Hi Amalie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Back in Dr. Xenakis’ Arms!
Hey y’all, thanks for popping in!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Erianthe was sent away in secret at sixteen when she became pregnant and her image-obsessed wealthy parents couldn’t bear the shame. It was the tragedy that defined her whole life, and the life of the father of her child. They’ve both reluctantly come home to their idyllic Greek island after an earthquake to help out, but are still dealing with their own personal destruction from a decade ago.
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
Ares was careful not to look at anyone too long—especially Erianthe. Brief glance. Look away. Make sure she’s keeping it together. Look away. Look once more to check for obvious signs of distress.
Her cheeks had always flashed a deep red when she got angry—yesterday’s showdown included.
“There’s the scarecrow!” Deakin joked, leaning back in his chair as he caught sight of Ares arriving.
He could feel all eyes on him. Except hers. That wasn’t suspicious at all, was it?
“No, he’s a fur model,” Theo corrected. “He grows a mean beard. Really, man. It growled at me yesterday. And the other day I think I saw it eat a bird.”
The two of them were entirely too jovial for seven in the morning.
“I usually feed it the souls of my enemies.” Ares tried to joke, but it came out flat and bored.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
FUN facts with a capital F!
- When this miniseries started, the heroes were all firefighters in Greektown, Toronto. But it didn’t sail past the approval of the bosses, so we took the one element that did: Greek heroes. Hunky, broody, heroes. And a few months later? Four book-babies were born.
- Annie O’Neil must have owned a tavern in a previous life. She always comes up with the barkeep/pubs that feature in our collaborations.
- In the original book, my hero was called Alessandro, and while everyone else was sensible and kept their character names, I couldn’t write this book until the character became Ares. But everyone still kept calling him Ales and it had to be edited out of the other books 🙂
- When I wrote the book, I wrote a great deal about hyacinth. Flowers feature prominently in the story. But uhh, when the book got to me, all the hyacinth had been replaced by ‘sea lavender’. I still don’t know if it’s the same thing or not! I think perhaps not, but it’s such a pretty name for a flower, I didn’t kick up a fuss 🙂
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Their attraction began in adolescence, and probably started in understanding one another and accepting, supporting, loving despite the turmoil of their families. Also? He has pretty eyes 🙂
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
This is actually a really hard question! This whole book is conflict-laden, and immediately I have about six scenes spring into my head that speak to the truth of the characters.
But I’m going to go with the prologue, because it sets everything up.
“Erianthe!” he shouted, over and over, his eyes locked on the darkened portal into the private jet.
They didn’t stop dragging him toward the rear of the car. They pulled, and he staggered backward still, toward the hangar.
He shouted again. He screamed for her. His vision wobbled from the forced locomotion, but it always returned to the only place of hope he could fixate on.
His heart stopped, then surged into the stratosphere as he finally saw her, there in the doorway. She’d heard him.
Shrugging out of her father’s hands, she launched herself down the stairs and ran straight for him. The shining curtain of her dark hair flew out behind her, and as she got closer he could see how pale she was but for the redness around her midnight eyes.
The men stopped dragging him.
They let go.
With newfound strength he lunged forward, running to meet her, arms outstretched. If he could just hold her…
With all these people, even the hope he’d clung to couldn’t convince him now that there was any chance they could get away today.
If he could apologize, he’d have that to hold in his heart until he could find a way to get to her.
As he neared, ready to grab her, her face contorted. The tears he’d guessed would be there became rivers down her cheeks and she skidded to a stop, drawing her right arm back in a full swing.
A sharp blast of pain radiated from his left cheek and his head snapped to the side, sending him back a step to maintain his balance.
She’d hit him?
It took a few seconds for the situation to make sense through the expanding hollow filling his chest.
“Eri…” He said her name, the words he’d practiced in the car evaporating in the heat of her stare.
“I trusted you!” She half sobbed, half screamed, smacking away his hand as he instinctively reached for her. “I thought you were different, but you’re just like him.”
“No…” The word came out because it was the only one he could wrestle through his closing throat. He wasn’t like Dimitri Nikolaides, but he’d been tricked by him, his fears twisted, his weakness exposed. Made to doubt. “We can go—”
Her short, broken laugh stopped his words dead and ripped at his insides.
“I hate you.” The words, almost a whisper, hit him in the chest like a cannon blast.
She hated him.
Dimitri reached his daughter and began hauling her back toward the plane and onto the flight to a country Ares couldn’t name because they hadn’t told him. Somewhere far enough away that no one here would know about the baby—that was all he knew.
No hands grabbed him this time, but his feet still stayed glued to the ground.
“I will never forgive you for this!”
He wanted to say he loved her, but how could he say that now? Why would she believe him?
“I’m sorry.” He said the words, the only words he could find, and repeated them again and again.
I will come for you.
The words swam up—the words he meant to utter but couldn’t say to her. Not now, when the eyes that had always looked upon him with sweetness boiled over with such rage he could barely breathe.
The men who had been dragging him away now joined their boss in wrestling a struggling Erianthe back up the stairs.
The last words she screamed at him would still ring in his ears long after the plane departed. Because she was right.
This was all his fault.
Readers should read this book….
If you like a brooding, tortured, half-destroyed hero?
Or some older-brother’s-best-friend action…
Or if you have some tissues nearby. Or maybe that’s just me, I pretty much bawled my way through this book.
If you’ve read any of the other Hot Greek Docs, (with Annie O’Neil, Tina Beckett, and Amy Ruttan) and want to read about another brother-in-arms?
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
My next releases are a Christmas Duet coming in December 2018. It’s Scottish brothers in New York City, each with their own reasons for hating Christmas. When writing them, I called them my Sexy Fairy tale Christmas duet, because I liberally grabbed fairy tale elements, Cinderella, Big Bad Wolf, Beauty and the Beast, True-Love’s Kiss, and mixed in with all things Christmas. Now I’m not sure they’re still fairy tale enough to be fairy tales, but inspiration often starts one place and ends up in another 🙂
Currently writing Smoke Jumpers, with early-mid 20-something hero and heroine, and a rivalry!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Autographed North American edition, Back in Dr. Xenakis’ Arms by Amalie Berlin.
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(Aside from infidelity, I think that one is pretty universally reviled within the community. No big surprises if that’s at the top of your JUST-NO list.)
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Excerpt from Back in Dr. Xenakis’ Arms:
“I know that. I didn’t tell him everything, and I don’t want to. I just wanted to tell you the truth. I know last night was shocking to you, and it was hard for me too, but it’s better between us now, isn’t it? Not good—nothing about having lost her is ever going to be good—but it was good to share the truth with someone after all this time.”
Ares didn’t feel that. All he felt right now was a certainty that all this was about to go wrong in the worst possible way.
Because of him. His actions. Not hers.
If any man had done that to his sister—if he’d had a sister—Ares would never have been able to forgive him for it. Ares wasn’t even sure Theo would be all right if he found out. Nothing to do with worrying about the group dynamics.
Theo would mourn—it was that simple. The others would be sad too, but Erianthe was right about how much it would hurt Theo. Not just the loss of his niece, but knowing he hadn’t been able to take care of his sister through her darkest days. There was very little that riled him up, but family in need… That did it. And Erianthe—in a pre-Cailey world—was Theo’s closest family.
“I know I just said I don’t want to tell him,” she said slowly, as if she was working through some kind of thought process. “But… I don’t know. Maybe he deserves to know the truth. I’m not going to suddenly tell him—not without your permission—but… We deserve to have this burden of secrecy lifted from us too.”
“It’ll never be lifted. No matter how many people you share it with. The best thing we can do is keep looking forward and not make any more big, stupid mistakes.”
“So you consider it a mistake?”
“Of course I do.”
He really wasn’t up for this conversation tonight.
“My brilliant plan to tell your parents was a mistake. I wanted to marry you, and the only way to make that happen with you being just sixteen was with the permission of your parents. The only way I could see to get that permission was to meet Dimitri on his own ground, to be what he understood, what he was…by taking charge and being a man.”
“You really thought that would work?”
Her brows pinched, and the dubious tone to her voice and the disbelieving way she considered him made him want to smash things. The lantern, maybe, then he wouldn’t have to see that look on her face.
“Why else would I go to him?”
“Because you knew how he’d react and then it would all be taken out of your hands. We’d be separated without you ever having to do any leaving.”
Every word bit into him, chewing, chewing…
She’d spoken softly, without any emotion at all. As if she believed that. As if she’d believed it for years.
Maybe she’d done exactly that ever since that day at the airport. After his failed attempt to explain himself to her, standing outside the plane with his head still ringing from her slap, Ares had given up the idea of it. Explaining had seemed too much like making excuses for his choices, and there was no excuse. But there was a truth to be told. And she claimed to want truth between them.
Maybe it would help her to know. Maybe it would make things easier. Or maybe it would make it easier for her to accept how it would go if she told Theo…how her brother would feel when confronted with something from the past—a mistake—he couldn’t fix.
He spoke quietly, not out of choice, but because just above a whisper was all the volume he could give his words. It took everything he had inside him to get them out.
“I would’ve married you, Eri. In a registrar’s office. At a church. In Deakin’s boathouse. I would’ve given up my trust fund, worked as a dishwasher, lived simply… I’d have given everything to be with you and raise our daughter.”
She was wrong. Confession didn’t make him feel better. It didn’t make her feel better either. Her brows, fiercely pinched together, etched pain on her face. Tears filled her eyes. She breathed too fast and too shallow, clearly anguished.
His words chewed into her, as hers had done to him. And that was how it would be for them—pain spreading and rippling out until neither of them were whole again.
Her voice wobbled over his name, in a plea or a prayer… But it was one he couldn’t answer.
He handed the lantern to her, because taking care of what was before him was all he could manage. “Be careful going up the path.”
She said his name again. Only, he’d already turned to head up the other, steeper trail to the cottage. He knew the way well enough to trust his feet in the dark. She’d be safer with the light.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She can’t resist the doc from her past!
But do they have a future?
In this Hot Greek Docs story, obstetrician Erianthe Nikolaides is returning home to Mythelios and dreading seeing her sinfully hot ex, Dr. Ares Xenakis! She’s still haunted by the devastating circumstances of their breakup. To truly heal she must share her pain with Ares, but when a scorching kiss reignites their desire, dare Eri risk her heart a second time?
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Meet the Author:
Amalie lives with her family and critters in Southern Ohio, and she writes quirky, independent characters for Harlequin Medical Romance. Her favorite stories buck expectations with unusual settings and situations, and the belief that humor can powerfully illuminate truth—especially when juxtaposed against intense emotions. And that love is stronger and more satisfying when your partner can make you laugh through the times you don’t have the luxury of tears.
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