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At Your Service by Ariel Tachna

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Anyone who has read my books can probably tell you I have a thing for secondary characters. I try not to let them steal the show, but I also try to invest them with enough life and personality that they enrich the book and the lives of the main characters. After all, my friends enrich my life and always will, no matter how much I love my husband.

In At Your Service, both main characters have someone who acts as a foil for them and pushes them in directions they need to go. For Paul, it’s his brother Florent. Paul and Florent work in the family restaurant, so they see each other a little more often and a little more deeply than the average siblings. Mostly that’s a good thing. Florent watches out for Paul, pushes him when he needs a push, and holds him back when he’s about to do something stupid. Most of the time Paul even appreciates it.

Most of the time….

“You’re smiling,” Florent said when he went inside.

“And this is worth commenting on why?” Paul asked with a repressive glare for his younger brother.

“Because you hate mornings. You never smile before the first customer comes in.”

Paul shrugged. “I had a good night.”

“Don’t let Papa hear you say that. He hates it when you pick up a guy at the restaurant.”

“It doesn’t have to be someone I picked up here.”

Florent rolled his eyes. “It always is.”

Paul grabbed a pile of cloth napkins and started folding them for use at lunch. “I’m not that bad.”

Florent sat down opposite him to help with the napkins. “When was the last time you had a date with someone you didn’t meet here?”

Paul opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again. “I’m not interested in dating. I’m not ready to settle down,” he said finally. Gilles had seen to that.

“Fine. When was the last time you had sex with someone you didn’t meet at the restaurant?”

“Where else would I meet people?” Paul asked. “I’m here six days a week.”

“You just proved my point.”

Anthony doesn’t work with family, but he and his boss have a far closer relationship than one might expect. Patricia, his boss, runs a small publishing company and views her employees as people—friends—first, employees second. That gives Anthony an awful lot of job satisfaction, but occasionally it leads to a little embarrassment too. Patricia is with Anthony when he first meets Paul, encourages him to take a chance on the affair, and even does her best to facilitate it. Then she takes great pleasure in teasing him the next morning.

“Well, well, well,” Patricia drawled when Anthony walked up to the booth. “Look what the cat dragged in.”

“I’m an hour earlier than you told me to be,” Anthony retorted, smiling despite himself, “and I brought you breakfast. Be nice or I’ll keep it for myself.”

Patricia held out an imperious hand for the pastries. “Good night?” she asked as she looked inside.

“Good night, even better morning,” Anthony replied.

“Ooh, baby,” Patricia said with a leer. “You stayed over? I didn’t think you had it in you. Or did you have him in you?”

“Patricia,” Anthony protested. “Don’t be vulgar.”

“That wasn’t anywhere close to vulgar,” she said. “I have three sailors for brothers. I know what vulgar sounds like. That was… mildly suggestive.”

Mon œil.” Anthony shook his head at her.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

I’m sure you can imagine how the rest of that conversation goes.

Teasing aside, though, these relationships are the girders on which Paul and Anthony move forward into their relationship with each other. Without Patricia to push Anthony to be brave, they might never have left the restaurant together the night they met. Without Florent to do what brothers do best, they might have made a mistake that would cost them their relationship.

Thank you to Divine Magazine for hosting me today! Share your favorite meddling relative or coworker story to be entered for a chance to win a copy of one of my books!

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.


AtYourServiceFS

Blurb:

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.


Review by Claire Potterton

This is a great story about learning to have faith again, after a bad relationship leaves you decidedly heart-sore and wary of commitment.

Anthony and Paul are both incredibly appealing characters, not perfect (although Anthony comes pretty damn close), but both are good, honest, generous men; one cautiously looking for love and one doing his best to avoid it at all costs. You would imagine it to be a disaster waiting to happen, but Paul and Anthony are most definitely a case of ‘better together’!

Paul’s last relationship has left his seriously commitment shy, and the angst in this book stems from his struggle in dealing with feelings and emotions he would rather not be having. Whilst I understand his desire to protect himself from potential hurt, Paul did, on occasion, come a little too close to ‘teenage whining’ for my liking.

Given the opportunity to develop, the relationship between these two men is just lovely. The tenderness, the intimacy and the very obvious love that they share is incredibly touching, and they surely bring out the best in one another.

This is a lovely, sexy, emotional, hopeful story. Love can win the day if you are willing to fight for it!

Star rating: 3.5


ariel-bio-pic

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna

E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com


Buy links:

ebook – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7500

Paperback – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7501

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