A French Affair by Lucy Felthouse
Sydney Tyler is renting a barn conversion in Northern France, planning to spend the fortnight getting some words down on her novel. Unfortunately, construction work in the other half of the building puts an end to her peace and quiet. Genuinely upset that the builders are going to disturb her, the property’s handsome English owner, Harry Bay, offers to make it up to her. He’s a little flirtatious, and after spotting his wedding ring, Sydney keeps him at arm’s length. Sexy as he is, she has no intention of getting involved with a married man. But when Sydney learns the truth about Harry, will their mutual attraction spur them on to work through their emotional baggage and make this more than just a French affair?
Available from: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/a-french-affair/
Sydney Tyler jumped so hard that her fingers slammed down onto the laptop’s keyboard and she typed a bunch of gobbledegook.
Gasping, she clutched at her chest as her heart thumped rapidly and painfully. “What the fucking hell was that?” she said to the empty room.
Pushing her chair back from the desk, she stepped over to the window. Peering out into the brilliant sunshine, she saw something on the lawn that she had absolutely not been expecting. Workmen.
She groaned. So much for her peaceful writer’s retreat. She’d planned to get a good chunk of her novel down in the fortnight she was away, and now it looked as though her peace was going to be monumentally shattered by banging, drilling and God knows what else.
Sighing, she gave the windowsill a pathetic thump in her frustration. She might have been pissed off, but she was no vandal. And besides, she didn’t want those noisy buggers in her part of the building fixing things—having them next door was bad enough.
Sydney really could not believe her shitty luck. When she’d booked the cottage in the French village of Monthiers over the phone a couple of months ago, she’d dealt with a fellow Brit called Harry Bay, who she’d suspected was the owner. On arrival, though, a timid French woman had met her and let her into the luxurious barn conversion before handing over the keys and explaining a little bit about the local area. Apparently, in the mornings, someone came along the village streets, selling fresh bread and pastries.
There wasn’t much else to tell, it seemed, as the village had nothing except a church—almost opposite her accommodation—and a tavern. It was also lacking—she’d quickly discovered—a mobile signal. Not even a single bar illuminated her screen. Her phone was now no more than a watch, alarm clock and calendar. If there was an emergency, she was screwed. But on a much lighter note, it was one less distraction. She could just get on with what she was here to do, blissfully undisturbed.
The arrival of workmen was incredibly irritating. Her temporary landlord hadn’t mentioned there’d be anyone working next door. If he had, she wouldn’t have booked the place—the quiet and idyllic location were the whole reason for choosing this property, this area. Even though there was no way he could have known she was there to work, common courtesy would dictate that he told her. Perhaps he was just interested in taking her money and didn’t give a damn about whether she had a satisfactory stay or not. There was nothing to be done about it now, unfortunately. She’d paid for the fortnight, and she was buggered if she was going to cut and run, pissing that money down the drain. She’d just have to find a way around the disturbance, and console herself that she could leave a snarky write up on a review site when she got home.
Finding out the builders’ working hours would be a good start—she could attempt to write around them then. Or perhaps she could make use of the headphones she’d stuffed into her case, without ever thinking they’d get used. Some loud rock music would drown out the din from next door and hopefully allow her to work. It was worth a try. She hoped they were only doing a small job that would only take a couple of days, but deep down she knew they weren’t. They were renovating the whole place so it was as beautiful as the half she was in.
She was just about to go in search of the aforementioned headphones when one of the men pottering around on the lush back garden stepped away from the others. Standing in a shaft of sunlight, he pulled his arms high above his head and stretched, dragging up his t-shirt to reveal a lean stomach with a fine line of dark hair leading enticingly into the waistband of his jeans.
Oh yum, she thought, perhaps having builders next door wouldn’t be so bad after all. Especially if they all looked like him. She continued to watch as the man dropped his arms to his sides and watched the others. His dark hair was overlong and stuck out at crazy angles, as though he’d been running his fingers through it. She couldn’t see the colour of his eyes from this distance, but she could make out enough detail of his features to see that he was handsome. Gorgeous, actually. Close up he could be much less attractive, but from her upstairs window, the view was pretty fine.
Just then, he glanced across at her side of the long barn, which was divided into two holiday cottages. He caught sight of her standing there, and his face dropped. He looked back at the builders, then returned his gaze to her again. Pointing at the group of noisy men, he slapped his forehead with his other hand. Finally, he pointed at his chest, then up at her. He was indicating he wanted to come in. She paused, then nodded. Common sense told her she shouldn’t be letting a strange man into her temporary home, but then, there were several large, bulky men milling around, so if they were a dodgy sort, she and the locked door would have no chance against them, especially with no means of calling for assistance. She could scream, of course, but she doubted anyone would come. The walls of the building were extremely thick—though sadly, no match for banging and drilling—the nearest house was a little way down the road, and by day, the village was all but deserted. There was only one business that she knew of—the tavern—so the other inhabitants would have to go elsewhere to work. To nearby Chateau-Thierry, perhaps, or even further afield.
She’d just have to hope that the handsome man—probably the head honcho of their group—was also a decent one. Presumably they were a reputable company, as they’d been hired by the British owners, who were usually more wary of cowboy builders, and given the horror stories and dedicated TV programmes back home, it was understandable.
Before she got even halfway down the stairs, a knock came at the door. Okay, so he was polite enough to knock, that was good. She moved a little faster, careful not to trip in her flip flops and go hurtling downwards. Once she was safely on the ground floor, she twisted the key in the door and opened it.
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women's Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9