Strolling in Storyland

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

on February 19, 2018

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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2 responses to “An American Girl in Paris is out! Let’s celebrate with a giveaway!

  1. Angelica says:

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  2. Calvin says:

    Cool book, the cover is sweet!

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