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Your French Kisses (Boyfriend Material #3.5)
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To do list for my last day of my Paris vacation…
1. Walk along the river
2. Visit all the chocolate shops in the city
3. Wander along the cobblestoned streets.
Things I don’t expect to happen…
2. Spend the afternoon with him exploring Paris, and kissing. So many French kisses…
3. Board a plane that night wishing I’d gotten his last name.
Besides, you can’t fall for someone in one day, especially when you live a world apart…
Your French Kisses is a standalone novella in the Boyfriend Material series.
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You know that saying about kids in candy shops?
They’ve got nothing on a fella in a lingerie shop.
Forget lollipops and chocolate bars. I’ll take teddies and corsets. Not for me though.
For . . .
Who do I want it for?
Who am I kidding? I know how to finish that sentence.
I’ve known it for three years.
But what are the chances I’ll see her again? I’ve nearly given up. I’ve been searching, stupidly searching this city for a woman I met once upon a time.
I wander into shops, look in windows, imagining I might see her again.
Someday I’ll shuck off that wish for good.
Today, I still have a smidgeon of hope. After all, I can recall with crystal clarity the way she curled a hand over my shoulder, showed me a display of pink and white lace, and said it was her favorite.
I sigh, wishing I’d done something different that day.
One thing different.
Regret is an awful taste.
To counter it, I’ve given myself three months to entertain a quest.
To pop into shops.
Jewelry stores. Clothing boutiques. Lingerie shops.
What are the chances I’ll see my five-hours-in-Paris woman?
I don’t let myself answer that question.
Because the three months are nearly over.
But today I’m still looking. Today, I still have a chance, one offered to me by the store owner who I met thirty minutes ago.
Peyton extends a hand, gesturing to the shop she’s lured me into.
“And this is my little slice of New York. Welcome to You Look Pretty Today,” she says. I made her acquaintance in a coffee shop with my good friend Lucas, and she encouraged me to stop in here, luring me with promises of a single woman who likes water parks.
What can I say?
I’m easy. I like water parks.
But does the woman I met in Paris like them?
I have no idea.
See, I don’t even know her last name.
This woman can’t possibly be the one I’ve been looking for. But my time is running out, so why not turn over this stone? You never know.
I walk inside and gesture to the shelves of underthings. “I see you have some wonderful items for my nan,” I joke.
“I can definitely find something for her,” Peyton says. “I have customers of all ages. But right now, I want you to meet my store manager.” She guides me through a display of bustiers.
“Got a little matchmaker in you?”
Her eyes twinkle. “I might. She says she has a thing for British accents.”
“Lucky for me.”
“Yes, it’s totally her weakness.”
For a dangerous second, my heart beats faster.
But I tell it to settle down.
It won’t be her.
Instead, I scan the lingerie on the shelves, my mind ever so helpfully assembling an image of a svelte blonde in one. A lithe brunette. A pretty redhead.
Nameless women. Faceless women. Never her.
As I wander past a shelf of satin shorts, the scent of lavender drifts into my nose, reminding me of gardens in Paris.
Another memory best forgotten.
After today, I will banish all of them and kick this pointless quest to the curb.
I snap my gaze away from the pretty items, my eyes returning to Peyton, who has her hand on the arm of her store manager.
I can’t see the other woman’s face.
But then she rounds the corner as Peyton says to her, “I have someone I want you to meet.”
The store manager steps forward, and I am swept back in time.
Brown hair, brown eyes, a smile for days, and dimples. Those dimples. I swear I’m seeing things. Seeing her.
Someone I never thought I’d see again.
Someone I’ve desperately wanted to see again.
And I made a promise that if I ever did, I’d do everything different.
Her eyes lock with mine, and I see that day flash across her irises too.
“It’s you?” I ask. Then it’s no longer a question. It’s a statement. “It’s really you.”
Nearly three years ago
I’m not afraid of many things.
Spicy food? Bring it on.
Horror movies? I can handle them.
Camping, hiking, biking, and pitching a tent? Not a problem.
Who invented heights?
Clearly someone who hates me.
Heights are officially the worst.
When my girlfriends declare at Café Roussillon over eggs, potatoes, and croissants that today is the day, I shake my head. “Au revoir.”
“Marley,” Bethany says, with a squeeze of my arm and a peppy grin, “You can do it.”
She’s Rosie the Riveter, tough and badass, but I’m undeterred.
Heights and I don’t get along. “I know I can. I don’t want to,” I say to my college roomie, who wants nothing more than to shoot up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
“Are you truly saying you don’t want to view all of Paris, drink in the vistas, see the Seine cutting across the city like a ribbon?” Emery asks with a sweep of her arm.
I laugh at the image she paints. “You sound like a travel brochure.”
“And travel brochures should be followed,” she declares as she takes her last bite of egg.