Series: Standalone Novel
Published by Self Published on 5/9/17
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
Two strangers in Paris ...
One passionate, earth-shattering kiss.
He was the artist upstairs
with the tantalizing smile and laughing eyes.
He was the devil inviting me to sin,
seducing me to dance in the bright moonlight.
He was desire and need.
When he touched me, my body sang.
My soul came alive.
But I belonged to another man,
and he didn't want to let me go.
Mia Asher did it again. She captured my heart with a set of characters that might be a little flawed but they are the best kind of flawed. I fell in love with this story, the romance, the surprising twists and turns, and I am still SUPER hungover from it. I want EVERYONE to read this book. A must read that has ALL. THE. THINGS. Just fabulous.
5 “This was Everything” Stars!
“You know what I keep wishing for?”
I shake my head.
“For another life, in another universe, with you by my side.”
I have read all of Mia Asher’s books and I’ve loved them all, but I will tell you this… THIS IS HER BEST BOOK YET. Wow. Wow. Wow. Really. Addictive doesn’t come close to truly describing what reading this book was like. I started it and I felt like I was going to come unglued. I couldn’t stop reading. I. COULD. NOT. STOP. I read Love Me in the Dark in less than a day. In a single sitting. I was intoxicated by the words, the characters, the story, the setting, the everything. There’s not a single thing in this standalone novel that I didn’t love.
NOT A SINGLE FREAKING THING.
I adored it all. The angst you feel right from the prologue, all the way through to the end of the book. It’s delicious, a torturous kind of angst that consumes all your thoughts and feelings and makes you feel fevered to finish this novel. Mia Asher’s one hell of a writer. So fantastic that I HIGHLIGHTED, and HIGHLIGHT, and HIGHLIGHT. There were many profound and beautiful quotes. This author writes with heart and it shows in her stories. While this novel was juicy and sexy and fun and sweet in ways, it was also really intense! One of the most intense reads I’ve read this year. I felt on the edge, waiting for the craziness to start as I devoured all the words. If anyone can write a scandalous read in a super classy way, it’s Mia freaking Asher.
I’m telling you, I have yet to finish a book since this one. I almost don’t even want to read anything else, because I am still, DAYS LATER, completely consumed by the journey this decadent read took me on. Mia doesn’t hold back as she introduces us to William and Valentina, a married couple having a hard time. Things between the two of them are strained and broken and Valentina is depressed. She spends most of her energy blocking out the pain, trying to keep one foot in front of the other as she goes on, broken hearted and all. William hurt Valentina and she’s struggling to get past that. As their anniversary comes, William recommends a trip to Paris in an attempt to repair the damage he’s done.
Renewed with hope, Valentina gets to Paris ready to fix things with her husband, but the story takes a new and intoxicating turn when Sébastien enters the scene. A single artist living in Paris, Sébastien will have you falling in love with him in less than one page. He’s charming and charismatic, sweet and sinful, and a little wicked. And dealing with own his heartbreak, Seb still manages to keep a warmth about him that just made this story heart stopping.
Now I know what you are thinking.. this is another one of those cheating tales. Ummm… I don’t think so. This is not even close to being salacious. Everything that happens makes complete sense and Valentina’s a character that your heart beats for. You want all the things for this woman. She’s such a good person and you feel heart broken for her. There are so many twists and turns in this novel that you don’t even see coming. Things that will leave you wide eyed and blinking. Sébastien and Valentina form a friendship so endearing, real, and romantic, you will be swooning for days. I truly loved every second of reading and I was in every chapter, my heart lost and on the line for these characters.
Overall, Mia Asher did it again. She captured my heart with a set of characters that might be a little flawed but they are the best kind of flawed. I fell in love with this story, the romance, the surprising twists and turns, and I am still SUPER hungover from it. I want EVERYONE to read this book. I want to force it on everyone **hahahaha** It’s THAT FREAKING GOOD. A must read that has ALL. THE. THINGS. Just fabulous.
Ten years ago …
I’m strumming my fingers on the windowsill, watching the rain fall outside the apartment, when I feel small, warm arms hugging me from behind.
“Good morning,” she says hoarsely before placing a kiss on my shoulder.
I cover her hands with mine, enjoying the feel of her naked body pressed against me. “Sleep well?”
“Like a rock.”
“I didn’t know rocks snored.”
She bites my shoulder. “Idiot,” she adds teasingly.
Chuckling, I reach for her and bring her to stand in front of me. “Hello,” I say, kissing the tip of her nose. A halo of fire frames her delicate features accentuating the milky whiteness of her skin and the blue of her eyes. Poppy Smith.
I met her over two years ago when she spilled hot coffee on my lap by “accident.” According to her, I was rude to one of her coworkers at the coffee shop where she worked, so she wanted to put me in my place. It’s funny because at first, I didn’t even notice her, but as my gaze rested on her slim, coltish figure covered in colorful clothes that didn’t match, her chipped manicure, and her peaceful yet stubborn features, I was a goner. I never stood a chance against Poppy and her thirst for life.
“Hello.” She pushes herself away from me and makes her way back to bed. I’m watching her perfect ass, imagining what I’ve done to it, when she glances back and smiles a smile full of promises, the kind to drive one to an early grave. I don’t know what I did to get so damn lucky, but thank you, Jesus. You’re the man.
My breathing accelerates as my cock stirs awake, blood pumping hard. Need and want palpable in the air. “Starving.”
She lies down on the bed, spreading her legs apart. Her fingers begin to trace a small path down to my fucking heaven. An enticing grin on her beautiful face, she gives me a saucy look. “Why are you still standing there, then? Come over here and have your breakfast.”
Again, thank you, Jesus. I owe you a big one. I join her in no time, moving to lie down next to her. I take her in my arms, kissing the curve where her neck and shoulder meet, a place that I’ve claimed as mine.
I remember the news from last night. “Wait …” I splay my fingers across her growing stomach, feeling primal pride and happiness. “Hello there, buddy. Can you hear us? It’s your very horny dad,” I whisper against Poppy’s skin while showering kisses on her jawline. “Time to put those earmuffs on, little one.”
Poppy laughs softly as she places a hand behind my neck, pulling me toward her, rubbing herself on my cock—lighting me up like Fourth of July fireworks. “How about Daddy does less talking and more …”
The rest of her words get lost between my lips when I cover her body with mine, silencing her with my mouth, with my tongue, with my never-ending need. A lifetime spent like this, in our bed, our limbs tangled like a rope, sweat on our skin, and full of each other would never be enough for me. Even if I lived a thousand lifetimes, it still wouldn’t be enough.
After we spend the rest of the morning satiating our bodies, we begrudgingly get out of bed. Poppy goes to take a shower while my gaze lingers on the twisted, guilty sheets. I’m tempted to call Poppy’s parents and make up an excuse as to why we can’t make it after all, then join my girlfriend in the shower. However, I stop myself. Poppy misses them, and she should go home for a visit. Shaking my head, I sigh, get dressed, and go downstairs. Once I finish packing her car in the rain, we stand in the kitchen ready to say goodbye. I’m going to join her tomorrow after I drop off a few paintings at a gallery, and together we’ll share the news with them.
“Drive safely,” I say, staring out of the window. The wind has picked up, and the rain is falling harder than earlier in the day.
“It’s a short drive to Kent.” She wraps her arms around my waist and leans her head on my chest. “I can make it with my eyes closed. Don’t worry about it, sir.”
I pull her closer to me, suddenly afraid to let her go. “Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.”
There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
“Are you trying to get lucky again?” Poppy rubs her cheek on my shirt, a small smile playing on her face. “Because let me tell you, quoting George Sand will definitely get you laid.”
“Maybe.” I lower my head and bury my nose in her hair. I take a deep breath, filling my lungs with her essence. “Is it working?”
“You have no idea.” She kisses my chest. “Unfortunately, Mum made me promise her that I’d be there for tea, and if I don’t leave now, I’ll never make it. Peter’s bringing his new girlfriend.”
“What happened to Millie?”
“Who knows. But I’ll make it up to you tomorrow?” she asks, lowering her hand and running her fingers along the front of my jeans. Slowly. Decadently.
“Good God, woman. You’re going to be the death of me,” I groan, closing my eyes momentarily.
Giggling, she stands on her tiptoes and cups my cheeks with her hands. “Je t’aime, my horny man,” she says before pressing her lips against mine, kissing me with everything that she is.
After I say goodbye to Poppy and watch her drive away, I head to the bedroom. As I’m going up the stairs, there’s a sharp pang in the middle of my chest. Must be the Indian food we had last night, I think as I rub the pain away in circles. When it’s passed, I finish climbing the few remaining steps that lead to the room. I walk to the closet, pull out an old battered shoebox, and open it, finding what I’m looking for. Heart drumming in my chest, I take out the small velvet box that holds my happiness and put it in the front pocket of my jeans.
A few hours later …
I see Peter’s incoming call.
“Bonjour, fucker,” I say over the phone, looking at the diamond ring in my hand, smiling as I picture Poppy’s surprise when she sees it. Some people might say we’re too young to get married or to start a family, but what the hell do they know? When you meet the one person who gives your life meaning, who makes you a better man so you can be worthy of her love, you don’t wait for the “right time” to come along. You jump. You run. You fly.
“Has Pops arrived yet? She’s not answering her phone—”
“Sébastien … you need to come home …” Peter’s voice sends a chill running down my spine. “We’re at the hospital. It’s Poppy …”
And just like that, my world goes dark.
Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and not recognize your reflection?
A flawless woman stares back at me. She has long caramel brown hair blown out to perfection, and her formerly curvaceous body is now trim and slim and outfitted in a designer dress. She’s someone worthy of William Alexander Fitzpatrick IV.
Gone are the traces of the wild girl I once was. The one who felt too much, laughed too loud, ate too much, while juggling work and college. Her hips were a little too large, her mouth a little too wide, and her curly hair had a life of its own. She was broke, lived in a shoebox, yet couldn’t have been happier. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheap box wine kept her fed and sane.
I chuckle sadly. I didn’t have much other than my dreams, but it was enough for me. Because in those dreams, I would finish college with a kick-ass job that would pay me enough money to get my own apartment, nice shoes, and great wine. I would also become the next Mrs. Brad Pitt.
My arms outstretched, I’d danced to the vibrant music of life.
I prayed for romance, adventure, the unknown. I wanted to fall in love and love to the point of no return. I wanted the turmoil, the stress, the upheaval, and chaos—the Sturm und Drang. And my God wasn’t deaf. He, with his almighty ways, granted me all my wishes. While crying over lattes with my best friend, Sailor, about my latest break-up, I met him. Halfway through my sob story, I heard him chuckle behind his newspaper.
“Excuse me,” I said affronted. “What’s so funny?”
The man lowered the newspaper and placed it on the table next to him. At the sight of his handsome face, I felt my cheeks grow hot while forgetting why I was so offended. He stood and made his way from the couch area to our table. Older than me, the man walked like a king, an emperor. Larger than life, he seemed to know his worth. With his expensive suit, tall form, perfectly wavy combed blond hair, and even more perfect features, the man radiated power and wealth. I couldn’t have looked away even if I’d wanted to.
He gave me his card while his bright blue eyes took in my tear-stained face. “If you call me, I promise not to make you cry.” He smiled dazzlingly, turned on his feet, and walked out of the store, leaving Sailor and me with our mouths half open.
I lasted a week before I gave in and called him.
It was a whirlwind romance fit for the movies. The kind you dreamed of when you were a little girl playing with dolls. It was surreal, breathtaking, and it was happening to me. We had a lavish wedding on my twenty-second birthday with celebrations that lasted for days.
I never got that dream job I wanted so much. Instead, I tried to become the perfect wife. I tossed my old clothes and went shopping at Bergdorf’s for new items worthy of my life with William. And if sometimes I mourned my past life, I reminded myself that there was no room for the old Valentina in this one.
Lost in thought, I hear William saying my name. I give my head a tiny shake and turn towards his voice. All it takes is one look from my husband, handsome in dress slacks and a white button-down shirt, to bring back hundreds of memories, good, bad, and ugly. And the love I felt—the love I still feel—for him comes rushing back like a tsunami. And like a tsunami, its strong current continues to pull me down repeatedly.
How I fell for him. William Alexander Fitzpatrick IV. He was polished and with a pedigree that could rival the Kennedy’s. Princeton grad. Walking Ralph Lauren ad. Hedge fund whiz. Trust-fund baby.
He was everything that I wasn’t, and he wanted me. He chose me.
Valentina. On a scholarship at my dream university in New York City. Savvy concession and thrift store shopper. I was comfortable in my own skin and knew my own worth. Yet I couldn’t help but be surprised that William wanted me, and that he returned my love unconditionally. In a world built on dreams, he became my one truth.
“Hi.” I turn to face the mirror, looking at my reflection. Dispassionately, I notice my hands shaking as I try to put a diamond stud on my left earlobe. “I thought you’d already left?”
“Did you forget what today is?” he asks softly.
“Monday?” I look at the Rolex on my wrist, noting the time. “I’m running late for breakfast with the girls. They must be at the club already.”
“Valentina …” William steps behind me, his front touching my back, and runs his hands over my arms, leaving goose bumps in their wake. “It’s our anniversary, my love.”
My lower lip quivers as I look up to see my husband in all his golden, virile beauty. In the mirror, his blue eyes meet mine, and there’s sadness and sorrow in them. And guilt. So much fucking guilt. I’m surprised we’re both not drowning in it.
But it wasn’t always the case.
At the beginning of our life together as a married couple, we fought hard, fucked harder, loved hardest. And when our eyes met, I saw life, tenderness, and a bright future ahead of us.
Little did I know, little did I understand, that in the balance of life, happiness can’t exist without sadness.
“Oh. We can celebrate tonight. I promised the girls—”
“Stay,” he says hoarsely as he spins me around to face him.
He gets down on his knees between my legs and showers my stomach with slow kisses that burn me from the inside out. I would love nothing more than to run my fingers through his hair, feeling its softness, its warmth, but I can’t bring myself to touch him. Not today. His large hands cup my ass from behind, pushing me closer to his mouth. He breathes me in. Swallows me whole. His lips taste through the fabric of my skirt the flavor that belongs to him. My body screams I am his, I am his.
But my heart hasn’t forgotten.
One day, right before our tenth anniversary, I decided to surprise my husband with an impromptu lunch at our townhouse in the city.
I got take-out from our favorite sushi place, flowers from the deli next door, and sped to our place on Park Avenue. My plan was to give him a call and ask him to meet me there. Maybe, after lunch, we could spend the rest of the afternoon naked in bed.
I laughed at myself as anticipation and excitement ran freely in my veins. I couldn’t remember when was the last time I did something so spontaneous. It didn’t matter. It felt great.
I was married to the love of my life.
We were in love.
Life couldn’t get any better.
Turns out it was me who walked into a surprise. There, in the middle of our newly renovated kitchen stood my husband, hands on his intern’s head as she took him in her mouth.
I wish I could say that I divorced his sorry ass, but that would be a lie.
I loved him too much—too blindly—to walk away.
I had given him twelve years of my life. Our marriage was everything I had—it was an extension of me. My identity. His breathing was my breathing. His dreams were my dreams. His happiness was my happiness.
Who was Valentina without William? I no longer remember, and the thought of finding out terrified me. So I made lemonade out of lemons. I forgave him and tried to pretend it never happened.
But it had, and I couldn’t forget—I still can’t. It’s been a year since the day I realized that not all love stories have a happy ending.
My aunt used to tell me that trust was like a plate. Once it was broken, it didn’t matter how much glue you used to put it back together; it would never be the same. So here I am holding onto the broken fragments of our love—our marriage—trying not to cut myself with them.
Some days are better than others. Sometimes I’m full of hate and resentment and can’t look at his face without feeling disgust and betrayal. And sometimes when he touches me like he used to, I can fool myself into thinking I imagined the whole thing. But even after all this time, when William places his hands on my head like he did to her that day, I relive it all over again.
I give my head a tiny shake while feeling William unzip my skirt, letting it fall to the floor, and tugging my thong to the side. The room swirls around me. My legs grow weak, and I press my back to the mirror for support. I want to tell him to stop, that I don’t want him touching me, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Tongue-tied, I get lost in the unforgiving, sensual disarming of my body at his hands. My will dissolves. He’s on his knees while I remain standing, but it’s me who crumbles on the inside with each minute that passes.
Love is cruel for it makes one weak.
And William continues to punish me for it over and over again.
Moments pass and everything ceases to exist except for the both of us. William pulls me down onto the soft carpeted floor. His hands on me. His tongue moving inside me along with his punishing fingers. I bite my lip hard to stop a moan from escaping until I can taste blood. But it’s him I feel outside and inside this body of mine—he’s everywhere.
Obliterating light consumes me, and I come undone with his name on my tongue. He kneels over me and fists his cock, pumping it up and down fast and hard until his warm seed spills on my skin and a groan is torn from his chest.
We’re now lying on the carpeted floor, exhausted and bathed in the remnants of our lovemaking.
His fingers stroke my shoulder. “I have something for you.”
He gets up, goes to his nightstand, and takes something out of its drawer. Package in hand, he comes back. “Here,” he says, handing me a white envelope.
Part of me wishes I could tell William that he doesn’t need to shower me with gifts. I don’t need anything. All I want—all I’ve ever wanted—is his love. I sit up and cross my legs. “I didn’t get you anything.”
“It’s all right.” He buries his hands inside the front pockets of his unzipped trousers that hang loosely around his hips. “Go on, open it.”
I follow his orders and find a key inside. I take it out and inspect it, turning it this way and that. “What’s this?”
“A key,” he adds with dry amusement.
“I can see that, but what’s it for?”
“It’s the key to an apartment in Paris.”
“We’re going to Paris?”
He nods, caressing my cheek with the back of his hand. “I have to go for work next week. And I’d like you to come with me.”
“You do?” I hate the fact that my voice is heavy with surprise and wonder, but I can’t remember the last time my husband sought my company during one of his trips.
“Yes, darling. Once my meetings are over, I can take a few weeks off, and we can spend the rest of the time having fun. What do you say, Val? Just you and me. No distractions. Away from everything. Like it used to be.”
“Like it used to be …” I let the words roll around my tongue, rediscovering their taste. “Do you think that’s even possible?”
“I don’t know, but we can try.” He sits down on the floor next to me and pulls me on top of him, his arms going around me. The all-encompassing hug robs me of the air I need to breathe. Burying his nose in my hair, he lets out a suppressed sigh. “I want things to go back to how they were before I …” He clears his throat. “Before I fucked up.”
“Do you really mean that?” I ask, afraid to open the doors of my heart again and let him back in.
“Darling, listen to me. It’s been a couple of shitty years, but I love you. No more pretending that things are fine this time. Let’s actually work through our problems.”
“I want to believe you, but … but I’m afraid, William.”
“I understand. How about this? Let’s start in Paris. And when we come back, hell, I’ll even go to couple’s therapy with you.” His palm cups my flat, empty stomach. “It might also be time to start filling our nursery.”
“Oh, William.” My voice breaks. “You really mean that?”
I cup his cheeks with shaky hands, the seeds of hope taking root in my soul. “Like it used to be, huh?”
“No.” He smiles his charming and dazzling smile that I fell in love with. “It will be even better.” He lowers his face and kisses me. It’s long and tender. Sweet and slow. It’s a kiss full of forgiveness and the promise of new beginnings.
Lost in his embrace, the ice surrounding my heart thaws completely, and I let him back in.
About the Author
I’m a writer, a hopeless romantic, a wanderer, a dreamer, a cynic, and a believer. And, I might be a bit crazy – but who isn’t? I believe in happy endings however I know that not everyone is lucky enough to get one, but such is life. I think fine lines exist to be pushed and possibly crossed.