Sunday Serenade with Author Alana Lorens

My guest for today's Sunday Serenade is author Alana Lorens. She's here to share a bit about her novel, Second Chances, and Harry Connick, Jr.  


Harry Connick, Jr.—a music man to swoon for

By Alana Lorens

"Let's kick the tires and light the fires, big daddy!"

I first became aware of Harry Connick, Jr. when I watched his performance in 1996’s Independence Day, when his character’s bravado helped launch his squadron into attack. Connick is beyond handsome, and I think I fell for him just a little watching him move about the screen. I knew he was a singer, but I hadn’t really listened to any of his work—he was simply beautiful to look at.

Then when I visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1998, I learned about a whole different side of him—a NOLA boy through and through, but a member of the new generation. He was one of the founders of the Krewe of Orpheus, one of the Mardi Gras’s SuperKrewes, and the first Krewe to allow both men and women and mixed races to ride the floats. 

Connick has been able to guide his career through not only the music field, but on and off the big screen in a number of movies like Memphis Belle  and Copycat (including writing songs for the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack), and onto the Broadway stage, where he starred in a critic-acclaimed revival of The Pajama Game. He’s even judging on American Idol this year, helping launch other musicians’ careers.

But his music is his life, and his style is that of another era. With a nickname, “The Vice Chairman of the Board,” the comparisons to Frank Sinatra are out in the open.

Even with his devotion to his music, he finds time for the important things in his life—his wife of 20 years, Jill, and three children, and the preservation of his hometown, especially in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He’s received multiple civic honors for his co-creation of Musician’s Village (with Branford Marsalis) in the Upper Ninth Ward that was so devastated by that storm. New housing has been built and a historical music center, as well, so that the long history of jazz and other music among the people in NOLA will never be forgotten.

His music lends itself to the growth of love, and I used it for my hero, Kurt Lowdon, and heroine, Inessa Regan, as they came to know and love each other in SECOND CHANCES:

When Inessa Regan gets a pink slip, laid off from her law firm at the age of 42, without prospects she’s sure her life is over. She hides from the world, until her neighbor brings her a client, a young Iraq war veteran dying of cancer.

Kurt Lowdon only wants to make sure his affairs are in order should the worst happen, but meeting Inessa gives him encouragement on the road to recovery. His quest to help her realize her self-worth leads them into dangers they never expected, as horrors from the war and long-hidden family secrets come back to haunt them.


With the lights low, they relaxed over a bottle of merlot and some vintage Harry Connick, Jr. CDs Kurt brought from his apartment. Mindful of his recent treatment, he poured the merlot more generously for his office mate but drank enough to be sociable.

“So, what’s important to you in an assistant—who’s not me?” he asked with a wink. “Do you want someone who’s more experienced working in law, or a clerical generalist, or someone you can teach to do things your way?”

She studied him, suspicious of his good humor. “Whoever we hire can take messages for you, too, make calls, and so on. What do you need?”

“I’m not very demanding. I’d like to get to know her, share time together and maybe spend the night once in awhile.”

“What?” Inessa stared a moment, quickly reviewing the conversation they’d just had to see what she’d missed. “Wait a second. You’re not talking about a secretary at all.”

Mischief twinkled in his eyes.

“Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry. The wine must have gone to my head in my weakened state.” 

She knew he hadn’t had nearly as much wine as she, not even a whole glass over three pourings, while she’d had twice that. Rosy radiance filled her, and she started to wonder if it would make decisions for her. Or if she should let it.

“You’ve done a lot for me, Kurt Lowdon. I’m grateful.”

“I’ve been pleased to help out,” he confessed. “I feel like I’m repaying you for being there in my hour of need.”

She fought the sound of Retreat! inside her head.

“Does this mean I should write that lease?”

“Inessa, I don’t want your money. Not until I know you’re feeling secure and good about where your life is going.” He leaned forward to peek at her feet. “See, you can’t even maintain your brand without me reminding you. The Barefoot Attorney. I swear it’ll be a sensation. Take the legal community by storm.” He winked and sat back as the CD clicked over to Connick’s Your Songs. 

He looked at the wine bottle. “Still some left.”

She slid her glass away from him.

“I’ve had plenty. I’ve got to drive across town.”

“You don’t have to,” he said quietly. “You could stay.”

A little nervous electrical arc ran through her. Here it was, the put-up-or-shut-up moment.

After the conversation they’d had upstairs, the subject had constantly been on her mind. Her insecurities had boiled, then settled, then flared up again. Was it right? The thought of beginning a love affair in the face of so many historical failures scared the hell out of her.


Indeed, a “but” had finally penetrated her fear. Any relationship with Kurt Lowden, in his circumstances, was, by definition, not to be a long-term one, although it might last the remainder of his lifetime. 


She felt him watching her, waiting for her response. The music switched to a classic romantic love song. She felt a rush of heat come up inside her. No matter how often she squelched them, she had normal female desires, so long repressed by this time she was surprised they didn’t flow off her in smoky red ribbons. 

He wanted her. Her.

She wanted him, too. “You’re sure?” she asked.

A flicker of disbelief crossed his face, and ice hit her stomach as she thought she’d misread him. 

He’s going to laugh. He’s going to run. He’s going to— 

He slowly rose and came to stand beside her, cutting off her wild self-destructive inner rant. “I know it sounds corny, but I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” 

He took her hand and raised her gently to her feet, slipping his free arm around her to pull her to him.

She hadn’t noticed before that he was inches taller than she, but such close proximity made it abundantly clear. As she started to speak, he stopped her with his lips, kissing her first almost feather-light then, as she relaxed, becoming more insistent. Her own passion, long-denied, erupted into thought-numbing pleasure as he continued to kiss her, moving from her lips to her cheeks, the sensitive skin of her neck, and his tongue flicked her ear. Her hands clutched at his back. She moaned as his touch made her knees weak

Then he came back to her lips, and she returned his kiss with growing eagerness. Thoughts of spontaneous combustion flitting through her head, she finally broke away, words eluding her.

“I want you,” he whispered, breath hot in her ear. “Come upstairs with me.”



Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, CONVICTION OF THE HEART (The Wild Rose Press), SECOND CHANCES (Zumaya Publications), and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press on Valentine’s Day 2014.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children still at home in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe. 


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