. She was running out of time. Even though Katja had done everything she could to stay as invisible as possible, she knew they wanted her gone.

She’d find her own place next month. For sure.

Katja sat up and eyed the blond Taylor guitar that rested in the corner. It was the only thing of value she owned. Martina had prodded her to sell it. It was worth enough to secure a month's rent somewhere else, but that would be like selling the cow when you lived off its milk. Her guitar was her ticket to freedom. Selling it was not an option.

She just needed the right person to hear her play, to get one song picked up by someone famous. She just needed her break. You never knew how or when that would happen, Katja thought. She just couldn’t give up.

She flipped through the pages of her notebook. Scribbled lyrics, observations and musings were framed with doodles of flowers and vines, butterflies and ladybugs—evidence of her mind when it was unleashed and unshackled. She read over the lyrics she’d written the day before.

Close your eyes

Try not to speak

Forget the hours of your struggling

Try to fix the trouble

And pieces of your broken mind

Think back to when you were a child

And your heart was free and you were alive

Her pen rested on her chin as her mind went back to those short, carefree days of long ago: before her father left her family, and her mother’s job was simply to love and care for her, before she married that moron Horst, and her little half-sister Sibylle came along.

The pills her mother started taking to cope allowed her to function sufficiently at work for a while, but she was fired a year ago and had spent most of the time since lying in the darkness of her bedroom. She couldn’t protect Katja anymore. She couldn’t take care of her. She didn’t even blink or try to talk Katja out of leaving when she told her she was going.

Her friend Henni’s parents would’ve freaked out. They’d never let their precious daughter ruin her life by quitting school and chasing a fairytale.

Katja was no one’s precious daughter. Except for God’s, if she’d let herself believe such a thing.

She grabbed her Taylor, laid it across her lap and folded her arms around it like it was her baby. She strummed it and hummed, and scribbled out a few more lines. She wrote in English. She always wrote her songs in English.

The streets that you are traveling on

They lead you far away from home

And you don’t know where you’re going to…

Not bad, she mused, then sang it from the beginning.

"Do you mind?"

Martina’s sharp voice snapped her out of the song. She stood across the room with hands on hips, and pinned Katja with a glare. "It’s Saturday morning!"

I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.

Didn’t realize the sun has barely risen? Martina scoffed and stomped back to her room, closing the door.

Katja thought this would probably be a good time to slip out for a bit. She dressed quickly, pulled her long, honey-blond hair up in a messy bun, and bundled up in her winter coat. She never went anywhere without her notebook and sketch pad. She tucked them into her shoulder bag before leaving.

Her quick breaths shot out small white puffs in the cold air and she tightened the scarf she’d wrapped around her neck. The cobblestone streets of Neustadt were bustling with foot traffic despite the cold. She didn’t have a destination, and she didn’t have money to spend, so window shopping was the only kind of shopping she’d be doing. She just liked to wander and take in the sights, occasionally stopping to sketch. She added a couple doodles of street vendors to her collection and sat on a bench in the park in front of Martin Luther Church for a while, sketching out the building’s gothic spire. She made a copy of the graffiti on the brick wall around the corner on the next road.

After a while she passed the street church near the center of town. It wasn’t a flamboyant stone church like the traditional ones, but merely rented shop space on the ground floor of an apartment building. The windows were often covered with graffiti-laden metal blinds, but today they were raised and everyone walking by could see inside. A girl with straight, brown hair was playing guitar in the corner while hungry lunchtime visitors listened and waited for the soup to be served.

Katja’s stomach growled. She had yet to eat today and wouldn’t mind a bowl of soup herself. From what she could hear through the door as it opened to let another homeless person in, the girl playing guitar was a pretty good musician and singer. Better than what she thought a place like this would provide.

But Katja wasn’t homeless. Not yet. She hoped she’d never be counted as one of those people who needed handouts. A person who didn’t have a place to sleep or shower and shampoo their hair. Katja shuddered. She wasn’t one of them, but she was keenly aware that she hovered very close to the edge. As she’d once heard someone say somewhere she didn’t remember: But for the grace of God, there go I.

Open mic night at the Blue Note Pub.

Katja signed her name on the performer’s list and hoped she’d be called. If the manager liked her he might let her book a whole night. It happened sometimes. Not only could she make a hundred euros, but her name would also be on the posters.

Katja Stoltz

Money and fame. She needed both.

The bar wasn’t huge. It had a low, wood-beamed ceiling with wooden floors and long tables that were already occupied, making the space feel even smaller. She shuffled past the other musicians and music lovers, holding her guitar case close to her chest. Her eyes darted around the room, searching for a place to sit.

A guy with brown hair shaved short watched her. She’d seen him before, though they’d never spoken, just the kindred nod that happened between musicians as they acknowledged each other’s guitar. He had a peacock tattoo that stretched across his strumming arm, which was draped over a thin girl with spiky blond hair. The guy waved Katja over, shoving down on the bench to make room. Katja pushed loose strands of hair behind her ear and took the offered seat. She flashed him a bright, sincere smile. Thanks.

It’s cool. You’re playing tonight? he asked loudly to cut through the din of conversation and the music pumping in through the speakers hanging from the corners of the room.

I hope so. You?

The guy shrugged. Maybe. Rock’s more my thing, but acoustic’s cool, too. I’m Sebastian. This is my girlfriend, Yvonne.

Yvonne forced a smile but didn’t make eye contact. Sebastian introduced the rest of the table, but their names disappeared into the clatter of the room.

As each musician was called, Katja’s stomach spun tighter. The artists were good and she applauded appreciatively with the rest of the crowd after each performer.

The waiter brought drinks to their table and asked Katja if she’d like to order. She’d love to, but she shook her head no. She couldn’t even spare ten cents.

It’s on me, Sebastian said, surprising her. Bring her a beer.

Yvonne glared at him. Sebastian laughed and squeezed her shoulders. Baby, it’s okay. The chick’s gotta be thirsty, and she’s singing tonight.

Katja mouthed thank you. She was thirsty. She wanted to impress Herr Leduc, the manager, and it would be much harder to do that with a dry throat. He’d been very friendly when she first introduced herself a few weeks ago, welcoming her to his pub with exuberant German laced with a thick French accent.

Finally, Katja’s name was called. She made her way through the crowd, careful not to bang into anyone with her guitar. The lights were bright on the stage, momentarily blinding her. She strapped her guitar over her shoulder and scanned the crowd.

She gulped, thinking belatedly that maybe it wasn’t a great idea to be doing her newest song.

Her eyes landed on Sebastian and he lifted his beer to her before taking a long drink.

Hello, everyone, she said while tuning the bottom string of her guitar. I’m Katja Stoltz and this is a new song.

She plucked the notes with a happy, mid-paced beat. The music didn’t match the words. She’d written it that way on purpose, to get the listeners’ attention. She opened her mouth and her smooth, folk voice sang out.

Close your eyes

Try not to speak

Forget the hours of your struggling

Try to fix the trouble

And pieces of your broken mind

The streets that you are traveling on

They lead you far away from home

And you don’t know where you’re going to

And your dreams

They all turned

A somber blue

This burden on your shoulders

Is too heavy for you to carry

And the well

That you’re drinking from

Is a well from a dying generation


Think back to when you were a child

And your heart was free and you were alive

And the wind

And the rain

Washed all your fears away

She ended the song with a final strum and the applause rang through the house. She couldn’t stop the sappy smile that spread across her face. She left the stage and was accosted by a group sitting at a nearby table.

That was awesome.

Love your voice!

Do you have CDs?

She thanked them and produced a short stack of CDs. She sold four. This was great! She bounced happily on the tips of her toes. Now she could pay her rent and buy a new set of strings.

She felt a poke on the shoulder and turned around to see Sebastian grinning down at her.

You rocked it, Katja. You have crazy songwriting skills.

She couldn’t help but giggle. This was why she loved writing and performing. There was no high like it.

Do you wanna hang out sometime, maybe write together?

Katja couldn’t keep the surprise from bubbling over. That would be great. She’d love to try writing with another songwriter. Then she caught Yvonne glaring at them from where she’d remained seated at their table. But, I don’t think she’s….

Sebastian glanced over his shoulder and waved at his girlfriend. Don’t worry about her. She knows she’s the only one for me.

How nice for Yvonne to have someone so dedicated to her. Sebastian obviously loved her and Katja hoped she appreciated it. She would love to know what it felt like to have someone love her fully without conditions.

And she would. She was certain. Someday.

The hot water tank in Irma and Martina’s flat was the size of a backpack.

Katja squirmed under the cooling water as she rinsed the last of the shampoo from her hair. The stall was barely big enough to turn around in, and she’d learned to watch her elbows, not to accidentally knock into the tap and either scald herself or dose her bare body with ice water. Every shower was a race to finish before the hot water disappeared.

It occurred to her that this was why her roommates both kept their hair short. Maybe she should take the scissors to hers, too. She winced at the thought. Her long, golden locks were her trademark. She’d just have to struggle through the hair-washing trauma.

The clothes she’d washed in the sink the day before still hadn’t dried, so she was forced to wear her red gypsy skirt and grey blouse for the second day in a row.

She cleaned up her things and headed to the kitchen for a coffee. Now that she had a little extra cash, she could buy the next bag of beans, and she wouldn’t have to feel guilty about drinking her roommates’ coffee.

Katja yawned. She scanned the flat as she waited for the coffee to brew. Irma and Martina had thrown a party the night before. Empty beer bottles and full ashtrays littered the room. The smell of smoke lingered in the air, and if it weren’t so cold outside, Katja would’ve opened a window. At least they couldn’t blame her for the messy state of affairs this time.

Their guests hadn’t left until the early morning hours, long after Katja had returned from her gig. Times like that she really wished she had her

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  • (5/5)
    I KNEW I was going to love this book after reading Lee's PERCEPTION, but I didn't know exactly how much I'd love it. First off, the older I get, the more I love a good romance. More particularly, take me to Germany, please? And lastly, this is a book I could confidently place in my daughter's hands (once she's a little older) and feel comfortable with her reading. Clean. Very clean. Sweet. Oh so sweet. This is a RARE find and I give it my highest recommendation.