Reverse (The Bittersweet Symphony Duet #2)

Reverse (The Bittersweet Symphony Duet #2)

Kate Stewart

For my dear friend, Autumn Gantz. I can’t imagine what life would be like if you hadn’t picked up the phone five years ago and taken a chance on a writer who was struggling to realize her dream. A frank conversation about a music-based book I had yet to release started our inevitable 11:11 journey, and I’m so incredibly grateful for every step.

And for all those creatives who we declared heroes before we spotlighted their flaws and exploited their demons. Forgive us, for we know not what we did.

You were only human.

HA! See what happened there? I can’t take pun credit, it occurred naturally.

Welcome to my first forward. I’m pretty sure I will be terrible at this, but alas, I must because I need to preface the setting for this book.

Picture this, Sicily, 2035, wait…this isn’t a Golden Girl’s episode.

Let’s try this then…

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene—year, 2035…Nope, that doesn’t really work either.

Okay, so here goes. Years ago, I decided Drive would never, ever, ever, ever, have a sequel and swore as much vehemently over the years that followed.

In January of this year, I made myself a liar.

So, nearly five years of “I’m not doing it” later, inspiration hit. I would love to apologize for the direction this one took, bearing in mind the requests from readers for a different take, but alas, I cannot because I fell passionately in love with this story and the characters.

Why all this gibberish, Kate? This book takes place thirteen years into the future, in the year 2035, which gave me a few liberties, that I did not take to the crazy extent. There are no flying cars in this book, nor do the characters materialize in a “Beam me up, Scotty” way. This isn’t that kind of book.

That said, I spruced up a few things technologically to suit this story—and I mean very few—to the point they’ll probably go unnoticed by some or many. Other things noted in the book have been aged well beyond our current year of 2022.

While I did my absolute best to keep up with the timeline from the previous book, the age progressions, and the love story timelines of all characters, I may have fumbled a little with the ball. I’m not saying I did, but it happens.

So, my request to you, dear reader, is…go with it and just enjoy this tale of woe from that of Juliet and her Romeo. Kind of. No spoilers here.

**Clears throat.**

As was the case with DRIVE, book #1, the chapter headings in REVERSE are clickable, so you can listen while you read to further enhance your experience. If nothing else, I implore you to listen to the songs during the most crucial chapters as they really do elevate the story. Music is both the muse and basis for this series.

If you have not read Drive, I strongly urge you to stop and grab it here before proceeding to this story. Is it necessary? Absolutely. If you want to experience and feel this book as I intended while writing, it’s a must.

Once again, I must thank you, dear reader, for giving my books a try with all my heart. I hope you enjoy it.



To experience this book in its entirety, like Drive, we have made this an interactive e-book. Each chapter heading is a clickable link to the song so you can listen while you read. And because this duet is my personal ode to my driving force—music—I couldn’t resist incorporating the soundtrack through Spotify.

Download Spotify for free. Listen to the Reverse Playlist.

Listen to The Bittersweet Symphony Duet Playlist.

“With the lights out, it’s less dangerous

Here we are now, entertain us”


“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Someone Like You




Glancing over my monitor to his office across the bustling newsroom, I see him typing a mile a minute. Rolling my chair closer to my desk, I duck out of his line of sight in an effort to shield my guilty conscience.

Nate Butler

Subject: Decisions

June 7, 2005, 2:23 a.m.

Salutations post countless beers,

I find it amusing that you work at a place called The Plate Bar. Did those idiot owners even research the name? I’m sitting on the patio at my best friend’s place, staring at the city lights, and I’m wondering where you are. I swore I wouldn’t bother you after beer one, and then decided on a formal email after beer three. But I still can’t afford you. It’s sad, really. So, the countdown begins, Miss Emerson. And though it’s just a few short months away, I find myself wanting to make one last effort to persuade you to go out with me (for research purposes of course). I have two tickets for the Ritz this Saturday.


Nate Butler

Editor in Chief, Austin Speak

Sent via Blackberry

“Natalie, line four,” Elena, our office receptionist, chimes in as I damn near jump out of my skin. “It’s Jack with The Dallas Morning News.”

Nerves firing off as they have for the last half hour, I stand abruptly and think better of it, easing back into my chair. A closed door may pique Dad’s interest. I press the intercom to reception. “Tell him I’ll call him back, and Elena, I need an hour without interruption, okay?”

“Sure, hon,” she replies with the maternal tone she’s always used with me. I don’t take offense to it—even in this professional setting—because she watched me grow up at this paper. To her, I’ll always be the ginger-headed, twin-braid sporting little girl that considered the office furniture a part of my playground. Turning down the volume on my phone while my conscience screams at me, I glance around quickly before scanning the first few emails again.

Nate Butler

Subject: Courtesy

June 7, 2005, 5:01 p.m.

It is my understanding that a drunken man extended a concert invitation to you last night. And while I do not condone that behavior, especially from a future employer to employee, I find it extremely rude that said invitation has not been acknowledged. Teamwork is key here at Austin Speak, Miss Emerson. I can only assume you take your position seriously and are against the feminist lyrics of Sheryl Crow. My apologies. Moving forward, I will refrain from extracurricular emails, but will settle for a second interview, in my office, by 6:00 p.m. today.

Nate Butler

Editor in Chief, Austin Speak

Sent Via Blackberry

Nate Butler

Subject: Oversight

June 8, 2005, 11:13 a.m.

It occurred to me that you may not be receiving these emails, but I think we both know, Miss Emerson, that is not the case. And since I have no proof of this, I have no choice but to believe you remain steadfast in your decision not to mix business with research, however disconcerting that may be due to the nature of your profession. But for the sake of office morale, I may be so inclined to have a beer at our place around 6:00 p.m. this evening to discuss this issue.

Nate Butler

Editor in Chief, Austin Speak

Sent via Blackberry

“Geez, Dad, laying it on thick,” I whisper with a budding grin, popping up once more from behind my screen before zeroing in.

Stella Emerson

Subject: Deadlines

June 10, 2005, 9:42 p.m.

Dear Mr. Butler,

I am flattered by your correspondence and excited about the chance of working with you. Due to my current situation, I am unable to receive emails in a timely manner because of connection issues. I will be remedying this situation within the coming weeks. While all invitations are appreciated, I prefer to do my research alone. I am happy to report that things are rapidly progressing with my articles, and they will be delivered to you in two months’ time.

Best Wishes,

Stella Emerson

Future Entertainment Columnist, Austin Speak

Sent via The Plate Bar

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