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
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
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
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
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
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
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
shoulder under John’s arm to help him balance.
“Charlotte?” He asked, still very weak, but in a muchimproved
Charlotte couldn’t tell if John had a question for her, or if
he was repeating the name because he couldn’t remember who
“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
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.
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