This blog is about Michelina, her books, the events she attends, and even her opinion on various subjects ranging from book, to health and treatment options.
|Posted by michelina.vinter on August 8, 2013 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
Here is the first chapter of Colette. It is, of course copy righted material :). And do feel free to download the free PDF of the first 5 chapters from the book samples page. Enjoy!
Paris, Summer 1938
Colette and her friend Anne rushed across the boulevard Saint-Germain. They had just finished their last exam and were finally corporate secretaries. Most young French women would give their left arms to be in their shoes. At eighteen years of age, Colette and Anne had jobs lined up and the world at their feet. After a short walk, they reached the terrace of the Café Saint Michel. They sat down at their favorite table, ordered the aromatic brew so typical of the country, and waited for the students of the Sorbonne to come out in swarms from the old building across the street. Soon the boulevard Saint Michel would be bursting with activity. The cafés’ terraces would fill with young people eager to celebrate the onset of summer. There would be singing and maybe dancing. And there would definitely be flirting.
Colette was concentrating on watching a lanky, brown-haired boy holding a checkered flat hat in his hands hurriedly cross the street, when her view was obstructed by a very tall figure. The man in front of her must have been six feet four, at least. He looked very distinguished and not at all at ease in this environment. As a matter of fact, he looked kind of lost. His blond hair was shimmering in the sun, and his angular jaw made him look very masculine. Colette could not quite make out the color of his eyes but decided they must be blue. “What did this man want?” she wondered. At that very moment, he approached her, and in a very approximate French attempted to ask for directions to the Boulinier bookstore, after he introduced himself as Adam Walker. Colette was charmed to hear such an accent and figured that he must be a tourist from the United States of America. Since she was at the top of her class in English, she thought she would help him in his own language and spare him the indignity of having to stumble through the conversation in French. And instead of explaining to him that he only had to walk toward the boulevard Saint-Germain and stop about three blocks before he reached the Seine River, she opted to take him there herself.
As they walked along the boulevard Saint Michel, Adam could not help but notice that Colette was a very attractive young woman with the most eye-catching attributes. Indeed, not only was she beautiful, with her petite frame, long brown hair, blue eyes, and heart-shaped face, but she also spoke his language. And how refreshing was that? He had not uttered a word of English since he had arrived a few days earlier. This assignment was supposed to be easy; find the book his old colleague needed for his research, purchase the item, and travel back to the University of California at Berkeley, where he could go back to his own teaching. This was really supposed to be a vacation, a few weeks in France, where he could enjoy the women and the wine before going back to a quiet life in sunny California. Instead, he had gotten headache after headache as he realized that his high school French was far from being fluent. Now he knew. His teachers had lied to him. And he smiled to himself.
But this was only his cover. Tonight, he would have to meet with his informant. As a member of the United States intelligence community, Adam had been sent to France to gather information in order to prepare for the possibility of war. The rise to power of Adolph Hitler and the general tension in Europe appeared to be indicating an impending conflict. The United States would want to stay away, but it still needed to evaluate the scope of the problem and the impact on their barely recovering economy. Of course, Adam had to blend in with the French as much as he could during his stay.
But he was not off to a good start. As he was about to cross the street, Colette pulled him back as hard as she could and almost made him lose his balance. He was about to ask her for an explanation when he saw a white Delahaye cabriolet zoom by right where he would have stood, had Colette not interfered with his plan. This sweet little woman had effectively saved his life.
And before he could say a single word, she smiled at him and said, “This is Paris, sir, and French men are mad men on the road. You really need to pay attention if you want to stay alive.”
Colette had no idea how right she was. If Adam wanted to stay alive, in his line of work, he needed to be on his toes at all times. There would be no more daydreaming about this woman or anyone else for that matter. He had to stay focused.
Once they reached the bookstore, Colette was entrusted with the title of the book Adam was hunting for, so she could ask the store owner as to its whereabouts. After she learned where the book was located, they walked through the aisles, smelling and looking at all the beautifully decorated masterpieces that lay in front of them. But within minutes, Adam had purchased the old volume he was seeking and was walking out with Colette. He liked her. She was his damsel in shining armor. He liked her so much that he was going to ask her to be his guide for the remainder of his trip. It was a crazy idea, really, not one that would be conducive to much spying. But first he would ask her out to lunch the next day to thank her for all her help.
All too soon, they arrived back at Anne’s table. The faithful friend had been holding down the fort by herself and making sure seats were still available for Colette and her potential guest.
The wind had picked up a little, so Colette held her lightly flowing skirt close to her body as she sat down on the chair next to her friend. And when asked if he would sit with them for a while, Adam was more than happy to oblige. He did not want to be left to his own devices so early in the evening. After all, his meeting was not until ten o’clock that night. The sun was still shining, and the air was still warm and breezy as only the best of days can be in Paris. Colette ordered lemonade for herself and a glass of red wine for Adam. Once Adam shared his plans with his young new friend and made his offer, she accepted the job of being his tour guide; after all, she had a few weeks’ vacation before her new career would get under way. She would take full advantage of that time and gladly play tourist with the tall, handsome American. She had been right. His eyes were indeed blue, the deepest, most beautiful blue she had ever seen.
As Adam was walking back to his hotel on rue de Rivoli, he realized that as smitten as he was by Colette he knew very little about her. How old was she? How many brothers and sisters did she have? Were her parents still alive? Why had she chosen to become a secretary instead of going for a university degree? Did she want to move to the States? Now, where did that last question come from? He had just met the girl for heaven’s sake, and she had just become part of his cover. Anyhow, tomorrow, when she picked him up, he would have to ask most of them. He wanted and needed to know everything about her. And in spite of the wonderfully mellowing wine he had ingested in her presence, he knew that tonight, he would not find sleep easily.
He finally reached the corner of the rue de Rivoli and rue du Louvre. He was to meet a young Frenchman named Richard, and would acquire the file he needed to do a thorough analysis, which he would then present to Franklin D. Roosevelt in person within the next couple of months. This file represented essential intelligence gathered from many European countries over the last six months. He had been told that his contact was fluent in at least five languages and that he was able to pass as a citizen of at least as many countries. Once the exchange was made, Adam headed back to his hotel.
Soon enough he reached his destination, He asked for the key to his room and went straight up so the clerk would not start a pointless conversation. He had had enough French for one day and only wanted to go to his room so he could look at his newly acquired file.
To try to calm down, he opted to take a bath. But through the soap suds, all he could see was Colette and her warm, gentle smile. He would count the seconds until he could see her again. And instead of counting sheep, he did just that. It was obviously not a very effective sleep aid, and Adam saw the sunrise before he was able to close his eyes.
Colette was walking on air. She would see Adam tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, and for the next three weeks. She had taken the metro to the twentieth arrondissement, where her parents lived with her maternal grandparents. She was grinning from ear to ear as she walked in the door of their apartment. She kissed them all to say hello and waltzed to her room. Her little brother, fourteen-year-old Pierre, looked shocked. What had gotten into Colette? She had never acted so dim-witted before. Her twelve-year-old sister, Josette, had a similar expression on her face. And without even consulting each other, both youngsters ran after her. They always wanted to know everything about their older sister’s life, and Colette obliged them by regaling them with stories of the day’s escapades. But today was special. She wanted to keep this adventure to herself. She felt as if sharing it would make it disappear. So she talked about her exams, her graduation, and her upcoming job. She discussed the singing and the laughing that went on in the cafés and the frenzy with which all the students wanted to celebrate, but she did not utter a word about her striking and oh-so-temporary new boss.
Once she was done with her daily show-and-tell, she put on her cotton nightgown and went straight to bed. She wanted to get her beauty sleep before she met Adam the next day. She fully intended on making him notice her. She wanted her first kiss to be with this man she had just met. She just knew it was going to be special. And unlike the man of her dreams, she fell asleep within seconds.
|Posted by michelina.vinter on May 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
This the first entry of my new blog. I just wanted to welcome you to it. I will be posting news about events related to my books, as well as some opinions (occasionally) on subject that are dear to me. And you will find that I always have a lot of opinions to share. About books, about health, about treatments and drugs, and many other subjects. I do hope to read your opinions too!