Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.
Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.
Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.
My chest hurt from a strange new kind of anxiety, high-pitched, full of woe. Dread closed in on me. I’d never felt so exposed standing before one human being before. And realization that he could desecrate me with a mere cold shoulder sank in.
And maybe that was his point. But why?
“Is that what you want? Do you want me to go?” I whispered, trying to keep my voice steady.
I swear a universe of emotion flickered in his eyes, but it presented itself so quickly, and was hidden from view, I wondered if it existed at all.
He shrugged. As if I was asking him what color tie he wanted to wear.
I gasped. The floor opened up beneath me, and, as I fell, I knew it then. He was the keeper—the keeper of our connection. And he’d decided to punish me, without explanation, to prove a point that he refused to explain.
I recalled thinking once that he was a rotten man. What had happened to that idea? It was suddenly clear and present again.
I rushed into my dress, zipping it up on the way to the door. I stumbled because tragedy lay before me.
Was I going to leave?
My heart was up in my throat, and tears ran down my cheeks.
Why was he so mean?
I didn’t understand!
I was steps from his door. Yes. I was running home. To my mother. Like the child he clearly thought I was. The lump in my throat ached, as with one last gasp of disbelief, I pulled on the handle, desperate for him to stop me and desperate to get away, but . . . the door wouldn’t budge.
I tugged again.
His hand was above me, holding it closed. The tattoo glared down at me. He’d moved—fast. To stop me.
He didn’t want me to leave after all.
I didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified or angry.
I felt, only, numb.
When he stepped into me, my body moved of its own volition as close to the door as possible.
Seems he’d gotten what he was so desperate to have. I was scared of him.
He buried his face in my hair, and my chest burned. Tears of hurt streamed down my face. What had just happened? My heart was pumping so fast it was going to burst and spray black everywhere, and I didn’t even know why!
“Fleur,” he whispered.
No. I shook my head, but his body had drawn close and followed mine as I tried to shift away against the door.
“Fleur,” he whispered.
I paused. We stood there, barely touching, me trapped in a standstill of . . . hope. So much hope. Pure hope. It was a field of azure bluebells on a Texas highway promising to bud every spring without tending or mercy. I didn’t know what he wanted from me, not by the way he had said my name, or in general, anymore, and I didn’t care, not as long as he wanted me.
Slowly, gently, he pulled me into him, and I let him.
I let him.
And . . . time began again.
About Lesley Young:
Lesley Young is an award-winning Canadian journalist by day, and obsessive novelist by night. Her debut novel, Sky’s End (Soulmate Publishing, 2013) hit #9 on Amazon’s sci-fi romance paid best-seller list in its first three months of release.
Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).
Stay in touch with her and feel free to forward on decent options at Facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @LesleyYoungBks (note: Charlie Hunnam’s already taken the lead role of The American—#3 Crime Royalty Romance...coming soon!).
Lesley has provided a fantastic giveaway, including a $25 Amazon gift card and 20 ebook copies of The Frenchman!