Tag Archives: Amy Andrews

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND CHOCOLATE: Release day post featuring Amy Andrews + EXCERPT

When a trinket is not just a trinket

by Amy Andrews

It’s funny how a small thing you can write into a book ends up playing a much bigger role than you ever planned.

In All’s Fair In Love And Chocolate my hero, Reuben, gives the heroine, Vivian, an antique music box for Christmas, sort of similar to the one pictured. Here’s the scene from the book with its description. 

The bartender arrived and Vivian gave him her order before turning back to Reuben, her knees brushing his, her gaze falling on the gift bag for the first time. She stared at it for a beat or two with confusion then what looked like trepidation before carefully schooling her expression and raising her eyes to meet his. “I thought we said no Christmas gifts.”

Reuben picked it up by the red raffia handles and placed it in front of her. “It’s not a Christmas present,” he said with a nothing-to-see-here smile. “I swear. I just…saw it today and…thought of you.” 

She looked from him to it and back to him again. “You did, huh?”

“Yep.” He nodded. “You’ll understand when you open it.” 

If she opened it…She was looking at it like it was a ticking bomb and he wouldn’t be surprised if she refused. The thought irritated him suddenly. He was allowed to fuck her but not buy her something pretty?  

“I…” She glanced down then back up again. “I didn’t get you anything.”

Reuben gave a half laugh, a half sigh. “Vivian…I didn’t expect you to get me anything it was just an impulse thing. It’s not for Christmas, I promise.” He nudged it towards her because now he really wanted her to open it. “But I think you’ll like it.” 

The bar tender interrupted by putting Vivian’s wine down and she thanked him and took a sip before returning her attention to the gift bag, putting her hand inside and withdrawing the box that was a couple of inches across the base and about four inches high.

It was the original box which, given it was almost eighty years old, has seen better days but he was pleased he hadn’t wrapped it in the Santa paper he’d almost bought for the occasion. She was freaked out enough as it was without getting Santa involved.  

Placing the box down on the bar, she opened the top flap, glancing at him as she reached inside to pull the object out before looking back at the music box. Reuben glanced at it again because it was impossible not to. It was quite unlike anything he’d ever seen and here, in the understated elegance of the Graf, the music box with its old fashioned craftsmanship and well…whimsy, looked perfectly at home. 

Returning his attention to Vivian, he watched as she examined it, her frown of irritation softening and then dissolving as her expression morphed to one of utter delight. “Ohhh Reuben,” she murmured breathily. “It’s…enchanting.”

It was enchanté. Just like her. 

The inch-high, round base was made from milky mother-of-pearl and embellished with swirly clusters of fine silver filigree. Nestling it in her palm, she brought it closer to study it, turning her hand this way and that as her gaze roved over the myriad decorative details. 

Atop the base protruding from its outer circular edge were four exquisite mother-of-pearl panels abutted to form a semi-circular screen. On the outside they had the same swirly silver filigree embellishments. On the inside a glossy hand painted scene of a snowy wood graced the panels. Dark green pine trees, their branches and tops laden with snow formed the perfect backdrop as they towered over the two, inch-high figures, placed in the centre of the piece on a mirrored floor that was tarnished in a spot or two. 

It was a man and a woman dressed in old fashioned clothes similar to what the carollers had worn at the Stroll. They were standing in a waltzing position but they weren’t dancing. Ice skates were on their feet and their scarves and her hair and dress blew out behind them to indicate movement.

They were skating. On a lake. Surrounded by a wood.

“There’s a winder on the bottom,” Reuben reached for it. “May I?”

She nodded and Reuben took it, surprised all over again at how heavy it was for such a small object. Flipping it over, he turned the winder, and set it down on the bar. Irving Berlin’s classic tune White Christmas wafted into the air clear and high with a crinkly, timeless quality that harked back to the days of pianolas and smoky saloons. 

The couple in the middle turned around and around, skating in circles and Reuben watched Vivian, watched the myriad expressions flit across her face as she smiled. “It reminded me of ice skating on Miracle Lake with you,” he said. “I thought it’d be a nice memento of your time here in Marietta.”

“Oh yes.” She dragged her eyes off the music box as the winder wound down and the couple slowed. “It’s the most perfect thing.” She slid her hand on top of his, her brown eyes dancing with pleasure. “Thank you, Reuben.” She leaned in and kissed him, her hand sliding onto his face, her fingers pushing into his hair. “It’s so…thoughtful. I will treasure it.”

Which was exactly what he’d hoped for when he’d bought it. 

“Then my work here is done,” he said, keeping his voice light and teasing because his heart was filling with something heavier and more serious and they didn’t need that.

 “Sir? Madam?” The bar tender interrupted. “Your table is ready?”

 

Being a bit of an antique nut, I had a lot of fun researching this little trinket! I knew what I wanted it to look like in my head and was utterly delighted when I found similar objects to drool over! But, aside from the pure and utter gorgeousness of the gift, it went on to play a much bigger role in the story. In the end, it’s the music box that becomes the catalyst for Vivian to re-examine certain things.

I can’t say much more because spoilers, suffice to say that Reuben sure knew what he was doing when he purchased it for Vivian

And if you’d like to check out more inspirations for the book, why not drop in to my Pinterest board here – https://www.pinterest.com.au/amyandrewsbooks/mareitta-xmas/

 

Amy is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling Aussie author who has written sixty plus contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She’s sold two million books and been translated into over a dozen languages including manga.

Her books bring all the feels from sass, quirk and laughter to emotional grit to panty-melting heat. Yes, her books feature lots of sex and kissing. You probably shouldn’t try one if you think the sexy times belong behind closed doors – Amy rips the door right off the hinges.

She loves good books and great booze although she’ll take mediocre booze if there’s nothing else. She has two grown kids who have flown the coop for distant shores which is awesome because now she has a good reason to travel instead of because I want to.

At sixteen she met a guy she knew she was going to marry and she did. He’s the kind of guy who can start a fire with nothing but two stones, construct a dwelling from half a dozen tree branches and a ball of string, mend anything that’s broken with weird fixit juju and navigate home blindfolded with both arms tied behind his back but will also happily eat cornflakes for dinner when a deadline is looming. True hero material.

For many, many years she was a registered nurse. Which means she knows things. Anatomical things. And she’s not afraid to use them!

She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.

Fun Facts: The Fairy Tales of New York

All four authors of The Fairy Tales of New York series are here! Who’s ready to chat fun facts about these amazing stories?

KellyHunter-300dpiKelly Hunter

When Amy and Heidi first spoke of writing stories that riffed off fairy tales, stories set around an old Irish pub in Brooklyn, I was so on board. Add convent schools and many brothers and honestly, I didn’t know which bits to sink teeth into first. I chose the youngest brother as my hero, called him Finbar, and promptly made him a musician – a Broadway pit musician to begin with. Possibly a composer. Or maybe a session musician. It got so bad that the other authors took to checking what he was this week. And then he got ambitious. The king of instruments, the violin, for my guy? Done. Insane talent, ruthlessly harnessed? Sure. Steely determination, passion, patience and perseverance? A necessity, given the heroine I had in mind for him. In the end I made him a world-class concert violinist and got busy listening to real-world violinists play. As for that pesky problem of the baby of the family not alpha’ing up? Gone.

 

HeidiRice-300dpiHeidi Rice

In October 2013 I went on a 2-week road trip to the US with my best mate. We decided to Air BnB it, which meant staying in a garage apartment in the Louisiana bayou, a cabin in the Texas Hill Country and a housebarge in Brooklyn among other places. That housebarge stuck with me and when I decided to do a riff on Rapunzel for my story and my runaway supermodel needed to escape from her ivory tower with a hero who had a place for her to stay which would be safe from the press… Well, that housebarge, tucked away in a little marina off Knapp St, seemed perfect. Then I had to figure out why my heroine was running from the press and I remembered the day we walked to Manhattan Beach and – because it was scorching hot and the beach was beautiful and not at all what we’d expected to find in Brooklyn – we were dying to go for a dip but had no swimsuits with us. So we went swimming in our underwear! As you do. Bit mad, especially when all the local Russian Orthodox Jewish mamas started giving us funny looks… Still I’m glad to say we didn’t get picked up for disorderly conduct like Zelda, my heroine, but it was touch and go there for a while…

LucyKing-300dpiLucy King

Way way back when we were brainstorming characters I blithely announced that my heroine was going to be Argentinian, from a family of renowned vintners, and hey, wouldnʼt it be fun if one of her quirks was identifying the wines that best represented her friends? Well, yes, great fun in theory. If I actually knew anything about wine. But I donʼt – other than red, white, yum, bleugh. Luckily for Mercy, though, my husband – the proud possessor of a Diploma in Wine and Spirits – does. The beverages Mercy chooses for Faith, Dawn, Zel and Seb are therefore entirely down to him!

 

 

 

AmyAndrews-300dpiAmy Andrews

The Trouble With Brothers.

We all had a lot of fun writing these books for a lot of reasons. One of them was we had an abundance of brothers we could divvy up between our heroines. But at the end of the mad scrum for sexy Irish/American brothers we had 2 spares.

Ronan and Casey, the twins. I named Ronan after Ronan Keating and  Heidi wanted Casey for some reason I can’t even remember now. I think it might have had something to do with Casey Affleck but I digress….Back to those spare brothers of Faith.

We knew they were delightfully scruffy musicians  – how could they not be growing up in an Irish pub in Brooklyn with a passionately Irish father?? – with their own band who played cool modern stuff with an Irish feel to it – think Mumford and Sons – with a growing YouTube following and a busy gig schedule. The problem came with where did they live? Because we started with them still living at home above Sully’s with good old pop and dependable Faith but soon there were hilarious conversations on our email loop about grown men sleeping in their Spiderman PJ’s in their kiddy bunk beds and it just all felt wrong. Especially if we wanted to use them as future heroes. So we moved them out to some low rent dive they share with a few other struggling musos and they, and we, were much happier.  The problem now is of course – we have two more brothers…..Surely they need an HEA too?

Which of these stories have you read so far? Let the authors know what you thought, or if they’re still on your TBR list!

Tule Blog Takeover and Giveaway, Hot Aussie Style!

Today we have the four fabulous authors of the Hot Aussie Heroes series from Holiday Books here with us! We’re celebrating the release of the books on all platforms – you can now find the Hot Aussie Heroes at Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Smashwords! But for now, let’s talk about Victoria, Madeline, Amy, and Margareta’s favorite real-life hot aussie heroes! Take it away, ladies!

Victoria Purman – Author of The Millionaire

TheMillionaire-300dpiWhy does Hollywood head directly Down Under when it’s looking for a hot guy to grace our screens and fuel our fantasies?

The answer is simple. We have, pound for pound, the sexiest actors around. My evidence of this?

Chris Hemsworth.

Not only has he been described as the Sexiest Man Alive (thanks People magazine but we knew that already), but he’s also been described as The Manliest Man in Hollywood.

Like a tall guy? Chris is 6 ft 3 and, as we say in Australia, he’s “built like a brick shithouse”. (translation: he has a manly physique).

He surfs and is an outdoorsy kind of guy. Love that. And that voice of his? Mmm mmm. Deep and rugged and don’t we all love an Australian accent?

And we don’t mind in the slightest that he’s married to a gorgeous and talented women, Elsa Pataky and they have three children, because like any dad he worries about being a good father. Adorable, right?

And like all good Australian men, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. (Saturday Night Live, anyone?)

And men who can laugh at themselves are hot.

Madeline Ash – Author of The Playboy

ThePlayboy-300dpiVictoria has covered a lot of smokin’ ground with Chris Hemsworth, but superb examples of Aussie sexiness abound…oh, don’t blush now, it’s Hugh Jackman :)

Another actor bearing (but not boasting) the title of Sexiest Man Alive, Hugh stole the role of Wolverine and owned that testosterone-and-rage-fuelled beast. He’s got strength, intensity, and broodiness to boot. Let’s be honest, not many men could make hair-horns look hot, but Mr. Jackman manages just fine!

Then there’s the man off-screen: Honest, gracious, and good-humored. He’s Hollywood’s baddest good guy. Did you know that despite his hectic schedule while playing Wolverine, Hugh drove his son to school every morning? He plans his workdays around his kids. That’s right – a family man. Swoon.

He’s also diverse. He can run and bellow and fight like a powerful mutant. He can sing and dance on Broadway. And my personal favorite, he’s even played a closet Australian outback romance novelist in ‘90’s film, Paperback Hero. Loved that movie!

So many gorgeous traits and we’ve crammed them all into our Hot Aussie Heroes. Good thing the series is digital only – those pages would be singeing!

Amy Andrews – Author of The Hero

TheHero-300dpiI’m going for a lesser known but still seriously hot Aussie actor, Callan Mulvey. US audiences might best know him as Sycllias in 300: Rise Of An Empire but here in Australia he’s also played an underworld drug lord, a rough-around-the-edges cop and a badass biker. But most of all, most of all, is his seriously sexy real life scar that he picked up in a serious high speed car crash. There’s just something about a man with a scar….. makes you want to soothe his brow, right? :)

 

 

 

 

 

Margareta Osborn – Author of The Cowboy

TheCowboy-300dpiThe rugged yet ‘boy next door’ look on a man is so appealing especially when you write books set in the Australian outback like me.

While Madeline’s Hugh Jackman certainly slots into this ‘rugged Aussie’ category, up-and-comer Sam Worthington has also joined these ranks. A bricklayer (think rudimentary body building) before he turned to the thespian arts, Sam is a keen surfer (tanned and running semi naked from the Gold Coast surf, a board under his arm into your arms … Yum!). He has also been described as one of Australia’s most likeable leading men (efilmcritic.com). He’s got smiley eyes, a youthful, strong and earnest face. There’s a set of square shoulders, and a light pattern of chest hair covering a solid torso that leads down to … well, the rest.

This man is delectable, nice and will look after you ladies. He’s a cowboy, a soldier, a bloke not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. In fact it was reported that the producer of the movie, Avatar cast the then relatively unknown Sam as the lead character, Jake Sully, because, “he has that quality of being a guy you’d want to have a beer with, and he ultimately becomes a leader who transforms the world”.(John Horn. “Faces to watch 2009: film, TV, music and Web”. Los Angeles Times.)

Transforms the world, but will sit down for a drink? Is eye candy of the finest kind? Which bar shall we meet at, Sam? You can also bring Hugh if you like. Coming Madeline?

image (10)Giveaway!

Is it hot in here, or is it just the Aussie Heroes, fictional or not? As a thank you to all book girls, we’re giving away a Tule <3 Book Girls tote stuffed with books and swag! Tell us in the comments who your favorite hottie is, in life or in books, and you’ll be entered to win! Winner to be announced next Friday, May 8th. In the meantime, download your copies of the Hot Aussie Heroes from any retailer! Happy reading, book lovers!