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After years of hard work and training, I finally have the chance of fulfilling my lifelong dream of winning the Tour de France. Nothing can be allowed to distract me from this mission, especially not Gabe O’Reilly, the adorable art student from San Francisco.
But he looks so vulnerable – all alone in France.
I would be failing in my patriotic duty to a fellow American if I didn’t take care of him, wouldn’t I? And what possible harm could come from spending twenty-four hours with him on the shores of the Mediterranean? I deserve that little break, don’t I?
I have never seen a human specimen as perfect as Clifford Du Frey. During our fleeting encounter in Paris, I saw a man who was funny, caring, and tender – so very different from the way the media portray him. He is everything I could ever dream of in a boyfriend.
But in what universe will an international sports superstar pay any serious attention to me?
Do not get involved, my brain yells; you can only get hurt again. But my heart is thrumming to a different tune.
Cliff stood in the shallows. His pale skin gave him the quality of a Michelangelo marble statue. His body had magnificent, classical proportions. Every muscle was clearly defined as though chiseled in stone and smoothed to perfection under the loving hand of a master sculptor. I wondered if he realized just how beautiful he was. And I still found it hard to believe that he was giving me the gift of his time.
He watched me as I strode toward him and, when I shook the water out of my hair, he warned, “Don’t you dare splash me. I like to get in slowly.”
“I won’t splash you,” I said as I stopped in front of him. His eyes were unbelievable. The aquamarine of the water reflected off his blue eyes. I had the sensation of looking into a kaleidoscope of colors yet to be invented. I placed my hands on his shoulders and kissed him on both cheeks.
He was startled but did not back away. “What was that for?” he asked.
“We’ve not had a chance to greet each other yet – the French way. The way you taught me. And,” I continued, “to say I’m sorry.”
I gave him my sweetest smile.
“Sorry for wha….”
He didn’t get to finish the sentence because I folded one leg behind him and, in the most basic of wrestling moves, tipped him backward into the water.
The look on his face was priceless, and I burst out laughing when his head emerged, spluttering and cursing.
He reached out a hand and said, “You can at least help me up.”
I took hold of his hand and found myself yanked off my feet with Cliff dunking my head underwater. I shook myself free and rose from the waves to see Cliff making a run for the beach. I lurched after him, tackled him, and dragged him back into the water. He laughed and spluttered till he gained his footing and rounded on me, grabbing my waist, the most ticklish part of my body. He held me tight with one arm curved around my chest while his free hand tickled my hip bone without mercy. I giggled and squirmed helplessly in his arms.
We horsed around in the water like a couple of drunken teenagers. Drunk on sunshine, drunk on life, drunk on L… I didn’t dare to complete the thought. Who was I to think a man like Clifford du Frey would fall in love with me?
4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I liked this, I liked it a lot.
Clifford is racing in his final Tour de France, he needs total focus on winning. Meeting the lost student in Paris throws him, but Gabe pushes buttons he didn't know needed pushing, at least, not for a long LONG time. Can they see it through, for Clifford to win his final tour and then be with Gabe?
I found this quite an easy read, but I needed that right now. It flows and ebbs, as does the relationship between Clifford and Gabe. The big gap in the timeline was necessary, I think, for them to fully recover from France, and be open to moving on.
That things were conspiring against them was obvious, but just how far that conspiracy and plan went was quite the betrayal. I liked that I saw that coming, to be honest. Something was said, and I had alarm bells ringing, much as Clifford did but I put the pieces together faster than he did.
I liked how things sorted themselves out, in the end.
It was, like I said, an easy read. Some steam and smexy times, some drama and some emotional times.
If I reading things correctly, this is the author's first book under this name. I'd like to follow them as they hone their craft.
4 very good stars
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book; the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Aiden Ainslie lives in the Diablo foothills, east of San Francisco. He grew up in various small towns and loves to draw on that small-town feel for his romances: the sense of community but also the petty grievances, intrigue and rivalries. “An author has to draw on personal experience to create authentic stories.”
According to Aiden, setting and mood are critical parts of a romantic story, hence he is always taking pictures of romantic settings to be used in future novels. Check them out on his website www.aidenainslie.com
When Aiden is not writing or listening to audiobooks, he likes to cycle and hike. During those solitary pursuits, he dreams up the characters and plots for his MM Romance novels. He also enjoys zipping around town on his motor scooter, drinking coffee at the local coffee shops, and watching people to get inspiration for his writing.