The Night Waltz

On this night, the longest night, darkness waltzed in her own glory through deserted Jackson Square.

The vintage apartment on Rue Ste. Anne looked festive and, aside from a bit of shimmer on the hardwood floor, immaculate.

“What the—” Steven turned in a slow circle. He was standing in a sea of glitter. “Bloody hell! The staff will throw a fit.”

Coordinating the brush and dustpan was an awkward struggle until a trail of pine needles caught his eye. He dropped the tools and followed the track through a hidden wall panel and down into Lock’s private chambers to find a barefoot man, standing on a ladder.

“What took you so long?”

“You’re decorating another tree?” Steven giggled out loud. “You have two in the parlor already.”

“This is my personal tree.” Lock pointed to a table overflowing with velvet bags and colored ornaments. “All local antiques. I’ve been collecting.”

“Lots of sparkle.”

“I knew you would approve.” Lock pushed Steven into a formal chair and lit the sea of candles arranged around him. “A drink for my honored guest?”

Steven pointed at the cognac decanter.

“Perfect choice.” Lock sauntered to the bar and returned with a snifter. He knelt down, unlaced Steven’s shoes and tossed them away. “Now, relax while I work.”

“You’re seducing me?”

“Between my charm and the twinkling lights.” Lock unbuttoned his white shirt. “I certainly hope so.”

Steven’s eyes grew wide as he watched Lock float across the room and drop his shirt to the floor. “You know, you need to clean each crystal teardrop before you hang it.”

Lock’s glowing skin rippled over his warrior muscles as he fluffed branches. “Always in charge, aren’t you?” He breathed on each ornament and polished.

Wicked mercy. Steven pointed to the other side of the massive tree. “You might need to move the ladder. Lift things.”

“Yes, sir.” Lock climbed down one rung at a time and dropped his jeans to the floor before he repositioned the ladder.

Steven caught his breath and hid it with a healthy sip of cognac. He grinned and nodded vigorously when Lock looked in his direction. “Lovely…big blank space over there. Keep working.” He waited until Lock turned his back before unzipping his trousers and settling deeper into the chair.

Lock ran his hands under the waistband of his satin boxer shorts and slipped them lower on his narrow hips. He leaned across the tree, adjusting each jewel until they twirled flawlessly.

He loves watching me watch him. Steven melted into the romantic room. His eyes wandered across Lock’s sculpted physique. How did I get so lucky?

Lock flashed across the chamber, leaned on the arms of Steven’s chair and whispered in his ear. “Any more instructions?”

“Explain to me, how you’re so tan.” Steven unbuttoned his cuffs and ran his hands up Lock’s chest. “I’m a ghost next to you.”

“I was a surfer in Australia.” Lock brushed his lips across Steven’s mouth. “This is pale for me.”

“Don’t you miss it?”

“I used to.” Lock shifted back and locked gazes with Steven. “Then I stepped into New Orleans and laid eyes on you.”

“Tell me, again, when did you first see me?”

“At the Masquerade Ball—in your tuxedo and black mask, ordering everyone around.” Lock slid his thumb across Steven’s lower lip. “The past vanished that night. Now, I cherish the moments…every moment with you.”

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Steven rubbed his nose against Lock’s. “Out of all that tragedy…it’s unbelievable.”

Lock dove into Steven’s lips, lifted him out of the chair and tossed him on the bed. “Believe it.”

“Wait!” Steven seized Lock’s hands just as he grabbed fistfuls of silk. “Custom tailored shirt.”

Lock flashed a smile and bared his fangs. “Take it off or I’ll rip it off.”

 

To all the Children of the Darkness…

A Very Blessed Nightside!

Just in case you missed how Steven arrived at Lock’s private decorating party…

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Juggling Egos

 

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 Monsters & Angels

 

Two Giveaways & A Surprise!

Seasons Greetings Monsters & Angels Fans!

To celebrate December we have 2 new giveaways! 

 

 

United States Fans!

Win 1 of 5 Kindle Editions!

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Amazon Giveaway

 

 

 

International Fans!

Win 1 of 2 signed copies!

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What about the surprise??

Monsters & Angels will soon be available as an #audiobook narrated by the talented Sara Bakay!

@sbakay

 

Monsters & Angels in Paperback and Kindle…Available Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collide + Giveaway!

When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred. Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.

Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.


When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.


COLLIDE by Melanie Burt Standford, is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH.

Thanks Anne Marie, for having me today! And thank you for the idea to post about my Top 10 Inspirations!

I’m so excited that COLLIDE, my second Romance Revisited novel, is finally out! It’s about Maggie, a small-town girl who runs away to Vegas to pursue her dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer, and Jay, a loan shark’s enforcer who wants to own his own boxing gym one day. Naturally, when they meet sparks fly. It wouldn’t be a romance otherwise, now would it!

So here are my Top 10 Inspirations for COLLIDE:

1. North & South. COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic novel. I wouldn’t call it a retelling because I make quite a few changes, but I wouldn’t have written COLLIDE without Gaskell’s beloved novel. There are so many great things about this book, and while it wasn’t easy putting it into a modern-day setting, I had a fun time trying!

2. Small-town living. In the original, Margaret Hale and her parents move from a small town in the South to a bustling, enterprising city in the North. In COLLIDE, Maggie is from Hillstone, a fictitious small town that’s inspired by where I live right now mixed with a healthy dose of idealising what a small town should be like. Maggie needed to come from somewhere so different from Vegas, and from Jay, that I really amped up Hillstone’s charm.

 3. The BBC movie (or miniseries, or whatever it’s called- there are four parts). I watched this before I ever read the book and it is FANTASTIC. (In fact, I like it better than the book, but don’t tell anyone.) One of my favorite things is how the actors do so well with their facial expressions that words aren’t necessary to know exactly what they’re thinking. It’s a must-watch for period drama fans.

 4. “Jungle” by X Ambassadors. I talk playlist at another blog tour stop, but when I heard this song, it evoked exactly how Maggie feels about Vegas. Before she goes she’s thinking it’s going to be beautiful and exciting, but it doesn’t turn out that way. One lyric especially really sums up Vegas for her: “…ain’t no God on these streets/In the heart of the jungle.”

5. Richard Armitage. His brooding stare, his smolder, the proposal and then his rebuttal. The end scene on the train platform *dies*. And, of course, one of my favorite lines from the movie, “Look back. Look back at me.”

6. Muay Thai. When I decided Jay was going to be an enforcer, I also wanted him to want to be better, do something different with his life. So I gave him a job at a boxing gym—he’s a good fighter after all—and an ambition to own it one day. A lot of the scenes at the gym were inspired by the years my son took Muay Thai classes.

7. Being Erica. So you’ll probably wonder why this short-lived Canadian TV show would have any bearing on my modern N&S romance. Here’s the deal. In the original story, Mr. Thornton is a mill owner. In the movie, Margaret first meets Mr. Thornton at the mill where he’s beating up one of his workers who was smoking near the cotton. Margaret is of course horrified, and Mr. Thornton wants her out of there. This scene stuck with me when I was considering what job to give my character Jay. At the same time as I was planning the novel, I was watching Being Erica. In season three, Erica starts dating Adam, a loan shark’s enforcer… you see where this is going. I guess the job sorta stuck with me.

8. My own upbringing. They say write what you know. Well, my dad has never been a “preacher,” but he held various religious positions in his life. I grew up in a very religious household. That being said, Maggie is not me and her parents are not my parents. But it wasn’t hard to write characters where religion is the backbone of who they are.

 9. So You Think You Can Dance. SYTYCD is one of my favorite reality shows. I’ve watched it faithfully since season one. So when I was considering what Maggie’s “dream” would be, dance was an easy choice. I chose contemporary dance specifically because it’s such a beautiful art form, and often misunderstood or underappreciated. SYTYCD has some of the best contemporary choreography I have ever seen. (Melanie and Neil’s routine to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is my all-time fave.)

 10. Las Vegas. In my very first draft, Maggie moves from Hillstone to Milton, the name of the city in Gaskell’s original work. I quickly decided to change that to a real setting. I’ve been to Vegas multiple times. It’s both beautiful and ugly, exciting and boring, dangerous and drab. Most cities are probably like this, but Vegas is over-the-top this. I did consider LA, but I’d already set SWAY there, and New York, but New York felt too big, both in size and as a dream for Maggie. Vegas felt like the perfect place for Maggie to run to, for her parents to object to, and for Jay to have grown up in.

So there you have it. The Top 10 things that inspired my novel COLLIDE. Hope this inspires you to pick up a copy!

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BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Collide-Romance-Revisited-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07786KX2W/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Collide-Romance-Revisited-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07786KX2W/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Collide-Romance-Revisited-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07786KX2W/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/collide-melanie-stanford/1127188380?ean=2940155034551

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/collide-34

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Stanford writes romance and YA of different genres. Her first novel, SWAY, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, debuted December 2015 from Samhain Publishing and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Since Samhain’s closure, Melanie decided to republish SWAY herself, along with the rest of her Romance Revisited series: CLASH, a Romance Revisited novella, COLLIDE, and a third novel coming 2018. She also has short stories featured in the Austenesque anthologies THE DARCY MONOLOGUES and THEN COMES WINTER.

Melanie reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

Website: http://melaniestanfordbooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelMStanford/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelanieStanfordauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melanie_stanford/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14079511.Melanie_Stanford

GIVEAWAY!!

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Wicked Soul by Nora Ash

Wicked Soul
by Nora Ash
(Ancient Blood, #1)
Publication date: February 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

 

Synopsis:

He saved me… And then he blood-bonded me. Now I’m his.

My first meeting with a Chicago vampire went better than expected.

Up until that night, all I knew about vampires was limited to a few common facts: they drink blood, they get a mean sunburn and if you find yourself alone with one, you’re dead.

Except he didn’t kill me.

Sexy, broody Warin clearly had his own reasons for sparing my life and tying me with his blood, but if he’d known how much trouble I’d attract, I bet he wouldn’t have bothered. When he blood-bonded me, secrets even I didn’t know about myself came to light.

Secrets that will pull us both deep into the eternal war between vampires and the witches determined to rid the world of their evil.

We have only one choice now: fight the forces hell-bent on breaking our bond…

Or die.

 

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36388708-wicked-soul

Pre-order:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077FTT891
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wicked-soul/id1294122832
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wicked-soul-nora-ash/1127201561
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/wicked-soul
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=d4s-DwAAQBAJ
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/759069

 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

 

Nora Ash writes the sort of books that have your toes curling and your blood pulsing. Her stories are often dark and always thrilling, with lots of sexy bad boys and the women who spur their desires. When not typing away at a story, Nora paints, eats chocolate or go for hikes around the English countryside with her very own bad boy.

Sign up to get updated about new releases at: http://www.nora-ash.com/newsletter/

Author links:

https://twitter.com/NoraAshWrites

http://www.nora-ash.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNoraAsh/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8118312.Nora_Ash

 

October 11th…The Trailer…

I know I didn’t need a book trailer…I absolutely wanted one!

 

This is, by far, my favorite piece of the Monsters & Angels release day fun…but there’s still a party tonight.

Yes, there will be pictures!

Visit

Anne Marie Andrus Facebook

AnneMarieAndrus.com

Before Things Get Too Crazy…

So, Wednesday October 11th is the official launch day for Monsters & Angels. Those of you who have been following my blog know the project is more about heart and spirit than selling books. When I started writing this story, I never imagined I would be publishing it. 

From the bottom of my heart, I’d like all my readers to know how much I appreciate the team that made my dreams come true!

 

Monsters & Angels
Acknowledgments

 

Writing these acknowledgments is scary because I’m sure I’ll miss an essential contributor…but here we go!

First, I want to thank my husband Scott for being my grandest cheerleader and sharing in every bit of blessed craziness it took to finish this project.

Thank you to all the friends, family and fellow writers who made my dream of publishing Monsters & Angels come true:

Jordan Rosenfeld, my first editor without whom this novel would still be an unfinished, messy manuscript; Katie Bartholomew Anderson for your analysis, editing and encouragement; Racquel Kechagias, my critique partner, for your precious insight and love of Raimond; Kat Mancos, for your messages and support; Magali Frechette, my cover designer who saw my vision and hit it out of the park; Ray Laskowitz, for your New Orleanian wisdom; Lynn Cozza, the genuine Dragon Lady; Christina Mercer, Suzanne, Crystal, Brooke, and Marissa, my earliest readers who loved the story enough to carry me past my doubts; Karen Andrus for her French Quarter insider tips: John Andrus, for driving me to Commander’s Palace; Diane Bartholomew, for her legendary quotes; Bruce and Ryan Bartholomew, for asking me questions that made me think; New Orleans, the city, the people, and your collective spirit.

And finally, the cast of Monsters & Angels. You inspired me, grabbed my hand, led me on an extravagant journey, and brought me home richer than when I left.

Merci beacoup!

 

You Have To Be Odd To Be Number One — Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

If Dr Seuss is right, and he usually is, then I am in very good company. I, along with nineteen other writers, have taken new horror anthology The Box Under The Bed to number one in the Amazon new releases chart, which was a nice thing to discover on a Monday morning. This is […]

via You Have To Be Odd To Be Number One — Secret Diary Of PorterGirl