I've always dreamed of going to Paris, and after viewing this post, I almost feel like I've been there! Thank you, Mona, for bringing us these breathtaking pictures and for sharing with us a GREAT excerpt from your latest release, RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, based in the land of romance. Ah...sweet Paris!
What do the words France, Paris, Eiffel Tower, Loire Valley, evoke for you?
Do you think romantic settings? Visualize historical chateaux? Imagine a kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower? Prepare your camera to snap pictures of the amazing architecture? Get ideas from the fashion capital? Prepare yourself to taste and enjoy the French Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Beaujolais Nouveau, Bordeau... Are you feeling fuzzy, maybe a little drunk?
After many visits to France—I stopped counting years ago— I can still rhapsodize about Paris and its thousand attractions. The Loire Valley, known as "the Garden of France", was the favorite residence of the Kings of France during the Renaissance period. They made this peaceful countryside the setting for their dreams, and surrounded themselves with the greatest artists and architects of this era.
Chambord is truly royal and combined the dream of King François I with the imagination of Leonardo de Vinci. In this picture, I’m standing in front of the Chateau de Chambord.
Chenonceau, the Ladies’ Castle, is my favorite, built on a bridge across river Cher. King Henry II gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers.
When my husband treated me to a special thirtieth anniversary with a trip to the Vallée de la Loire and a two-day stay in an authentic chateau, I fell in love with the area and have never forgotten it.
RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, my new contemporary romance is set in this chateau. The count who owns the chateau is a handsome doctor adored by patients and nurses. Only one woman can’t seem to stand him because...
“Love you, Yves.” Marie-Beth Drake purred and cuddled deeper against her lover’s broad chest.
Already half-asleep, Steve squeezed her to his side, with a faint “Hmm”. Soon, his light snores filled the air.
Sated and relaxed, she stroked his silvery hair. “Love you—”
What had she called him?
Oh God, oh God. Had she said Steve or… Yves?
Her fiancé grumbled in his sleep. She immediately yanked her hand away from his head. Her fingers flew to her lips and her stomach somersaulted. She couldn’t have whispered the loathsome name? She’d buried it long ago and forgotten the sexy French doctor and his charismatic smile.
Had Steve noticed the slip of her tongue?
Heart pounding, she studied his closed eyes and slightly gaping mouth. Not to worry. Her fiancé slept as peacefully as a man content with life—as he did every night.
Shivering with mortification, she slid out of his arms. Her throat ached with sudden dryness as she covered herself with a robe and rushed downstairs.
In the living room, she grabbed a bottle of Merlot from the bar, filled a glass and swallowed it, and poured a second one. Her mind in shambles, she settled on the sofa to organize her thoughts.
Hanging over the fireplace, her fiancé’s portrait focused a serious look at her. She blinked. “I don’t know how it happened. Honestly,” she groaned with an apologetic grimace.
Sultry images of the French surgeon obscured her vision. Yves smiling, his knuckles caressing her cheeks, his face reaching closer to hers. She snatched her head back and touched her lips, swollen from Steve’s kisses. And remembered Yves’s passionate embrace. “No, please.” Her world tilted on its axis.
Weary and confused, she emptied her glass. “You’re history. Gone, Dr. Malroux.” To think he’d left
the next day after the blissful night she’d spent in his arms, and never came back, never called the chubby medical student she’d been then. “No more crazy dreams or heartaches,” she scolded in a strangled groan. Boston
Why did Steve have to mention his name a few days ago and ask her to participate in an exchange program of residents with his French colleague?
“Nope. Not interested,” she’d immediately replied, and Steve hadn’t insisted.
Training with Dr. Yves Malroux would tempt any residents but her. She’d hoped never to set eyes on him
again after she’d torn his picture into a hundred pieces.
With an automatic motion, she rotated the too-heavy engagement ring, token of Steve’s love and status. He’d forgotten to lock the five-carat diamond in his safe after their evening out. Dear Steve, in a few months, they’d be married, that is, if he didn’t ask awkward questions about her stupid blurt, and… She cringed, anticipating the worst.
After two glasses of wine, she’d developed a splitting headache. Torturing herself over the baffling mistake didn’t do any good. She was on call tomorrow and needed her sleep and a clear head to assist in General Surgery. She lumbered up to one of the guestrooms, sprawled on the bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
“Oh Y-Yves, yes, yes.” Sweating and trembling, she bolted awake and clutched the blanket to her throat.
“Yves?” Heaving a deep breath, she shook off the haze of the haunting dream. Yves nuzzling her throat, kissing her open lips, caressing her naked flesh. Oh, God, am I losing my mind?
In the morning, she shuffled down to the kitchen. Steve didn’t mention anything unusual over breakfast. His satisfied smile contrasted painfully with her restless mood.
“You’re very quiet,” he said in a jovial voice that irritated her frazzled nerves. “Contrary to last night,” he added with a wink.
“Oh yeah?” she muttered, sloshing coffee over the table.
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“You mumbled and screamed and butchered my name several times. Eeeeve,” he mimicked with a strident tone before bursting out in laughter.
If you’ve enjoyed this scene, the ebook is available at Amazon for only $0.99
Come along with Mary-Beth and Yves for a memorable armchair trip to the Loire Valley and Paris.
Thank you AJ for hosting me on your lovely blog.
Thanks for visiting with us today, Mona! And here's where you can find her on the web!