At only twenty-five, Alexandre Chevalier is a billionaire. His social media site, HookedUp, is more popular than Twitter, more global than Facebook. With his drop-dead gorgeous looks, alluring charm and wealth, he has women falling at his feet, desperate for his attention.
But his heart is set on only one woman: Pearl Robinson.
Alexandre’s dark and dysfunctional past makes him crave stability and a normal relationship, but he soon finds out that Pearl is a bird with a broken wing. Why, he isn’t sure.
Pearl, follows Arianne Richmonde’s bestselling books in The Pearl Trilogy: Shades of Pearl, Shadows of Pearl and Shimmers of Pearl; the tumultuous and heart-rending love story between forty-year-old documentary producer, Pearl Robinson, and French Internet billionaire, Alexandre Chevalier, fifteen years her junior.
Pearl is written from Alexandre’s point of view from the moment they first meet on a rainy summer’s day in a coffee shop in New York City.
In any relationship details are hidden; things are left unsaid.
Not all conversations are remembered in the same way.
And not all actions are disclosed—especially to the one you love most.
EXCERPT – When Alexandre and Pearl first meet
I nearly didn’t go into the coffee shop that day. Sophie needed a shot of caffeine and I really wasn’t in the mood to argue, so we dashed in from the rain and stood in line.
Our conversation had been heated, to say the least. We’d been discussing the HookedUp meeting we had scheduled in Mumbai in a couple of weeks time. It was a mega-deal that she’d been feverishly working on all year. I didn’t think HookedUp could get any more global and powerful than it already was, but I was wrong. That deal was going to make us silly money. Really silly money. I knew I was going to be able to buy that Austin Healey I had my eye on. Hell, I could have bought a fleet of them. Aircrafts too. Whatever I wanted.
Sophie took out her Smartphone from her Chanel purse and said in French—her voice low so that nobody would overhear, “Look, Alexandre, this is the guy we’re meeting in Mumbai.” She scrolled down to a photo of a portly man with a handlebar mustache. “This is the son of a bitch who’s squeezing us for every dime. He’s our enemy. He’s the one we need to watch.”
“But I thought you said he’s the one we’re signing with—”
“He is,” she interrupted. “Keep your enemies close.” She brushed her dark hair away from her face and narrowed her eyes with suspicion—a habit I had myself. I remember thinking how elegant and beautiful she looked; yet in ‘predator mood,’ she was also formidable. I was glad to have her on my side.
Half listening to my sister gabble on about the Mumbai deal, I noticed a woman rush through the door—a whirlwind of an entrance. She was flustered, her blonde hair damp from the summer rain, her white T-shirt also damp, clinging to her body, revealing a glimpse of perfectly shaped breasts through a thin bra. I shouldn’t have noticed these sorts of things, but being your average guy, I did. She was battling with an enormous handbag—what was it with women and those giant handbags? What did they carry in those things—bricks?
“Arrête!” Sophie snapped and proceeded for the next couple of minutes to berate me for not paying attention. She was rolling her eyes and puffing out air disapprovingly. Ignoring her, I wondered, again, why I had gone into business with her because she was really bugging me. She added, “If you want to fuck that girl you’re staring at, you can you know—American women put out on the first date.”
I hated it when my sister talked like that to me—it made me cringe—especially her sweeping generalizations about other countries and civilizations.
“She doesn’t strike me as that type,” I mumbled back in French. The pretty lady was now closer and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had her head cocked sideways and was staring at the coffee menu, chewing her lower lip in concentration. She was beautiful, like a modern version of Grace Kelly—she looked about thirty or so.
My eyes raked down her perfectly formed body. She was dressed in a tight, gray skirt which accentuated her peachy butt. The slit on the pleat revealed a pair of elegant calves, but her chic outfit was marred by sneakers. Somehow, it made her all the more attractive as if she didn’t give a damn. As my gaze trailed back up to her breasts, I saw that she was wearing an InterWorld button. Good, I thought, we have something in common—I can chat her up.
I cleared my throat and moved a step closer. “So how did you enjoy the conference?”
She jumped back in surprise; her eyes fixed on my chest. I felt as if I was towering above her, although she was a good five foot six. I looked a mess—T-shirt and old jeans with holes in the knee. So far, she was not responding. I knew that New Yorkers could be just as rude as Parisians so I wasn’t fazed.
She flicked her gaze at me but said nothing. I was right—she hadn’t answered my question, just continued to look at me; stunned, as if she really didn’t want to have a conversation at all.
I smiled at her. I felt like a jerk, but dug myself in deeper. “Your name tag,” I said. “Were you at that conference around the corner?” I decided that she obviously thought I was a total jackass as her response was clipped, terse.
“Yes I was,” is all she said and then cast a glance at Sophie.
I realized that this woman—her nametag said Pearl Robinson—must have assumed that Sophie was my girlfriend—the perils of hanging out with my beautiful sister. Or maybe Pearl Robinson wasn’t smiling simply because she wanted me to shut the hell up and leave her alone.
But I didn’t back off. “I’ll pay for whatever the lady’s having, too,” I told the girl serving our coffee. I wanted to say, ‘Whatever Pearl’s having’ but thought that Pearl would peg me for some kind of stalker. Why I continued to pursue her I wasn’t sure, since she was clearly not interested. But I couldn’t help myself. “For Pearl,” I added, wondering why I was not getting the response I was after. Not to be arrogant, but women did normally smile at me, if not give me the eye. They still do. Daily. But Pearl was not buying it. I wanted her to flirt, brighten up my dull day.
I went on, undeterred—for some reason I didn’t feel like giving up; she had really piqued my interest. “Pearl. What a beautiful name.” Jesus what did I sound like? A typical French gigolo type, no doubt. “I’ve never heard that before. As a name, I mean.”
In my peripheral vision, I caught Sophie rolling her eyes, again, and she whispered in French, “Bet you anything you’ll have that woman on her back in no time.” Shut up!
Pearl Robinson finally reciprocated with a beautiful big smile. Nice. Pretty teeth. Sexy, curvy lips. She told me about her parents being hippies or something—explaining her name. I wasn’t listening. I’d got her attention, that’s all I cared about. I could tell she liked me. Took long enough for her to warm up, though—all of forty seconds. I felt triumphant. Why? I met pretty women all the time. But there was something about this one that really captured my attention. She was poised and elegant, yet unsure of herself. There was a childish, vulnerable quality about her which I found disarming, even beguiling. She was rifling through her enormous handbag, trying to find her wallet. Why are American women so keen on paying for themselves? Was she embarrassed because I was buying her a coffee?
“What’s your name?” she asked, while simultaneously staring at my nametag.
Good…ironic sense of humor, I thought. I laughed and introduced myself. Introduced Sophie, too.
Pearl went to shake Sophie’s hand and her wristwatch caught on my T-shirt. I looked down at her other hand. No wedding ring. Good. I felt my heart quicken with the physical contact of her delicate wrist brushing against my chest—the intimacy—and I knew….in that nanosecond, I knew; I was going to have to fuck this girl.
The way she was looking at me was giving me the green light. Yet her big blue eyes were unsure of me. She looked down at the floor, and then up again at me. She may not have even known it herself at that point—women rarely do—but she wanted me to claim her. I could almost hear her screaming my name. I pictured myself pinning her up against a wall, all of me inside her.
I wanted her. And I was going to have her. You bet. Every last inch of her.
“Remember to use protection,” Sophie whispered in French, “she may look like an nice Upper East side WASP, but you never know.”
I retorted, also in French. “Get your coffee, or whatever you’re drinking, and leave because I’ve had enough of your snippy conversation for one day.”
Sophie cocked her eyebrow at me and smirked. I turned my attention back to Pearl Robinson and prayed that her French was limited or non-existent. I gazed at her, right into her clear blue eyes. Yes, I decided, I want this woman.
And she wanted me. I was pretty damn sure. She was jittery, nervous, tongue-tied—couldn’t get her sentences out straight. Why? Because I was running my eyes up and down her body, mentally undressing her, and she could sense the electricity. The heat. She was all flustered. She could read my mind. She was fumbling for something in her monster-bag again. Her apartment keys, she told me. Was she planning on inviting me over?
“Nice to meet you, Pearl,” Sophie said, giving her the once-over. “Maybe see you around some time?” The innuendo was so thick you could have cut it with a machete.
Sophie sashayed out of the coffee shop and I exhaled with relief. Thank God, now I can get down to business. Real business.
“I got the drinks to go, but do you want to sit down?” I suggested to Pearl. She nodded.
Why I was so taken with this New Yorker, apart from her obvious good looks, I wasn’t quite sure—she had a quirky kind of charm. I liked her. And I decided right there and then—I didn’t just want to fuck Pearl, I wanted to get to know her, too.
Amazon US: Pearl (The Pearl Series)
Amazon UK: http://s.shr.lc/1dxuzFx
Have you read the trilogy?
A chance to win a $50 Amazon Giftcard! Just click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter! Good Luck!!!