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French Kissing: Season Three (EBOOK)

French Kissing: Season Three (EBOOK)

Six months after the end of French Kissing: Season Two...

Friendships will be tested, old attractions will flare up, long-suppressed emotions will finally have to be dealt with and… a presidential election is on the line.

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

It has been six months since Dominique and Steph came out publicly. How has the video affected their lives and how is Steph coping with becoming a public figure?

After her motorcycle accident, Margot is going back to work at the hospital, but she’ll have sexy neurosurgeon Marie Dievart to deal with on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, Juliette still has babies on her mind. Will she be able to persuade her new bride Nadia that it’s not too late for them to become mothers?

And will Claire be able to keep a shocking secret she has been living with for the past few months?

The third season of French Kissing will deliver the answers to all these questions… and then some!

Friendships will be tested, old attractions will flare up, long-suppressed emotions will finally have to be dealt with and… a presidential election is on the line.

Warning: This title contains sensual language, ladies making love, excessive wine consumption, but no more cliffhangers.

Themes and tropes

  • Age gap
  • Workplace romance
  • Long term couple
  • Political intrigue

Chapter One Look Inside

Claire

“Oh, mon dieu,” Claire gasped. 

Marie Dievaert’s head appeared from between her legs, a victorious smile plastered across her face. That face, Claire thought. A waste of beauty on someone with such a cruel heart. How did she keep doing this to her? Why did this woman have so much control over her?

“Was that okay for you?” Marie asked after wiping her lips clean—with always that little bit of disdain in her voice.

Claire wondered if she should go see a highly qualified therapist to discuss this ongoing, all-obliterating attraction she felt towards the doctor. Or perhaps she had become a doctor fetishist. Either way, she could kick herself—again—for answering her phone when Marie called. And she called often. Claire picked up every single time. “Hm-mm,” Claire hummed. Why did she not know better? “Are you staying?”

Marie looked at her with what Claire could only interpret as pity in her glance. As though she was trying to say, Must you ask every single time? But she’d stayed once, two weeks ago, giving Claire hope that she might do it again. “I can’t,” Marie said. “You know that.” She used her most admonishing tone.

Claire didn’t know at all, but she nodded anyway, feeling her self-esteem crumble a little more in the process—not that she had much left after six months of this. She practiced the words in her head: Maybe we should stop seeing each other. But she knew that these words would not roll off her tongue any time soon. Just as she knew that if she ever racked up the courage to utter them, Marie would look at her with that light-eyed stare of hers and reply, “I don’t think we should.” And Claire would listen. Because that was what she did.

“I have to go.” Marie, who hadn’t bothered to take off most of her clothes, came to sit next to her. Claire stroked a finger along her bare arm and Marie looked at it. This time, Claire refused to guess what she was thinking. She was getting really tired of trying to guess Marie Dievart’s thoughts. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” She leaned over and kissed Claire on the tip of the nose.

Claire didn’t exactly measure these things, but it struck her that the time between Marie giving her an—it had to be said—earth-shattering orgasm and walking out of the door seemed to become shorter and shorter. Like she always had somewhere urgent to be afterwards. But where could she possibly have to go? It was midnight on a Tuesday.

“I need to sleep alone,” she’d said to Claire after the first time they’d ended up in bed together and she had started gathering her clothes. “I don’t sleep well with someone in my bed, and in my profession it’s basically a crime to turn up to work not well-slept.”

What could Claire possibly have said to that? Margot shared my bed gladly? She hardly got any sleep at all when we first started dating and she performed successful surgeries?

“Okay.” Claire gave Marie a small smile, but no more than that. If it expressed any discontent at all, it either didn’t register with Marie, or she didn’t care. Of course, it was highly hypocritical of Claire to express a sentiment of discontent when Marie had just rocked her world again. Because that was the big problem. Claire couldn’t get enough of her. She’d tried many a time. But when Marie Dievart turned up on her doorstep, she let her in. Claire seemed to have lost the power of resistance entirely when it came to the neurosurgeon.

“Sleep tight,” Marie said, as though Claire was a child she’d just read a bedtime story to. But, Claire had to admit to herself, it was that haughty attitude Marie adopted, and the distance she always kept, just as much as her other-worldly beauty that kept Claire coming back for more—and more and more.

“You too.” Claire watched Marie collect the rest of her clothes, slip into her shoes, and exit the bedroom. After she heard the front door thud into the lock, she said to herself, “This has to stop.” It was so easy to say it when nobody was listening. This wasn’t a relationship. It wasn’t even an affair. It was just consensual sex between two single people. Every day Claire asked herself whether she was in love with Marie Dievart. She certainly had very strong feelings for certain parts of her, but in love? With someone like that? Claire didn’t even think it was possible, unless you were the world’s greatest masochist. Truth be told, she was well on her way to becoming that.

She lay staring at the ceiling for the longest time. She could never fall asleep peacefully after one of Marie’s visits. Because they were exciting and thrilling and, at least physically, extremely satisfying. But as much as Marie Dievart aroused her physically, she always—always—left Claire emotionally wrecked.

Steph was the only one who knew about these illicit rendezvous she had with Marie, and she condemned them ferociously. But Steph was not the same person Claire had known for a decade. She was a right-wing politician’s wife now, so of course she couldn’t possibly condone what Claire was doing. But what Claire hated the most about her current predicament, was that she couldn’t talk about it with her best friend. It was absolutely out of the question. Claire felt guilty every time she saw Juliette—and she saw her nearly every day.

“What a bloody mess,” she said into the darkness. “What the hell am I doing?” Claire wasn’t looking for anything serious. Her brief affair with Margot at least had taught her that. All the heartache, all the putting yourself out there emotionally for another person to do with you what they pleased… It was not worth it, because, by God, Claire had been hurt.

Sleeping with Marie Dievart was much more thrilling than the furtive, occasional get-togethers she used to have with that pilot. Marie did things to her that not even Margot could. Maybe because she was so emotionally detached, or maybe because she was simply a megalomaniac with the highest level of self-confidence Claire had ever come across. The fact was that, not long after Margot’s accident, after everything had settled down as best it could, and Marie had called her, Claire had felt her knees go weak with desire. She had tried to focus on the guilt, and the consequences for her friendships, but she had—foolishly—put herself first. Because who did she have to go home to in the evening? She didn’t even have a cat.

Just one time, Claire had told herself. I’ll meet up with her once and no one will ever know about it. But, while she had suspected that the chemistry between her and Marie would be through the roof—because that’s why she couldn’t resist her in the first place—she hadn’t been able to imagine the command the doctor had exercised over her. She had taken Claire to a place so far out of reach, that Claire hadn’t even known it existed. And after that first time, when Marie was still staying at Le Figaro by the Canal Saint-Martin, Claire had instantly known she’d go back for more. It was impossible to conceive of not doing so.

And here she lay, six months later. The lies to her very best friend had multiplied. She barely saw Margot, because it hurt too much. Steph barely talked to her because she disagreed so heavily with Claire’s choice of… of what? Bed partner. Because that was all they were. It couldn’t be more than that. Besides, Marie had very clearly stipulated, from the very beginning, that monogamy was a concept for lesser evolved beings.

Well fuck you, Claire had thought when Marie had expressed that opinion, but she’d still kept on letting her into her bedroom. Though in unguarded moments, she did fantasize about being more to the surgeon than a body—and mind—to play with. And what was the alternative? The crushing loneliness she’d drowned in after Margot had first left her? The endless comparisons to her friends who were all happily coupled up—even Steph, for crying out loud. Juliette and Nadia were married and talking about babies more and more. Steph was always busy either managing Dominique’s campaign or trying to become a better politician’s partner—trying to erase who she was before Dominique Laroche. And Margot, well, she didn’t really know about Margot.

This was her life now. Was it such a bad life? To everyone else around her, it probably was, but to Claire it was just how it was. She had most of her needs met, and wasn’t that a pretty good deal? She had plenty of money in the bank. She had her own company. She had regular relations with a woman who knew exactly what to do to please her. She had a bunch of good friends. She had all of that.

Then why do I feel like it’s all going to pieces again? She got up, now almost nauseated by the smell of sex lingering in the room, slipped into a robe, and headed to the drinks cabinet. It was the only way she would get any sleep.

Margot

Margot’s first week back at Saint-Vincent was not going very smoothly. The little voice in her head that screamed You don’t deserve this was very persistent. Her leg was fully healed. She had a few scars, but not nearly enough to remind her of the horror she had caused. As though her body was urging her to forget what happened and move on with her life. No one had died. Margot had been the only one who had gotten hurt, and while the fractures had healed, her mind was still in shambles.

“Earth to Doctor de Hay,” Nadia said. She had insisted on setting up a lunch date with Margot every single day this week to ease her into the transition of coming back to work, claiming that seeing Nadia’s friendly face for half an hour each day would surely help. Nadia was right and wrong about that. Of course, Margot was happy to meet Nadia every day to share a meal, and she was grateful that Nadia took the time, but it didn’t diminish that gnawing feeling in her gut: who was she to set foot in this hospital and try to make people better, after what she had done?

“I’m sorry, Nadz,” Margot said. “It’s all a bit overwhelming.”

“Yes, well, there’s no easing back into being a trauma surgeon,” Nadia said.

“It’s not the work. I’m grateful for the work and how all-absorbing it is. Only when I’m operating do the voices in my head stop.” Margot chastised herself inwardly for being so overly dramatic. But Nadia was her friend. She had stopped by Margot’s parents’ house every single day after Margot had been discharged from the hospital, and had been a bright spot in the long, slow days when Margot could barely move and was completely at the mercy of other people’s help to get anything done.

“Voices, huh?” Nadia folded her features into a concerned expression. “Do I need to set up a visit to the psych floor for you?”

This, at least, elicited a tiny giggle from Margot. “That won’t be necessary, thank you.” Margot had lost interest in her sandwich ten minutes ago, and leaned back in her chair. “Tell me something, Nadz. Something unrelated to all the misery I’ve caused. Something to take my mind off the fact that I’m back at work in the hospital that treated me and where all my colleagues know I drove under the influence.”

“We’ve been over this.” Nadia sighed. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. All your fellow doctors see when they look at you is a top surgeon. Not the person you think you are to them.” She held up her hand. “But I’ve told you this many times and I’m sick of repeating myself.” She let her hand land on the table with a pretty loud thud—trying to make a point, Margot suspected. “As for your request for distraction.” She narrowed her eyes. “There’s probably something you should know now that you’re back at work.”

“I’m all ears.”

“There’s no easy way to say this.” Nadia sighed again. “I’m pretty certain that Dievart is sleeping with Claire.”

Margot struggled to keep her mouth from falling open. “Fuck,” she said, and shook her head. Claire had come to see her quite a few times at her parents’, but her visits had quickly become infrequent enough for Margot to start questioning the friendship they were trying to build. But if the accident had accomplished anything at all, it was that Margot had gotten over Claire. She’d had to. If she’d allowed herself to wallow in that particular sorrow as well, she wouldn’t be sitting here now. It had, in fact, been a relief when Claire had ceased her visits, then her phone calls. At least Margot didn’t have to be reminded why she had been so foolish in the first place.

This piece of news that Nadia had just shared with her did, however, take her aback greatly.

“I was willing to give Dievart the benefit of the doubt when she started working here. I really was. Well, I had no choice, actually,” Nadia rambled on. “But, Christ, that woman has an ego the size of a house and she doesn’t give a damn about who she hurts while she takes exactly what and who she wants.”

“How do you know, though, about her and Claire?” Margot’s curiosity was more than piqued.

“I know because she keeps bloody hinting at it. The way Claire has been behaving the past few months has only confirmed my suspicions.” Nadia drummed her fingertips on the table. “The other day I ran into Dievart and she yawned ostentatiously before saying, ‘Do say hello to your gorgeous friend Claire from me.’” She shook her head while drawing her lips into a pout. “She’s been saying things like that for months.”

“Jesus.” Margot frowned. “Dievart is Dievart, of course. But Claire?” Margot remembered Claire’s visit to her hospital bed clearly. Dievart asking to see her outside. The way Claire’s cheeks had flushed bright red. The confession she had made afterwards, and how utterly mortified she had looked. No wonder she’d stopped visiting Margot.

Nadia nodded absent-mindedly. “I know. How can she do that to her best friend, right? Beats me, I’m telling you. If anyone has lost control, it’s Claire. I just thought you should know, in case Dievart starts dropping hints at you as well. She’s perfectly capable of doing so.”

Margot tried to remember the few times she’d seen Dievart since she’d been back at work. The neurosurgeon had been very pleasant to her, had shaken her hand and patted her on the back. Margot saw that charade in a whole new, very ironic light now that she knew she was sleeping with Claire. “That saloppe,” she said. “I thought she was being genuinely nice to me.”

“She’s only nice when she can get something out of it. In this case, I would suspect it was a good amount of secret glee.”

“That woman is the fucking devil,” Margot hissed. She might be over Claire, and have forgiven herself for the hurt she had put her through, but that didn’t mean it didn’t sting that Dievart was getting her treacherous hands all over her ex.

“If Juliette ever finds out…” Nadia rested her chin wearily on her fist. “And how can she not? Claire is her best friend, has been for many years.”

“Don’t you think you should tell her?” Margot inquired.

“Argh.” Nadia brought her hands to her head. “I do. I mean, she’s my wife. But she’s going to be so pissed. And I’m not exactly innocent in all of this.”

“Nu-uh, Nadz. Let me give you a slice of your own advice.” Margot put her elbows on the table. “You made a mistake, but that was a long time ago. What Claire is doing is not your fault. She can make her own decisions.”

“That may very well be true, but Dievart will always remain a sore spot for Juliette and me. Aside from that, I also have to consider what it will do to her friendship with Claire. What Claire is doing is the ultimate betrayal. Juliette will hate her. I know this for a fact. They run a business together. Everything is on the line here.”

It appeared to Margot that Nadia was feeling a little dramatic herself today. “But it’s not you jeopardizing it all. It’s Claire.”

“I should talk to Claire.” Nadia’s voice grew more determined. “That’s the only way to erase any remaining doubt, which is, frankly, more like the last flicker of hope I’m clinging to than anything else.”

“That’s a good place to start.” Margot waggled her eyebrows. “I’ll tell you one thing, though, Nadz. You have expertly diverted my attention from my own woes. Thank you for that.” She wasn’t sure if laughing was appropriate at this point, but she did, anyway. Margot could use all the laughs she could get.

“Glad to be of service.” Nadia grinned, then twirled her wedding band between two fingers. Margot’s pager went off, along with a few others in the hospital restaurant.

“Looks like an emergency.” Margot shot out of her chair. “Keep me posted, okay?”

“I will.” Nadia stood as well. They nodded at each other and Margot sped in the direction of the emergency room, hoping she wouldn’t be needing a neuro-consult on whoever was being brought in. Then again, Dievart didn’t know that she knew, and perhaps she could use that to her advantage.

The last thought flitting through Margot’s brain before she dove into the whirlwind of the E.R. was, I didn’t use to be like this.

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