Release Date: February 4, 2020 Cover Design: Najla Qamber at Qamber Designs
“From Amazon bestselling author of romantic historical fiction novellas in her full-length novel debut.”
A timeless love story set amidst the glamour of the Belle Époque…
Paris, 1889: Amélie Audet toils in a laundry when, only steps away, investors promise the most glittering dance hall the city has ever seen. Determined to secure an audition, she stumbles into a meeting with the alluring owner of the Moulin Rouge and must face her scandalous past.
Jasper Degrailly is enchanted by a painting come to life. He sets out to seduce Amélie with his gilded world and the dark warrens of his mind. Yet he has his own sordid entanglements, and soon the gentleman and the singer must manage the greedy machinations of bohemian and high-society Paris.
Caught between competing artists, directors, and dance halls, Amélie struggles to earn the role that could make her a star, while Jasper strives to let go of his tortured past and hold on to his bright future. Eventually, their fates collide, and they find themselves torn between their desperate hearts and their irreconcilable lives.
FOUR DAYS LATER, Amélie stood before No. 7 rue de la Paix with a note in hand:
My carriage will arrive for you at noon on Saturday.
The House of Worth. She couldn’t afford even a speck of dust on the floor of the place, let alone a haute-couture gown.
After seeing Aubrey at the Salon, she’d felt certain it would signal an end to Monsieur Degrailly’s interest. But when she walked in the door, he was waiting.
“What am I doing here?” she asked after exchanging courtesies.
“You need an evening gown, and we need to get your measurements.” He directed her to a room filled with cast figures wearing the most elegant dresses she’d ever seen.
“They’re beautiful, but I can’t afford these.”
“I can afford them.”
“Have you suffered a head wound?”
He chuckled. “My mind is perfectly sound.”
“Need I remind you we haven’t come to any arrangement.”
“I know, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.” He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against a sofa. “You have this idea of how wonderful your life will be when you get on that stage, but you haven’t any idea how wonderful it might be with me. I intend to show you.”
She raised her brow.
“This is merely a costume so that you may play your part.”
She sighed. “What part is that? I’m almost afraid to ask.”
“My mistress, of course.”
She shook her head.
“One night. Give me one night, and I’ll give you your audition.”
“I’ve told you I won’t have sex to sing.”
“This isn’t that. It seems like it, looks like it, feels like it…”
“But it isn’t.”
“It isn’t. You paired the two together. I didn’t.”
He was right. He hadn’t.
“And before you say her name, Daphne’s a good sport. She sees other people. I see other people. We see people.”
“Your ex-wife? Do you see her as well?”
“Jos has no interest in seeing me.”
“But you have an abiding interest in her, I think.”
He smiled flatly as he stared at her. Finally, he said, “I’m not looking for love, Amélie.”
“Neither am I.”
“Then why do you hesitate?”
Catherine C. Heywood is an Amazon bestselling author of romantic historical fiction, and a former political communications consultant and speech writer.
Raised in Red Wing, Minnesota, she studied international politics at the University of Edinburgh and has degrees in politics, writing, and communications from the University of St. Thomas and Boston College.
She explored the law and improv before settling on storytelling. Her worst job was scraping year-old tobacco spit off a shoe factory wall. Her best is doing this.
She lives in Western Wisconsin with her husband and sons, and her interests include architecture and design, fashion and food.