Behind The Mask
By Linda Joyce
Released May 17th 2016
Synopsis: Former model Chalise Boudreau returns to Louisiana after ten years and faces an uncertain future. Watching her budget, she’s living with her mother and plans to open a luxury salon, but she fears the community sees her homecoming as a failing, and she knows any malicious gossip will jeopardize her success.
Once bad-boy, now entrepreneur Chaz Riboucheaux is home and trying to rebuild his old reputation. He believes one of his companies, the Magnolia May, a pirate ship, can make Ascension a tourist destination, but the mayor refuses to grant him a lease at the city’s dock.
Chalise and Chaz come face to face at a Twelfth Night party. Years ago, he stood her up and left her brokenhearted. Now her brain is at war with her heart, but her body has a mind of its own. As Chaz leads her across the dance floor, he knows when the music stops it won’t be the end of their waltz. He has questions only she can answer, and he won’t stop until he gets what he wants.
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Chaz pulled up to the Boudreau mansion. Classic southern antebellum façade, but built when Mr. and Mrs. Boudreau married. He couldn’t quite reconcile the grand house as a place of business. Though the B&B sported a fine reputation, to him, it would always be Chalise’s home. If he had any influence over the future, he’d return it to her family’s private residence. It had to bother her to have strangers around all the time. Then, as now, she preferred privacy. How did she reconcile living in the basement while a paying customer occupied her childhood bedroom? He intended to make it right.
By the time he was out of the car, she had opened the front double doors and stepped onto the wide veranda.
His breath hitched.
Dressed in a simple black dress that hugged her body and black heels that made it look as though her legs went on forever, Chalise looked every bit the model she’d been. She carried a small red purse with shiny stones on the clasp. He wondered if they were diamonds or crystals. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a tidy knot, accentuating the elegant structure of her face. She had little evidence of makeup except for red lipstick. She loosened the wrap around her shoulders, and it dipped to reveal a shoulder as she walked toward him. No doubt about it, the woman was a stunner.
“Good evening,” he said, hoping confidence carried in his voice.
“Hello,” she replied as though speaking to anyone and not her only true love from high school.
Would she be surprised to learn that he’d seen her on the runway in New York a couple of times and once in Italy? A friend of a friend at Harvard had been into fashion. When he had asked her questions, she assumed his interest and snagged a ticket to a show for him. All he was looking for was a peek into Chalise’s world. The first time he saw her walk the runway was an accident. The second time took some negotiating. The third time, he’d arranged a trip to Milan with a group of friends to see her at the pinnacle of her career. He had adored her from afar…ever since the night he didn’t arrive to take her to prom.
But he didn’t have anything to offer her then.
After his year off from school, he entered college, barely getting by financially while surrounded by others born with silver spoons and riding around in expensive cars. Unlike them, he took some risks. Gambled at success. He parlayed found money from Mr. Boudreau into poker stakes, banking every penny he could of his winnings. Many weekends during his Harvard years, he played in at least one high-stakes tournament, sometimes at private parties and other times in Atlantic City.
Then he had nothing to lose.
Now was a different story.
Linda Joyce is an award-winning and Amazon best selling author who writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them in her Fleur de Lis series and Fleur de Lis Brides series. Linda’s a big fan of jazz and blues. She attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. If you walk-through several New Orleans cemeteries you’ll find many of her people buried there. She penned her first manuscript while living in Japan, the country where her mother was born and raised. Now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four-legged boys—Beau, Jack, and Renior—who think she’s their pet. www.linda-joyce.com
Twitter: @LJWriter https://twitter.com/LJWriter
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-