Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she's very good at her job. That's why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he's 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.
To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn't even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He's determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she's not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet's help to give it to her.
As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn't been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.
Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes' captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
ANITA HUGHES is also the author of French Coast, Lake Como, Monarch Beach and Market Street. She attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing Program, and has taught Creative Writing at The Branson School in Ross, California. Hughes lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel.
Read an Excerpt
Island in the Sea
A Majorca Love Story
By Anita Hughes
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Anita Hughes
All rights reserved.
Juliet opened the low gate and climbed the steps to the villa. She gazed at the garden filled with purple daisies and pink bougainvillea and thought she had never seen so much color. The sky was bright blue and the villa was painted pale pink and the silk curtains drifting out the open windows were turquoise and orange and yellow.
She knocked on the red wood door and instinctively tucked her hair behind her ears. She knocked again and turned to look at the view. She had only been in Majorca for two days but already she thought the whole world consisted of narrow streets and bright plazas and views of fishing boats bobbing on the Mediterranean. She saw the Tramuntana Mountains and sweeping green valleys and olive trees clinging to the cliffs.
She opened the door and smelled pine and cigarettes and garlic. She peered into the living room and saw dark wood floors and yellow plaster walls and high mosaic ceilings. The room was scattered with floral sofas and wooden coffee tables and plump striped cushions. There was a grand piano and French doors that led out onto the balcony.
She walked farther and saw a garden with a tennis court and swimming pool. There was a sundial and a stone fountain and a fishpond filled with neon-colored fish. She heard someone groan and saw a man lying on a chaise longue. He wore navy shorts and a yellow silk shirt and had a paperback book covering his face.
"I don't think Keats ever imagined his poems would be used as sunscreen," she said, as she approached the man.
"If you're from the cleaning service I like keeping my clothes in the bathtub." The man kept his eyes closed and his hands around a tall glass filled with ice cubes. "I hate having to walk all the way to the closet after taking a shower. I told the service I don't want another maid. It's difficult to sit around being drunk and depressed if someone is scrubbing the floors and making your underwear smell like potpourri."
"I'm not from the cleaning service," Juliet replied.
"If Paco sent you tell him I'll have his money next week," the man muttered. "Though there is a nice Picasso in the library you could take as a trade. It's only a print but it's worth a pair of Zegna loafers."
"Not from Paco's either." Juliet smiled, enjoying the game. She glanced at the view and saw the monastery of Valldemossa and the stone farmhouses of Deia. She saw high white clouds and the sea shimmering like a sheet of diamonds.
"Well if Manuel sent you tell him I was going to come down today and pay for the fucking cigarettes," the man grumbled. "You'd think a man's credit would stretch to a pack of Marlboros and a king-sized Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar."
"I'm Juliet Lyman, senior executive at Yesterday Records." Juliet moved closer so her shadow blocked the sun. "You must be Lionel Harding."
Lionel removed the book and sat up. He put his drink on the glass side table and smoothed his hair. He studied Juliet's glossy brown bob and blue eyes and tan legs and whistled.
"I knew Gideon would send a henchman sooner or later, but I didn't think she'd be a brunette wearing a J. Crew Theory dress and Dior perfume."
"How do you know my perfume is Dior?" Juliet demanded.
"I write love songs, I have to notice the details." Lionel reached for his drink. "I can describe everything about a woman: her thick dark lashes, her small pink mouth, the heart-shaped mole on her neck." He took a long sip. "Tell Gideon I haven't turned in my expense report in months because I know he doesn't approve of aged scotch and Cuban cigars. Who would have thought the owner of one of the most famous record labels would turn into an old prude? The last time I saw him he was eating stewed prunes and reading The Economist. I told him he might as well buy himself a plot at Forest Lawn."
"He did, he had me pick one out for him and his wife, right next to James Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor." Juliet nodded. "I'm not here to count the number of towels in the bathroom or limit your consumption of Courvoisier."
"Then why are you here?" Lionel's eyes traveled over her blue knit dress and white sandals. "If Gideon thought I needed entertainment, I have a stack of Spanish Playboys."
Juliet felt her cheeks turn pink. "I'm here because you're six months late with your songs and Gideon said if he doesn't get them by the end of the month you owe him your advance." She opened her red Coach purse and took out her phone. She flicked through the screens and looked at Lionel. "One hundred and sixty-six thousand dollars and sixty three cents plus the nine thousand dollars he sent to your tailor in London and the fifteen hundred dollars he paid for your mother's eightieth birthday present."
"A man can still appreciate a Gieves &Hawkes single- breasted suit when he's depressed," Lionel snorted. "And how often does a woman turn eighty? Mom fell in love with a diamond-and-sapphire Harry Winston necklace when we flew to Barcelona. Airlines deliberately delay their flights so you hang out in the duty free stores," Lionel sighed. "I always end up with an extra bottle of cognac or a carton of Toblerone chocolate."
"They call it an advance because they give it to you before you do the work." Juliet shielded her eyes from the sun. "But if you don't write the songs you have to give it back." She slipped her phone in her purse. "You've had eighteen months to complete twenty-four songs and you sent Gideon a haiku and a limerick."
"I was experimenting with different forms." Lionel pouted. "You don't think the Romantics changed the course of English poetry by copying Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott? Have you ever listened to Jimi Hendrix? He was called the "warrior poet" because his lyrics touched your soul. Do you know how much time he spent sitting on a beach? Those words didn't come to him overnight." He slipped his sunglasses over his nose. He had dark wavy hair and bright green eyes and a small cleft on his chin. "I might be forty-two but unlike Gideon I still think like a young man, and the young constantly reinvent things. Not all love songs have to sound like Simon and Garfunkel on a constant loop in the elevator."
"Your songs are on the constant loop in the elevator." Juliet followed him into the villa. She saw a wide kitchen with stone floors and a low-beamed ceiling. There was a large silver refrigerator and open cabinets filled with ceramic bowls and white china cups. The counters were littered with half eaten chocolate bars and a basket of tomatoes and a wilted fruit salad. "'Going to Catalina' is the third most recorded song in history, behind 'The Girl from Ipanema.' It won three Grammys when it was released in 1996 and went on to sell two million copies."
Lionel opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Grey Goose. He filled two glasses with ice and added vodka and a squeeze of lime. He handed one to Juliet and raised his glass.
"Well that deserves a toast." He drained his glass and set it on the tile counter. "All this talk about money makes me hungry. Why don't we save the threats until after lunch?"
"If I return to Los Angeles without a check for one hundred sixty-six thousand dollars or an album of new songs I won't have a job," Juliet protested. "They better be on a laptop waiting to press SEND, or in a manila folder ready for me to transport through customs."
"If you're a senior executive at Yesterday Records how come we haven't met?" Lionel opened the breadbox and took out four slices of bread. He spread them with mustard and sliced ham and Gruyère cheese. He added heirloom tomatoes and red onions and handed a plate to Juliet.
"I've only been at the label for ten months." Juliet bit into the sandwich. "I graduated from NYU and spent the last six years at Sony Records in Manhattan."
"Did Gideon lure you to Los Angeles with the promise of a silver convertible and your own miniature palm tree and a table at Wolfgang Puck's next to Tobey Maguire?"
"He convinced me to switch labels so I could work with Anson Smith and Juju Miles and some of the most progressive artists in the music business."
"Instead he sent you to Majorca to babysit an aging songwriter." Lionel dribbled tomato on his chin. "It could be worse, I could have accepted Richard Branson's offer and stayed at his hut on the Galapagos Islands. I heard the fresh sea bass is divine but you have to use an outhouse. At least Sir Bob's villa has a billiard table and a wine cellar stocked with Château Rothschild Burgundy."
"This is Bob Geldof's villa?" Juliet spluttered, wiping her mouth with a checkered napkin.
"I think Bob offered it to me." Lionel rubbed his forehead. "It could have been Phil Collins, we were all skiing in Gstaad and I've never been good at high altitudes. The thin air makes me forget things. Phil does have a lovely place in Montreux; I stayed there years ago. It's a pity his marriage ended, Orienne made the best chocolate fondue."
"I thought you rented this villa," Juliet frowned.
Lionel ate a last bite of his sandwich and laughed. "I couldn't afford the gold faucet in the guest bathroom. I have creditors in four languages: I owe Luis in Lisbon for two boxes of Cuban cigars and Sven in Copenhagen for a sterling silver Georg Jensen lighter and Riccardo in Milan for three pairs of Bruno Magli suede loafers. Not to mention my monthly order from Harrods of five jars of marmite and six packets of caramel toffees. The price of shipping these days is criminal."
"It's so beautiful here." Juliet gazed out the window at window boxes filled with hydrangeas and hibiscus. "I would think Majorca is the perfect place to write love songs."
"Now you're trying to lull me into doing what you want." Lionel took his drink and walked into the living room. He sat on a floral sofa and spread his long legs in front of him. "What if I told you Gideon did something so terrible, that if I wasn't the kind of guy who couldn't pick up a fly swatter, I would sue him for everything he had."
"I wouldn't believe you; he's one of the most philanthropic men I've met." Juliet removed a stack of crumpled newspapers from a red-and-white-striped love seat. "He donates thousands to charity: water to build wells in Africa and purchased computers for an entire village in Peru and gives ten percent of the label's profits to Save the Ocean Foundation."
"I'm sure even Benedict Arnold did a few good deeds and Judas had a whole group of friends." Lionel tapped a cigarette from a gold cigarette case. He lit it slowly and blew a thin trail of smoke. "I'll make a deal, I'll tell you the whole story, and if you think he still deserves one hundred sixty-six thousand dollars, I will find a way to pay him back."
Juliet glanced at the plaster walls lined with Picassos and Manets and Cézannes. She saw the French doors and pink marble fireplace and tall wooden bookshelves. She didn't have time to sit around watching Lionel smoke cigarettes and drink dry martinis, Gideon expected her to return with an album of new songs.
"Gideon doesn't want the money." She shifted on the silk love seat. "He wants you to write music."
"He should have thought of that before he picked up an iron tong and drove it though my heart." Lionel got up and walked to the entry. He stubbed his cigarette on the stone floor and opened the door. "Take the offer or leave it. I've got an appointment with a bottle of vodka and a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray." He turned and glanced at Juliet. "Look, all I've got left to my name is a two-bedroom flat in Chelsea. If you don't agree after you've heard the story, I'll sell it and give Gideon the proceeds."
Juliet stood up and dusted her skirt. She walked to the door and held out her hand. "All right, you have a deal."
"I knew you'd come round." Lionel's face broke into a smile. "No one can resist a juicy story, plus I make an excellent Spanish omelet. We'll start tomorrow, don't come before noon, I need my beauty sleep." He drew another cigarette out of the gold case.
"Oh and tell Gideon to extend your reservation for two weeks, and make sure your room has a private bath. I've stayed in Spanish bed-and-breakfasts and you don't want to listen to your neighbor singing Carmen in the shower."
"Two weeks!" Juliet exclaimed. "What did Gideon do?"
Lionel leaned on the door and his whole body sagged. His forehead was suddenly lined and his green eyes dimmed. He looked at Juliet and frowned.
"He rewrote my whole past."
* * *
Juliet climbed the steps of the Hotel Salvia and opened the red gate. She loved the three-story stone building with its black shutters and wrought iron balconies and peaked slate roof. She loved the lush gardens filled with green trellises and citrus trees and beds of pink azaleas. And she loved the location perched just above the main square of Sóller so she could browse in the elegant boutiques and eat tapas at the outdoor cafés.
Mostly she loved that everywhere she turned she saw the mountains and deep valleys and the horseshoe-shaped bay of Puerto de Sóller. She gazed at the turquoise swimming pool and tall pine trees and thought she had never been anywhere so beautiful.
She opened the front door of the hotel and entered the drawing room and admired the thick oriental rugs, antique chandeliers, and striped silk sofas. She glanced at the maple sideboard set with a crystal water pitcher and ceramic fruit bowl and felt like she was in a private home.
"Good afternoon Miss Lyman." The concierge looked up from his notes. "Did you find the Casa Rosa?"
"Yes, thank you." Juliet inhaled the sweet smelling air and her shoulders relaxed. "It's not far from here and the scenery was spectacular. I don't know how one gets anywhere in Majorca; I kept having to stop and admire the view."
"The Casa Rosa is one of the finest private estates on this side of the island," the man replied. "Would you like to make dinner reservations tonight? Chef Pedro is making baked saddle of lamb with olive crust and a rosemary sauce. You and your gentleman friend will enjoy your private terrace, the tables are set with silver candelabras and bottles of Mallorcan olive oil."
"I don't have a gentleman friend." Juliet blushed. "I'm here alone."
"But you said you were visiting a gentleman at the Casa Rosa." The concierge frowned.
"Lionel Harding is a business associate," Juliet explained. "I'm too tired to eat out tonight, perhaps I could get a sandwich and a glass of milk in my room."
"Everyone dines outside in Majorca in the summer," the concierge insisted. "Even the fishermen pull up their nets and have a cold beer and a plate of fresh oysters. There's plenty of time to stay inside during winter when the wind is icy and the valley is covered in fog."
"I won't be here that long." Juliet smiled. "Though I'd like to extend my reservation two weeks, I'm afraid my business is going to take longer than I thought."
"All the more reason to enjoy the nightlife." The concierge flicked through his book. "The music is lively and there is always dancing on the square after midnight."
Juliet pictured women wearing oversized sunglasses and bright chiffon dresses and strapless sandals. She saw men in sports coats and linen slacks and suede loafers. She imagined sitting alone at a table while couples held hands and sipped glasses of full-bodied Spanish wine. She imagined soft music and the scent of butter and garlic mixed with French perfume.
"I'm going to take a long bath and climb into bed." She walked toward the staircase. "Perhaps another night."
"Miss Lyman," he called after her. "May I ask what line of business are you in?"
"I'm in the music industry." Juliet turned around. "I'm an executive at a record label."
The concierge studied her smooth brown hair and blue eyes and small pink mouth. He saw her knit dress and long legs and white sandals. "Perhaps you should think about changing careers, a beautiful young woman should not be alone in Majorca on a Saturday night."
* * *
Juliet climbed the three flights of stairs and fumbled with her key. Gideon had booked a queen-sized room with her own balcony. Juliet gazed at the orange wool rug and turquoise walls and sloped ceiling. She saw the four-poster bed and mahogany desk and high-backed velvet chair.
She slipped off her sandals and placed her purse on the oak end table. Lionel might be prickly and abrasive but she was glad Gideon insisted she come to Majorca. The countryside was spectacular and the food was delicious and everything seemed to move slowly. She pictured the orange tram that took tourists to Puerto de Sóller and the sailboats with their billowing sails and a warmth spread through her chest.
She walked to the balcony and remembered the concierge thinking she had a boyfriend. She flashed on when she graduated from NYU and got her first interview at Sony. She'd worn a new navy wool suit and beige pumps. She remembered sitting across from Jane Backman and trying to stop her heart from racing.
* * *
"You're twenty-two and graduated summa cum laude from NYU." Jane glanced at her résumé. "You could get an entry level position at an investment banking firm with an expense account and a summer timeshare in the Hamptons. If you take this job, you'll be stuck for years with a mid-five-figure salary and a railroad apartment in Bushwick."
Excerpted from Island in the Sea by Anita Hughes. Copyright © 2016 Anita Hughes. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A record executive goes on a trip to reign in a song writer and get him to send in his latest work. Upon arrival in Spain and meeting Lionel the song writer, Juliet realizes that this will be the trip where she probably finds herself and reevaluate her priorities. For my first Anita Hughes experience, I feel like I may have had high expectations and I was let down just a little. I had put her in my mind as a women's fiction author and the amount of romance/sexy times in this book were way more than I thought it would and the plot for me was just ok. Don't call me a prude - I don't mind sexy times when there is a good plot behind it, so for this plot to be less than for me the sexy times really stuck out. I will still give Anita Hughes another chance, I actually own a few and am a little more intrigued to read them to see if this was a one off book or if this is her usual. Have you read Anita Hughes? Does she always have a lot of sexy times?
Juliet worked for Yesterday Records. She was a senior executive, her boss was Gideon. He had sent Juliet to Lionel Hardling who was 6 months late with his songs. Lionel had until the end of the month to get his songs to Gideon or a check for the amount of one hundred sixty thousand dollars and sixty seven cents as this was how much advances Lionel had been given. Lionel was broke and owed everyone. Juliet had worked for Yesterday Records for ten months before that she had worked with Sony Records for six years. Gideon had talked Juliet into switching labels by telling her who she maybe working with.Lionel had told Juliet Gideon had done something extremely bad to him but Juliet didn’t believe him. Lionel said he would tell Juliet the whole story about Gideon if she then thought Gideon deserved the money he would somehow come up with it. I just couldn’t get into this story. I felt it was dull and dragged. I tried to force myself but just couldn’t finish it. I just did not like it. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review
Juliet is sent to make sure Lionel fulfills his overdue songwriting contract, but as she comes to know Lionel and his story, she finds her assignment is not as simple as she thought. As Lionel tells his life story in chronicles, Juliet sees another side of him. While staying on the island, she befriends a local young woman, dates a tennis star, dines on the fine seafood, shops and explores Majorca, and somewhere along the way Juliet and Lionel fall in love. Juliet must decide if she can trust her heart and learn to forgive in order to have a relationship with him. A beautiful story!
Favorite Quotes: “You’ve had eighteen months to complete twenty-four songs and you sent Gideon a haiku and a limerick.” “That’s what’s wonderful about children; they can be mischievous and innocent at the same time. Yesterday I discovered Abigail wearing her mother’s Prada suit; she said she was tired of being eight and wanted to get an important job.” “Being in love is like drinking absinthe, your mind clears and you think you can achieve anything. I remember my first proper date with Samantha, I felt like Clark Kent becoming Superman.” “Do you know why people can tell you the name of the song they listened to when they fell in love? Because music is more seductive than girlie magazines and X-rated movies. Girls hear a song on a jukebox and think they’re in love with the boy with the bad haircut sitting opposite them. They get married and play ‘their song’ at the reception. It’s not until their first anniversary when the guy can’t get up to turn off the telly and the garbage never gets taken out she realized she was never in love, she just got swept away by George Michael crooning ‘Careless Whisper.’” “How I miss the first bud of a romance, when you’re sure you are going to spend the rest of your life rappelling on the Amalfi coast or motoring through Provence. Then you realize hanging off a cliff is bad for your knees and the butter they use in French restaurants will give you heart disease.” My Review: Island in the Sea is my initial read from this talented author, but I have since added her entire Goodreads listing to my TBR. I greedily want to consume ever word ever penned by this clever woman. It is an understatement to say that I am in total awe of her word craft. The story weaves back and forth over an eighteen-year period as a despondent and washed-up songwriter relates his history to the record company employee who was dispatched to prod him along. His story is rife with melancholia, yet swings back and forth through the emotional scale as he imparts his memories. The writing is lushly detailed with beautifully chosen words that depict richly appointed scenes. I was right there. I could feel the Mediterranean sun on my face, hear the cathedral bells, smell the flowers, and taste the food. Her depictions of the characters, their dialogue, the scenery, and their elegant wardrobes; played like colorful and crisp movie scenes in my head. I felt as if I had experienced an expensive luxury vacation and had shopped in the boutiques, eaten at the iron tables under striped awnings in the little outdoor cafes, and walked the narrow cobblestone streets of the village. Ms. Hughes expertly pens an absorbing tale with fascinating characters, clever banter, and a sly and smart sense of humor. I could happily read her words all day, every day. Sigh.
A beautifully written story about record executive Juliet Lyman who is sent to Majorca to meet with Lionel Harding to convince him to write the songs he was supposed to have finished months ago or give back the money that he was advanced. Juliet's job is on the line if she can't get Lionel to comply. Lionel is a stubborn man who drinks and smokes too much, but him and Juliet form a close friendship during their time together. Lionel has his reasons for why he is the way he is and Juliet is about to find out. Juliet makes several friends while on Majorca and spends her free time with them. Gabriella works at her family restaurant and has dreams of marrying her boyfriend and opening their own restaurant. Lydia, Gabrielle's grandmother, gives Juliet some advice that she really needs to hear. She also meets Henry, a tennis player, who she gets very serious with. When Juliet realizes she is in love, but it isn't with Henry, she stops seeing him and gathers the courage to confront her true love. Will Juliet finally find happiness and love or will it all come to an end when she returns to Los Angeles? This is the perfect escape in a book. It had everything that I love in a story, great writing, an exotic setting, realistic characters and a story that you never want to end.