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About the author:
Lexi Whitlow is a former English teacher who fell in love with language a long time ago. She spent her youth curled up on her parents' couch reading her mother's Harlequin romances and wishing she could be the innocent maiden captured by the alpha male pirate who never learned how to love. She hid purple and pink paperbacks under her bed, behind the armchair, and in the magazine rack in the bathroom, dreaming of seeing her name in print one day.
That day has come, and Lexi is delighted! She married a scientist, who is an alpha male pirate at heart. They've got two kids and a puggle-dog who run all over the place and destroy the house on a daily basis. Life is crazy, but it's the best life Lexi could imagine.
She spends her days snuggling babies, thinking about stories, writing her butt off, reading anything she can get her hands on, and thinking about pirates.
Here is a short sample from the book:
I click on her profile, and there’s a picture of a girl with sandy-blond locks of hair, cascading around her shoulders. She’s standing next to a painting, and her whole shirt is smeared with the paint.
Artist-adventurer-thrill-seeker. That’s all it says.
I click the yes button on her profile and wait. After several minutes of staring off into the night, the phone buzzes again. She’s seen me, and she’s clicked yes as well.
I tuck the phone inside my jacket—along with the pack of cigarettes. And I step off into the night towards the slightly seedier part of Paris downtown, just a few blocks away. The galleries there are nothing like this one. And Duncan wouldn’t mind—after all, I am just going to look at art. I keep my pace brisk and my head down. I don’t want to be seen by the people from the opening I was just at.
When I reach the gallery—it’s more of a bar turned into a gallery—I look behind me to see nothing and no one. The bouncer lets me inside with a fee of twenty euros. I give him a tip and tell him not to let anyone know I came in. He shrugs.
The floor is cement, painted red, and the tables are the kind of dark, old wood that always looks sticky. But each and every surface is covered with some kind of art—small sculptures on each table, paintings and graffiti covering the walls and countertops. And there’s some kind of experimental dance troupe performing on stage as people mill about, laughing and talking and actually having fun.
I order a beer without the bartender recognizing me, and I take off my jacket, rolling up the sleeves. Even if she’s not here, this place seems like it’s a good time, and not a total snooze.
Then, I turn, and I see her. My cock stiffens at the very idea of meeting a woman like this. So long, I’ve suffered through arranged dates, boring ballets, overly fancy dinners, and all sorts of palace theatrics.
It’s not just that.
There’s nothing painted or artificial about her—her beauty is genuine. She doesn’t have puffed lips, and she’s not tottering on heels. Her blond locks are wild with curls, gathered in a messy bun. She’s dressed in clingy black leggings, Doc Marten boots splattered with paint, a fitted undershirt, and a wispy, thin tunic concealing just enough curve and silken skin to render her fascinating—and far more beautiful than any woman I met at that gallery.
Duncan would be horrified.
Her eyes meet mine, and I give her a genuine smile—no artifice there either. There’s something mischievous about how she looks at me, like she’s undressing me with her eyes. She leans over to the man she’s been talking to and quickly departs, walking my way with a wide, un-self-conscious stride.
“I’m Collin,” I say.
“Norah.” She absentmindedly pulls her hair out of the bun, and it spills over her shoulders in a sunny cascade.
“Artist, adventurer, thrill-seeker?”
“All of the above.”
“And you’re… American, I take it? What brings you to Paris?”
“Getting away from old habits… and looking for new stories.”
“Found any yet?”
“No, but I’m still searching.”