Acacia Santos excels at her job as concierge at the prestigious Hotel Victoire in Paris. When her superior, Marcel, is attacked in a supposed random mugging, she is tasked with serving one of the hotel’s most mysterious and attractive guests.
Nicholas Cassirer checks into the hotel under an assumed name every three months. Usually, he stays in the penthouse suite with a beautiful female companion but on this occasion, he arrives alone and is displeased in having to deal with someone new. A match of wits ensues as he tests Acacia’s expertise with a series of almost impossible demands. Her intelligence and creativity rise to the challenge, earning his respect.
They strike a tenuous accord until Acacia discovers a famous stolen painting in his suite, she contacts a former boyfriend who works for the elite BRB, a unit of French law enforcement that deals with art thefts.
Nicholas is questioned by police and released when it is revealed the painting is a reproduction. Irked with her behavior, Acacia’s supervisor demotes her threatening dismissal and the cancellation of her work permit.
But Acacia has already attracted Nicholas’s attention. Remorseful that she may lose her job on his account, he offers her a choice – she can wait until her supervisor dismisses her, or she can leave the city of lights behind and become his personal assistant.
Acacia initially refuses his offer, but Nicholas is persistent. He reveals himself as a man who quietly acquires stolen art in order to restore it to its rightful owners. Faced with mounting familial debts and the possibility of dismissal and deportation, she agrees to work for him.
Nicholas opens up a whole new world of beauty and intrigue to Acacia as they travel the globe. Soon the line between employer and assistant is blurred, and the two lonely people embark on a passionate relationship.
“She wondered if he always wore black suits. She wondered if the Earth would cease moving on its axis if he wore, say, navy blue.”
What an adventure! Romance and intrigue and exotic locations all add up to a sexy, fast-paced, INTELLIGENT story.
Nicholas is a regular guest at the elegant Hotel Victoire in Paris. As a concierge, Acacia must be ready to attend to the needs of every guest, no matter how whimsical or outrageous the requests might be. When Marcel, another concierge at the hotel, is severely injured in an attack, Acacia must fill in and take care of his regular guest, Nicholas.
Nicholas challenges Acacia in many ways but she rises to the occasion. She earns his respect and through a series of events, must chose between staying behind in Paris and risk losing her work visa or traveling with Nicholas as his personal assistant.
The detailed synopsis and my brief description are all you need to know! And that these two very lonely people fall in love with each other, even though each one of them is scarred, both inside and out.
Nicholas leads a life of intrigue but is used to being let down by romantic partners. He is brilliant, handsome, wealthy and cultured. He sees a kindred sou in Acacia and sees someone who is not only beautiful but intelligent and kind.
The Eiffel Tower winked at him, beckoning him to visit her. To do so, he’d need a companion worthy of so beautiful and romantic a location. Sometimes it seemed as if he were surrounded by vipers. Nowhere was the kind of woman worthy of the Eiffel Tower. He turned his back on her and went inside.
Acacia grudgingly agrees to travel with Nicholas as his assistant which leads the two of them around the world to the most gorgeous locales. Nicholas is in search of stolen art as well hell-bent on obtaining revenge against the criminals who took something very precious to him. Acacia is reluctant to leave her concierge position and even more reluctant to become a paid employee to Nicholas. But she becomes involved in the investigation into Marcel’s attack and must leave the country as soon as possible.
Their roles become blurred as these two lonely people begin to fall in love. Acacia can’t help but be attracted to the strong, handsome and brilliant Nicholas. He has a tragic background – as does Acacia – but we won’t find out how tragic until later in the book.
“I love this man. I can see his heart and his soul in his eyes, and I don’t ever want to be without them.”
I absolutely adored the setting of the story – the famous cities and galleries and sites around the world that I’ve either visited or want to visit someday. This is romance with wit and intelligence and plenty of suspense mixed in. And I applaud the author for mixing in compassion and culture and understanding. You don’t often find these themes in a romantic suspense book! Sylvain Reynard created two very memorable main characters and a book that I fell in love with. Bravo, Mr. Reynard!
“Acacia lifted Nicholas’s hand and kissed his knuckles. “She doesn’t appreciate beauty; that much is true.”
“No one has called me beautiful in some time.”
“You need new friends.”
(ARC provided by the author in return for an honest review.)