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Holly Gardiner travels to Paris with her boyfriend for New Year, dreaming of a romantic proposal, only to find herself dumped instead. While drowning her sorrows in a nightclub, she meets Jean-Luc Charpentier, known to his friends as Luc. Holly is instantly attracted to the handsome stranger. But she must return to England soon so a romance is doomed from the start. Little does she know the dreamy Frenchman and their meeting are not what they appear.
Luc thinks the pretty Londoner is everything he wants. But he fears revealing the truth behind their encounter will chase her away. Will honesty win her over or will they both leave their dreams behind in Paris?
Page Count: 70
Word Count: 16504
“What kind of guy brings a girl to Paris and then dumps her?” Holly took a gulp of wine and looked up at the tall man leaning against the pillar. The wine burned her throat, but not as much as the unshed tears stung her eyes.
“A very foolish one.”
The guy had the kind of stubble only the French could pull off, a cute smile, and an even cuter accent.
“Vairy foolish,” Holly mimicked, giggling. “That describes Ryan vairy well.”
“Ryan is the man who brought you to Paris?” The sexy guy had leaned closer to Holly to be sure of hearing her over the pulsing music. He smelt of cologne, with slight overtones of red wine.
“Yes. Ryan asked me to Paris for New Year. I thought he was going to propose. Stupid. Stupid.” Holly was so angry with herself she clenched her hand around the stem of her wine glass until her nails nearly broke her skin.
“Shh.” She could barely hear his voice over the music, but his warm breath brushed across her hair as he whispered, “It’s going to be okay.”
He untwined her fingers from the stem of the wine glass and took the glass from her hand.
“Jean-Luc would not be so stupid, would you?” This time, the man’s friend spoke. He was good-looking too, if you liked the polished blond look. Holly never wanted to see another polished blond.
Jean-Luc? She turned her attention back to the sexy stubbled guy.
“Jean-Luc? You could be a starship captain.” Damn the giggle which kept escaping her lips. She wasn’t normally the giggling type. But then, she wasn’t normally alone in Paris on New Year’s Eve, after being dumped by her confused, and possibly philandering, boyfriend.
Except she wasn’t alone, was she? She was out in a noisy, wine-scented nightclub, listening to loud slow jazz and talking to a stubbled stranger with a gorgeous accent and an absurd name.
“I do not know about starships,” he said, a frown forming one neat crease between his tidy eyebrows, “but I am Jean-Luc, yes. My friends call me Luc. I think I would like to be your friend. If that is okay.”
She almost laughed again at the stilted turn of phrase, but then she wouldn’t have done as well in French as he had in her language. She’d been relying on Ryan to do the talking, but look where relying on him got her. Bad idea. Probably so was making friends with handsome Frenchmen in crowded clubs, but hell, it was New Year’s Eve, and a girl deserved some fun, especially when she’d been abandoned in a foreign city on this night, of all nights.
“I would like that, too.” Holly smiled up at him.
“Thank you, beautiful.” He smiled back, the neon lights reflecting a delicious spark in his blue eyes. “But I cannot keep calling you ‘beautiful.’ You must have a name.”
“I do.” She almost lied about her name. Sometimes in London she told people her name was Helen. It sounded more normal and gave rise to fewer jokes. But today, in Paris, she thought she deserved to be herself, whatever the consequences. “My name is Holly. Holly Gardiner.”
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