Exclusive excerpt of my new novel

| English |

Dear friends, my new book "How to Bed a Millionaire" will be released on July 7 on Amazon and Kobo (paperback and ebook—you'll find the blurb and the purchase links below), so I thought I might treat you to an exclusive excerpt right away. So, without further ado here it is:

I’ve barely enough energy left to eat my sandwiches. I’m so exhausted I doze off on my comfy beach sofa afterward. At that point, I’ve emptied half the bottle of rosé, too, which could account for my sudden somnolence. I finally drag myself inside at 10:00 p.m., close the French window, fall on my bed, and surrender to sleep.

When I get up the next morning, I feel rested and fresh. I shower. Then, I don my blue gym shorts again—sans underwear because why bother—and wander over to the kitchen.

There’s still no one around. It feels as if I have the house all to myself. How strange. Well, I’ll survive. Don’t need no hunky housekeeper. Nor a maid, cook, pool boy, whatever.

The first thing I turn on is the brand-new Nespresso machine on one of the side counters. A selection of capsules is stored in a 360-degrees rotation storage rack nearby.

Whistling a fancy tune, I open several drawers and cupboards, take out a cup, a spoon, and the sugar, and prepare my first cup of coffee. I’m not hungry, so I sit on one of the bar stools at the central eating counter, sip my coffee, and gaze dreamily outside, taking in the pool, the rocky roofs of the side wings, and the beautiful, blue-skyed morning, letting my thoughts drift to and fro.

I’m having my second cup when in waltzes who else but Mr. Hunky Housekeeper in person. He’s accoutered in linen again, beige this time. And he’s wearing loafers. No socks, however.

Yikes. I shudder to think of the juices my feet would be swimming in after ten minutes. It’s already thirty degrees, after all.

Hunky John, of course, doesn’t seem to have that problem. He’s one of those guys who don’t sweat or indulge in the secretion of other unsavory body fluids. Whenever they exude something—if they exude something—it’s surely the kind of ambrosia the gods are so fond of feeding on.

He stares at me, then stares at the cup in my hand, then stares at me again, from head to shoeless toes. His gaze lingers on my scrawny but hairy chest for a moment.

“Don’t you ever wear clothes?” he huffs.

“Well, hello and good morning, sunshine,” I reply cheerfully because manners, dude?

“That remains to be seen,” he murmurs. “So? Clothes are a no-go for you?”

“I wore clothes yesterday when I arrived.”

“You did. Have they vanished overnight?”

“No. But why bother?” I shrug.

“Why bother indeed.” He sits on another bar stool and shoots me a wary look. “Who made you that coffee?” he asks.

“No one. I made it myself. Why? Is it against the rules?”

“Can you make me one, too?”

“I can.” I don’t budge, however, because has anyone heard the magic word? I haven’t. Plus, come on—a self-assured guy like he should know how to insert a pod and press a button.

He drums his fingers on the counter, staring at me again. I must say, he cuts a striking figure when he’s doing that austere-faced thing. “Well?” he says after a minute.

“Well, what?”

“That coffee? Will you do it today or, I don’t know, do you need a written invitation or something?”

I lean toward him as if to share a secret and get a whiff of his cologne, which smells wonderful. “First of all, without a little ‘please’, I’ll do nothing. Like, literally nothing at all. And then, I’m not your servant. You want coffee? You make yourself a cup like the grown man you seem to be.”

“You…” He’s on the verge of saying something that I guess would be unflattering for me. Finally, he doesn’t. He just shakes his head. “Why are you still sitting around here? It’s nine o’clock. Don’t you have a job to do?”

“Don’t you have a job to do?” I shoot back.

“Jesus!” He throws his hands up. “Talking to you feels like I’m playing a scene in the Taming of the Shrew!

“Why, the shrew says thank you. As for taming, many have tried, but none have succeeded,” I say airily before taking a sip. ‘Mmm, what a nice coffee!”

He sighs. “Why are you acting like such an asshole?”

“Maybe you bring out the best in me?”

“It’s like you asked me to tame you.”

“In your wet dreams,” I mumble, quite certain he won’t hear it.

Unfortunately, the man’s ears are in perfect running order. “What?” he asks, studying me.

I wave my hand. “Nothing. So, do I get a ‘please’ now?”

“What for?”

“For that coffee.” I still don’t think I should prepare him a cup. But the thing is, I’d love to have another cup myself.

“Could you please prepare me a cup of coffee?” he says between gritted teeth.

“There you are.” I smirk. “Wasn’t so difficult, after all, was it?”

I amble off toward the Nespresso machine, cup in hand, and say over my shoulder, “Bring me another cup, sunshine, will you? Because I don’t reckon you want to share mine…”

“Stop calling me sunshine,” he barks. Nonetheless, he gets up and stares at the cupboards. He looks so helpless that I point at the one I found my cup in. “Over there. Say, you sure know your way around here.” I grin. “Sunshine.”

“Don’t call me…”

“If you deigned to tell me your name, of course, I could be persuaded to use that instead.” My voice is sickeningly sweet.

He comes over with an empty cup. “Ciao.”

For a moment, I don’t understand and blink at him, my hand with the capsule hovering over the machine. Is he trying to talk Italian with me now? Don’t you say ‘Ciao’ when you leave? Or when you dismiss someone?

How rude!

If that’s how he wants to play, all right. He might as well make his cup of fucking coffee himself. I lay the pod on the counter with fake calm and shrug. “As you want. Ciao, then. See you around.”

I turn to leave, but he holds me back. His hand feels as if it was burning a hole into my skin, which—stupid reaction? Very much so.

“I didn’t say ‘Ciao.’ I said Chao. C-h-a-o. That’s my name,” he explains.

“Oh.” I turn away to hide my blush. “All right. Mr. Chao.”

“No, just Chao. It’s my first name.”

“All right. Sooo…” I insert the capsule, concentrating on his cup and the coffee streaming into it. Then I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. “Is it possible to get a house tour today?” I hand him his cup and put mine under the machine instead.

“Beg your pardon?” He blows on the steaming cup, watching me closely.

“Let’s pretend you said, ‘Thank you’,” I mutter. His manners really ask to be improved. Hiding my irritation, I add, “If I’m supposed to start working today, I need to know where to find the library, to start with. An extensive tour of the whole villa could be, you know, a thing one might consider useful, anyway. You could also hand me the keys, give me the security code if there’s a burglar alarm, explain how I can get through the gate without ringing the intercom, that kind of stuff. Basic, as in ‘everybody who lives here for more than five minutes should know it.’ You could also show me how that intercom thingy works.”

I’m probably blabbering, but Chao is still standing behind me and studying me. Handsome guys staring at me in such close quarters have always made me nervous.

“Why would you want to know how the intercom works, for Christ’s sake?” he says eventually.

“You make it sound as if I asked you to explain the relativistic Doppler effect. Imagine I’m all alone and someone rings the intercom. What am I supposed to do?”

We move back to the counter and sit on two bar stools, facing each other.

Chao looks amused again. “Pray tell, who would come ringing the intercom out here?”

I shrug, unwilling to concede that he has a point. “I don’t know. Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

He snorts. “You seriously think Jehovah’s Witnesses stop at this place?” He waves around to make me understand he’s not talking about the villa, but about the entire peninsula.

“You’re probably right,” I reply. “I guess they don’t bother, knowing from the outset that everyone living here is doomed.”

He glowers at that.

I simply smile. Then I say, “So. That house tour you promised? When are you available?”

____________

BLURB

Take a scrawny French student and a hunky housekeeper; put them in a swanky summer villa; add a pink car named Sean and a ruggedly handsome delivery man—and voilà a sunny-funny summer romance.

Twenty-year-old Trevor is overjoyed. An Australian millionaire offers him the summer job of his dreams: to catalog the library of his summer house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat—one of the ritziest and most exclusive spots on the Côte d’Azur.

What unnerves him, however, is the presence of a young housekeeper who turns out to be as drop-dead gorgeous as he is stilted, obnoxious, and conspicuously straight. Of course, Trevor’s quirky sass and light-hearted banter soon create an atmosphere of crackling tension between the two men.

What if the housekeeper isn’t as straight as Trevor thinks? What if Trevor is just the kind of person that housekeeper has been looking for all his life? And what if things aren’t exactly what they seem?

Available on July 7, 2021

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