Best friends Allee Bell and Tina Bandolino win the trip of their dreams—two weeks in Paris. Unfortunately, Tina has an accident the day before departure, leaving Allee to go alone.
In Paris, Allee meets Paul Chevalier, a French-speaking Air Force captain assigned to the U.S. Embassy. Despite their mutual attraction, Paul and Allee know two weeks are not enough for love to blossom. . .Or is it?
Fortified with an energy bar, Allee followed the hotel desk clerk’s directions to the nearest metro stop. With help from two amused school boys, she bought a ticket to her destination from a vending machine. Within an hour, she stood in front of a stately gray stone building, number twenty-seven on a short street about the width of one automobile. She refused to allow herself to worry for more than a minute about whether this Paul Chevalier was a serial killer. Instead, she pushed the button above his mailbox.
The voice seemed to come from behind the wall. “Oui?”
She read from her scrap of paper, certain she was butchering the pronunciation of the French words for “You have my backpack.”
After a moment, she heard footsteps on the staircase. She took out her French-English dictionary, quickly flipping to the useful phrases in the back.
She glanced up into possibly the most handsome face she’d ever laid eyes on. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with wavy black hair and big, melted-chocolate brown eyes. Allee hoped he didn’t notice her sharp intake of breath. Maybe he was a French movie star. When he smiled, the deep dimple in his left cheek left her knees feeling weak. She realized her grip on the things in her arms was slipping. Too late, she tried to catch her water bottle before it escaped and skittered across the floor. As she grabbed for the water, she dropped her handbag and book.
They bumped heads when both of them bent to retrieve her possessions from the floor. “For crying in a bucket,” she exclaimed. “I mean, pardonez moi.”
Once they were both standing straight again, he handed the phrase book to her with a dazzling smile. “I have an idea,” he said. “Let’s speak English.” He had no noticeable accent.
Too flustered to answer, Allee tucked the phrase book into her handbag.
“Want me to carry that?” He reached for his backpack.
“Oh, no, you don’t.” She pushed his bag behind her. “You can have yours when I get mine.” She resisted adding that all of her food coupons better be intact, too. Just because he was drop-dead gorgeous didn’t mean this Paul Chevalier person was honest.
“Then let’s take the lift so you don’t need to carry my bag up the stairs. They’re rather steep.” He smiled his devastating smile again and motioned toward the elevator.
Question 1: Is there a hidden meaning in Allee Bell’s name?
Answer 1: It could be French for a beautiful path
Question 2: Would you go to a foreign country as a tourist if you had to go alone?
Answer 2: No right or wrong answer; personal choice
Question 3: Do you think it was wrong for Allee not to tell her mother about Tina’s accident until later?
Answer 3: She never told her parents anything untrue. At 25, living away from home, she is old enough to make her own decisions about traveling alone or with companions
Question 4: Would you have stayed in Paris despite the strike Allee encountered?
Answer 4: No right or wrong answer; personal choice
Question 5: If you’ve ever had to depend on others to locate your train, plane, or bus in a strange place, did you find people were willing to help?
Answer 5: Based on individual experiences
Question 6: Why do you think Paul didn’t discuss his change of US assignment with Allee before she left Paris?
Answer 6: The assignment was not yet firm.
Question 7: Do you think Allee was impractical to wait for her knight in shining armor?
Answer 7: No, because she finally found the man of her dreams.
Question 8: If you could visit any city anywhere for two weeks, where would you go?
Answer 8: No right or wrong answer; personal choice
Question 9: What are the top two or three things you would like to see in Paris?
Answer 9 No right or wrong answer; personal choice
Question 10: Why did Tina choose a costume party for Paul’s proposal to Allee?
Answer 10: She wanted Allee's dreams to come true.
About the Author
Carlene Havel writes Christian-themed romances and historical novels. She has lived in Turkey, Republic of the Philippines, and numerous US states. After a career in human resources and software development, she began writing in 2005. The Havels live in Texas, surrounded by their extended family.