Candice and Susan thought they had it all, but they were dead wrong. Their lives were in jeopardy the day they learned the daunting truth about one formidable man.
Candice, incognito, now occupies the penthouse suite as the in-house call girl at Manhattan's swankiest hotel. She rises to the top of her profession paying more attention to the psychological longings of her clients. After all, sex is so much more than just sex. Even though she has powerful men under her influence, Candice still glances over her shoulder.
Susan, once a wealthy Atlanta socialite, played by the rules only to be confronted with an unimaginable ultimatum. She snaps out of her charm school coma realizing the last twenty-three years played like a sinister joke at her expense. Now she has one goal. Stay alive.
One will survive.
VIRTUE takes you on a ride of sultry suspense. Buckle up.
CANDICE: PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW
New York City
No, I’m not a virgin, and no, I’m not a prude, but I have slept with only three men. The first was my husband. The second was the private investigator I hired to see if my husband was cheating. The third was my first one-night stand to see how it felt to have sex with a stranger. Anyway, that paltry number will most likely soar to three men a day as if it were a tooth brushing or vitamin regimen.
So here I sit, despite my weak résumé, doing research for my interviews reading Penthouse Forum articles, if you can call them “articles,” along with a slew of other magazines wrapped in cellophane. My mouth is slack-jawed with astonishment; I feel like I just fell off the sexual hay truck. What the hell is infantilism?
My first interview is tonight with André. He’s the concierge at The Regal, a renowned five-star hotel in Manhattan. André will be in charge of all of my appointments if I get the job as the “in-house” call girl. If all goes well, I get passed on to Robert, the owner of The Regal, the following evening. And if he approves, I proceed to the final interview with a regular client named Conner whose turn-on is humiliation. He masochist, me sadist.
The girl I’ll be replacing has been a patient teacher and friend encouraging me with a “You can do this” mantra and having me respond with “I think I can, I think I can” optimism. She even took me shopping for the get-ups I would need for each interview. For André, she picked lingerie a bride would wear on her wedding night. Sexy, yet classic. For Robert, she chose a French maid outfit complete with black fishnet stockings and patent leather stilettos. I was fine with both ensembles.
Now comes the juicy part. My outfit for the masochist. Head to toe leather. Even the leash is leather. My thigh-high black boots have four-inch heels and I’ll be lucky if I can pass the hour without falling on my face made up with smoky eyes and burgundy lips. The only time I dressed up was on Halloween or when I would sneak my brother’s little league uniform out of the Salvation Army bag and pretend I was a baseball player, which I would’ve preferred to the tutu I wore as a ballerina enduring the first, second and third positions of torture.
My mentor offered advice for each interview: “André is a gentleman. He’s going to study you the way an art collector would appraise a painting. (Translation: Would men be willing to spend five Benjamins for an hour of your time?) If he likes the painting, he’ll pass it on to Robert. Now Robert is a man’s man. On the outside he seems like John Wayne, rough and tough around the edges, but he’s really no different than the average Joe wanting worship and adoration. Just behave in awe at all of his Dale Carnegie accomplishments and you’ll have him wrapped around your finger in a New York minute, which is exactly how long it will take him to climax. Both André and Robert are vanilla ice cream sex. Conner’s a different story. Treat him like a dog who just chewed up your designer stilettos.”
I felt confident about André and Robert, but Conner had me anxious, no, terrified. What in God’s name was I thinking? It’s not like I announced at the family dinner table, “When I grow up, I want to be a prostitute.” I remember wanting to be a princess, perhaps a teacher, and most of all, just like Mommy. I took the high road. It just didn’t work out.
Interview with Allison Bassen
Q) What inspired you to write your first book?
A) I always wanted to write, but I needed the plot. The former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, and his scandal with escorts made me question why a man would risk his career, reputation, and his family all for sex. Then I thought…what makes a nice girl from a middle-class family sell her body? Intrigue led to research and a story was born.
Q) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating any of your books?
A) I remember typing, “The End,” thinking I was finished and popped open the bubbly. Little did I realize I would spend another three months editing and proof reading. I must have deleted the word “that” a thousand times. When you read your sentences out loud, you really find the mistakes. You hear them. Then you still send the book out to be proofed by a professional! There is nothing worse than reading a novel filled with typos and grammatical errors. It’s usually a deal breaker for me.
Q) Is there a message in your novel/novels that you want readers to grasp?
A) One of my reviewers said it best. There’s no such thing as a perfect white-picketed fence. That’s when you discover someone’s true character. How do they fix the fence?
Q) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A) Publishing your first book is like putting your baby on the school bus for the first time. You don’t want to let go and you worry how it will do out in the world. Saying that, I want to thank the many readers who raved about Virtue, went to the trouble to post a review, and told their friends about a new book they just finished in one day!
Q) If you could take one of your book boyfriends out on a date in the real world, who would it be & where would you go?
A) That’s easy. I would go out with Paul from Virtue, and we would go to Katz’s deli for a hot pastrami, take a walk through Central Park, and then work off lunch!
Tell me the first word that comes to mind when you think of the following:
· Angel: My children when they sleep
· Romance: When my husband winks at me
· Love: A great meal with someone you want to hold hands with while you sip a good cabernet.
· Vampire: Garlic
· Swoon: Silent movies and fainting sofas (no, I’m not that old, but you did ask first thing that came to mind.)
· Reading: Pleasure
· Chocolate: A little ice cream shop in Paris by Notre Dame
· Coffee: Must use half-and-half
· Dress: Less is more
Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed.
My first word was "cookie." That tells you just about everything you need to know about me.
I was born in Columbia, South Carolina weighing a meager three pounds, which was tenuous back in those days. As usual, I was early for my own birthday by three months. My theory is everyone's punctuality is innate. I'm early for almost everything.
My folks moved to Atlanta when I was nine months old and I stayed there until I was twenty-four. My itch was Manhattan. I can still remember signaling my first taxi and when that checker cab pulled over for me, I became Audrey Hepburn. Even though I understand the whys, I miss those over sized cabs and their character. There's nothing glamorous in putting your hand out for a yellow Prius.
I fell for a "Yankee" and never made it back to Atlanta. We tied the knot and made three beautiful children. Funny, my youngest son read the first few pages of VIRTUE, and his only comment was, "This is fiction, right?"
My friends and family have been telling me to write for years. The challenge was coming up with the story. VIRTUE was inspired by scandalous newspaper headlines. A Governor got caught with an escort. That had me scratching my head. Why would a powerful man risk his career? And what about the escort? She looked like a pretty girl and came from a nice family. Then I researched the history of prostitution and came to understand why it is referred to as "the oldest profession." Yes, prostitution is in The Bible.
My second novel, MY FATHER'S AFFAIR, which should be published by June of 2013, was inspired by a true story. I took that story and raised the proverbial stakes. I changed the era and the setting. Things were much different in the early sixties. Small towns are like Cheers where everybody knows your name. But I think the most important aspect of writing this novel was the narrator. The reader sees the story through Ellie's eyes, the thirteen year old daughter, which intensifies the emotions.
Writing gets me out of bed every morning. Okay, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are equally motivating. If I'm not writing, I'm reading. There is nothing better than a great read. My biggest hope is that you find pleasure reading my novels.
Click Virtue Tour Schedule to follow the Tour or the Tour Button below
Tour Wide Giveaway:
$50 amazon.com giveaway!
To enter leave a comment on as many blog stops as you can!