It’s release day for Make Me Yours *throws confetti* and for the past 10 days, I’ve been doing a Top 10 countdown of the songs that inspired Claire and Ryan’s sweet, sexy, swoony, heartfelt, angsty, emotional, and did I mention sexy rock star second chance romance.
I posted a song a day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now you can listen to the whole playlist here, and scroll down to see music videos and my write up about why I chose each song!
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 10! ⭐
This song has been playing on repeat in my mind ever since I first decided to write a musician hero. If there’s one song that sums up Ryan, and one artist who most inspired his character, it’s this one. I MEAN LOOK AT THE MAN. LISTEN TO HIS VOICE. The lyrics are romantic and heartbreaking and his sound is as gruff, sexy, and delicious as any mountain man.
“Your eyes are full of train smoke
And your mouth tastes like rain,
And I know when I know nothing
I will always know your name.
You’re my one and only one
You’re my only one.”
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 9! ⭐
I don’t want to give any spoilers, but before I knew all the details of what was going to happen in the book, I knew what Ryan’s grand gesture was going to be. The idea for it came from a 2003 album by Lori McKenna called Kitchen Tapes.
McKenna recorded the raw, stripped-down album at her kitchen table, with just her voice and an acoustic guitar. She has said, “The recordings are far from perfect, but they were never meant to be. I’d like to think that their imperfections add to their beauty, and I hope you will, too.”
That quote summarizes a lot about Claire and Ryan—and all the characters in the Men of Gold Mountain books. They’re far from perfect, but they aren’t supposed to be! Their imperfections are what make them real.
I picked the song Beautiful Man from the album Kitchen Tapes as number 9 in my countdown because it makes me think about Claire and how she felt when she was young and supporting Ryan in the early days of his music career.
“I want to save you from yourself
I want to save you from everybody else”
“I should have told you you were, you are worthy
I, I should have shown you you are
You are a beautiful man”
Claire tries to save Ryan and do everything she can for him. She feels like she should have done more to show him that he’s worthy and a beautiful man. But ultimately, he has to save himself.
I used to see Lori McKenna play at Club Passim in Harvard Square when I was a teenager with Doc Martens and blue hair. I love that she’s been a soundtrack to my life for years! (She’s since appeared on Oprah and toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and she won Best Country Song at the Grammy’s in 2016 and 2017!)
I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do! It’s so fitting for Claire and Ryan’s journey.
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 8! ⭐
So, Ryan was definitely a partier when he and Claire were young. He only had eyes for her…but he was also a bad boy rock star who wanted to have a good time.
“I just wanna have fun and get rowdy.”
Yeah, that about sums it up.
But Ryan’s all grown up now and ready to prove to Claire that he can be the man she and their daughter need. I wanted a song that shows the wild side of Ryan’s past and the life of a big time rock star…but also the dedication and commitment he has to the one woman he loves.
“You know, that since the day I met you
Yeah, you swept me off my feet
You know, that I don’t need no money
When your love is beside me
Yeah, you opened up my heart
And then you threw away the key
Girl, now it’s just you and me”
Claire opens Ryan’s heart, and when they’re beside each other, they can tackle anything. This song makes me think about how far they’ve both come, and how happy they are when they get their HEA.
Plus, can talk about how FREAKING HOT Liam Payne is??? TATTOOS, SCRUFF, AND A PUPPY (pic in comments). Ryan’s ink is two bands around his forearm, to remind him of the wedding bands he never got for himself and Claire. Maybe I should have given him a full sleeve instead…
(h/t to my friend Kait for first showing me Liam’s pic as an example of tattooed rock star goodness and making me take notice!!!)
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 7! ⭐
Continuing with the stripping theme. ;) … I’ll admit it, I find this song a little cheesy. But what can I say, I like cheesy! Especially when it’s a scruffy man singing sexy lyrics like “Dirty dance me slow in the summertime heat / Feel my belt turn loose from these old blue jeans.”
Sometimes sexy is hard and fast, with no holding back. But sometimes sexy is slow and sensual, savoring every moment. That’s what this song reminds me of, and the closeness that comes from being with someone you know so well. Plus, there’s something about a man in his favorite pair of jeans… Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
This song is also the perfect pairing for a second chance romance. It’s about rediscovering each other and getting back to what’s important. Ryan could have sung these lyrics to Claire: “They ain’t holdin’ nothin’ these two hands / Until they’re holding you again.” #priorities
I love the reminder in this song, and in Make Me Yours, that love isn’t just the exciting butterflies at the beginning of a relationship. It’s the deeper stuff that just gets better and better over time.
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 6! ⭐
This is such a pretty, heartfelt song and it always makes me smile. It’s basically an HEA in music form. Love means that no matter what happens, there’s someone to come home to—someone who has your back through the bad times as well as the good, and who’s there for you when you feel amazing and also when you feel like sh*t. It’s the kind of love Griffin sings about in this song, which is exactly what I wanted to convey between Ryan and Claire as I was writing Make Me Yours.
“Anytime you say it with heart
Anytime you’re falling apart
When you’re washing the sheets
Any stranger you meet
When there’s somebody waving goodbye
You’re coming home to me, just remember
You’re coming home to me”
Griffin has said this song is about “what really goes on inside, deep down.” I think romance is also about “what really goes on inside, deep down.” Or at least the kind of romance I like to write and read! Ryan struggles to share what he’s really thinking and feeling—but he also learns that if he holds it all in and never opens up to Claire, he’ll miss out on the most important connection of his life.
I like to think that after the last page of Make Me Yours, when Claire and Ryan continue with their lives, he’s singing to her: “You’re coming home to me, just remember / You’re coming home to me.”
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 5! ⭐
“I get a little bit Genghis Khan
I don’t want you to get it on
With nobody else but me
With nobody else but me”
Because Claire and Ryan dated in the past, I really wanted to capture how all those feelings hit them again when they reconnect. This song inspired me to make Ryan be juuuust the right kind of possessive. Not that he’s an asshole—sorry, I can’t stand asshole heroes! But he knows how much he wants Claire and there’s NO WAY he’s going to let her get away again.
I love that this song is upbeat and a little bit silly, but it also gets at feelings that I think we can all relate to! (No? just me?)
It’s so crazy stressful to not know where a relationship stands or what’s going on—or at least it’s crazy stressful for Claire! Can you handle a spoiler? She and Ryan totally figure it out. 😉
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 4! ⭐
Ford’s voice in this song is sexy and sweet, but the lyrics are scathing. I love the contrast, and it’s perfect for Claire. She’s sweet and caring, but she’s done taking shit. That’s my girl!
“And I’m sorry that you don’t like your life
But I fought for my own victories
And for the beauty in my life
And my joy, my joy, my joy takes nothing from you
No my joy, my joy takes nothing from you”
Those lyrics make me stand up a little straighter and think, you know what? I GOT THIS.
I also love the music video for this song. It’s three women strutting around a neighborhood in Canada dancing, living life, and being real. I like to think that they’re a group of friends like the friends in Gold Mountain. They have each other’s backs, and they aren’t going to see their best friends suffer for the wrong man…or give up on the right one.
Claire and Ryan broke up five years before the story begins. When they reconnect, it’s clear they’ve both changed. A lot. They have to struggle to get their HEA, but doesn’t that make the happily ever after that much more satisfying?
I’d give a warning for curse words in this song…but if you’re here, I’m pretty sure you’re cool with that! ;)
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 3! ⭐
Are there any songs that you think of as really sexy, even though they’re not explicit? I’ve always thought this song is SO SEXY, even though it’s not “dirty.” When I think of romantic songs, it’s the first one that comes to mind.
“I felt your skin, I felt the heat
As you pulled me out into the street
And you kissed me there till I was weak— ’cause I asked you to
And later on on your kitchen floor
Two flights above the grocery store
I felt things I never felt before, and still do”
I’ve always thought those lyrics are so swoony. Add in the fact that in the song, she and her lover are driving at night on an empty desert road, and you have the Official Recipe for Rebecca Brooks Catnip.
If you’ve read any of my books before, you know I write ‘em HOT. Songs like this remind me that what’s really sexy isn’t just writing some dirty words on the page and calling it done. Making a sex scene FEEL erotic takes so much more. To me, the hottest books are full of emotion, so that I can’t wait for the characters to get together and rip. their. clothes. off.
Claire and Ryan go through a whole range of emotions in Make Me Yours, with laughter and tears. I like to think their smoking hot chemistry is all the more explosive for the moments when nothing explicit is being said…but it doesn’t have to be, because they know—and the reader knows—how badly they want it!
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 2! ⭐
This song inspired the book because of these two lines:
✨Love is patient, but still unyielding
If you leave it long enough it lets you go✨
Every time this song comes on my playlist, I think about how true those lines are.
They’re especially true for Claire and Ryan. They loved each other when they were young, and they never stopped loving each other. But there was a time when Ryan didn’t nurture their love or give it the attention it needed. He left his love for Claire, and eventually, for the sake of their daughter, she had to let him go.
Five years later, Ryan knows his mistake. This time, he’s going to make sure she knows how he feels. He’s going to be there for his daughter, too, and never let that love go.
Love can put up with a lot without breaking. But when we neglect our love or think it doesn’t need our attention, it can leave us behind. I love the beautiful harmonies in this song, and I especially love the reminder that my characters need to take care of each other. Always.
⭐ TOP 10 SONGS COUNTDOWN – NUMBER 1! ⭐
I have no idea what the word OctaHate is supposed to mean. But I don’t care! All I know is that this song is catchy and awesome.
“I can’t take it
From the day I saw
My heart start breaking
No one saved me
I can’t take it
Can’t believe I went and
Lost you baby
Earth keeps shaking
Oh, you let me down”
I posted a breakup song a few days ago, and this is another great one. I can imagine Claire feeling this way when she and Ryan broke up when she was pregnant. She was so shocked to have lost her love, and it felt like the Earth was shaking all around her. Ryan seriously let her down, and that changed her life completely.
But even though no one saved Claire, she went and saved herself. And that’s what makes me love her and root for her and her HEA. Her heart broke, but she got back up. And when she sees Ryan again five years later, she’s not the same girl whose world had fallen apart.
The music video for this song is really fun, with two girls basically losing their shit as they have a completely decadent meal that turns into a food fight with dancing on the table. It’s so over the top. But hey, sometimes you need your BFF to scream it out with you!
Read the book that all these songs inspired:
Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks Entangled Add to Goodreads