The Frenchman by Lesley Young(Crime Royalty Romance #1)
Publication date: December 2nd 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance
Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.
Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.
Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family busine
ss will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.
READER WARNING: This novel contains explicit sex.
After a moment, when I steeled my resolve, the door opened.
A man with salt and pepper hair, a nasty scar above his lip and astute eyes, scanned me. “Oui?” he asked rudely.
I hesitated, but then thought, I’m all in.
“Je suis venue pour voir Louis.”
He scanned me much more carefully, and his dark eyes stopped at the cash in my hand. After his eyebrows rose, ever so slightly, his face relaxed and a side hitched up. He shrugged and opened the door wider.
I stepped into another foyer, encased in a marble, circular partition. With one last wave of jacked-up energy, I barreled around the wall, quickly scanning the, holy massive, space, hesitating only to admire the incredible view provided from floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere. Gorgeous kitchen, too. I sucked in a waft of cooked chicken. God I missed meat. Pausing to get my bearings—this was an extremely large suite—I followed the faint sound of the television sports game. There was the living room. I spotted a giant flat screen against a wall, blinds tugged down around it.
My heart was going a mile a minute, my hands shaking. I couldn’t turn back now. I stepped down the two stairs, powered across the empty dining room area, into the living room space, aiming straight for the middle, where . . . my eyes scanned quickly . . . there were others present, two, I think, standing behind one sectional.
There sat Louis, legs wide apart, on a giant leather sofa, a remote in one hand and an empty plate of chicken bones beside him. He was in a pair of track pants and nothing else. To say he was shocked, when he realized the girl standing in front of him was not a cute American announcer suddenly on his TV screen, was an understatement.
“Fleur,” he exclaimed sitting forward, absolutely no fat bunching at the waist.
“What the hell is this?!” I shouted at him, waving the cash.
I watched red sprout in his cheeks as he glanced around at the chilled room, and back on me. His eyes took in the money, and my other hand on my hip. He stood up to his full, mighty height, extra slow, his eyes steady on me.
But I wasn’t intimidated. Not in the least. He was way out of line.
“You know what? In America, you pay—” I shook the wad of cash at him “—after you’ve finished the transaction.” I threw the money at him but it didn’t get very far. It kind of fluttered to the floor.
Holy cow. Did I really just say that? That is not what I had meant to say. It just came out.
Waves of regret rippled through me as he pulled his head back, and his lips bunched up, contemptuous. Disgust spread on his face like ink.
And who could blame him? There I was, standing in his living room, lamenting the fact he had not bopped me. Oh sweet mercy.
How to write a negative book review
Romance novelist Lesley Young suggests ways to deliver the bad news with compassion (even after you’ve tossed the book across the room)
I think sometimes book bloggers forget that authors are readers, too. We know what it’s like to go into a story and come out frustrated or just plain appalled. The trouble is, your advice isn’t going to resonate with us if it’s laced with a lot of negative emotion. And yes, I realize how the opposite does not apply. I love reading reviews for The Frenchman or Sky’s End where the blogger is so excited she’s making typos.
Bottom line: if you are a book reviewer, it’s because you love to read. And if you love to read, you probably want to support the industry. So know this: authors live, learn and grow based on feedback (or they should). So next time you’re exasperated by a novel, may I suggest applying the following to make your post worthwhile.
*Don’t focus on how the book made you feel, but why it made you feel that way. Here’s the difference: A waiter serves you breakfast. You dig in, and . . . you are disappointed. When your waiter returns to ask if everything is okay, do you say: These eggs taste awful! I don’t why you would cook them like this!”? Or do you say, “These eggs were not seasoned properly and served cold. Next time please try to season them.”? If you pick the former, I’ve got news for you: no one likes a complainer. You turn off your readers if a bad attitude shows through your writing. So if you were upset at the ending, for example, explain why. In doing so, you may realize the author had a reason for ending the book the way she did. Or, you may not. Either way, you’re opinion will be better respected.
*Couch your comments in ways to improve, instead of pouting.
When I shop for books on Amazon.com, I always read the 1-star and 2-star reviews. So I’ve read thousands of negative reviews, and the truth is .00001% actual had any real impact on my buying decision. Why?
Imagine you are shopping for a women’s magazine and one cover article is “15 Ways You’ll Never Lose Weight” and another cover article is “15 Ways You’re Guaranteed to Lose Weight!” Which one are you going to pick?
You don’t help readers get value from your reviews (or authors) when you’re a Negative Nancy. So pick the top two or three things you don’t like about a book and write a review that focuses on how you would have changed those things. E.g.: I wish the Alpha hero had been less mysterious, kinder to the heroine and didn’t swear so much. When you think through aspects of the book, you may just realize that you don’t like Alpha heroes. In which case, I would say, stop reading those kinds of books and don’t post the review.
*Do not not write a negative review.
Many book bloggers don’t even bother writing bad reviews because, well, who wants to waste time reading a review of bad book? It’s not like the movies—where you only get to choose among eight in the theatres on the weekend. There are millions of books out there, so you probably want to boost your following by showcasing only good reads.
But there is real value in reviewing less than stellar books! I don’t know about you, but I still like the odd Great Sex, No Plot book. Or, Hot Alpha, Wimpy Heroine book. Or, Great Book if You Can Live With The Poor Grammar book. Where do I find great reviews for those categories? I would go to a book blog with fun, fair reviews of those categories—all the time.
I’ll wrap this up by stating the obvious—you only do yourself and your book blog a disservice when you rush off a review. Take the time to you compose your thoughts, and articulate them with compassion. It takes an author over a year or more to write a book. And whether you liked it or not, you owe them a thoughtful, kind commentary.
Please share your tips for writing negative reviews. You can read all of my good (and a few poor bad reviews) for The Frenchman at Amazon, and for Sky’s End at Amazon.
Lesley Young is a genre-defying author of unforgettable heroines who experience thrilling life- and love-altering journeys. Her debut novel was Sky's End; her most recent stand-alone series, Crime Royalty Romance, includes The Frenchman and The Australian. She loves to hear from readers.