Not only does music put me in the mood to write, often a song will inspire my story and shape my characters.
That’s been especially true for the Red Hot Russians heroes, who are, or have been, figure skaters. But their musical personalities extend beyond the classical music they perform to.
In TURNING IT ON, former ice dancer Vlad Shustov now struts his stuff as one of Miami’s hottest male strippers. But Vlad the Bad has another dream—to become a best-selling horror novelist like his idol Stephen King. An odd mix? Not really. The best figure skaters weave stories into their programs, and I realized Vlad would take the same approach to stripping.
We see Vlad strip to four songs and not only does each dance show off his gorgeous body, it reveals a bit of the gentle heart behind his sexy, bad boy image.
Applause– Lady Gaga. Vlad portrays a bad boy movie star when he strips to this song about fame and fortune. He’s just been cast in “Last Fling,” TV’s steamiest reality show, and though he has doubts about whether it was the right thing to do, the show will change his life in ways he can’t yet imagine.
Hard To Handle– Black Crowes. As a Miami stripper, Vlad’s life is all about wild parties and even wilder women. Though he looks hard to handle, what he really wants is to be worthy of the love of a special woman, someone like shy book editor and fellow contestant Hannah.
Calling Dr. Love– KISS. This song fits Vlad well, especially the line “even though I’m full of sin, in the end you’ll let me in.” Once she sees the man Vlad truly is, Hannah is eager to do so.
Stronger– Kelly Clarkson. Though Vlad doesn’t choose his final strip song, “Last Fling” has definitely proven that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. “Last Fling” and Hannah’s love have given him the strength to leave his past behind, and become the man he truly wants to be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn676-fLq7I
What song do you love to dance to? Does it evoke a favorite memory, or inspire you? Share your comments below.
Book editor Hannah Levinson couldn’t be happier. This “Nice Jewish Girl” is ready to marry the man she’s longed after for half her life. When her fiancé suggests they audition for Last Fling, a steamy new reality show for engaged couples, she lets herself be swayed. Maybe she’ll learn a thing or two.
Vlad Shustov’s fall from a once-bright career as a competitive figure skater was swift. Now trapped by a shameful past and an uncertain future, “Vlad the Bad” strips for cash. Joining the cast of Last Fling could earn him a fortune—or at least enough to finally leave stripping. But to win the show’s prize, he must seduce an engaged woman, something he can’t even bear the thought of.
Hannah’s not like any woman Vlad’s met before. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and relegated to the ugly-duckling role she’d worked so hard to shed, can she trust there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye? With sleazy TV tactics shattering the last shreds of the contestants’ confidence, they’ll have to believe true happiness is not only possible…it may be looking right at them.
For more Red Hot Russians, don’t miss Pairing Off—available now!
An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth Harmon makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world.
Elizabeth is a member of Romance Writers of America. Enjoy her other Carina Red Hot Russians releases, PAIRING OFF, and GETTING IT BACK, (March 2016).