Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Snippets - At Your Service teaser

I'm starting a new feature on my blog called Sunday Snippets. Each Sunday I'll post something... a teaser for an upcoming book, a deleted scene from something already out, a new short story featuring a favorite couple after the end of their book, or maybe a scene from a story idea I'm considering but haven't quite decided on yet. This week, it's a teaser for my upcoming release At Your Service set in and around the Salon du Livre in Paris.

Leave a comment either about this teaser or about a short story you'd like to read later and you'll be entered in a drawing for your choice of my backlist eBooks.

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.


Rue de Vaugirard was a busy, vibrant street, even at midnight, exactly what Anthony had come to expect from a commercial area of Paris. Almost as soon as they left the thoroughfare for the side streets, though, they left the bustle behind for the quiet of a residential neighborhood. Another block away to rue du Hameau and Paul guided Anthony toward the front door of an eighteenth-century building in pale stone, white or yellow—he couldn’t tell in the light of the streetlamps.
“Do you ever feel like you can’t get away from work, living so close to the restaurant?” Anthony asked as Paul dug in his pocket for his keys.
“It’s the family business,” Paul replied with a smile. “Unless I quit the restaurant and never went to family gatherings, I wouldn’t be able to get away from it, no matter where I lived.”
“There is that.”
Paul got the heavy wooden door unlocked and ushered Anthony inside with his hand low and hot at the small of Anthony’s back. Anthony stood in pitch darkness for a moment until Paul found the light switch that illuminated the entry hall. The inside of the building matched the outside, buffed stone floor shining in the bright light and wrought-iron railings with a wooden banister leading up a curved staircase.
“We’ll take the elevator unless you really want to walk,” Paul said, following Anthony’s gaze. “I live on the fourth floor.”
Which meant they’d have to walk up four flights of stairs, not three. He’d had too much wine at dinner for that. Not to mention how ready he was for the promise implied in the hand that had returned to his back. “We can take the elevator. I can admire the architecture another time.”
Paul grinned at him. “Does that mean there will be another time?”
Anthony swallowed hard. “I’m in Paris for five more days. I have to be at the Salon du livre during the day, but Patricia made it pretty clear my evenings were my own when she left without me tonight. I don’t see why this has to be a one-night thing, as long as we both understand that I’m leaving on Wednesday.”
Paul pulled open the elevator door and herded Anthony inside. The tiny cabin, probably a century old, barely held both of them, but Paul didn’t seem concerned as he punched the button for the fourth floor and crowded Anthony against the wall. Anthony leaned into him, letting their bodies touch in as many places as possible. Paul tilted his head and mouthed at Anthony’s jaw, his lips catching on the stubble Anthony hadn’t bothered to shave away before dinner.
“I’ll shave tomorrow before I come to the restaurant,” Anthony gasped.
“Don’t bother. I don’t mind a little beard burn.” Paul worked down Anthony’s neck to the collar of his sweater. He nudged the cloth aside and nipped at the skin beneath. “Do you?”
“It can’t show tomorrow.” His voice sounded wrecked to his own ears, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. Paul was taking him apart, and he didn’t want to be put back together anytime soon. “Beyond that, no.”
The elevator dinged and the interior door slid open. Paul pulled Anthony out of the elevator with him and spun him around so his back hit the wooden door behind him. The doorknob dug into his back, but he ignored it in favor of running his hands over Paul’s shoulders and arms. Beneath the simple shirt, he could feel solid muscle, tribute to all the heavy trays Paul carried around the restaurant. He yearned to see as well as feel, but he’d wait until they were inside for that. Paul’s wasn’t the only door on that floor, and he didn’t want someone coming out and seeing them half naked.
Paul didn’t seem to share Anthony’s concern about his neighbors, given the way he ran his hands under Anthony’s sweater.
“Fuck,” Anthony grunted.
Paul laughed and pulled away. “Should I be pleased I have you so worked up that you speak in English instead of French?” he teased.
Had he spoken English? He hadn’t even realized. “Ouais,” Anthony replied, consciously switching back to French. He didn’t have to think to speak French these days, but exclamations were always the last thing to come naturally in French, and Paul had muddled his brain thoroughly already.
“What did you say?” Paul asked.
Anthony considered his reply for only a moment. He could translate it as a simple expletive—putain or merde or something like that since he couldn’t imagine Paul not knowing the word fuck—or he could get what he really wanted. “Baise-moi.”

Want to read more? At Your Service releases in English and French on March 14 from Dreamspinner Press and many other online retailers.