Giveaway and Interview: Lotus Blossom Lane

lotus-blossom lane blog tour

Life after Yuma was blissful for Layla and Michael. After the old Red Dirt Road, their journey seemed to be moving them in the right direction, leading them to Ireland. As the road to happy ever after leads them down Lotus Blossom Lane, years of entombed history starts to reemerge. What has been exhumed will not only shock them, but change the course of their lives forever. And who is waiting for them at the end of the Lotus Blossom Lane, one of the biggest and brightest stars in the world, will bring them to the next road in the Saving Angels Series.

annie rose welchBorn and raised in New Orleans, Annie has a habit of shortening her words and telling long stories. She speaks with a southern flair and cooks with it too. At the tender age of twenty- one, she hitched up her wagons (took her first plane ride) and moved out west to the big shake (California). Her writing career began one sleepless night when she imagined a gorgeous woman and a man with maniacal hair floating above her like lightening bugs falling from the sky. Curious about them, their story, and why they were floating around in her head, she sat down and penned (typed) her first novel, Marigny Street. A dream come true for her, she hasn't stopped writing since. She loves a damn good love story, always has, no matter what the genre. She is particularly moved by imperfect love that in its own unique way is perfect, the notion of love at first sight, soul mates, and things that are generally out of the norm.

When she's not writing she enjoys dabbling in photography and finding new, inspirational music to add to her collection. She currently (still) resides in the big shake (although her southern roots are calling her home) with her husband, daughter, and their two peculiar dogs, Boudreaux and Tabasco (who, call her crazy, bark with an accent).

For lagniappe (a little extra), a virtual cup of café au lait and beignets, please visit Annie's website:
She can also be found on Facebook & Twitter.

Gabriel/Michael Interview:

New Orleans, LA. Café Du Monde.

Evening is quickly approaching. The sun is being kind with its fading light. The wind is gently sweeping by, bringing with it a cool breeze off the Mississippi River. I can hear distant calls from the ships passing through her large girth. The French Quarter is bopping to a busy beat today. The streets are filled with people. On the corner, a mime coated in silver dust looks like he’s doing the robot in slow motion. The musicians across the street, four men in bright tie-dyed shirts, are pumping out a rhythm that has people dancing in the streets.

This is not an unusual occurrence in New Orleans. Ships are always passing through. The wind is always searching for something to carry with it in that slow, entrancing, tropical way it has of moving. The French Quarter is alive every day with a beat that is mysterious and full of charm, a living thing that no one can truly explain. The music only lends its harmony to whatever it feels like dancing to that day.

I sit back, removing my hand from my chin, allowing the server in his uniform to deliver my order. Three chilled café au laits, three orders of beignets. Beignets are a delicacy in New Orleans. Fried dough, almost like a donut, but not, with a heady amount of powered sugar dusting the top. I’ve never tasted anything quite like them.And they’re undeniably better when you’re sitting in the place where it all started.

 “Are you going to eat all of that yourself?” The server smiles down at me.

I look up at him and laugh. “No, actually. I’m waiting for company. I thought they might enjoy having something to eat and drink when they get here.”

“No doubt,” he says, his eyes moving from me to the street.

My eyes follow the path of his attention. A man is walking down the street pulling a llama, like the animal is nothing but a big puppy dog.

The server and I start laughing. Together we say, “Only in New Orleans.”

After our laughter tapers off, my eyes find two men walking toward our table. One of them is shorter, with wide shoulders and a muscular physique. The other is taller, leaner, but he’s also muscular, just in a different way. Together they elicit a lot of attention from the people surrounding them. More so than the llama.

The taller one is laughing, an undeniably infectious smile on his face.  He’s dancing around the man with wide shoulders, shaking his shoulders, kind of skipping to the music playing around him. The other guy pushes him away, a playful smile wanting to make an appearance on his handsome face. When they arrive in front of the musicians, the taller one starts to really dance. He claps his hands together and then pretends to strum a guitar.

The crowd erupts in cheers. And they’re not cheering for the musicians or the llama. After the pair walks away, the crowd seems to follow behind them. It seems like they are star struck. I guess I would be, too.

They stride up to my table. Their faces are red from the heat, but their skin looks sun kissed. They’re almost glowing with sheen from the sultry day. They make quite the pair.

The guy with wide shoulders reaches me first.

I clear my throat. “Michael.”

If you’re guessing this is Michael Roberts, the world famous boxer, now business owner, you guessed right.

“Hello, you,” he smiles. The iron chair scrapes against the concrete with his movement, and he takes a seat across from me.

Gabriel takes my hand. He has a mischievous smile, this one, and there’s always mischief lurking in the light of his eyes. And if you guessed this was the Gabriel Roberts, one of the most famous movie stars in the world, and now business owner, you guessed right again. Let me tell you, you might want to bet on something today. You seem to be in luck, friend.

Not only are these two famous for their respective careers, but also for the company they have formed together: Saving Angels. They build and manufacture guitars and pianos. And although their company is still in its freshman stage, they are already known for the quality of their instruments.

“It’s always a pleasure,” Gabriel says. Then he drops my hand, just to shake the server’s hand. “Joe!” He and the man do the man hug thing. “How is Big Joe?”

Joe the server smiles and looks to the ground. “Doin’ a’right, Gabriel. Thanks for askin’.”

Michael and I look at each other.

“If I would have known you was coming, I would have brought out two more orders.” Joe says with energy in his tone.

Gabriel pats him on the shoulder. He looks to the table and seems to be counting the orders. “Bring out two more, all right, Joe?”

“A’right,” Joe agrees. And this time he walks off with the same energy that was infused in his tone.

Gabriel pulls out another chair and plops down in it. He’s wearing a blue shirt that makes the brown in his eyes melt, like chocolate on a hot day. The color seems to ooze with sweetness.

Michael turns to face him. “Are you really going to eat again?”

Gabriel laughs, taking a sip of his coffee. “You damn right I am. These are my favorite.”

“You are going to have so much trouble in your older days. You are going to have heart troubles. You eat too much. And all the wrong things.” Michael looks at me. “He ate two Lucky Dogs on the way over here. Two hot dogs.Now this.” He waves his hand around the table.

Gabriel already has the plate in front of him. Powdered sugar is smeared across his lips as he goes in for another bite. The sugar falls everywhere, like snow drifting in the wind. He chews a minute, then swallows, ready to take another bite. The beignet is caught in limbo—suspended in midair, while he clears his throat.

“Let me tell you somethin’,” he looks at Michael, who honestly looks a little disgusted. “There are two pleasures I get out of this world. One is sex. The other is eating. And both should be done with the double a’s: appreciation and awe. And both should be done slow, to really feel what you’re doing, to really enjoy it. To really taste it, you know? What’s the point if you don’t? You have to really draw out the pleasure, make it last until you feel like you are about to burst.” He moans and laughs, finally taking the bite. He moans again, closing his eyes.

Michael stares at him for a moment. It almost seems like he’s trying to make sense of Gabriel. “There is something seriously wrong with you. You’ve got to know that, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do,” Gabriel, says. “But it doesn’t bother me none.”

Joe comes back with two orders of beignets, each having about three donuts hidden beneath the sugar. We all back up, taking our coffee and moving it to the side,not sure where we are going to put everything. Instead, Gabriel has Joe replace the three he has already eaten with the fresh ones and asks him to bring the other orders out as he finishes the previous plate. This must not be Joe’s first encounter with Gabriel—it almost seems like he’s done this before. Another server comes up right behind him, waiting to handle the donuts before he even asks.

Michael shakes his head, turning away from Gabriel. He leans back in his chair. “So, here we are again.” He grins at me.

I grin back. “Here we are.”

Gabriel holds one finger up, swallowing again. “I’m glad we could meet here. We had some business to attend to, and I’m not staying far from here. It was perfect. And anytime we can discuss Saving Angels, we are more than happy to.”

I smile and Michael and I exchange knowing glances. “Have you ventured out, Gabriel? I mean, apart from Café Du Monde. You seem to have a love affair with those.” I point to his stash of sweets.

He uses a glass of water to dip his fingers in, wiping away some of the stickiness onto a paper napkin. “Yeah, I mean, no, not really. It seems like I never have much time. I come here, mostly. I go a few other places, but honestly, I feel like one of these days I’m going to see everything I have the desire to see. I feel like I’m saving the experiences for some reason.” He stares into the glass, watching the little particles of sugar float around in the water. And a sorrowful look overcomes his face.

Michael nudges him and he looks up, almost like he forgot where he was.

“Something wrong, Gabriel?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “No, I’m all right. I guess.” He looks around, like he feels someone is staring at him from behind.

I find myself looking around, too. It’s a natural reaction. I don’t see anything out of the ordinary, and when I turn around, it seems he doesn’t either. But he’s kind of fidgety now. I’m wondering if the sugar is starting to course through him, about to send him on a high. His knees bop up and down underneath the table.

“It comes and goes,” Gabriel says in a far-off tone, his eyes mirroring the dreamy way his words seem to float out. “Almost like bouts of nausea.”

I look at Michael. He shakes his head and looks down at the table.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

He looks up, his eyes meeting mine. There is deep sorrow hiding behind what he shows to the world. He smiles, but nothing about it makes me want to smile with him. It almost feels like he’s laughing at his own pain.

“The feeling that I’m supposed to be here. And whatever this thing is that is meant for me, it’s here, too. It’s so damn close. I feel like if I just look over my shoulder, or directly in front of me, or to the left or to the right, there it might be. But there lies the crux of the problem, right? Which way do I go?”  He holds his hands up, moving them back and forth between tiny burst of light coming from the fading light of the sun. “I live in a damn dream. Are these even my hands?” He touches his heart. “Does my heart even beat? I’m so lost. I’m so lost without this thing. Something so close feels so unreal.”

He says the words accusingly and his eyes grow intense, wild, like a fire that catches on dry brush, scorching through everything and anything in its path. His eyes can bring peace, a soothing melody in your worst hour, but on the other hand, they can make you feel his strength, his ferocity, as if some part of him is so untamed, he belongs out in the Serengeti, licking his wounds and protecting his pride. I shrink back a bit before I realize what I’m doing. I sit a little taller in my seat.

“Gabriel, are you trying to tell me you still don’t know what love is? What it feels like?”

He points at me. “Exactly.” He grins. “See, brother. She gets us. She really does.”

Michael grins along with him, but I can sense the change in him, too. Gabriel shifts his gravity, and although he puts on a strong front, he worries about his “brother.”

Michael digs in his pocket and pulls out two sheets of paper. He slides them across the table, and I look them over while Gabriel calls Joe back over. He instructs him to take away the food. He asks him to hand out the orders to anyone who may be in need. He says he doesn’t feel like eating anymore. While the table is cleared, I study the thin sheets of paper.

Napkins. That’s what they are. The kind you find in restaurants, or in a pub, maybe.  All over the napkins are drawings. Sort of like doodles done in a genius fit. Gorgeous pianos line one page; guitars decorate the other.

“What do you think?” Michael asks, biting the side of his cheek.

I look up into two sets of intense eyes staring back at me.

“I think they are beautiful. Are you going to name one of these after me?” I laugh.

They both take the bait and laugh, too.

“I think we can put in a good word for you.” Gabriel smiles. And I notice some of that playful light is back.

“All right then. That’s all I ask.” I take a sip of cold coffee, enjoying the coolness as it lingers down my throat.

We spend the next hour or so discussing the drawings, all of the guitars and pianos that are created across the pages. We talk almost non-stop about their company, about the heartbeat behind the skeleton. They are both animated as they go back and forth, stringing me along like chords from a guitar.

Gabriel looks down at his watch and then hits Michael.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “Time has slipped away from us. We are supposed to be interviewing a sculptor around here. He’s going to be doing some work for our office in Nashville.”

“It’s all right,” I say. “We did the question thing the first time around. I just wanted to know more about your business. I feel like I’ve wasted your time.”

“Never.” Gabriel says. “Besides, I got some sweets out of the deal.” He laughs.

“Yeah, anytime.” Michael points to the two sheets of paper. “Next time you can come and see them. Can’t wait.” He grins.

They both take turns shaking my hand. Michael rises from his chair, stretching. Gabriel takes a drink of his coffee before he stands. I notice he looks over his shoulder again. I wonder if the feeling has come to him again—like a bout of nausea. He shakes his head and Michael hits him on the shoulder.

They turn to face the darkened evening. The soft light from the café haloes their profiles. Michael walks on first, Gabriel just a few steps behind. When they are a few feet away, Gabriel stops abruptly. He doesn’t turn around, but I do.

I spot a gorgeous woman, her wavy hair falling in wild abandon around her slight but curvy frame. The closer she comes, the better I see the frenzied pieces in front. A gust of wind catches some of the strands and ruffles her pretty pink house dress. She’s wearing flip-flops, her pace slow and easy, like the speed of the night.

She’s arm in arm with another woman. A woman with ebony hair down to her hips and blue eyes that lighten up the darkness. They’re laughing.

The gorgeous woman stops for a moment,looking at the dark haired woman with a perplexed expression.

“What is it, Eva?” The dark haired woman asks.

I look toward Gabriel and he’s still in the same position he was before. His shoulders have gone straight, his back stiff. I can’t control my neck from moving back and forth between them.

There is a straight line leading from one directly to the other.

Eva shakes her head and tugs on the dark haired woman’s arm. “No, Rose, I’m all right. Let’s go.”

Michael turns around and nods to Gabriel. Gabriel shakes his head and continues to walk forward.

The straight and narrow path somehow leads them in two separate directions. I take turns watching as they both fade into the distance, disappearing into the crowds of people, the thick music and night air.

I sit back in my chair, pulling my beignet to me and taking a sip of coffee.

I smile to myself. What a wild ride life is—we never know which ways the roads will take us.We just have to have faith that it will always lead us in the right direction. 

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1 comment:

  1. Oh how I love those two! I can't believe Eva and Gabriel just crossed paths! <3 <3 <3