| Anew in Old Paris  ​|

BOOK 1:  of the Long Distance Lovers Series

""Maybe that's the problem. Old people don't play enough."
"Durant seriously give it back."
The corner of his mouth tilted up. "Come and get it." 
"

| [DRAFT SAMPLE:  Rated "M" for Mature] |

After a painful end to her previous relationship, Grace journeys back to Paris.

LOVE CAN BE LOST...

Food is what Durant loves most until he sees her, again. It's been over a decade, now fate has brought them back together.

LOVE CAN MEND...

In her childhood home, Grace rediscovers how it feels to love, with the help of her childhood crush, Durant Fitzgerald.

MAKE NEW WHAT IS OLD...

It is his time to help heal her bruised spirit, reassuring her that love is eternal, no matter distance or time.

MAKE WHOLE WHAT WAS ONCE LEFT INCOMPLETE.


“Get Up!”

Grace shielded her eyes when the curtains were pulled back, the sun blinding. “Ma, no,” Grace whined, pulling the covers over her head.

“I can’t do this anymore, Grace Diana Hankford.”

Grace peeked from under the corner of the cover at the sound in her mother’s voice. The look on the woman’s face made Grace prop herself up on her elbow. “Why can’t you just let me sulk? I deserve a good sulking.”

“Oh, dear girl.” Pamela Hankford perched on the edge of the bed next to her daughter, smoothing the girl’s frazzled curls from her face. “Two weeks is long enough. You’ve got a life to live.”

Grace flopped back down on her bed, pulling the covers overhead. “I’ve got enough PTO to stay here for the next two months, because that’s what I do, mom. I work. I work so effing hard that I don’t even notice that my fiancé was falling in love with another woman.”

Pamela pulled the covers away from her daughter’s face. “You've cried enough tears for a prince that wasn't ever yours, to begin with. Come on. Up you get.” Pamela pulled the covers back; the crisp morning air made Grace pull her bare legs to her chest. Pamela swung Grace’s legs over the edge of the bed, forcing Grace into a seated position.

Grace looked at her mother’s beautiful, sparkling blue eyes and a dashing white smile. If a man could leave Pamela Hankford ⎼ charming, gracious, Pamela Hankford ⎼ then there was no wonder that a man could leave Grace. Charming and gracious are not two words that Grace would use to describe herself even being raised by one of the most charming people she ever met. Determined and task-oriented were most definitely her calling cards, which earned her a director of marketing position at her company.  

Grace looked nothing like her mother, considering she was adopted. Brown sugar-colored skin, a mass of curls quite opposite Pamela’s straight blonde hair and fair skin. It wasn’t even her mother’s looks that made her a prize. It was her love for life, her warm heart, and her persistence. And boy, the woman could be persistent, as evident by her swanning around Grace’s loft opening windows and turning on lights.

Grace was persistent too, but apparently not when it came to Jonathan. Grace clutched her chest as the pain of loss racked through her. “Tell me, ma. Does the pain ever go away? The burn. The physical discomfort.” Grace failing to stop a trail of tears from spilling over her lower lid. For Grace, sobbing was a most unattractive display. Some people had the movie star cry, delicate, a well-placed tear drop running down the cheek, not Grace. It was a category 5 hurricane, torrential downpour, runny nose, red eyes, and dark under eyes. She didn't want to shed any more tears; not for Jonathan. She wished she could forget about him like he forgot about her. On to the next one just like that. Out with the old, in with the new. Pamela pulled her daughter into her chest, rocked her, and whispered her calming reassuring words.

Right before Grace went to college, her parents went through a heart-wrenching divorce. Pamela begged, pleaded, got angry, smashed up cars, burned clothes, but it was for not because Patrick Hankford cut the check and moved on with his mistress. Pamela’s sister, Aunt Patricia, said Pamela got-em-good, even though the prenup stopped her from walking away with half the man’s enormous empire.

“You said you had two months, right?” Pamela cooed, running fingers over Grace’s mass of hair.

She nodded, her sobs subsiding.

“Let's go somewhere. Let's take a trip. Get the hell out of here. That was the best therapy Patty provided for me.”

Grace pulled away a little, wiping tears from her cheeks. “A trip? Where?”

“Anywhere. Just me and you. Anywhere you want to go. On your father's dime, of course.” The woman added with a saucy smile.

Grace let the thought roll around. There were a ton of places that she’d already been. More places that she'd wanted to go. She closed her eyes and let her mind conjure up memories of a laughing curly haired girl running in the sun. The shouts of children behind her, or in front of her, she couldn’t tell which. Her heart filled with: warmth, life, for the first time in two weeks ⎼ probably even longer. The more Grace thought, the more her heart kept circling back to that laughing brown-skinned girl with the skinny legs. “France.” She finally proclaimed.

Pamela nodded, with a big Cheshire Cat smile. “Ah, France: wine, food, fashion, shopping, cela vie, mon cherie.” Pamela grabbed Grace’s hands, pulled her off the bed, and started twirling her around. “A perfect choice.”

Grace headed to her closet with a laugh, leaving her daydreaming mother to dance in the room alone. She pulled out her suitcase. “I think you're right. I'd like to go to that old vineyard we stayed at last time.”

“Oh, yes, they had great wine.” Pamela’s attention was focused on her phone. “Honey, what are you doing?”

“Packing, duh!”

Pamela’s well-groomed eyebrows pulled together, and she crossed her arms. “Didn’t I say this whole thing was on your father?”

Grace waved a hand at Pamela. “I mean, for two months? I have to pack something.”

“Grace, honey. Dear, dear girl,” Pamela said, grabbing Grace’s hands, and sitting her back on the edge of the bed. “Your father is very good at two things. Acknowledging there's a problem, and throwing money at it. He acknowledged that you were sad. He gave me his credit card, the no-questions-asked black one, that’s made of metal.”

Grace grimaced. “Oh, that one.” Her eyes fell to her lap. Damn, was she that bad?

“Mhm, then that man ⎼ who’s good and those two things ⎼ told me to make you happy.” A silly smile distorted the woman’s bright features. “Now!” She popped off the bed. “Pack your carry on, and let's go. Our flight leaves in two hours.”


Grace shielded her eyes when the curtains were pulled back, the sun blinding. “Ma, no,” Grace whined, pulling the covers over her head.

“I can’t do this anymore, Grace Diana Hankford.”

Grace peeked from under the corner of the cover at the sound in her mother’s voice. The look on the woman’s face made Grace prop herself up on her elbow. “Why can’t you just let me sulk? I deserve a good sulking.”

“Oh, dear girl.” Pamela Hankford perched on the edge of the bed next to her daughter, smoothing the girl’s frazzled curls from her face. “Two weeks is long enough. You’ve got a life to live.”

Grace flopped back down on her bed, pulling the covers overhead. “I’ve got enough PTO to stay here for the next two months, because that’s what I do, mom. I work. I work so effing hard that I don’t even notice that my fiancé was falling in love with another woman.”

Pamela pulled the covers away from her daughter’s face. “You've cried enough tears for a prince that wasn't ever yours, to begin with. Come on. Up you get.” Pamela pulled the covers back; the crisp morning air made Grace pull her bare legs to her chest. Pamela swung Grace’s legs over the edge of the bed, forcing Grace into a seated position.

Grace looked at her mother’s beautiful, sparkling blue eyes and a dashing white smile. If a man could leave Pamela Hankford ⎼ charming, gracious, Pamela Hankford ⎼ then there was no wonder that a man could leave Grace. Charming and gracious are not two words that Grace would use to describe herself even being raised by one of the most charming people she ever met. Determined and task-oriented were most definitely her calling cards, which earned her a director of marketing position at her company.  

Grace looked nothing like her mother, considering she was adopted. Brown sugar-colored skin, a mass of curls quite opposite Pamela’s straight blonde hair and fair skin. It wasn’t even her mother’s looks that made her a prize. It was her love for life, her warm heart, and her persistence. And boy, the woman could be persistent, as evident by her swanning around Grace’s loft opening windows and turning on lights.

Grace was persistent too, but apparently not when it came to Jonathan. Grace clutched her chest as the pain of loss racked through her. “Tell me, ma. Does the pain ever go away? The burn. The physical discomfort.” Grace failing to stop a trail of tears from spilling over her lower lid. For Grace, sobbing was a most unattractive display. Some people had the movie star cry, delicate, a well-placed tear drop running down the cheek, not Grace. It was a category 5 hurricane, torrential downpour, runny nose, red eyes, and dark under eyes. She didn't want to shed any more tears; not for Jonathan. She wished she could forget about him like he forgot about her. On to the next one just like that. Out with the old, in with the new. Pamela pulled her daughter into her chest, rocked her, and whispered her calming reassuring words.

Right before Grace went to college, her parents went through a heart-wrenching divorce. Pamela begged, pleaded, got angry, smashed up cars, burned clothes, but it was for not because Patrick Hankford cut the check and moved on with his mistress. Pamela’s sister, Aunt Patricia, said Pamela got-em-good, even though the prenup stopped her from walking away with half the man’s enormous empire.

“You said you had two months, right?” Pamela cooed, running fingers over Grace’s mass of hair.

She nodded, her sobs subsiding.

“Let's go somewhere. Let's take a trip. Get the hell out of here. That was the best therapy Patty provided for me.”

Grace pulled away a little, wiping tears from her cheeks. “A trip? Where?”

“Anywhere. Just me and you. Anywhere you want to go. On your father's dime, of course.” The woman added with a saucy smile.

Grace let the thought roll around. There were a ton of places that she’d already been. More places that she'd wanted to go. She closed her eyes and let her mind conjure up memories of a laughing curly haired girl running in the sun. The shouts of children behind her, or in front of her, she couldn’t tell which. Her heart filled with: warmth, life, for the first time in two weeks ⎼ probably even longer. The more Grace thought, the more her heart kept circling back to that laughing brown-skinned girl with the skinny legs. “France.” She finally proclaimed.

Pamela nodded, with a big Cheshire Cat smile. “Ah, France: wine, food, fashion, shopping, cela vie, mon cherie.” Pamela grabbed Grace’s hands, pulled her off the bed, and started twirling her around. “A perfect choice.”

Grace headed to her closet with a laugh, leaving her daydreaming mother to dance in the room alone. She pulled out her suitcase. “I think you're right. I'd like to go to that old vineyard we stayed at last time.”

“Oh, yes, they had great wine.” Pamela’s attention was focused on her phone. “Honey, what are you doing?”

“Packing, duh!”

Pamela’s well-groomed eyebrows pulled together, and she crossed her arms. “Didn’t I say this whole thing was on your father?”

Grace waved a hand at Pamela. “I mean, for two months? I have to pack something.”

“Grace, honey. Dear, dear girl,” Pamela said, grabbing Grace’s hands, and sitting her back on the edge of the bed. “Your father is very good at two things. Acknowledging there's a problem, and throwing money at it. He acknowledged that you were sad. He gave me his credit card, the no-questions-asked black one, that’s made of metal.”

Grace grimaced. “Oh, that one.” Her eyes fell to her lap. Damn, was she that bad?

“Mhm, then that man ⎼ who’s good and those two things ⎼ told me to make you happy.” A silly smile distorted the woman’s bright features. “Now!” She popped off the bed. “Pack your carry on, and let's go. Our flight leaves in two hours.”

|1| A Broken Heart Weeps |

|2| Be Our Guest |


There weren’t many things that Reid Taylor’s father nurtured in him. One thing that the man said would make his son a boat load of money, was Reid’s ability to read people. He was a shy boy and his father hated that. He insisted that Reid had to speak up or he’d always be the last one, the lesser man. The thing was, there were few things that captured his attention long enough to make him want to talk about them; then, he met wine.

He could talk about wine all day long which is what he did for a living. Combine that will the gift of reading people and prosperity was not something he was struggling with. He was a busy body, got that from his mother, with her pie baking and gardening, and sowing and whatever else the woman filled her days with. While she worked, she’d chatter with him, mostly small talk, or whatever was going on in her head. That’s where he learned a valuable skill. He learned how to appear outgoing even though his instinctive behavior was to turn inward.   

His father, later on in life, told him that he talked too much when he was nervous especially around women that he found attractive. He hated the man’s powers of observation, his coarse lack of empathy, and the dirt he refused to clean from under his nails.

When the pretty brown skinned woman walked into his winery, he quite enjoyed reading her. She wasn’t expecting his winery to be as “swanky” as it was, and she wasn’t expecting him. He could tell by the way her pretty cocoa brown eyes danced when she saw him that she thought him attractive. Her uninterested discussion about which white wine to pursue told him that she wasn’t a white wine consumer which made him warm and giddy inside. Because he reveled in a rich, red wine. It was easy to observe her under the guise of Mrs. Wigfree’s blabbing about her son, again, for the thousandth time. He didn’t mind the level of comfort the older woman provided. Enough for the dark beauty to venture into his haven.

He loved the winery he built near five years ago. He was proud of it even more when he saw her enjoyment of the space as well.

And then, in that moment, talking about one of his favorite wines: Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno in the familiar, almost intimate way that she did was the final piece of the puzzle that he needed to justify what came next.

He closed the space between them slipping his hand around her waist, pulling her soft curves flush to him.

When her fingers splayed across his chest his penis swelled under the heavy fabric of his jeans. She looked up at him from behind her lashes the lighting catching the rich brown in her eyes making them look like melted chocolate. Her attention drifted to his mouth and her lips parted. He tipped her chin up and descended on her pressing their mouths together.

He knew in that moment he messed up. There was no going back after feeling her sweet full lips on his, inhaling her intoxicating perfume blended with her body wash, deodorant and her own body fragrance. It was heady and sweet, irresistible. She moaned and her weight leaned into him making him feel sexy to bring such a woman to weakness. He laughed at his own absurd thought, but there was something primitive something animalistic about such a reaction. Her using him, his body, for stability. He deepened the kiss pulling her up into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his middle allowing him to hold her up by her round lush ass.

Her tongue grazed along his bottom lip. He angled his open mouth over hers allowing their tongues to stroke each other.

He set her on the table, positioned between her legs and reluctantly created space between their faces.

He retrieved one glass of wine and held it near her mouth.

She placed her lips on the rim of the glass and he tipped it back until she sipped some of the wine. She closed her eyes for a moment allowing the wine to play with her taste buds before her neck transported it to her stomach. The corner of her lips pulled up in satisfaction before she opened heavy lidded eyes. “That’s perfection.”

He set the glass down and clasped the nape of her neck pulling her mouth to his. He moaned when her taste mingled with the wine and danced in his mouth. He slid his hand up her silky dress top and cupped her breast in a soft satin bra. He rubbed over her hard nipple concealed under the cloth, straining to be free. He pulled the top over her head her long straightened hair  fell around her golden shoulders. She shivered. He barely noticed the chilly cavern air. She unbuttoned his shirt and pushed it over his shoulders. Then pulled his t-shirt over his head and tossed it on the floor revealing his bare chest.

She bit her lower lip. Her gaze raked his body. He needed her bare, ass out right then. He couldn’t take her heated gaze any longer without touching her. Her soft buttery skin slipped under his fingers like fine silk. His hand slid around her waist and he pulled her closer to the edge of the table by her lower back. He unbuckled her pants and she shimmied out of them leaving a pool of cloth on the floor.

He kissed her waiting lips, her chin, down the column of her neck. He gently pushed her to lay on the table as he kissed his way down her body. She arched into his lips sending chills ricocheting along his spine.

She was so incredibly soft it had to be a sin. He pulled her panties off  on his descent swallowing the saliva that developed in his hungry mouth when her scent hit his olfactory nerve. The light musky smell that assaulted his senses now that he was a breath away from her sex reminded him of his favorite wine: deep, sultry, earthy, an addictive collaboration of flavors he had no intention of denying.

He curled his arms around her thighs resting his elbows on the glass surface while she tangled her fingers in his hair. He first placed a single kiss to her lower lips and a strangled gasp fell from her open mouth. She flexed her hips toward him forcing a smile to tweak the corner of his mouth. He ran his tongue between her pussy lips and she moaned. He flicked her clit with his tongue in langued purposeful strokes then traced the length of her vagina with two fingers before sliding them inside her slippery passage.

He gasped at how wet she was, juicy, slippery, his cock throbbed.

He focused on his mouth and tongue and fingers flicking, and suckling and milking this beautiful woman. With every moan and whimper that made it to his ears, he worked more diligently determined to hear and feel her rapture.

Her fingers gripped a hand full of hair the pain like liquid gold, because he knew she wasn’t too far from completion. Not too far at all. He picked up the pace on the trilogy of stimulation.

So close her could-

Her husky, strained cry echoed through the cave bouncing off the rocky surfaces. Her breath was labored and a light sheen of sweat had developed on the surface of her skin.

He retrieved a condom from his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans before stripping them and his underwear off.

He pulled her to sitting on the edge of the table claiming her mouth. She wrapped her shaking arms around his neck and he secured her to him by grabbing her buttoxes.

She lavished his mouth with sweet deep unadulterated kisses as if they were lovers who’d not seen the other in an age. Such tender passion was devastating he wasn’t sure what to make of it. What he did know was that he could kiss her like that forever.

She pulled away from him, stared deep into his eyes, then kissed him soundly on the lips again before she spoke. “I want to feel you.”

His cock didn’t need any more coaxing. He moved her just on the edge of the table her legs spread for him to slide between her dripping lower lips.

He moaned squeezing her ass. “Why are you so wet?” He whispered when his cock was completely submerged in her oasis.

“The same reason why you’re so hard.” She pressed their foreheads together while he collected his mind. “Now, take me.” She demanded.

He looked up to meet mischievous, almost devious, melted brown eyes. The corner of his mouth tilted up having no desire to deny this beauty what she craved as much as he.

He pulled out and thrust into her. She dug her fingers into his shoulder holding on tight as he pick her up off the table. Holding her stationary he pistoned inside of her  falling prey to the call murmuring in the back of his mind, that wild primitive call from some ancient ancestral time when things were simple.

Survive and procreate.

Sometime he wished things were that simple, but he also loved that they weren’t.

He slowed his strokes mostly because he wanted to last longer, wanted to feel the tight walls of her pussy collapse around him, grip him like a glove when she reach that precipice, again. He found he quite enjoyed watching her come apart with him as the reason why. “Come for me.” He kissed her mouth still pounding his cock into her. She moaned into his lips, her limbs clinged to him, tightened shaking. Her head fell back breaking their kiss and her sex throbbed around him. He grumbled the sensation of her orgasm  set his off in long languid powerful pulses.

He took in a deep breath and let it go setting her back on the edge of the table. She was still holding him and he wasn’t about to let her go.

After a moment, she unlaced her arms from around his neck and pulled away his cue to remove himself. He stayed between her legs; however, rather liking the heat that flowed from her body. She reached across the table for the glass of wine and took a long sip draining the sample pour. A pleasant smile pulled up the corner of her mouth. “Like I said, tastes just perfect.”

The corner of his mouth pulled up when he met her deep brown eyes and held them. “You taste better.”

TO BE CONTINUED...