Hot off the roller coaster fun of New Agent, I’m participating in Michelle Hauck’s critique blog hop. Please see below and feel free to critique in the comments section. Thank you!
Discovering her self-harming father in a bathtub of blood created a life-long phobia in twenty-two-year old Michelle Fortes. When she learns her boyfriend cheated, Michelle opts for a job opportunity in France, away from heartache and painful family memories. If she can pass the French language certification in the city of Rouen, she’ll have a promotion in her international law office.
Once she arrives, Michelle learns the promotion hinges upon the impossible: speaking French fluently in an oral exam. Throwing herself into the task, she works as a teaching assistant in Normandy, where she meets non-profit icon, Alexandre. His eagerness to help knows no bounds, showing her castles, delectable wines, and how to French-kiss. But Michelle’s suspicions are raised when she finds photographs of women in his locked armoire, track marks on his arms, and discovers he’s been stalking her since she disembarked the plane. Despite these red flags, her undeniable attraction to him and stubborn belief in his goodness keep her close.
When Alexandre reveals his true identity and his strange request, Michelle must determine if she can face her greatest fear to save him, risking her heart and her career in the process.
HEARTS IN ROUEN is a 81,000-word New Adult work of romance and mystery, exploring the themes of life after college and how to move forward from difficult beginnings.
First 250 words:
Blood oozes from my thumbnail, bright red against the azure of the carpeted jet way. My knees ache against the thin runner where I tripped at the airplane door, but my eyes lock on the pool forming in my nail bed.
“Mademoiselle? You are okay?” The flight attendant’s thick accent and the growing nausea in my stomach make it difficult to focus.
Josh’s voice fills my ears, scoffing at my dreams. France? You can hardly navigate a sidewalk.
“You are bleeding. I may help?” Without waiting for a reply, the flight attendant pulls me to my feet with calloused hands. A drop of blood hits the ground and the stars crowding my vision turn to fireworks. Crap. Not here, not here. My chest constricts while I stare hard at the runner, taking deep breaths until my head clears.
“Thank you,” I mumble. The flight attendant hesitates, his bushy black mustache twitching, then disappears back inside the plane.
I’ve been in France two whole minutes and I already almost blacked out. Between the jet lag from Los Angeles, four-hour layover through Swiss Customs, and the signs in French I’m lucky I made it this far.
Inside the terminal, delectable smells of pastries waft from a nearby patisserie counter, swamped with the lunch rush. A ferocious growl rumbles from my stomach, as I page through my list of train times to my new city.
My thumb throbs beneath the napkin I grabbed but I press forward. I can do this.