The Little Bookshop On the Seine

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams

Praise for REBECCA RAISIN’s
Gingerbread Café
series


Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
is a lovely, cheery festive read, a good old-fashioned feel-good romance to warm the cockles of your heart. This is one of my favourite Christmas reads of the year.’
Books with Bunny

‘This is a great novella that I really enjoyed reading and found that
I didn’t want to put it down
. It is the perfect read to get you in the mood for Christmas and my mouth was watering after reading about all of the delicious-sounding baking. If you are looking for a Christmassy romance then don’t look any further than Rebecca Raisin’s brilliant debut.’
Bookbabblers
on
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘Raisin not only excels in creating a festive mood –
the tone of family and friends coming together is sweet
– but also portrays a lovely winter-wonderland setting, where things are covered in snow. This makes the book feel cosy and safe. It’s definitely an uplifting read.’
Sam Still Reading
on
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘This is a short and incredibly sweet novella that explores a very endearing and unexpected romance. It is definitely one that will
make you laugh and warm your heart
, and one that can be happily devoured in one sitting.’
Louisa’s Reviews
on
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘If you love Christmas, romance and HEA then you will love this sweet novella.
This one gets an A!’
Clue Review
on
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘Wow – loved it, loved it, loved it! …
It was just like I was visiting with old friends
. Rebecca’s descriptions are so vivid I could very well have been stood in the café, hugging CeeCee and waddling out after sampling all the different chocolatey delights on offer. My mouth literally watered with every turn of the page. … I don’t know what I’m going to do whilst waiting for the next book – Christmas is so far away!!’
Crooks on Books
on
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

‘This book is sweet & delicious, and I am looking forward to the next in the series as they end all too quickly!’
All Booked Out
on
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

Also by Rebecca Raisin

Once in a Lifetime series

The Gingerbread Café trilogy

Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

The Bookshop on the Corner

The Little Paris Collection

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Coming soon:

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Rebecca Raisin

www.CarinaUK.com

R
EBECCA
R
AISIN

is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Follow her on twitter
@jaxandwillsmum

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Website
rebeccaraisin.com

For Claire Ellis

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Praise

Book List

Title Page

Author Bio

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Three

Chapter Twenty Four

Excerpt

Endpages

Copyright

Chapter One

October

With a heavy heart I placed the sign in the display window.

All books 50% off.

If things didn’t pick up soon, it would read
Closing down sale
. The thought alone was enough to make me shiver. The autumnal sky was awash with purples and smudges of orange, as I stepped outside to survey the display window from the sidewalk.

Star-shaped leaves crunched underfoot. I forced a smile. A sale wouldn’t hurt, and maybe it’d take the bookshop figures from the red into the black – which I so desperately needed. My rent had been hiked up. The owner of the building, a sharp-featured, silver-tongued, forty-something man, had put the pressure on me lately – to pay more, to declutter the shop, claiming the haphazard stacks of books were a fire risk. The additional rent stretched the budget to breaking level. Something had to change.

The phone shrilled, and a grin split my face. It could only be Ridge at this time of the morning. Even after being together almost a year his name still provoked a giggle. It suited him though, the veritable man mountain he was. I’d since met his mom, a sweet, well-spoken lady, who claimed in dulcet tones, that she chose his name
well
before his famous namesake in the Bold and the Beautiful. In fact, she was adamant about it, and said the TV character Ridge was no match for her son. I had to agree. Sure, they both had chiseled movie star cheekbones, and an intense gaze that made many a woman swoon, but my guy was more than just the sum of his parts – I loved him for his mind, as much as his clichéd six pack, and broody hotness. And even better, he loved me for me.

He was the hero in my own
real-life
love story, and due back from Canada the next day. It’d had been weeks since I’d seen him, and I ached for him in a way that made me blush.

I dashed inside, and answered the phone, breathlessly. “The Bookshop on the Corner.”

“That’s the voice I know and love,” he said in his rich, husky tone. My heart fluttered, picturing him at the end of the line, his jet-black hair and flirty blue eyes. He simply had to flick me a look loaded with suggestion, and I’d be jelly-legged and love-struck.

“What are you wearing?” he said.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I held back a laugh, eager to drag it out. So far our relationship had been more long distance than anticipated, as he flew around the world reporting on location. The stints apart left an ache in my heart, a numbness to my days. Luckily I had my books, and a sweeping romance or two helped keep the loneliness at bay.

“Tell me or I’ll be forced to Skype you and see for myself.”

Glancing down at my outfit, I grimaced: black tights, a black pencil skirt, and a pilled blue knit sweater, all as old as the hills of Ashford. Not exactly the type of answer Ridge was waiting for, or the way I wanted him to picture me, after so many weeks apart. “Those stockings you like, and…”

His voice returned with a growl. “
Those
stockings? With the little suspenders?”

I sat back into the chair behind the counter, fussing with my bangs. “The very same.”

He groaned. “You’re
killing
me. Take a photo…”

“There’s no need. If you’re good, I’ll wear the red ones tomorrow night.” I grinned wickedly. Our reunions were always passionate affairs; he was a hands-on type of guy. Lucky for him, because it took a certain type of man to drag me from the pages of my books. When he was home we didn’t surface until one of us had to go to work. Loving Ridge had been a revelation, especially in the bedroom, where he took things achingly slow, drawing out every second. I flushed with desire for him.

There was a muffled voice and the low buzz of phones ringing. Ridge mumbled to someone before saying, “About tomorrow…” He petered out, regret in each syllable.

I closed my eyes. “You’re not coming, are you?” I tried not to sigh, but it spilled out regardless. The lure of a bigger, better story was too much for him to resist, and lately the gaps between our visits grew wider. I understood his work was important, but I wanted him all to myself. A permanent fixture in the small town I lived in.

He tutted. “I’m sorry, baby. There’s a story breaking in Indonesia, and I have to go. It’ll only be for a week or two, and then I’ll take some time off.”

Outside, leaves fluttered slowly from the oak tree, swaying softly, until they fell to the ground. I wasn’t the nagging girlfriend sort – times like this though, I was tempted to be. Ridge had said the very same thing the last three times he’d canceled a visit. But invariably someone would call and ask Ridge to head to the next location; any time off would be cut short.

“I understand,” I said, trying to keep my voice bright. Sometimes I felt like I played a never-ending waiting game. Would it always be like this? “Just so you know, I have a very hot date this afternoon.”

He gasped. “You better be talking about a fictional date.” His tone was playful, but underneath there was a touch of jealousy to it. Maybe it was just as hard on him, being apart.

“One
very
hot book boyfriend…though not as delectable as my real boyfriend – but a stand-in, until he returns.”

“Well, he better not keep you up half the night, or he’ll have me to answer to.” he faux threatened, and then said more seriously, “Things will slow down, Sarah. I want to be with you so much my soul hurts. But right now, while I’m freelance, I have to take whatever comes my way.”

“I know. I just feel a bit lost sometimes. Like someone’s hit pause, and I’m frozen on the spot.” I bit my lip, trying to work out how to explain it. “It’s not just missing you – I do understand about your job – it’s…everything. The bookshop sales dwindling, the rent jacked up, everyone going on about their business, while I’m still the same old Sarah.”

I’d been at this very crossroad when I’d met Ridge, and he’d swept me off my feet, like the ultimate romance hero. For a while that had been enough. After all, wasn’t love always the answer? Romance aside, life was a little stagnant, and I knew it was because of my fear of change. It wasn’t so much that I had to step from behind the covers of my books, rather plunge, perhaps. Take life by the scruff of the neck and shake it. But how?

“You’ve had a rough few weeks. That’s all. I’ll be back soon, and I’m sure there’s something I can do to make you forget everything…”

My belly flip-flopped at the thought. He
would
make me forget everything that was outside that bedroom door, but then he’d leave and it would all tumble back.

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