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Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/6/13 – 11/13/13
Genres: Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Romance, Love Story, Modern Romance, Sexy Romance
Divorced Francine was a naïve young virgin when she first met her ex-husband. After a passionless, controlling marriage, where she lost her dreams and herself, she feels old and inadequate. Concentrating on her future, she craves a different life that will make her feel alive and set her soul on fire. Now free to pursue her dreams, a challenging idea emerges and an unexpected change of fortune takes her into a new world, where the last thing on her list is a man or love….or is it?
Awarded best autumn read 2012 by ‘Modern Romance’
On Friday evening, we took Samuel to Dominic’s music night; it was awesome like last time and when Dominic glanced at me, I went all prickly and I constantly wondered what making love to him would be like. When he went into his wiggle act, I felt my insides clinch. I was like a dog on heat for goodness sake; I couldn’t stop feeling randy; my thoughts got worse. Next morning we again went down to the restaurant for lunch; Dominic had invited us all, but mostly Samuel, to try his brother, Michael’s, famous oysters cooked the Dominic way…. which were delicious. I wondered if they did what legend said they did. I certainly would have jumped in bed with Dominic, if he had asked; right that very moment to see if they did and even considered it for a moment!
“You should market your concert evenings; they would go down a storm in America,” Samuel said, lying back in his chair full to the brim. “Last night was terrific; never heard such music.”
Dominic laughed, “Michael and I have already ‘marketed’ ourselves in America and here in France; what do you say?…very popular, we have records and things. We really need a good video made; but Michael is reluctant to travel anymore. When my papa was alive we did the rounds of concerts; tours can get tiresome.”
“You’re a sort of pop star then?” Sharon asked.
Dominic smirked, “Sort of, but not exactly pop, and we could do with some updating; like I said, a music video with a new music album would be good.”
“Why don’t you do it Francine?” Sharon said; then without waiting for a reply she turned to Dominic, “You could do it right here then. No travelling: you could record in the restaurant or they must have a recording studio near. Francine takes wicked photos and she has filmed two television programmes. I expect they’re brilliant too. We are expecting them to send the pre-view of the programmes any day now aren’t we?”
We are! I just nodded; who needed a PR when they had Sharon. I adored her, her generous nature and bubbly happiness.
Dominic gazed at me; I melted inside. “Would you consider making a video for me?”
I nodded, “Yes, it would be exciting.” As long as I could concentrate on what I was doing when he danced.
“I’ll ask Michael then. When could you start? I have to go to Paris in a couple of weeks to try to persuade the French television network that they would like my new archaeology undersea programme, so I am trying to work on that. ”
“What’s the new programme called?” Samuel asked.
“Archaeology Under The Sea.”
“What a naff title,” I said without thinking.
“Naff …?” Dominic enquired.
I paled, oh cricks.
Sharon came to my rescue, didn’t she always? “Means uninspired; you should get Francine to come up with another one; she’s brilliant at marketing and putting together ‘a package pitch’ too.”
Nadine jumped at that; until then, she had sat quietly listening. “He could do with some help. What do you suggest?” she said looking at me.
“Well tell me what the programme is about,” I said uneasily, turning to Dominic.
Suddenly Dominic looked shy; he was not the kind of man to blow his own trumpet, I realized; after all I didn’t know he had made music albums. I would look him up on the Internet when I got home.
“It is about underwater cities that have slipped into the sea and maybe seeking and finding some gold and some doubloons,” he threw a grin at Nadine. Her eyes narrowed, as she looked him straight in the eyes.
I roared with laughter at the pair, but it gave me an idea. “How about “Lost Cities and Mysteries of the Deep”?”
“Mmm, you are not just beautiful you are brilliant too; it gives a whole different vision. Even I can see how that is not ‘naff.’” Dominic said.
I continued, “The programme could have a pirate theme. You could dress as a pirate and…”
“No change there then,” Nadine interrupted me.
“..you could give a narrative as if you were the pirate searching for treasure, with some true pirate stories; it will inject some humour; people like to laugh and history stories are interesting, and the wickeder the story the better. Then you could have some underwater shots of some of your diving crew doing some piratey things. Lost cities can be woven into the period of a certain pirate. Pirates have always existed in all decades. And of course you could follow it all up with a book.”
I saw the amazement spread right across Dominic’s face. ”I think that is more than inspired,” he lent forward and kissed me. “A book though, I’m no good at writing.”
Sharon said, “Oh Francine could do that, as well as the filming.”
I gave a quick uncomfortable glance at Dominic; he might get upset at me taking over his idea. Ben would have, if he had ever come up with one in the first place.
However, Dominic just grinned, “Yes that would be great. We could start our own consultancy, production and publishing company.”
Oh no! – I’ve been there, done that; I am not going there again, as Chloe said where did it get me in the past?
Dominic saw my downcast features. “I could put up the money.”
“It’s not the money. I went into business, or so I thought, with Ben. I do not intend to be somebody’s ‘partner’ ever again, in a company or otherwise…in any way. Thanks.” My lip tightened as I glared at him. This had been his intention all along. I was that unlovable. He was just as charming as Ben; he had me charmed! That’s why he has been so nice all week! He had certainly not left me alone for long to think; every day I had seen him, but maybe I had not ‘seen’ him at all.
Dominic said quietly, “I am not Ben.”
No, he was not, but how did I know he wasn’t as deceitful as Ben. How did I know if he was scheming like Ben and wanting his own way and nasty if he didn’t get it? I wanted to burst into tears. Instead, I stood up. “If you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for me to go home.”
There was an awkward silence. Dominic looked as angry as I felt, his brown eyes as dark as black holes; then without a word he picked up some dirty crockery and took it into the kitchen. Nadine kissed the three of us goodbye and we murmured our thanks and went silently out to the car.
“If you ask me,” Sharon began.
I saw Samuel nudge Sharon to be quiet in the mirror. How could I be so rude to her? “Sorry,” I stopped the car with a screech, like my heart was doing, tears blurring my vision.
Samuel got out of the passenger side, “Get in the back with Sharon,” he ordered and I meekly did as he said.
Sharon put her arms about me, holding me like a child. Through gritted teeth, she said,” Oh that Ben has a lot to answer for. He’s ruling your life, even from a distance.”
“No, he isn’t,” I sobbed.
“What do you call this then? You trust me don’t you?” I nodded. “Well Dominic is nothing like Ben. All he wants to do is make you happy; Ben never cared about your happiness, only his own; can’t you see that?”
How did Sharon know what Dominic is like? “I could turn Dominic into Ben; he could find me boring and…and unlovable, just like Ben found me and Giles didn’t love me enough either.” One knock and my self-esteem was at rock bottom again.
“Oh don’t talk rubbish,” Samuel burst out. “There’s nothing wrong with you; you’re not unlovable; you are clever and lovely. It’s Ben that has a problem, not you. Ben is an arsehole; he has talent at drawing but he is not clever like you and he knew it. He put you down because he always saw you as competition because of his own inadequacies. Moreover, for my money Dominic is twice the man Ben is. For goodness sake woman you have really hurt him, comparing him to Ben.”
Sharon gave me a squeeze; “I think you should phone him when we get in.”
“Suppose he doesn’t want to talk to me and doesn’t want to know me now?”
“Then you would be right and we would be wrong,” Samuel said.
When we got in, I poured myself a glass of wine; I needed some courage before I phoned… if I could phone. The drink didn’t do any good, maybe another! Thoughts began to swirl round my head like a tornado. Did I want Dominic? Yes I lusted after him, but he also made me laugh; he loved swimming and diving like me; he cooked for goodness sake too; we had a lot in common, and his kisses made me tingle in places I didn’t know could tingle. I’m not sure I can phone, suppose he won’t talk to me. Well it would settle this agony in my heart. Then Sharon, fed up with watching my miserable face, handed me the phone, her mouth set. I could see she would not take no for an answer. It rang for a long while and the butterflies in my stomach were nearly making me sick. I went to put it down but Sharon wouldn’t let me; then Nadine answered.
“Ah Nadine is your father there please?”
“No – he is coming to see you. He is very upset Francine, he adores you; he is a good man. You are the first woman I have ever seen him interested in. If you don’t like him, please tell him. I don’t want you to break his heart.”
“Yes, I’m sorry Nadine; I have some unresolved past issues.”
“I understand, but my father would not hurt you or anyone he cares about ever and he cares for you, so you remember that please.”
I felt very humble; Nadine was rightly angry I could hear it in her voice, let alone her words. Sharon was correct: Ben had done me damage, but I wasn’t going to let him spoil any more of my life. After all surely there were not many men like Ben, were there? I thought of my father, I thought of Giles, both faithful men that cherished their wives, Giles even after his wife was dead; and then there was Samuel, and Dominic said he had been faithful to his wife too.
When Dominic arrived, we strolled down to the beach and sat looking at the sea rippling gently against our toes, silence between us.
Someone had to talk first and I guess it should be me.
“Look…” I began.
“Listen…” Dominic said.
Next, he reached for my hand as I muttered “sorry.”
“I don’t want you to set up a company or anything you don’t want to do with me. I just thought maybe your son might like it and would come and join you here; a spur of the moment idea that was all. A silly one, but I can assure you that I would never cheat you out of anything, ever, or cheat on you now or in the future, whatever happened between us. It is not in my nature. I don’t need any of your money or scheme to get hold of it; I have plenty, but I need you to trust me or we have nothing together. What I say to you will always be the truth; I don’t lie. I know you are still in pain but please do not insult me again by suggesting I am anything like that ex of yours. He only has my contempt for what he has done to you.”
Tears were trickling down my face; I felt so awful. “I have some baggage I thought I had got rid of. I am so very, very sorry. It was a kind thought on your part and I just over reacted. I never told you, because I felt ashamed; I thought there was something wrong with me, but Lucy was not the only girl; Ben cheated on me throughout our marriage. He hit on all my friends and even my daughter’s best friend. I was so stupid and busy and I trusted him and never knew. I worked hard for him for twenty odd years. Now I’m afraid to trust men properly. Also, I have discovered I like my independence and especially my own financial independence and I don’t need a man for that; and I have no intention to re-marry. I made up my mind that I will only work when I want, and on what I want to.” There, I’d said it.
He shook his head and gave a deep sigh, gathering me to him and kissed me gently on the lips, then kissed my eyelids and my face and salty tears. ”Stop crying, I can’t bare it. I only want to make you happy and heal that hole in you.” Which made me worse; he just held me, kissing and stroking my hair.
“You still want to know me?” I eventually said, wiping my tears.
“Very much, but do you want to have a proper relationship? I know it has only been just over a week since we met, but this is no casual fling for me.”
“That’s more like it. Do you want to make this video for me?”
“As long as you are sure. Will you also do some of the diving and filming for my programme?”
I smirked, “It depends where you’re planning on diving; I don’t do cold water.”
He gurgled with laughter, “No, nor me anymore; Canada was enough. I will pay you proper freelance fees and give you credit and a percentage on the programme and your name as author of the book and its ownership,” I went to protest. “No, I insist. And that way if you want to start your own freelance company or consultancy fine, or if I’m a one off, that’s OK too. It is up to you. Now will you come to Paris with me? I want you to myself, to make love to you and hold you all night after and wake up with you in my arms in the morning? I don’t want our first time to be a stolen afternoon.”
I twisted inwardly with pleasure; he did want me like I wanted him; and so honest. “Oh that sounds nice; but when? I have to go to England in the middle of October as I am supposed to do some television and radio interviews to promote one of my programmes and books.”
“I said the twenty six of September, for several days so it should be Ok, we should be back by the beginning of October at the latest.”
“Well in that case I had better start working on your pitch for the programme and you had better tell me about the music so I can think about the video too, but some of that might have to wait until after Paris.”
“Mmm, in a minute….or two, or three,” he smirked. I was still in his arms and he grazed his lips over my eyelids (Oh, I do like that!), and across my face and down my neck; goose bumps, goose bumps. Then he kissed my mouth, teasing me first with little kisses, then they grew more passionate and as we rolled onto the sand together; our bodies locked, I felt his hardness against me. Can your toes curl?
Suddenly I heard Sharon yelling my name from the house; Dominic made a face, and I got up reluctantly.
“What’s up? “ I called.
“It’s Raphael on the phone.”
I squealed, excitedly running up the slope into the house.
“Dawn had a boy an hour ago; yes they are both well. We have decided to call him Francisco after you, and we want you to be Godmother. We owe all our good fortune to you.”
“Don’t be daft, but yes of course, thank you, and I do love you. I will be seeing you in about a month; I can’t wait.”
When I put down the phone, Dominic was leaning against the frame of the door.
“Who is this Raphael that you get excited and run to and love?” he asked coldly.
Now who does not trust whom; but I saw the hurt in his eyes.
Going over to him, I glided my arms about his neck. “He is one of my best friends who journeyed with me on my yacht and he married another of my best travelling friends called Dawn. She has just had a baby and they are calling it after me, although it is a boy, and want me to be Godmother. I love them both and am very happy for them.”
Dominic’s twinkle came back; he really does care for me; had he been jealous? How wonderful, he was jealous, jealous! I nearly sung it aloud; it was such a new feeling for me. Maybe he would be so jealous he would never let me speak to other men or so jealous that I …there goes my imagination again. One moment I’m happy he is jealous; next, I think he is a freak. What does that make me, apart from neurotic?
Barnes and Noble
I am a retired child development lecturer and nursery nurse. I live in Lincolnshire with my husband and near my two daughters and five grand children. Set my soul on fire, is my debut novel into adult stories; until now I have wrote mainly for children and young teenagers.
For more info on me please go to my website www.celia-romanceauthor.com as it has an interview/and review of my story and me and gives an insight into both.
Master Schedule (OVER):
11/6 Peace Love and Writing
11/7 Author Rose Wynters (Review)
Stop 2 UK Romance Readers
11/8 Sexy Romance Books
Stop 2 Bestseller Books
11/11 Fantastic Indie Authors (Interview)
Stop 2 Sweetie’s Contemporary Romance Love
11/12 Marie Reads and Reviews (Review)
11/13 We Love Kink
Curse of the Bibliophile (Interview)