Anyone Else Love International Romance?

When I was in junior high, I discovered Mary Stewart’s books. And I LOVED THEM! I loved the mystery tinged with romance, the hint of magic, and the dreamy locales! When I first started writing, I wanted to be a Mary Stewart, but I quickly learned it’s hard to write with any authenticity about places I don’t know well. Although, I do love to travel, and I’ve been to lot of places, unless I was really paying attention it’s hard to paint a  proper  picture of a place. Still, I thought I’d give it a go with my latest work in progress, an untitled novella that will be published in the Authors of Main Street summer box set. So, although the beginning of this story begins in soggy Seattle, it quickly heads to South America where things really heat up.

If you’re writing or reading an international romance, please leave us a teaser in the comments. Be sure to leave a buy link!

Also, if any kindhearted person has a title suggestion, I’m open.

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CHAPTER ONE

In a hazy room filled with flashing lights, throbbing music, and hundreds of beautiful people, Adrienne felt like a mallard surrounded by swans. And she longed for a peaceful bit of swamp. A woman in a silvery dress resembling plastic wrap pushed past her, leaving behind a stench of perfume. Adrienne sought out a corner where she’d be less likely to be touched or bumped into, but the best refuge she could find was a bar stool. She hiked herself onto it and checked her watch. Was it too early to go home? Meanwhile, a man wearing a floral shirt brushed up against Adrienne and sloshed his drink on her.

“Oh, clumsy me,” he said, “So sorry!” After setting his drink on a nearby table and grabbing a handful of napkins, he patted her down.

Adrienne shied away from the man with his lingering fingers and over-powering cologne. Silently she cursed Sebastian because somehow this was all his fault—even though he wasn’t here. She didn’t know where he was. And she didn’t know why she was here at this awful party. She slid off the barstool and weaved through the laughing and smiling guests, making her way to the restroom.

Stephanie snagged her wrist. “You’re not escaping.”

“This was a bad idea,” Adrienne told her. She pulled her wet blouse away from her skin and the warm scent of wine wafted over her.

“And you think moping at home is a better one?”

Adrienne’s phone buzzed. She scrambled to open her sequin clutch bag.

“Huh-uh.” Stephanie snatched the purse. “No! He doesn’t get to talk to you.”

“How do you know it’s him?”

“I don’t.” Stephanie turned her voice into a purr. “Come on, sweetie, have some fun. You don’t need him.”

Adrienne blinked back tears. “He’s my husband.”

“But he hasn’t acted like it in months…maybe even years.” Stephanie opened the purse and sighed when she checked the phone.

“It was him, wasn’t it?”

Stephanie handed the purse back to Adrienne and slipped her arm around Adrienne’s waist and tried to urge her back into the thick of the crowd. “Let me introduce you to my friend Geoff. He’s an artist, too.”

“Graphic design?”

“No, video games.”

Images of bloody computer graphics flashed in Adrienne’s mind. A creature carrying an automatic weapon crashed into the room and began firing. Blood spurted. People screamed. Adrienne shook the visual from her mind. “I have to go,” she said. “I really need to talk to Sebastian.”

After thanking the hostess and following her direction to the room where the coats had been gathered, Adrienne stepped into the bedroom, closed the door, leaned against it and battled tears. She took a deep breath and a glance at the coats and jackets heaped on the bed. Ninety percent of them were black—like hers. But wait, why was there a shoe amid the jackets? Two shoes. No, four shoes.

Oh dear, what was that couple doing on the bed, buried beneath the coats? And how would Adrienne ever extract hers without interrupting? She quickly left, sans coat.

Outside, away from the party’s crush of noise and people, Adrienne breathed a little easier. The misty air blurred the headlights of the cars splashing down the black and shiny roads. Reflections of the store’s neon advertisements glistened on the slick sidewalk. The cold damp penetrated Adrienne’s blouse and the mean breeze twirled around her legs. Why had she let Stephanie talk her into going to a party full of strangers? Because it was better than spending another evening alone.

On the drive home, Adrienne tried to rehearse all the things she needed to say to Sebastian, but instead, she choked on all of her tears.

#

Nick stared in horror at the computer screen. “How did this happen?” His voice, usually so deep and melodic, came out in a whisper.

“Come on,” Steph elbowed him, “you have to admit this is amazing for business!”

Nick pulled his gaze away from the YouTube channel to give his cousin/assistant what he hoped was a terrifying glare. She was like a sister to him. He had backed her when her parents had thrown a fit about her purple hair and multiple piercings. He had chased off her loser boyfriend. He loved her and thought the feeling mutual, but all of those warm fuzzy feelings were evaporating as he watched himself singing on the internet and realized she was the one to blame.

Steph grinned back at him, wiped her hands on her apron, and pointed her chin at the line snaking around the counter of the Taberna de Música. “They don’t just come here for coffee, you know.” She patted his shoulder and practically skipped out of the office.

He watched her join Jon behind the counter and say something to the guy next in line who threw back his head and laughed.

Nick had to remind himself that they weren’t laughing at him, were they? He glanced at the computer. According to the page views, so far about a thousand people had watched the video of him singing at his cousin’s Pedro’s wedding. There had to be millions of amateur videos of people singing at weddings—why would a thousand people choose to watch him? Of course, it didn’t help that his cousin’s bulldog, Lester, dressed in a tux, and gave Nick his rapt attention, his big head swinging in time with the music. How had Nick not noticed that at the time? He replayed the video, curious about what else he’d missed.

Jon strode into the office. “Are you still obsessing over that?”

Nick shook his head, closed the laptop with a sharp click, and pushed away from the desk. “Nah.”

“I don’t know why you want to hide your talent beneath a bushel.” Jon was studying to become a youth pastor and liked to spout Biblical phrases. “You have a gift. You have to let it shine.”

Nick interrupted before Jon could start singing, This Little Light of Mine. “No, I don’t. What I have to do is keep this shop afloat.” Nick thought about going out and wiping down tables—his standard go-to when his accounts were all caught up—but the fear that some of the guests had seen the video froze him. He paced across the room.

Concern flashed in Jon’s eyes. “We’re doing fine, right?”

“Well, yeah.” Nick stopped and clapped a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. We’re doing great.” In fact, they were doing much better than he’d projected when he’d opened the café. He’d patterned the shop after his uncle’s in Argentina. Like any standard coffee shop, they served hot beverages and a smattering of baked goods, but what set them apart from a Starbucks was their open microphone for musicians, poets, and comedians. They also sold vinyl records and vintage sound systems.

Nick’s thoughts drifted to his Tio Jose and he fought a wave of homesickness. But moments later, the sound of his own voice jolted him back to the here and now. He glanced at the closed laptop before bolting out of the office.

He halted behind the counter and stared at the TV screen in the corner of the room. All the patrons in the shop turned to stare at him before bursting into applause and cheers. Stunned, Nick backed away. Moments later, without any real recollection of how he’d gotten there, he found himself in the service closet wedged between a shelf of cleaning supplies and a hamper of dirty aprons. He pulled out his phone, sank into a squat, typed in the YouTube channel, and found the video of himself and Lester.

Five thousand views.

How is this happening? His head spun. There weren’t even five thousand people in his Tio Jose’s entire village. He let this process before he climbed to his feet. So, five thousand views. Everyone was watching Lester. Not him. And as Steph had said, this would be good for the shop. Publicity was publicity. He checked his reflection in the mirror and smoothed his thick dark hair, before squaring his shoulders and heading back into the fray. The patrons had at least doubled. The shop had an occupancy capacity of three hundred, and while they were nowhere near that number, they still had twice as many people as was typical for a Thursday afternoon.

He glanced outside at the weak January sun attempting to singe the edges of gray clouds. The rain was good for business. But so, apparently, were musical dog videos.

A blinding light flashed, making Nick blink. Had someone just taken his picture?

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About Kristy Tate

USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate has come a long way from small-town Washington. Her avid curiosity and love of reading have carried her to thirty plus countries. (She loves to travel to the places she reads and writes about.) She's the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling and award-winning Beyond Series and the Kindle Scout winning Witch Ways series. She writes mysteries with romance, humorous romance, light-hearted young adult romance, and urban fantasy. When she's not reading, writing, or traveling, she can be found playing games with her family, hiking with her dogs, or watching movies while eating brownies. She is also a popular public speaker and presents writing workshops for schools, libraries, and fundraisers. All proceeds donated to charity. References available upon request.
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6 Responses to Anyone Else Love International Romance?

  1. Is the Stephanie from the first part the same as the Steph in the second? (I assume so). I’m curious what’s going on with her husband. 🙂

    Here is mine straight from France. It’s hard to find a short excerpt that also captures the culture. Sorry if mine is a bit longish and thanks for letting me share.

    “Mom! Mom!” Thomas shouted as he chased seagulls on the empty beach. She waved back at him, smiling broadly. Her sober reflections from last night were chased away by the fresh air and the sound of waves. They had already explored the old Normandy hotel, Deauville Barrière, looking at the photos of famous guests who had stayed there. Thomas was bored.
    Now they were on the other side of the busy street, and she was standing on the sidewalk, watching him as he ran in circles. It was almost time for them to drive home, but she thought they might walk through the town center one more time and find a place that served a hot meal. By the time she had convinced him to go, she was more than ready to get some warm food in her.
    They walked down the cobblestone street together that served as a pedestrian walkway, and she was drawn to the cozily lit restaurants that lined it. They were all too expensive. She had not chosen a cheap place to vacation.
    Thomas’s steps started to flag and his mood to sour when she finally gave up on the idea that they would be able to sit somewhere nice. She spotted a sandwich shop that had a seated area indoors. “Do you want to eat a sandwich?”
    Her son’s eyes lit up, and he nodded. They walked around the corner to where the entrance was and took their place in line. Fifteen minutes later they left with their sandwiches and a bottle of water. At least they were grilled Panini sandwiches, which would feel warm going down.
    “Look Mom,” Thomas said with his mouth full. “There are horses over there.” She focused on where he was indicating. It was on the opposite end of where the car was parked, and she could feel a fatigue set in through to her bones.
    “I see honey.” Her son didn’t say anything else, but started to inch in that direction. She figured they could turn down the next street without going too far out of their way, so she followed.
    “Mom. It’s Mickey!” He pronounced it with a French accent. Meek-ay.
    Suddenly she was confused. There was a Disney character here? He ran straight down the street without looking behind to see if his mother was following. She was grateful it was a pedestrian area and she didn’t need to worry about cars. He ran straight up to a brown horse that was tied up on the side of the road and stopped in front of him.
    Her heart beat faster at his proximity to such a massive beast, and she tried to speak calmly. “Tommy. Come here for a minute.” He was reaching up to touch the horse’s side with the hand that wasn’t holding his sandwich.
    “It’s Mickey, Mom,” he said, caressing the horse’s flanks. The horse turned from where he had been eating, and shook his head towards the young boy. He blew his breath out in brisk snorts.
    “It’s all right, Miss,” said a gruff voice. “He doesn’t hurt anyone.” An older gentleman in work clothes came around from the other side of the horse where he had been hidden from view. He smiled at Thomas, “Hello young man.”
    “This horse is enormous.” Chastity smiled back at him. “You’re sure my son’s okay?”
    “Aw, Mickey’s as gentle as they come.”
    “Mickey?” she exclaimed, turning towards Thomas. “How did you know his name?” Thomas darted to the other side of the horse. Chastity turned to the gentleman, her face covered in confusion. “Where does this horse come from? Who owns him?”
    “This is the champion horse of the Viscount de Brase. He took first place in the race today even though he was not a favorite.” The gentleman caressed the horse between the ears and continued with gruff pride. “He’s from Maisons-Laffitte, just outside of Paris.” The blood drained from Chastity’s face. She stared at her sandwich.
    “Ah. He’s right there. I was expecting him.”
    Chastity turned around, just as the viscount strode up to the older gentleman. He barely glanced at her, and his face looked thunderous.
    “Grégoire, here are the syringes you needed. I have somewhere I need to be.” He handed a small case over to the older gentleman and walked off in the direction of the racetrack.
    Chastity’s face grew hot. She was sure he had seen her, and that his snub was on purpose. He probably wanted to humiliate me for daring to mingle with his world. Oh my God! He probably thought I was just hanging around his horse so I could talk to him or something. She glanced at her son and tried to think of something to say.
    The older gentleman, Grégoire, seemed nonplussed. “He usually has a bit more time to spare than that, but that’s him in any case.” Then he addressed Thomas, eyes alight. “So you know Mickey, do you? How so?”

    To buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EYN38H0

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SOUNDING GREAT, KRISTY!
    I love Mary Stewart! In fact, I still have about ten of them… they were antiques when I got them… and now… well, my fav, Airs Above the Ground, lacks the cover and the first page… 🙂 But I still read it, even now. 🙂 beautiful story about Austria and the Lippizaner Stallions. 🙂
    Thanks for that!
    xx
    Lizzi

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill James says:

    Kristy, can’t wait to read the whole story in the boxed set.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. susanrhughes says:

    I always struggle with titles, too, but I’ll give it some thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jude Knight says:

    I love this, and really want to read more. My story for the boxed set is tentatively called Beached. It might become Washed Up. And it’s another Kiwi story, so only international in the sense that it isn’t where the rest of you are. For me, your stories are international. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. E. Ayers says:

    Oh, I like this one! Can’t wait to read the whole thing.

    Like

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