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French Kissing: Season Four (PAPERBACK)

French Kissing: Season Four (PAPERBACK)

Two years after the end of French Kissing: Season Three...

Relationships will be tested, loyalties will be questioned and assumptions will have to be set aside as both familiar and new characters navigate the turbulent waters of love—and politics.

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Book specifications

Pages : 248
ISBN : 9789887801412
Weight : 8.6 ounces (244g)
Dimensions : 5 x 0.55 x 8 inches (127 x 14 x 203mm)

Full description

Paris… City of lights, City of love… City of drama!

Two years have passed since Dominique Laroche was elected President of France at the end of French Kissing: Season Three. She and Steph are living together at the Elysée, but their relationship is strained by the demands of Dominique’s job.

When a rising star of the opposition proposes a new law that would affect lesbians’ right to have children, Dominique is torn between her personal feelings and her party’s political line.

Feminist radio host Aurore Seauve is advising the opposition on the new law proposal, but finds herself more caught up in the intrigue at the Elysée than she wants to be, not in the least because of her interest in Dominique’s uptight chief of staff, Solange.

Zoya Das has moved from Sydney to Paris to be with her new love Camille, and is finding it difficult to settle into her new country, new language and new job. Meanwhile Camille is finding out the hard way that not all her colleagues are comfortable with an out and proud lesbian at work, even if she is friends with the president.

Relationships will be tested, loyalties will be questioned and assumptions will have to be set aside as both familiar and new characters navigate the turbulent waters of love—and politics.

Warning: This title contains sensual language, ladies making love, overconsumption of French wine, and heated discussions on feminism and the right to orgasm.

Themes and tropes

  • Age gap
  • Workplace romance
  • Long term couple
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Political intrigue
  • Opposites attract
  • Melting the ice queen

Chapter One Look Inside

Dominique

Dominique stretched her legs and breathed out a sigh. She held open her arms, indicating to Steph she should come lie in them.

“I’m going to ask Solange to make room for this in my schedule more often,” she said.

“Really?” Steph looked her in the eyes. “You just came and Solange is the first person you think of?” She sported a small smile on her face.

“Oh, chérie, come here.” Dominique pulled her close. “I didn’t know you were so jealous of my chief of staff.” Dominique kissed Steph on the side of her face.

“When I count up the hours she gets to spend with you…” Steph planted a soft kiss on Dominique’s shoulder. “Anyway, you should do it. In fact, I’ll arrange it. I’ll give her a call first thing tomorrow.” Steph snickered.

“Please don’t. She won’t be able to look at me all day.”

“Because nothing upsets Solange Garceau more than the merest hint of the existence of sexuality,” Steph said. “I would actually be doing her a favour by reminding her there’s such a thing as physical intimacy. Truth be told, she looks like she could use a bit of it. Either that, or you work her too hard.”

“And here we are, in the aftermath of my glorious climax, still talking about her.” Dominique turned on her side and glued her naked body to Steph’s.

“Would you rather we talk about someone else?” Steph pulled her lips into that smile that had seduced many a woman. “Let me think about it for a second.” She kissed Dominique on the nose.

“I’d rather talk about us. Or about you.”

“Really? President Laroche doesn’t want to talk about herself? That would be a first.”

“Now you’re just goading me.” Dominique tried to hold Steph’s gaze.

“You’re not free of vanity, babe. There’s no such thing in politics.”

“Let’s talk about you then.” Dominique smiled away Steph’s comment. “Tell me all the things I’ve missed while I was busy presiding over our nation. I want to hear the most mundane thing you can think of.”

“Juliette brought her dog into the office this morning,” Steph said matter-of-factly.

Dominique closed her eyes for a second and, when she opened them again, relished the sight of Steph. They didn’t have enough time for moments like these. To relax into chatter that didn’t have to be practical or goal-oriented. “You are so beautiful,” she said.

Steph batted her lashes and they both broke out into a chuckle.

“About what you said earlier though,” Steph said. “Let’s leave Solange out of it and set a time right here, right now.”

“Okay.” Dominique reached for her phone on the night stand, which had mercifully remained silent for the time they’d spent in bed. She pretended to look at her screen. “How about tomorrow morning at five?” She eyed Steph, waiting for her reaction.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” Dominique had trouble suppressing a grin.

“Try to make me into a morning person. We’ve tried. We must accept it’s not going to happen. My libido doesn’t wake up until well past midday.”

“I’m afraid I have no free time until”—Dominique did consult her schedule this time—“late tomorrow evening, unless you want to swing by my office between a cabinet meeting and the EU Diplomatic Gala.”

“Gala? Nothing I have to attend, I hope? This is the first I’ve heard of it.” There was a hint of a tremor in Steph’s tone.

“Madame Moreau would have told you long ago if your presence was required.” Not long into Dominique’s presidency, she and Steph had decided that Steph would attend as few official functions as possible. Dominique had no need for a trophy wife by her side—besides, they weren’t even married—and Steph naturally shied away from such events.

“I’m having dinner with Zoya tomorrow night.” Steph’s face relaxed.

“You seem to have taken to her.”

“You know just as well as I do that I have a taste for more mature ladies now.” She plastered a big grin on her face.

Dominique arched up her eyebrows. “Don’t I know it,” she said. “Must have been some mature lady to have swayed you in that direction.”

“She’s quite something.” Steph’s finger was close to Dominique’s mouth. “In fact, she’s the president of France. Obviously, I can’t be swayed by any mere mortal.”

“Obviously.” Dominique lowered her chin so she could kiss Steph’s finger—she could still smell herself on it. Dominique hesitated to express the next thought that popped into her mind, but in the end, she couldn’t keep the words from crossing her lips. “Have you considered the question said president put to you in this very bed two weeks ago?”

Dominique witnessed how the muscles in Steph’s face tensed up. A short silence fell between them.

“I don’t understand why it’s so important for you to get married again,” Steph said.

“I want to be married to you.” Dominique was well aware of how cheesy she came across. She didn’t particularly like the sound of her words, but she didn’t know how else to persuade Steph other than expressing her love for her like this.

“I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m just not the marrying kind, babe.” There was clear exasperation in Steph’s voice now. “You know this.”

“A girl can still dream.” Dominique looked away for a minute. She hadn’t made a big spectacle of asking Steph to marry her. She had simply asked her on a night very much like this one. One of the rare occasions when she had a night off from her duties and could linger in bed with her partner. The thought had crossed her mind quite a few times since they’d moved into the Elysée, and it had crystallised into a simple question to which, truth be told, Dominique had known the answer in advance. But she had to ask. On the odd chance that Steph had changed her mind, that being with Dominique had convinced her that there was unprecedented joy to be found in calling yourself someone’s wife.

“I don’t need some flimsy piece of paper to prove my love for you.”

It’s not about the piece of paper, Dominique wanted to say, but held her tongue. She knew not to push—and to enjoy this precious moment free of the obligations they were sharing. But, just like any other thought that had ever originated as a tiny germ of an idea in Dominique’s head, she knew she wouldn’t stop fighting until she got what she wanted. She was the president of the greatest nation on earth, after all.

Steph

“Not even the president can put a ring on Stéphanie Mathis,” Steph said, hoping the lightness she was trying to inject into her voice was coming through.

Dominique looked at her with an expression on her face that Steph knew all too well. We’ll see, it said. If Steph wasn’t careful about this, Dominique’s tenacity could turn this into a contest of stubbornness, after which it would become completely ludicrous—and have little to do with the joy of being married.

“I love you. I’m here with you. Isn’t that enough?” Steph asked.

Dominique nodded. “I was just checking whether Margot proposing to Claire had put any fresh ideas into your head.”

“Try me again after the wedding.” Steph couldn’t help but tease. She and Dominique were rarely serious for more than five minutes together. Dominique had to keep a straight face for the better part of the day, and if not that, paint on one of her dazzling but practiced smiles. Between them, Steph wanted Dominique’s smiles to be completely genuine.

“I’m going to hold you to that.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything else from you.” Steph let her finger resume its earlier interrupted path. She skated it just beneath Dominique’s exquisite mouth. Sometimes, when she was watching Dominique’s face, she wondered what it had been that had drawn her to Dominique like that. What had kept her coming back for more—and then some.

Being with Dominique was a challenge. It had been when they first met and it certainly was now. But it was the good kind of challenge, the kind no other woman had previously been able to present Steph with. Apart from that, President Dominique Laroche was, of course, also gorgeous, strong, morally unambiguous, and so incredibly sweet at times, Steph wasn’t always sure it was the same woman she was spending time with. Then again, the woman she saw on television so often, with that winning smile and no-nonsense demeanour, was a far cry from the woman lying in bed with her now. Dominique was still so endlessly fascinating to her. Why ruin all of that by doing as pedestrian a thing as marrying each other? And what would be next? Dominique wanting to have a child with Steph?

“So… when’s the next time I’m allowed to sexually service the president?” Steph dragged her finger down Dominique’s chin, along her neck, in the direction of her breasts. She was up for another round.

“How about the president sexually serving you?” The grin Dominique shot her ignited a fire in Steph’s belly.

“I could think of no greater earthly pleasure.” Steph paused. “And honour, of course.” Even though she made it sound like a joke, there was truth in what she said. No matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise, Steph got a not-so-secret thrill out of having the person holding the highest office in the country go down on her.

“Then I’d best get to it.” Dominique kissed her on the mouth and let her tongue slip inside Steph’s mouth.

* * *

Steph blinked her eyes open. She’d been vaguely aware of Dominique getting up when her alarm went off but, as usual, Steph had turned on her other side and drifted back into sleep. Whether Dominique had kissed her goodbye or not, she had no idea. When they’d first begun waking up together in this strange bedroom in their new home, Steph had made an effort to wake herself up and catch an elusive snuggle, but she had soon learned her efforts were fruitless because there simply wasn’t time for kisses and hugs in the morning. Dominique barely had time to see her children, let alone embrace her partner before she faced another hectic day.

Steph relished the moment of solitude. She had some time before she had to be at work, if she could even still call it that. She hadn’t wanted to give up her job at Barbier & Cyr for the time that Dominique was president—she was a partner now—but being France’s first lady presented her with a whole new set of challenges on the work front. When she met new clients, they had to get used to her being just Steph, the PR professional, as opposed to the woman they saw in the newspaper next to the president.

Claire and Juliette loved it, of course, because having Steph involved with their firm had raised their bottom line significantly. Everyone wanted to be associated with the firm that had helped get the president elected. Not just because of the win, but because of what Dominique stood for. A fresh wind. A new era of politics. And no one more than Steph symbolised this fresh image. The younger woman Dominique Laroche had chosen to be with—against everyone’s advice.

Thank goodness Claire and Juliette were her best friends and knew Steph couldn’t deal with just having a token function and being paraded around to get the firm more business. She worked behind the scenes more, which suited her just fine in these times when she was thrust into the limelight too often.

Steph heard the creak of the bedroom door as it was being pushed open further. She had learned the hard way to quickly cover her naked body when this happened. They had live-in staff now, and although they were trained to be utterly discreet, this had been an adjustment for Steph either way. The creak was followed by a meow and Steph exhaled. She probably gave her old cat more credit than he deserved, but she would give him an extra long chin scratch for knowing exactly when to come into the bedroom for a visit.

He jumped onto the bed, then straight into Steph’s lap.

“Hello my handsome boy,” Steph said as she scratched him behind the ears, eliciting an instant purr. “My big presidential cat. Did you catch anything in the night?”

Pierrot pushed the back of his head against her hand. Steph was sorry she couldn’t ask him what he thought about the move from her tiny studio apartment to this palace. She assumed, for her sake, her cat considered it a vast life improvement.

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