French Kiss by Holli Winters
all rights reserved by author
French Kiss excerpt:
“We can’t sleep together.”
Two pairs of eyes gazed at her, one gray and kindly,
the other dark and shimmery.
“I’m sorry, Mademoiselle, but this is the last room we
have.” The innkeeper’s heavy accent tripped over
“room,” sounding almost like “vroom.”
“Yes, but—” She sighed. How to explain to him that
one night spent alone with Nicolas Badeau wasn’t
something she looked forward to?
“It’s only for tonight, Lauren,” Nic said. “You heard the
authorities. They expect the roads to open in the
morning, and then we can get on our way.”
Glancing at the room again, she assessed the full-
sized bed. At six-foot two, Nic would barely fit the
length of the mattress, let alone give her much room
to keep her distance. The howl of the wind whistling
through the window shutters reminded her of the
swirling blizzard outside.
They’d driven from Paris in a light snow, which had
quickly turned into nearly whiteout conditions. With
the road closed, it would be impossible tonight to
reach the Badeau family chateau near the Alsace
region of France. She looked forward to seeing her
sister Jessica again.
“Pardon, Mademoiselle...” The innkeeper interrupted
her dithering. “Il neige...”
“I don’t speak French.” She gave him a frustrated
look. “I know it’s not your fault, but...” She glanced at
Nic, who calmly stood by watching the exchange.
Did he have to be so attractive with his dark chocolate
eyes and midnight black hair? And those lips. Perfect,
seductive and...kissable. She shook her head,
pushing aside memories of their searing kiss two
“Okay, we’ll take the room,” she replied, finally
relenting. No doubt tonight would be long and
torturous, but when it came down to a blizzard or
being alone with Nic in a tiny room, she didn’t have
Nic and the innkeeper conversed in French amongst
themselves for a moment. Cool air seeped from the
hallway into the room, forcing a shiver out of her.
There really wasn’t a choice between risking a chance
to slide off the road into a ditch or spending the night
in a warm hotel bed—with a man she wasn’t sure she
Nic laid down their overnight bags on the top of the
bureau of drawers, not saying a word. Lauren
surveyed the room, noting the antique desk and chair.
Marchand d'hôtel seemed like an oasis in a sea of
white as they drove carefully along the road.
“I will call Armand to let them know we won’t be able to
make Christmas Eve services.”
She turned at his words. He’d already opened his
carryon and pulled out his shaving kit and a shirt. But
no pajamas. She sucked in her breath. Surely he
wore something to bed?
“Er...yes...” She stumbled over her words, Nic silent as
he awaited her response. “I’m a little disappointed in
missing my first French Christmas Eve. I hear it’s
spectacular, from what Jessica’s said.”
“Oui, it is. Le Reveillon is a tradition with my family and
I’ve never missed one.” His eyes turned cloudy.
“Neither of us could’ve predicted this storm would turn
vicious and make the road impassable.”
The unexpected Christmas Eve snowstorm had
snarled traffic all over Europe, forcing both of their
flights to arrive late, hers from New York City, his from
Rio de Janeiro. If things had worked out properly, they
would now be enjoying Le Reveillon and other festive
“I knew I should’ve left a day earlier.” She chewed her
lip at her admission. She couldn’t wait to see Jessica
and Armand, though this would be the first Christmas
she’d spent away from the New York City area she
called home. She still missed her parents, ten months
after an accident killed them instantly.
At least she had her sister and brother-in-law, even
though they lived far away in the mountains of France.
“But we couldn’t have predicted this storm.” He
nodded towards the door. “Go ahead and use the
toilet. I have all I need here before we go to sleep.”
She almost opened her mouth to tell him she didn’t
want to share the bed with him, but she knew she was
being ungrateful. Where else could he sleep
She lifted her head at his question.
“It’ll be okay. Morning will be here before you realize.”
The expression on her face must not have satisfied
him, because he added, almost as an afterthought, “I
promise I won’t touch you—unless it’s what you want.”
Her breath caught at his words. She knew he still
remembered her chilly rejection of him two years ago
when he’d kissed her after the wedding of his brother
and her sister. He’d made it clear he wanted more
than a kiss, but Lauren resisted him, aware that all Nic
wanted from her was sex.