Character Interview with Campbell Layne of DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE by Casey Crow
Campbell: Sure, but first let me say how glad I am to be here! DWAM is about this Southern belle and rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. Um, yeah, that’s me. I’m totally stressing about an audition that could change my life. All I want to do is stay focused on my career, and I’ll be dog-gone, that’s when Rod Carrington steps into the picture. OMG. The man is freakin’ gorgeous and a total ego-maniac. He simply will not go away, though, as proven when he volunteers to substitute this law school class I’m taking in my spare time. (I’m on the nerdy side, and this is how I like to spend my time – don’t judge). Anyway, against my better judgment, we go to dinner. Basically, I drink too much, embarrass the fool out of myself, and assume that’s the end of it. Oh no. Rod then whisks me off to his Italian villa and helps me become quite the vixen. (No complaining here.) I’m completely smitten until I find out he used his powerful influence to secure the lead role for me. Now I’ll never know if my talent was real or “bought” by the man I thought was the love of her life.
Casey: How did you get into ballet?
Campbell: The story my folks tell is that when I was about two, we were all at my uncle’s horse pasture. (I’m from this tiny town in rural South Alabama.) When Mama wasn’t looking, I climbed up onto the fence and was standing on one of the rails. She knew then that with all that balance I’d either be a ballet dancer or a tight-rope walker. The next week, she enrolled me in dance class.
Campbell: Definitely, my most favorite part is getting lost in the music. It transports me into a world all my own, like I’m in this bubble where I feel nothing but the rhythm of the orchestra. Tchaikovsky is my favorite composer and takes me to that sphere like no other. Yes, there are others, composers who reveled in the uniqueness of their music or intricacies of the composition, but no one does it for me like the great Russian magician. His sound is immediately recognizable, too. The peppy theme of The Nutcracker would put the grumpiest of Scrooges in the Christmas spirit. Sleeping Beauty’s “Waltz of the Flowers” causes me to sway in serenity while Swan Lake’s “Dying Swan” exhausts me with grief.
Campbell: Our first date is at Jean Georges in New York City. I have sea bass and Rod has beef Wellington. Delish! When we are Italy, I think I gain ten pounds from the manicotti, tiramisu, and gelato. Mama taught me how to cook so I finally show off my culinary skills with fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, grits, mash potatoes, and a carrot casserole. Plus, I bake an apple pie. Rod, I’m proud to say, loved it. In fact, here is my jalapeno grits recipe (as if the book isn’t hot enough):
Jalapeno Cheese Grits
2 cups quick-cooking grits
2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
3 large eggs, well beaten
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the grits according to the directions on the back of the package. Remove from the heat and add next 6 ingredients (Cheddar through chilies). Stir well and season with garlic salt, to taste. Pour into a buttered 9-inch baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Campbell: Rod, bless his heart, whisks me off on his private jet to the resort town of Bellagio, Italy, on Lake Como. The Swiss Alp Mountains, the lake, all the yellow and cream stucco buildings with orange terracotta tile roofs, and the cobblestone paths were incredible to see. Rod’s home turns out to be a mansion he’s renovating. I love it because it is warm and welcoming and “him.” Bellagio is known for upscale boutiques, antiques, and art galleries. As great as the shopping was, I have to admit, the best part was seeing how the relaxation Italy offered created this new side of Rod I’d yet to see.
Casey Crow is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance. She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile. A resident of the Deep South, Casey works as a pageant coach of twenty years, professional emcee and model, dance choreographer, and certified Miss America preliminary judge. In fact, she is a former Miss University of Alabama and NASCAR spokesmodel. She is addicted to CASTLE & REVENGE and works out constantly to compensate for her addiction to sweets. She enjoys playing pool, tennis & golf but never has the time and is therefore, pitiful at all three. Casey is an award-winning author of “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” erotic and spicy contemporary romances. Her debut CAN’T FAKE THIS was named 2011 Best Contemporary at Love Romances Café, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist, and received a Gold Star from Just Erotic Romance Reviews.