Authors: Juliette Sobanet
ALSO BY JULIETTE SOBANET
Sleeping with Paris
Kissed in Paris
Dancing with Paris
Midnight Train to Paris
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright © 2013 Juliette Sobanet
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Montlake Romance, Seattle
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013939494
To Jessica, for being there through it all.
“I can’t believe I’m about to become Mrs. Luc Olivier.” Gazing down at my shimmering white gown and sparkly silver heels, I wondered if, in the history of the world, a bride had
been this excited to walk down the aisle.
Or this in love.
Inside the sleek black limo, which wound through the cobblestone streets of Annecy en route to my outdoor wedding ceremony, my four bridesmaids lifted their champagne glasses to me in a toast.
To my right were Katie and Hannah, my closest friends from my college days back in DC. And to my left sat Lexi and Fiona, the fabulous girlfriends I’d made during my past year in Paris.
Lexi—the sassiest of them all—took the liberty of speaking first. “I’d like to make a toast to
Sleeping with Paris,
single-girl blog—which I adored almost as much as I adore Charlotte herself. Your bitter diatribes on men who cheat and on the inadequacies of marriage were brilliant. And just because they got you into loads of trouble, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If your new married self is even half as fabulous as your single self, I think we’re going to be friends for a very long time.”
Lexi had barely finished speaking when the more reserved and very British Fiona nudged her in the side. “Lex, this may not be the
moment to bring up Charlotte’s
feelings on the institution of marriage. Obviously she’s changed her viewpoint. And we’re quite happy she did, I might add,” Fiona said as she winked at me.
The girls were referring to the fact that one year ago, after finding out that my ex-fiancé, Jeff, was cheating on me through an online dating site, I moved to Paris alone and began writing an anonymous, man-hating, anti-marriage blog entitled
Sleeping with Paris
. In this online literary masterpiece—
—I shared lessons and personal anecdotes of my efforts to “date like a man” and never again be the fool who falls in love. Of course, on my first day in Paris, I met Luc: the man who, as it turned out, would make it
difficult for me to follow my own advice.
Last spring, my blog posts were rolled into a feature-length article in the popular
, and once that article hit newsstands with my byline prominently displayed, my bitter diatribes weren’t so anonymous any longer.
Today, as I sat there in a gorgeous wedding gown on my way to marry the man I was hopelessly and forever in love with, it was clear just how miserably I failed in my mission
to fall in love. And thankfully so.
While the blog certainly provided a humorous, healthy release after the betrayal I’d suffered from my previous engagement, Lexi couldn’t have phrased it more aptly: my strong opinions on why women should never enter into committed relationships with members of the male species,
the personal stories I provided as proof, had gotten me into loads of trouble with friends, family, and worst of all, with Luc. As it turned out, broadcasting a man’s shortcomings online and in print before knowing the whole story wasn’t my smartest move (e.g.: throughout our year in Paris together, Luc wasn’t cheating on me as I suspected, but instead had an adorable three-year-old daughter).
I thought I’d lost him forever…
he caught wind (by a little bird named Lexi) of the redeeming follow-up article I wrote for
’s August issue, in which I professed
shortcomings this time—and my love for the one man who is different from all the rest: Luc.
It had only been four weeks since Luc had read the article and swooped back into my life, and only three weeks since he proposed. For a girl who went from opposing marriage on all fronts to one who accepts a surprise marriage proposal and plans a three-week mad dash down the aisle, I honestly couldn’t have been more certain of my decision.
Snapping back to the present, I smiled warmly at my friends and raised my sparkling glass of bubbly to the group. “I don’t mind you bringing up the blog, Lexi. As messy as it was, it’s all part of my story with Luc. And every mistake along the way led to this moment—where I’m about to start the family I’ve always wanted to have with the most incredible man I’ve ever known.”
“Cheers to that,” Katie said, wiping a tear from her eye.
In fact, as I looked around at my four best friends who’d been there for every moment of the roller coaster of a year I’d had, and who’d dropped everything on
short notice to be here for my big day, I realized that each one of them had tears in their eyes.
“Thank you all for being here for me today,” I said. “You’re the best friends a girl could ever ask for. And that isn’t going to change when I get married. I promise.”
“Okay, you’re killing me here,” Hannah said, pulling out a tissue.
“Seriously, Char. Can we just drink our champagne?” Lexi said, biting her bottom lip. “I really don’t think you want your hot bridesmaids strutting down that aisle with black smudges all over our faces. And if we keep up all this mushy friendship talk, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
Giggles erupted throughout the limo as we
took a sip of our champagne.
Just then, the limo pulled up to the lush, beautiful lawn facing the crystalline Lake Annecy and the surrounding mountains.
“Oh my God, Char, we’re here!” Hannah squealed in her characteristic high-pitched voice, squeezing my leg so hard I’d be surprised if she didn’t leave marks. “Are you nervous?”
Katie rubbed her ear and shot Hannah a warning look. “She’s going to be nervous if you keep squealing like that, lady.”
“Sorry, it’s just so
here! And I can’t believe Charlotte’s getting married!” Hannah shrieked once more, practically bouncing out of her seat.
The girls’ excited chatter faded into the background as I peeked through the window and glimpsed rows of white chairs adorned with elegant pink-and-lavender bouquets—all leading up to the most handsome groom I’d ever set eyes upon.
Luc stood at the edge of the lake, grinning his charming dimpled grin, and not looking the least bit nervous.
I always thought I’d be nervous on my wedding day, but as I opened the limo door and locked eyes with the man I was head over sparkly heels in love with, I realized there wasn’t a nervous fiber in this bride’s body.
A warm glow of morning sunlight whispered
as I batted my eyelids open and smiled at the ruffled pillow on Luc’s side of the bed. I peeked over at the clock and grinned even wider when I realized that it was ten
and I had nowhere else to be. It was the last day of our luxurious Paris honeymoon and the last week of my incredible
paid vacation. I’d spent a considerable portion of this particular week wrapped in these very sheets in pure, unadulterated, knock-my-socks-off bliss with a man who I was madly in love with, and who loved me more than I ever knew I could be loved.
I rolled his name around on my tongue, reveling in its perfect syllables, in the way it made my stomach leap, my heart swell, my legs quiver. And as I closed my eyes once more, I realized that no matter how tumultuous the past year had been, Luc had
made me feel this way, since the very first time our paths had crossed almost one year ago.
The heavenly aromas of buttery croissants, melted chocolate, and strong French coffee swirled through the expansive suite, arousing my senses, making my stomach growl. In the next room, a light clattering of plates and silverware mixed with the soft beat of Keren Ann’s “Jardin D’Hiver”—one of my favorite French songs.
It’s a song I used to play for my students back when I was a high school French teacher in DC. But as I slipped one bare leg over the crisp white sheets in our Paris honeymoon suite and felt an early fall
breeze flitter across my skin, I remembered that the romantic week I’d been enjoying in the City of Lights was a far cry from my frenzied days in the nation’s capital.
I discovered my lacy violet nightie hiding in the sheets by my feet and slipped it over my head, but just as I was about to get out of bed, Luc’s rugged face appeared at our bedside. A mischievous grin peppered his unshaven cheeks while his chestnut eyes glinted in the orange morning light.
Bonjour, ma belle,
” he said, presenting me with a tray of fresh
, two small
tasses de café
, and the morning
the way he’d done every single morning of our dreamy honeymoon.
Is this really my life?
“Let us take our
in bed, no?”
I giggled at Luc’s adorable accent and decided it was best not to argue. “Whatever you say.”
Luc rested the tray over my lap, then removed his jeans and T-shirt before slipping his lean body underneath the sheets, his legs intertwining with mine. The minute his hands reached my waist, he pressed his moist lips into the crook of my neck and left a trail of soft kisses down my shoulder. Tingles rolled down my spine while butterflies twirled through my stomach.
“If this is what heaven is like, sign me up,” I said. I was tempted to tell him that breakfast could wait, but as I’d learned from our recent mornings together, Luc liked to drink his delicious French
while it was still hot. I couldn’t say I blamed him.