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Una francesa en Nueva York

Prólogo

Una francesa en Nueva York-Cover

–Vale, ya está. ¡Ahora, date prisa! –exclamó la maquilladora–. Tienes que salir en dos minutos. ¡Ni se te ocurra volver a estropearte el maquillaje!

Maude salió corriendo, intentando no tocarse las mejillas recién maquilladas, mientras Matt se apresuraba tras ella.

Se quedó de pie tras el telón escuchando como la animada voz del presentador anunciaba su entrada.

Esta noche, señoras y señores, tenemos una nueva artista con nosotros. Ha pasado estos últimos meses en Nueva York trabajando en su primer álbum. Su primer single ya se ha publicado y es un gran éxito…

–Maude –susurró Matt, mientras le cogía la manga.

–¿Sí? –se giró sonriendo.

–Solo quería decirte que… quiero que sepas que siempre puedes contar conmigo.

–Lo sé, Matt –sonrió, Maude, agradecida.

Su voz les dejará impresionados, su música es espectacular…

–No, hablo en serio. Nuestra amistad ha tenido altibajos, pero no quiero que sea así nunca más.

Maude asintió.

–No me importa que estés con Thomas Bradfield. Mientras tú seas feliz, yo también lo seré.

–¿Cómo? ¿Thomas Bradfield? –le interrumpió Maude, desconcertada.

¡Demos un fuerte aplauso a Maude Laurent! –gritó el presentador.

–Es tu entrada, ¡vamos! –le instó Matt.

Maude dio la espalda a Matt a regañadientes y se apresuró para llegar al escenario.

La intensidad de las luces la cegó al salir al escenario y se encontró con una multitud llena de júbilo. Evitó el impulso de cubrirse los ojos y continuó caminando hacia el oscuro piano Steinway sin detenerse.

Ya había tocado antes en un piano como ese, pero esta vez estaba más nerviosa. Le temblaban las manos y la voz.

Maude se sentó en la silla del piano y miró hacia la multitud.

Estaban todos allí.

James y Victoria, sonrientes como padres orgullosos, estaban cogidos de la mano. Cynthia, tan digna como siempre, intentaba que Ben no se cayese del asiento mientras saludaba enérgicamente a Maude. Jazmine juntaba las manos para mandarle toda la energía positiva que era capaz de transmitirle desde su asiento.

Maude se giró hacia el piano y cantó la primera canción. La había tocado en muchas ocasiones, pero esta vez era diferente. Había madurado, ya no era la misma persona que hacía seis meses, su forma de actuar no era la de una simple adolescente, sino la de una mujer joven que no temía a la vida y que se negaba a arrodillarse ante ella. Terminó la primera canción y se preparó para cantar la segunda.

Pensó en cantar «Amanecer» de su álbum debut, pero se dio cuenta de que no podía tocar esa canción después de todo por lo que había pasado. Maude dedicó la segunda canción a sus padres, «Coming Home» de John Legend.

Respiró hondo y empezó a cantar:

 

Un padre que espera a su hijo,

Una madre que reza para que regrese,

Solo llamo para saber

Si todavía hay sitio para mí.

La vida nos ha separado,

Pero os llevo todavía en el corazón.

Cuando duermo y siento vuestra alma junto a mí.

 

Mientras tocaba, fue consciente del dolor que había guardado durante años. Sus padres habían muerto y se habían ido para siempre, pero ella aún estaba viva. El intenso dolor que la afligía también le daba la fuerza necesaria para cantar con claridad, superar sus miedos, controlar el temblor inicial de sus dedos y hacer que sus notas resonaran entre la audiencia.

 

Puede que tarde en volver,

Parece que ya he estado en todas partes,

Pero algún día regresaré a casa.

El mundo gira y gira,

Oh, es un ciclo que nunca termina.

Así sabéis que volveré a casa.

 

Su voz resonaba como el agua en una fuente, fluctuaba con profunda emoción a medida que la canción deshacía sus dudas, ahogaba sus inseguridades y desembocaba su dolor en un precioso mar de esperanza.

Maude terminó la canción y colocó con cuidado las manos sobre sus rodillas.

–Lo conseguí –murmuró suavemente para sí misma.

La multitud rompió en un estruendoso aplauso. Maude podía oír los silbidos y el clamor de la multitud. A medida que caminaba hacia el presentador, entrecerraba los ojos para evitar las intensas luces, entonces vio la multitud a sus pies, vitoreando y diciendo su nombre.

Maude sonrió y saludó al presentador, un hombre alto de nariz prominente y una amplia y calurosa sonrisa.

–¡Vaya! –exclamó. Este presentador era conocido por su entusiasmo, aunque, en realidad, había pocos presentadores de TV que no lo fueran–. ¡Ha sido increíble, Maude!

Maude rio aliviada de volver a respirar a un ritmo normal.

–Dime una cosa, Maude –le dijo con tono informal–. ¿Cómo una chica de dieciséis años, que ha crecido en el norte de Francia, ha acabado pasando seis meses en Nueva York grabando su álbum debut con una de las estrellas más conocidas del pop?

–Eso es, sin duda, una pregunta muy interesante –respondió ella, sus oscuros ojos brillaban con picardía.

*****

El libro está disponible  en Amazon!

 

 

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An American Girl in Paris is out! Let’s celebrate with a giveaway!

An-American-Girl-in-Paris-FINAL

An American Girl in Paris  is out exclusively on Amazon and FREE for those enrolled in Kindle Unlimited!

Read the synopsis and extract:

Aria Thompson is a fifteen-year-old New Yorker with a stunning voice that stops people in their tracks. There’s just one catch-it’s deep. So deep, some think it’s a boy’s voice. 
When she’s accepted in a prestigious academy in France, she leaves New York despite her father’s disapproval and moves into a beautiful castle to study classical music.
But between her rivalry with the cute and popular Maxime who dislikes Americans, and a teacher who believes a girl with a low voice should be confined to minor roles, Aria’s ambitions are put to the test. And when her celebrity crush asks her to collaborate on his upcoming rock album, Aria will have to decide if the opera world is where she truly belongs.

Here’s an extract from Aria’s first day at the Academy:

She passed the Mel Bonis Music Room, but stopped when she heard voices.

“There’s a new American girl in Fifth-Year. Anyone seen her yet?” a female voice asked.

“Not another American,” a male voice whined. “Didn’t they have enough with that Maude Laurent chick?” (note: Maude Laurent is the main character of A French Girl in New York)

“She wasn’t American, she was French, Pierre-Henri.”

“Might as well have been for all the time she spent in the United States.”

“I heard the new girl’s name is Aria. What do you think, Maxime? I’m sure you’re boiling inside. We all know how much you despise Americans.”

“She won’t be here long,” another male voice said in a slow drawl. “Americans are terrible at Classical music and their overall education system is doomed. Aria, or whatever her name is, will never make it here and she’ll scurry back to the country she came from.”

Aria’s face flushed hotter than ever. She marched into the room and stopped short.

The boy she’d seen from afar at the ceremony now lay in one of the room’s yellow-mustard sofas. His head was turned to the ceiling and he continued to speak without noticing her entrance. Opposite him, a boy with an expensive pink sweater and a girl in a pastel dress who played with his chestnut hair, stared at Aria, but remained silent, waiting for her to speak.

“Remember that American, Jude or Justin, or whatever his name was. He lasted a week in our school before giving up,” Maxime continued. “Cathy held out for a month.”

When he didn’t receive an energetic response from his friends, he followed their gaze.

He immediately grinned upon recognizing Aria and sat up straight.

But Aria was no longer smiling. She was too shocked to find her words. He was the one who’d said those awful things! He hated Americans!

Aria steadied her breathing, erased any trace of pain in her eyes, and said in a calm but firm voice,

“Basically, you think all Americans are stupid and that I’m as dumb as they come.”

 “You’re the American girl?” Maxime asked astonished. It was obvious from his expression he hadn’t expected the American girl to be her. His face changed from astonishment, to disappointment, and settled for disdain. Aria noticed these changes and her heart hardened in defense.

“My name isn’t ‘the American Girl.’ I’m Aria Thompson,” Aria said, her voice deeper than ever. “I dare you to repeat what you’ve just said to my face.” Aria rarely shouted. One of the advantages of having a uniquely deep yet female voice was that it couldn’t be ignored.

“You heard me loud and clear.”

“You’re a coward,” Aria declared with a wry smile. “I’d rather be an American any day, no matter how lowly you and your friends think me to be, than a stuck-up, arrogant, self-absorbed French fool like you who probably can’t even tell the difference between an electric guitar and an electric bass.”

Maxime rose from his sofa and advanced in Aria’s direction, his arms folded across his chest.

“Popular music is banned. Good riddance. Just focus on catching up with the rest of us in class.”

“I’ll do more than that.

“What? You think you can beat us all?” Maxime laughed a single laugh, but his eyes were dead serious. “That you can be number one?”

 Despite everything going on in her household, despite the several jobs she’d juggled, despite it all, she had still managed to get nothing but straight A’s in school. She would abandon her number one spot for nothing and certainly not to a snide French boy, not after what he’d said about her people. Never had there been a more noble justification in entering a rivalry than that of defending not only her honor, but that of the educational system she’d just left.

“I don’t think I can be number one. I know so,” Aria replied.

“Good luck with that,” the girl in the pastel dress broke in. “Maxime’s been top of his class since First Year, right Pierre-Henri?” she asked, turning to the boy in the pink sweater for confirmation.

“Marie-Capucine knows what she’s talking about.” Pierre-Henri agreed. “Maxime’s got absolute pitch.” Marie-Capucine tousled his chestnut hair and gave Aria a pitying look.

Absolute pitch.

Aria’s confidence plummeted.  No wonder Maxime was an honor roll student. He had musical super hero powers. If he could recognize any musical note and reproduce it perfectly without reference, he’d prove a difficult opponent.

Aria recalled her aunt’s flowers and the lifelong lesson she’d learnt from that episode: the necessity of assessing beforehand that she could outrun her adversary before she brought on a challenge.

Once Maxime held out his hand, however, and his brown eyes reflected his assured victory, the memory of the flowers and their fate flitted into dust.

“I guess that’s going to have to change.” She took his hand and shook it, crushing his fingers to see if he’d wince.

“We’ll see about that,” was Maxime’s only answer. He retrieved his hand as if he’d slipped it in a jelly jar.

With that, Aria turned and left the Mel Bonis Music Room.

She soon burst into the room she shared with Hortense.

“I ran into Maxime,” she announced as she shut the door.

“Uh-oh.”

“You knew he hated Americans?”

“Everybody knows that about him,” Hortense replied. “His father is the Minister of Culture and his mother works there too. They promote French culture with a lot of zeal, as you can tell, and they see American culture as a threat: McDonalds, Starbucks­—”

“What do they have against Starbucks?”

“Every time a new American fast food restaurant sets up in France they lobby against it. They’re the reason there are only three Burger King restaurants in Paris to date and I heard about this Drinkin Doughnuts or something.”

“It’s Dunkin’ Doughnuts,” Aria laughed.

“Doesn’t exist in Paris because they said it would be the end of crêpes. They lobbied against Netflix, but lost that. They’re also great promoters of classical music.

“Figures.”

“They consider popular music and everything about it indecent.”

“I understand now why they fought for this stupid ban,” Aria muttered angrily.

“His family is the school’s oldest and most important donator. Of course, they’re behind it. Just forget about him.”

 “I can’t! He said I was stupid and that I would never make it here. He’s completely prejudiced and what’s more, he knows no shame.”

“Uh-hun, uh-hun. Don’t you think Maxime’s cute?” Hortense voiced the question she’d been dying to ask for a while. “Sure, his ears are a little large, but isn’t he just the cutest­—”

“He’s ugly,” Aria let out with spite, though she thought the opposite. “Like a troll and goblin all in one,” she added.

“I forget how newcomers see him. I’ve known him my whole life, so I’m used to his weird views, though I don’t agree with them. Not every French person is like him. Just like not every American looks like Bradley Cooper. Or Lucas Watkins. Unfortunately. Have you ever met him?”

Hortense had already asked Aria if she’d met Will Smith, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber and had difficulty understanding that just because Aria lived in New York didn’t mean she met celebrities every time she went grocery shopping. She wished she could meet Lucas Watkins. The dark-skinned heartthrob had thrown the music world into a frenzy since he’d announced that he refused to take his famous mother’s route and would be releasing a rock album.

“I haven’t met Lucas Watkins,” Aria sighed dreamily. “I saw his mother, Miss. Educated.”

“You did? What’s she like?”

“I don’t know her,” Aria laughed. “I went to her concert with my friends. She’s an amazing rapper. She had to be to fight for her spot in a male-dominated industry.” She frowned as her thoughts returned to Maxime. “She’d have found some crushing retorts against Maxime and his friends. I just said, ‘I’m going to steal your number one spot.’”

“Uhn-uhn,” Hortense shook her head. “He’s too smart and without making much of an effort either.”

“Are you saying that there is something I can’t do?”

“That’s French pessimism for you.”

“Where I come from, I’ve learned since the youngest age that there is not one thing I can’t do. Even become President of France if I want to.”

“You’d have to be French,” Hortense pointed out.

“Whatever. If I work hard, I’m sure I can beat him.”

“Today was just the First Day Ceremony. Tomorrow, school starts for real. We’ll see if French pessimism hasn’t drowned out your slightly overenthusiastic American Dream.”

*****

Did you like the extract? Will Aria win her challenge against Maxime?

Get An American Girl in Paris on Amazon (free for those enrolled in Kindle Unlimited).

Take part in the super giveaway for a chance at winning an American Girl in Paris poster! Just click HERE!

 

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#RiseAbove Cyberbullying!

Hi everyone!
I’m so proud to take part in the #RiseAbove campaign with Wattpad and TELUS to take a stand against cyberbullying!Here’s my entry.  You can also take part in the contest to win a brand new Essential phone by submitting your own story on the @TELUS Wattpad profile!

My Russian Hacker

***

I recently confounded a crook, blocked my best friend from my social media, and nearly helped the American government catch a dangerous Russian hacker. What a whirlwind!
It all started when I decided to sublet my Brooklyn apartment.
Tall and glamorous with a lovely Russian accent, Anouchka was a rising actress who made fifty times my rent in a year. She needed a quiet sublet while her Upper East Side apartment was undergoing renovations.
We became #best friends and social media friends during the apartment visit. I told her everything about myself: my love life, my family’s move from Ukraine to the US, and my boring studies.
She adored my place and convinced me to forgo other candidates as she’d pay the full amount upfront once she moved in.
Boy, was I delighted!
When she moved in the next day, she claimed someone had stolen her wallet, and she could no longer withdraw money from her bank account. Thankfully, a “friend” had given her two checks for me to deposit.
It was only after I’d given her the keys and a sublease agreement that I started to wonder if her checks were in fact real. I sensed something didn’t add up, and asked for clarification.
She quickly became threatening. Her anger was no joke.
“You’ll pay for this,” were her parting words.

***

End of the extract! Read the entire short story for FREE on Wattpad and please show your support by commenting and voting!

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A French Song in New York-Exclusive Sneak peek!

 

 


French-Song-In-New-York (1)

 

Former students who become teachers both fear and fantasize about their fateful first day of school.

Their apprehension stems from the prospect of facing a new version of themselves, complete with their flaws and qualities.
It was so with Maude Laurent, a famous twenty-one-year-old singer with beautiful chocolate brown skin, who would soon embark on the incredible journey of becoming a mentor.
She had returned to New York after a successful world tour and felt that performing for crowds was less daunting than the prospect of teaching vocal lessons to a single Grace Heaton the next day.
Only practice could calm Maude’s back-to-school jitters.
That was why she tested her professorial skills in the safe quarters of Soulville Records.

The cozy Creation Room she worked in had seen her humble beginnings as a singer.
Only a few years had gone by since Maude had arrived from France, poor and orphaned, singing classical music and French songs. The room was still her haven now that she had a thriving career, a family, friends and, that day, an unwilling beta student.
Her boyfriend, Matt, far from being an unruly student, had quite a number of faults.
One of them, he was proud to say, consisted in never missing an opportunity to interrupt Maude’s lesson by stealing a kiss.
“This is the opposite of an appropriate student-teacher relationship.” Maude extricated herself from Matt’s embrace and kept him at arm’s length.

“Good thing I’m not really your student.” With puckered lips, he pulled Maude closer to him. She smiled, acknowledging that this fact was indeed a cause for relief.
“Hold still. I need practice. Grace will be ruthless if I show the slightest hesitation.”
“Why do you want to give this girl classes again? Oh, right!” Matt slapped the top of his head. “You’re a masochist.”
“She needs to have someone on her side,” Maude insisted. “She’s spent the last two years at Children’s Haven, after being abandoned by her family.”
“What happened to her parents?”
“I never had the guts to ask.” Maude bit the inside of her mouth, tense. “Imagine if she asked me out of the blue, ‘Hey, what happened to your parents?’ I probably wouldn’t tell her. Talking about death usually puts a cramp in any conversation.”

Matt wrapped his arms around Maude. As she placed her head on his shoulder, she whispered, “One of them must have given her that beautiful voice. With the right training, she’ll get cast as Lilac in my musical. I can feel it.”
“It’s your musical now, huh?” Matt pinched her right cheek. “Someone’s getting a little cocky.”
“Violet’s Voice is Mr. Soderline’s musical,” Maude rectified. “But he chose me as the lead. It’s a little bit of my musical, too. Especially since Julia Tanand is no longer a part of it and several of my songs are in the libretto.”

Nothing made Maude prouder than the reminder that she’d rid herself of a staunch rival with little effort on her part.
Due to pure happenstance, she had discovered the singer who proclaimed she was French and a pianistic prodigy did not know how to distinguish a do from a fa on a keyboard.
Under Alan Lewis’ manipulative tutelage, Julia had sought to overshadow Maude’s career. Now that Maude knew the singer’s secret, and had graciously promised that she would not reveal it, Julia would no longer be a problem.
“Imagine me playing a French girl moving to New York to become a singer. That’s already my real-life story!” Maude squealed. “I’m so excited to start rehearsals soon.”
Raising her arms in the air with an exaggerated sigh, she flapped her arms like wings, before racing to the broad French windows. She gazed at Manhattan with a renewed sense of healthy ambition. Classical, pop, and now Broadway. The city had so much to offer to those who dared to dream.

“Any particular reason why you’re looking forward to these rehearsals?” Matt asked as he came up to the window and stood next to her.
He stood still, but it was his crisp tone that indicated to Maude that something was amiss.
“I wrote part of the songs and the story’s inspiring. Why else would I look forward to …?”
Matt blinked twice, turned away from her, and emitted a long, heavy whistle.
Maude followed him. “You heard?”
“Did I hear Thomas Bradfield got a part in the musical?” Matt put his hands in his pockets and lifted his shoulders. “I’d have to be buried under a rock to avoid hearing about it. I was kind of wondering when you’d tell me about it.”
“You see,” Maude started nervously, “the thing is, I thought you’d mention it once you found out.” Maude winced at her lack of intelligence. “Tell me you’re not anxious about this. I heard it would be a tiny role.”
Removing his hands from his pockets, he lifted them as if to shield his torso.
“I’m not anxious. In fact, I’m kind of curious to listen to him sing something other than a song he stole from us. Not sure he can,” Matt laughed.
Maude rolled her eyes, but was relieved that the tension had diffused.
Matt would never get over Thomas and Lindsey Linton plagiarizing Paris versus New York City, and she no longer expected him to. But she had moved on.
“This, right here, is something I don’t understand. Why are girls always said to be petty, but not guys?”
“I’m not competing with him! Because I’ve already won.” Matt gave her a coy smile. “I’ve got a career and he’s running after crumbs. I’ve got the girl he loved. He’s got Lindsey Linton.”
“Lindsey’s a good person.” Matt’s raised eyebrows prompted Maude to add, “When she wants to be.”
“Maybe I should date her then.”
Maude squeezed his nose. “You could, but then you wouldn’t be dating a singer slash teacher of the year.”
“That wouldn’t be so bad,” he said in a nasal tone. “No corporal punishment.”
Maude released his nose and kissed its tip.
“Every student has a crush on at least one of their teachers.”
“You got me. I had a mad crush on my sixth grade math teacher. She smelled nice and had shiny hair. Her smile was like a ray of sunshine,” Matt sighed dreamily. “I became good in math, thanks to her. I’m positive, Maude, had I been of legal age, I’d have stood a chance.”
“Keep dreaming,” Maude laughed. “I knew I never had a shot with my math teacher. He took pleasure in giving me bad grades. Loved to remind me just how bad I was at it. I’ll never be like him. I want to encourage my students to do better.”
“I like being encouraged,” Matt nodded gravely. “Please, do encourage me.”
Maude’s giggles burst out like sparkling wine from an uncorked bottle.
Locking her arms around his neck, she nibbled his lip before kissing him gently.
For she was certain that no student, no musical, and no Thomas Bradfield could ruin the happiness of two people in love.

***

A French Song in New York will be released August 12th, 2017!

Pre-order at half price for a limited time on:

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Matt’s Interview

 I, the infamous, Lexie Staz have just been hired by Hollywood Buzz and my first assignment is to write a special feature on Maude Laurent.  I  have to interview all Maude’s friends and family.

Matt, who’s still holding a silly grudge against me for doing my job, accepted to be interviewed only after I hounded his voicemail for three days straight.

star-hollywood-buzz
Lexie Staz:  Thanks so much for accepting to be interviewed by Hollywood Buzz. We’re happy to have you here with us.
Matt: I’m happy to be here, too. Besides, I prefer answering questions than having other people spread rumors about me (laughs).
Lexie Staz: Hmm, you’re not  talking about me, now, are you?
Matt: Of course not Lexie (laughs). I know how much authenticity is important to you.
Lexie Staz:   That’s very true. I also  love scoops! And I heard you lived with the Baldwins for a while. What was that like?
Matt: It was one of the best times of my life!
There were as many guys as there were girls under one roof.  Let’s just say, TV nights were a nightmare. By the time a decision was made, the shows we were fighting to watch were already over (laughs).
Lexie Staz: Or maybe, this is just a suggestion, you could’ve just bought another TV?
Matt: The Baldwins don’t want us to spend too much time in front of a screen. They’d rather we spend time developing our creativity.
Lexie Staz: I’m not surprised. Did you have chores?
Matt: Everyone participated in house chores, but some more than others. Jazmine took forever to do her chores so Cynthia ended up doing her sister’s share in addition  to her own.  Ben usually played the ‘little brother card’ to get out of his. I did my share… most of the time (laughs).
Lexie Staz: I’m sure you had better things to do. Like all those parties you used to go to. You’re in a stable relationship with Maude Laurent now.  Tell me, what do you like most about Maude?
Matt: There are a lot of things obviously. Perhaps, what I love most are her eyes. They’re very expressive. I can tell what she’s thinking just by looking at them.
Lexie Staz: Now I have to ask: what do you dislike most about Maude?
Matt: Her smile. It’s so beautiful it makes me do things I usually hate doing.  Like visiting museums.
Lexie Staz:  You and Maude travel a lot. Paris, Milan, Berlin, London. Which city would you like to visit with Maude next?
Matt: Seoul in South Korea. I’m sure she’d love it! I know I did.
Lexie Staz: Will you be releasing a new album?
Matt: I never stop working. It’s vital for me to produce new material whether I’m working with other artists or whether I’m  creating my own music.

Lexie Staz: Here’s a fan question by Wattpader Nerdy_Unicorn23: If there was one thing that NO ONE knew about you- including Maude, what would it be?

Matt: Hmm, maybe I should hold on to this secret a little while longer (laughs). I’ve never told anyone, but I will do so now. Even if I know Maude will mercilessly make fun of me when she hears this.

I slept with Huggy, my teddy bear, until I was thirteen. In fact you may still find him in a special toy case I keep under my bed.

Lexie Staz: Hmm… Interesting note to end on. Thank you for participating! It’s always such a pleasure to work with you.

Matt: Thank you, Lexie and to all Hollywood Buzz readers for keeping my secret.

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A French Diva in New York-Cover Reveal and Preorder

Here’s the cover for the final book in the French Girl series! You can pre-order A French Diva in New York on ibooks half-price for a limited time.

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Announcing Book 4: A French Diva in New York

Hi everyone!

Book 4 is on the way! The title is A French Diva in New York set to be released December 15, 2014.
The cover reveal will be July 10th. Newsletter subscribers will get to see the cover a couple of days early. You can still subscribe to my newsletter at this link
http://www.annaadamsauthor.com/#!newsletter/c1kcz

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