by Gloria J. Goldsmith
I was DONE! I ditched graduation, dumped my repressed college boyfriend, and dropped my sexual insecurities for a wild ride with Destiny. Unpredictable Fate beckoned with a European adventure!
In a chance encounter, I met Jean Louis. From the instant we met, the dashing young Frenchman soothed my bruised heart, rejuvenated my spirit, and convinced me that leaving my old life was no mistake. Together, we set out to explore southern France.
Jean Louis was torn from my life almost as quickly as he had entered it, yet leaving the haunting memory of his caress permeating my every thought. Driven by love and passion, I journeyed to find my lover, even if it meant scouring all the hidden corners of France.
Would I ever reunite with the man I believe to be my one true soulmate? Would I ever hear him say he feels the same for me as I do him? What twist of Fate will it take for me to find him?
There was only one window in the room, which had no screen. To keep out the bugs, we closed the shutter, which still allowed some air inside. That evening, I slept on the couch, right below the window, and the guys lay on the cement floor. The males had no blankets or sleeping bags, but at least they were out of the rain.
Some hours into the night, I was dreaming of Luke. Luke, who loved to tease me by fondling me when I was asleep, by touching my cheek or blowing a strand of hair or slowly stroking my hand. I smiled and wiggled my fingers, and he responded. It was so lovely to feel his antics. I missed his night tricks. His hand was trailing up my arm, and soft lips kissed my palm. Luke. So romantic. Always waking me with kisses.
I let out a sigh, slowly drifting my eyes open. It seemed it had been forever since Luke had brushed my cheek or held me close. I longed for his warmth.
The room was so dark, I couldn’t see a thing. I wasn’t on the waterbed. My heart pounded with alarm. Where am I? My arm was hanging over the side of a couch. Where the hell am I? It was pitch-black.
The fingers tickled a bit more with a kiss on my arm, then came a whisper. Was I dreaming? Or awake? The whisper came again.
I whispered back, “What?” I felt the side of the bed depress. The murmuring voice was now by my face.
“Oui. J’ai froid.”
This wasn’t Luke. Not my Luke. A bolt of recognition struck me hard as I comprehended. I didn’t recall his name, it did sound something like Luke, and it was the French guy Marc had brought in from the rain.
My high school French was twisting my brain cells to recall…J’ai means I am, right is droite, left is gauche…and a left faucet is chaud, which means hot, and right is froid—COLD. He is cold!
I patted the couch, and he squeezed onto the settee with me. He cuddled his arms around me, kissed my cheek, and we returned to slumber.
All three of us woke as the morning sunlight pierced the slits of the shutter. They bounced off the wall and into the room. We had some tea before the two men left. Around dinner time, Jean Louis returned alone, with sandwiches and chocolates. I had unknowingly passed another sex attraction test.
Constrained by the lack of English language skills, Jean Louis spoke very few words. I am an excellent mimic, but my French language skills were limited.
After dinner, sipping our tea, Jean Louis turned to me.
“I wants stay wis you.” I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. For the evening? Sleep on the floor? Sleep with me?
“En bas?” I tapped the floor with my foot.
“Si je dois. Je préfère avec toi.”
I wasn’t sure about all the words, but the last two, avec toi, meant “with you.”
About the Author
As a Special Education teacher, I became fascinated by the English language. I still marvel at how it changes and expands over time. My most pleasurable teaching moments were showing children how a wondrous story can take their imaginations to other times, places, even other worlds. When the pandemic began, I started my first foray into publishing a nonfiction book, The Sensible Parent’s Little Homeschooler Handbook.
My secret pleasure-writing has always been focused on romance. French Kiss is a Contemporary Romance based on a fictionalized version of experiences during eighteen months of living and working abroad before the formation of the European Union.
Next year, my first Historical Regency Romance That Wylde Woman will be published. It has allowed me to indulge my curiosity and enthusiasm for history by incorporating in the storyline a historical geologic event which affected weather and farming and even how England’s war with Napoleon impacted clothing styles.
Q&A With The Author:
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
In 2017, I had joined an author group. I was challenged to re-write a chapter in three different levels of intensity. I was skeptical at first, but I loved the scene and discovered it wasn’t difficult to refine it into three possibilities. The fact that I could do it and did do it made me realize I could slant the storyline easily in one direction or another, that I really could write. And I discovered that continued refining a product only made it shine.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
One: Find or create a writer’s group. Try a local college, bookstore or Meetup for possible connections. The feedback a writer gets get is invaluable. At first, it felt as if I needed to justify whatever someone had a constructive criticism of my work. But when I stopped trying to defend my work, listened and accept the criticism constructively, my writing improved. You do have to develop a thick skin, but it is worth it.
Two: Dig out the book of your favorite author. Analyze passages that you felt were the most powerful, lyric, emotional, or dramatic. When you discover through the analysis how they write, try to incorporate those methods in your own work.
Three: Buy the Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Writing the simple essence of the story is the easiest part. Reading it over the next day, I find a wealth of flaws. Maybe a selected word just doesn’t evoke what I mean, the flow of the sentence is terrible, or I discover I have used the same word three times in that paragraph.
What is your favorite part of this story?
When Jean Louis returns that first evening to see Nora. They are both open enough to bridge the language barrier. Forming a new relationship is always a risk, and it becomes particularly tricky when two languages are involved. They were patient, open, and generous to each other.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
The bus driver of Lyon was the most fun. This is based on an actual incident I had in Lyon. The driver tried to be so superior and controlling. The other riders insisted he was mean and kicked people off the bus all the time. I believe he thought he could get away with his imperious ways because most people on the bus were foreigners working in France.
By this time, I spoke French as well as an intelligent eight-year-old. Verb conjugations were always the most difficult. But I had just graduated college with a degree in Theater! Surely, my “universal language” skills, along with my limited (but growing) French, would allow me to create a sensible performance that everyone would understand.
It always makes me smile to recall the incident. All the passengers were in a pleasant mood and extended their warmth and smiles to me. I hope you will enjoy Chapter 12 as much as we all did that day.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
One of the main characters, Jean Louis, was the hardest to write about. A hero must be loving but have some fierceness about him, not toward his love interest but toward anyone who would harm her. I followed actual events to create Nora’s and Jean Louis’ stories. I was concerned I was painting him with a credible brush, not too heavy/not too soft.
The author will be giving away:
a $50 Amazon/BN GCa Rafflecopter giveaway