Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

[ Edited ]

This week's guest, Cara Black, takes us to Paris, France with her detective, Aimée Leduc.

 

The Paris of Cara Black's books is not the city we know from old movies like "April in Paris." She takes us through the seamier parts of the city than those most tourists know.

 

 

If you haven't read any of Cara's books, brace yourself - you're in for quite a ride!

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Cara's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/cara.black1

 

And she's on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/carablack

 

Some of you may remember that Cara visited with us during a feature we called 

LEIGHTON GAGE & HIS INTERNATIONAL CRIME POSSE

 

They all blog together at Murder is Everwhere:

 

Murder is Everywhere

 

Here's a picture of one of Cara's books - a French edition, taken in a Paris bookstore:

 

Murder in Marais, in a Paris Bookshop

 

Cara's website is here: http://carablack.com/


 cara black

 

Here's a picture of Cara's street in Paris:

 

My street in Paris

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

[ Edited ]

lonelyplanet_paris

 

Read Cara Black Interview in
Background Arts section 

 

Paris Noir  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story

Paris Noir: Capital Crime Fiction

edited by Maxim Jakubowski

From Serpent's Tale

Paris Noir is a collection of new stories about the dark side of Paris, with contributions by leading French, British and American authors who have all either lived or spent a significant amount of time in Paris. Edited by Maxim Jakubowski, the stories range from quietly menacing to spectacularly violent, and include contributions from some of the most famous crime writers from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the other side of the Channel.


‘Exposing the sinister side of the capital... recommended’ The Times

 

My Sherlock Holmes  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read 'Cabaret aux Assasins' Cara's short story set in Montmartre with Irene Adler the woman who outwitted Sherlock Holmes in this anthology of stories in My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective edited by Michael Kurland St. Martins Press

 

And a #9 on the San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller list!

 

Interrogations  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Cara's interview with Jon Jordan, the Milwaukee mystery man-in- the-know, along with wonderful interviews of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Charles Todd, Stephen Booth and you name it...

 

Chocolate French  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Helping of Murder  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Killer Cuisine

 

Take a trip to Ladurée on Place de la Madeleine, arguably the best cup of chocolat chaud hot chocolate in Paris...pg 123 with Vincent a character in Murder in the Bastille.

 

Chocolate French, - Recipes, Language and Directions to Français au Chocolat editor André K. Crump TCB-Café Publishing

 

In Murder in the Marais, Aimée's sidetracked for a nanosecond near Place des Vosges by the aroma of warm, upside-down tart tatin apple tart and you will be, too. Find the recipe and excerpt from Murder in the Marais on pg. 200...don't forget to include lots of butter!


A Second Helping of Murder by Jo Grossman-Robert Weibezahl Poisoned Pen Press


Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

[ Edited ]

ABOUT CARA BLACK

 


Cara Black frequents a Paris little known outside the beaten tourist track. A Paris she discovers on research trips and interviews with French police, private detectives and café owners. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, a bookseller, and their teenage son. She is a San Francisco Library Laureate and a member of the Paris Sociéte Historique in the Marais.

 

Her nationally bestselling and award nominated Aimée Leduc Investigation series has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Hebrew. She's included in the GREAT WOMEN MYSTERY WRITERS by Elizabeth Lindsay 2nd editon published in the UK. Her first three novels in the series MURDER IN THE MARAIS, MURDER IN BELLEVILLE AN MURDER IN THE SENTIER - nominated for an Anthony Award as Best Novel - were published in the UK in 2008 and MURDER IN THE LATIN QUARTER comes out in the UK in 2010. 

 

Several of her books have been chosen as BookSense Picks and INDIE NEXT choice by the Amerian Association of Independent Bookstores. The Washington Post listed MURDER IN THE RUE DE PARADIS in the Best Fiction Choices of 2008. MURDER IN THE LATIN QUARTER is a finalist for Best Novel Award from the NCIBA Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.
 
She is currently working on the next book in the Aimée Leduc series.


Read Interview from Paris through Ex-patrate's Eye

Read Interview from Bonjour Parisnew!

 


 

 

Cara, like Aimée, once had a moped and appreciates their tempermental tendencies. She also, like Aimée, likes dogs and owns a Coton de Tulear. 

 

(Something like these dogs pictured below)

 

 

Unlike Aimée, she has never owned an apartment on the Ile St. Louis but feels she will someday when the lottery smiles on her. She loves black and white photography and took many of the photos on this website--but not this one. Dennis Hearn, a prominent North Beach photographer, was bribed with several lattes to spend his afternoon doing this.

 

Any Paris experiences you want to share? Any great books on France you've discovered?

 

Feel free to e-mail Cara at chamaret@aol.com and tell her!

 

 

An old map of Paris:

 


Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

[ Edited ]
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Cara's Paris

All images ©2000 by Cara Black . No part of this series
can be reproduced without Cara Black's written consent.

paris photo 2007 Spring

paris photo 2004 Fall

Paris photo 0703

German Bunker 0703

New Paris Photo

More Paris Photo

Paris at Night

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Here are a few of Cara's events. You can see her full schedule here: 

http://www.carablack.com/events.html

 

 

March 5 @7PM Left Coast Literary Salon http://www.leftcoastwriters.com/ Book Passage Corte Madera

Cara’s events in support of MURDER AT THE LANTERNE ROUGE, Aimée Leduc’s 12th Investigation in Paris

 


March 6 @7PM BOOK LAUNCH - MURDER AT THE LANTERNE, Aimée Leduc's 12th investigation!
            

Belmont Library 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas Belmont, CA 94002 http://www.smcl.org/en/content/belmont

 

March 9-11   Tucson Festival of the Book 3/10 @12:30-1:30 SistersinCrime signing booth @2:30 Panel w/Mike Lawson,Libby Hellmann 3/11 @11:30 Panel w/Steve Berry, Louis Bayard @1PM Workshop w/Libby Hellmann                     http://www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org Tucson AZ

March 12 @2PM Velma Teague Library 7010 North 58th Avenue Glendale, Arizona (623) 930-3430 w/Libby Hellmann, Rhys Bowen @LesaHolstine

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Series #12)  

 

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Series #12)

 

 

Overview

 

Aimée Leduc is happy her long-time business partner René has found a girlfriend. Really, she is. It’s not her fault if she can’t suppress her doubts about the relationship; René is moving way too fast, and Aimée’s instincts tell her Meizi, this supposed love of René’s life, isn’t trustworthy. And her misgivings may not be far off the mark: Meizi disappears during a Chinatown dinner to take a phone call and never comes back to the restaurant. Minutes later, the body of a young man, a science prodigy and volunteer at the nearby Musée, is found shrink-wrapped in an alleyway—with Meizi’s photo in his wallet.

 

Aimée does not like this scenario one bit, but she can’t figure out how the murder is connected to Meizi’s disappearance. The dead genius was sitting on a discovery that has France’s secret service keeping tabs on him. Now they’re keeping tabs on Aimée. A missing young woman, an illegal immigrant raid in progress, botched affairs of the heart, dirty policemen, the French secret service, cutting-edge science secrets and a murderer on the loose—what has she gotten herself into? And can she get herself—and her friends—back out of it all alive?

 

 

Publishers Weekly

 

At the start of Black’s outstanding 12th novel featuring PI Aimée Leduc (after 2011’s Murder in Passy), Aimée attends a birthday party for Meizi Wu, the girlfriend of René, her agency partner, in the smallest and oldest of Paris’s four Chinatowns. Aimée, who believes the smitten René is rushing the relationship with a virtual stranger, goes to look for Meizi after she disappears from the party.

 

On a snowy, rat-infested street, to Aimée’s horror, she finds the body of Pascal Samour, an adult trade school teacher, half-wrapped in plastic, with Meizi’s photograph in his wallet. Aimée and René are soon immersed in an underworld ring of human trafficking, sweat shops, fake designer goods, and fraud. That the victim turns out to have been conducting cutting-edge experiments in fiber optics adds to the intrigue.

 

Readers will relish realistic villains and an evocative atmosphere that begs for a trip to the City of Lights. 

 

 

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Please welcome CARA BLACK!

 

 

Author
Cara51
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-28-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Merci, Becke! It's wonderful to be back for a 'visit' Cara

Author
Cara51
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-28-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Becke, Thanks for posting covers of my books. What a surprise to see that #3 Murder in the Sentier has a new cover - a bench surrounded by fog - moody and atmospheric - I love it. My covers have changed a bit over time and for me that's a welcome directions. What do you think? How covers convey a feeling could be a great discussion Cara 

Inspired Bibliophile
GS2991
Posts: 2,590
Registered: ‎04-21-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Welcome! Very interesting! What is your favorite thing to do for inspiration?
Silence is golden,
Duck tape is silver.

Book Sharks: No need to breathe, just read!
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!


Cara51 wrote:

Merci, Becke! It's wonderful to be back for a 'visit' Cara


Bonne nuit et bienvenue, Cara! My high school French is pretty rusty. Thanks so much for coming back to visit with us!

 

 

 

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!


Cara51 wrote:

Becke, Thanks for posting covers of my books. What a surprise to see that #3 Murder in the Sentier has a new cover - a bench surrounded by fog - moody and atmospheric - I love it. My covers have changed a bit over time and for me that's a welcome directions. What do you think? How covers convey a feeling could be a great discussion Cara 


How funny - I thought the publisher would tell you when they change the covers! You have some really good ones!

 

I found these covers for Murder in the Sentier:

 

 

Wow - I guess this means they've been reprinted a lot of times! 

 

While I was searching for covers, I found this great picture of you - I love it!

 

 

It was posted on a blog by one of your fans! 

 

http://spiralstyle.blogspot.com/2011/06/parisian-mystery-series.html

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Cara - Do you split your time between France and the U.S. these days? Or do you live in the U.S. and just go to France periodically for research?

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Bonjou! As you all can see if you check out Cara's event schedule, she has a very busy week. She'll be checking in with us whenever she can grab a few minutes, so please go ahead and post your questions and comments. Thanks! (Or should I say, Merci!)

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!


becke_davis wrote:

Bonjou! As you all can see if you check out Cara's event schedule, she has a very busy week. She'll be checking in with us whenever she can grab a few minutes, so please go ahead and post your questions and comments. Thanks! (Or should I say, Merci!)

 

 

 

Okay, this is pretty hokey, but still...

 


 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

You can find excerpts of some of Cara's books at the following links:

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/48829296/Murder-in-the-Marais-by-Cara-Black-excerpt

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/48829275/Murder-in-Passy-by-Cara-Black-excerpt

 

I found this one at Fresh Fiction:

 

Fresh Fiction

 

Murder In The Latin Quarter 
by Cara Black

Excerpt

Paris, September 1997, Monday Afternoon

Aimee Leduc's fingers paused on the keyboard of her laptop as she felt a sudden unease but it vanished as quickly as the mist that curled up under the Pont Neuf. At least, she thought, thanks to the cleaning lady, the chandelier gleamed, the aroma of beeswax polish hovered, and Leduc Detective's office shone. For once. It should impress her high-powered client, the Private Banque Morel's administrator, who was due in ten minutes.

Aimee checked for lint on her Dior jacket, a flea-market find. She heard a footstep and looked up expectantly.

A woman in her late thirties stood in the doorway to the office. She was a tall, light-complected mulatto, wearing a denim skirt and clutching oversize sunglasses in her hand. She stepped inside, her gaze taking in the nineteenth-century high ceilings and carved moldings as well as the array of computers.

"This place isn't what I expected," said the woman in lilting French. She had an accent Aimee didn't recognize.

"Maybe you're in the wrong place, Mademoiselle," Aimee said, irritated. "Our firm handles computer security only." She ran her chipped red fingernails over the Rolodex for the card of a female private detective in the Paris region.

"Non." The woman waved the card away. She's persistent, Aimee thought. And for a brief moment, as the breeze fluttered through the open window and a siren whined outside on rue du Louvre, Aimee sensed that she was being subjected to a curious scrutiny. It was as if this woman was measuring and found her, like the office, wanting.

Aimee glanced at her Tintin watch impatiently. "As I told you —" Aimee's cell phone beeped. "Excuse me," she said and dug in her bag, found it, and listened to the message. The client she expected was in a taxi minutes away.

"The owner of this establishment knew my mother," the woman said. Her accent was now more pronounced.

Even after all this time, former clients called expecting to find him, Aimee thought sadly. "You're referring to my father, Jean-Claude Leduc," she said. "But he passed away several years ago." She used a euphemism instead of graphically describing his death during a routine surveillance in the Place Vendome from an exploding bomb.

"Passed away?" The woman blinked. "And you're his daughter?"

Aimee nodded. "We've put the old case files in storage. Desolee."

"But you don't understand." The woman tilted her head to the side, gauging something, ignoring Aimee's words. Her fingers picked at the strap of her straw bag.

"Understand? Mademoiselle, I am waiting for a client who is due any moment." She checked her phone again. "Make an appointment, and then I'll see what I can do for you."

"That's him, non?" The woman pointed to the photo behind Aimee's desk. It was of her father caught in time: younger, his tie loose, grinning. The one Aimee kept to remind her of what he'd looked like alive, not the way she'd last seen him, charred limbs on the morgue's stainless-steel table all that remained after the explosion.

"My father —"

"Our father," the woman interrupted. "I'm your sister, Aimee."

The phone fell from Aimee's hand.

"But I don't have a sister."

"It took time to find this place, to make sure," the woman said. Her voice quavered, her confidence evaporating. "And to summon the courage to come here. I need to talk with you."

Aimee steadied herself. "There's some misunderstanding, Mademoiselle. You're"

"Mireille Leduc."

Stunned, Aimee looked for some resemblance in the almond-shaped eyes, the honey color of the woman's skin, the shape of her mouth: that full pout of the lips, those white teeth. Could her father have had another child?

"You have proof? I'm sorry, but you walk in here and claim you're my sister," Aimee said. "How do I know you're that what you claim is true?"

"You're shocked," said Mireille, her voice urgent. "Me too. I had no idea until three weeks ago. During the coup d'etat, I had to leave Haiti. I only found out"

"Haiti?" Aimee shook her head. "Papa never went to Haiti."

"Your father and my mother had a relationship in Paris, before you were born," the woman said. "I can show you photos."

Aimee felt the air being sucked out of her lungs. Glints of afternoon light refracted from the prisms of the chandelier into myriad dancing lights. It was as if she'd been hit by a shockwave; words froze in her throat.

The wire cage elevator whined up to the office landing and rumbled to a halt. Her client had arrived to tell her the verdict. Would Morel, a prestigous private bank, extend Leduc Detective's data security contract?

"I never knew my father," said Mireille. Her mouth pursed. "Was it a one night stand or a grand amour who knows?"

"That's not like Papa. He wouldn't have fathered a child and just—"

"Mademoiselle Leduc?" A smiling middle-aged woman in a navy pantsuit knocked on the frosted glass panel of the open door. "Am I disturbing you?"

"Of course not, Madame Delmas, please come in." Aimee forced a smile, stuck her trembling hand in her pocket, and gestured to a Louis Quinze chair with her other. "The data analysis report's ready."

Perspiration dampened Aimee's collar. "Why don't you start reading the report while I see my visitor out, Madame?"

Mireille paused next to Aimee on the scuffed wood of the landing, a vulnerable look on her face. "Maman went back to Haiti. I don't know if he knew she was pregnant."

A cough came from inside Aimee's office. One didn't keep a client like Madame Delmas waiting.

The woman calling herself Mireille Leduc gripped Aimee's hand hard. Hers was as hot as fire. A thin red string encircled her wrist. "Mesamey," she said.

"I don't understand," Aimee said, her voice low.

"Mesamey is the Kreyol word I don't how you say it in French. I've only been here a week. Would you say surprised?"

Aimee felt a frisson course through her. "But what do you want?" she asked.

"Please, I lost my papers. I didn't know who else to ask."

"Papers you mean you're illegal?"

Mireille nodded. "But I can prove we're sisters. I am in some trouble. I thought my father could help. This man who's been helping me gave me a file, and

Madame Delmas's chair scraped on the floor, a fax machine whirred, and the office phone rang.

"I'll wait for you in the corner cafe," Mireille said. "You'll meet me, Aimee?"

What else could she do? Aimee nodded. Her eyes followed Mireille down the dim spiral staircase until the last glimpse of her curly hair disappeared. She could still feel the heat of Mireille's hand on hers. Then she realized she didn't know her address or even how to reach her.

Excerpted from MURDER IN THE LATIN QUARTER by Cara Black. Copyright 2009 by Cara Black. Published by Soho Crime. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Another excerpt:http://www.noevalleyvoice.com/2008/March/Last.html

 

Murder in the Rue de Paradis

An excerpt from the novel by Cara Black

 

Paris, August 1995

Monday Evening

 

Pigeons scattered and fluttered under the rue de Rivoli's nineteenth-century arcade as Aimée Leduc shut the taxi door. She fanned herself in the dense humid heat that clung blanket-like over the street, which was deserted except for a bedraggled group of Japanese tourists. Across from her, the street lamp's glow was reflected as gold from the tall windows of the Louvre's Cour Carrée.

"Au revoir, Jean-Paul," she said, eager to leave her blind date.

"You sure you won't come for an aperitif?" Jean-Paul asked from the taxi's back seat. A fortyish ministry fonctionnaire with a red tie, blue shirt, and thinning hair, Jean-Paul had discussed his stamp collection over espresso.

"Desolée, too much work," she said.

He waved away the francs she held out to him through the open taxi window and grasped her hand. "Then the theater tomorrow," he said, "I'll call you when I get home."

Aimée hurried past the corner café on rue du Louvre into the deepening twilight shadows mottling her office building. As she mounted the staircase to Leduc Detective's third-floor office, she vowed, no blind dates. Never again. No matter how desperate she felt.

She switched on the office light, her eyes resting briefly on the chipped carved ceiling moldings, the dim chandelier, the pile of bills on her desk. A faint breath of air from the window stirred, pierced by the insistent whine of a siren from the Seine. Another long evening stretched ahead of her: balancing accounts and drafting more computer IT proposals to potential clients. But there was no man in her thoughts.

The office phone rang. Jean-Paul already? She dreaded having to come up with more excuses not to see him again.

"Leduc Detective," she said.

"My partner likes your IT proposal, Aimée," said Michel, the head of Microimage.

She almost dropped the phone. Only yesterday she'd left a proposal at his video post-production company.

"Michel, you want me to consult?"

"Bring a contract, Aimée. We're having a blowout party for our big project!"

The thump of a bass guitar vibrated over the phone.

"So we can celebrate?"

"You and a few others."

A plum consulting job!

"I'm on the way."

She grabbed a standard contract from the desk drawer, stuck it in her laptop bag, and opened the office armoire. Her trusty little black dress and pearls wouldn't do. Not for Michel's. She searched through the hangers, past the blue work jacket, the electricians overalls, finding a leather halter dress, then a strapless Louis Feraud chiffon more suited for the runway. But she ended up in a '60s minidress composed of tiny black mirror-like sequin rectangles. Vintage Carnaby Street. She outlined her eyes with kohl and knotted a scarf around her neck. After all, it was business.

Back on rue du Louvre, she caught a taxi, then turned off her phone to avoid Jean-Paul's call. Approaching Michel's district on the wide shop-lined boulevard leading to Gare du Nord, the taxi turned left at a soot-stained old convent wall. Here the streets narrowed. A couple emerged, laughing, from a dimly lit bistro. The taxi passed a dark warehouse, the side of an old building still bearing a faded blue Dubonnet advertisement, and let her off in front of an arched stone passage between shadowy buildings.

Aimée choked in the haze of blue smoke as she stood wedged among the bodies dancing to a pounding techno beat at Microimage's party. Microimage's sandblasted stone walls vibrated; half-filled glasses of rouge-limonade rippled as they stood on the concrete slabs serving as tables. Red velvet drapery swags hung from the arcing iron metal struts in the former leather factory.

Perspiration dampened her bare shoulder blades. Fresh air, she craved fresh air. She thanked God she'd chosen vintage, considering the eclectic crowd around her. Her laptop-bag strap dug into her bare shoulder, but she shot a grin at Michel, the savvy red-headed twenty-something Microimage founder who had the attention span of a gnat. His arm draped a tall Goth type clad head-to-toe in black lace, and he gave Aimée a thumbs-up.

"Nice outfit," he said. "I like consultants who complement the decor. We'll sign the contract; pick it up day after tomorrow."

She reached out to shake his hand.

"My way of doing business," he said, or at least that's what she thought she heard as he handed her a tangerine from his pocket. She was thrilled to snag the consulting job. The retainer would cover her office rent and more. Dry-mouthed, she peeled the thin skin away from the pulp as she worked her way toward the door. The citrus essence clung to her fingers. She scanned the crowd.

She popped a tangerine segment into her mouth, enjoying the sweet burst of flavor. She avoided a karate chop from a gesticulating, long-haired journalist in black leather pants attempting to drive home a point. His audience was composed of a télé exec, a sweater knotted around his shoulders, and a rail-thin model in a belted T-shirt passing for a minidress. Just. A crowd interested in racking up business connections and on the prowl for anadventure, the one-night kind. Not her type. Forget meeting a man here, she thought. Conversation was next to impossible against the blasting beat.

She edged her way out the door, inhaled the warm air, and gazed around her. The warehouse at the end of the cobbled courtyard housed a recording studio. Lining one side of the yard was an old glass-windowed workshop, now an architect's office; and beside it stood the wooden storefront of a shuttered lute-repair shop.

Behind her, the Turkish concierge swept up leaves and scooped them into a bin. She'd left the consulting proposal with him yesterday to be hand-delivered to Michel upon his return.

"Bonsoir." She smiled and nodded to the concierge.

"Bonsoir, Mademoiselle," he said.

The dense August evening air lay still and heavy. A figure was leaning against the cream-colored stone walls under the glass-awninged marquisecanopy.

No trains ran this late after the terrorist Metro bombing a few days ago in Saint-Michel that had claimed eight lives. She stuck a stop-smoking patch under her arm and wondered what her chances were of catching a taxi this time of night.

A voice came from the shadows. "So you're still trying to quit."

That familiar voice. The tilt of the head...she froze. But it couldn't be...he was a continent away.

Yves, her former boyfriend, stepped into the light. And her breath caught. His dark eyes were more deep-set, but he had the same long black hair and snaking sideburns; this was a more tanned, gaunter version of the man she'd maintained an on-again, off-again relationship with.

"Cairo not hot enough for you, Yves? But...how did you find me?" she said, trying to cover her confusion.

"Investigative journalists have their ways, Aimée." He stepped closer, a softness in his eyes. His fingers traced her bare shoulders. "Nice outfit. I just flew in. Wanted to see you first."

His musky scent drew her again. Still her bad-boy type. But she remembered that the last time they'd said goodbye, on a street corner on the Left Bank, she'd told herself never again.

"So you appear and expect--"

"To have a drink, Aimée," he said, the back of his hand brushing her cheek. "You didn't answer my e-mails."

This would go nowhere. Just another pit stop for him. Whenever their paths crossed, the next morning he'd say goodbye on the street corner, step into a taxi and out of her life.

"Give me some warning next time," she said, backing away. "We'll try for that drink."

The Turkish concierge's twig broom raked the stones. A glimmer of yellow light from the party behind them swept Yves' face. She saw an expression she couldn't identify.

"I'm catching a taxi," she said.

"But I've already got one waiting out front," he said with his lopsided smile. That wonderful smile. "Let me drop you."

So sure of himself.

"Forget it, Yves. You're not coming to my place."

"Did I say I was? I'm stationed in Paris now. Let's have a drink to celebrate, that's all."

Outside of the dark passage, the taxi idled forlornly on the deserted street. The Metro was closed and she'd have a long walk in her three-inch Louboutin heels to her empty apartment where not even her dog Miles Davis waited.

Relenting, she said, "One drink."

She repressed a quiver of unease and got into the back seat.

The taxi took off. It passed a "for sale" sign in the broken windows of a dilapidated eighteenth-century hôtel particulier. Then it turned onto rue de Paradis, a street of shuttered crystal and porcelain shops, the only sign of life a stray cat on the cracked pavement. On the building walls hung peeling posters announcing an iKK--Kurdish Workers Party--protest.

She watched Yves, wondering what lay behind his sudden appearance in Paris. The taxi edged along rue du Château d'Eau, filled with African hair-supply shops and crowded hair-dressing salons, open late. Multicolored wigs, dreadlocks, and extensions hung in the windows like confetti. Here the street teemed with life. Another world. Young African men gathered, laughing and talking, on the packed corner.

"Stop a moment," Yves said to the taxi driver.

He disappeared inside Afro Coiffeur, a small shop filled with women having their hair braided. The warm air from the open window brushed her knees, and the bubbling syllables of Tongolaise dialect teased her ears.

Yves emerged a moment later, a bag in his hand.

"What about that drink, Yves?"

"You'll see."

A few blocks later at the Canal Saint-Martin, a dark stain of water running to the Seine, Yves paid the taxi driver. The canal's surface was pockmarked with the reflections of streetlights like so many diamonds, framed by the leafy plane trees that lined the banks. An arched metal footbridge spanned the narrow canal. No barges were cruising at this time of night.

Yves patted the slatted wooden seat of a bench near a squat bollard meant to block parking. He pulled a bottle of Veuve Cliquot from the bag, worked his thumbs on the cork, and popped it. Not a drop spilled.

"Still your favorite, Aimée?" he asked, handing her the bottle.

"Since when do you get champagne from a beauty parlor?"

"Pays to have connections when the shops are closed." He grinned. "Salut." She heard the rumble of a truck along the narrow street on the opposite bank. A dog barked in the distance.

"I almost forgot how big your eyes are," Yves said, his voice the same, the reasoned tone and familiar warmth as well as the bad-boy glint in his eye.

She ran her fingers through her spiky hair, then took a swig from the bottle. The chilled champagne slid smoothly down her throat. "That may have worked last time, Yves."

Last time and every time.

"You're a force of nature, Aimée. My nature," Yves said. "Stay with me."

She blinked. Just like that?

"You just appear..."

"Without warning." He gave that little lopsided smile, that same wonderful lopsided smile. "Selfish, I know," he said. "But now I'm based here, and I've put in an offer to buy my friend's loft. Right there." He gestured to the renovated warehouse behind them. It had been a printing works. There was a light in one of the rectangular window slits. "I can't forget you," he said. "That's the problem."

"Correction: your problem."

And then his mouth was on hers, searching, moving on to nibble her neck. In the evening warmth, a frisson flared up her spine.

"Let's try again, Aimée," he begged.

She averted her eyes from his dark searching ones. She'd thought of him, more times than she'd like to admit.

"We've tried this before, remember? It doesn't work," she said, one hand clutching the bench.

No matter how much she'd wanted it to. A lone pigeon pecked at the cobblestones by her feet. The still water of the canal was like a ribbon of dark-green silk.

"This time it's different," he said. "No more quick visits, no more good-byes on street corners."

"And pigs may fly, Yves."

He grinned. "You never used to mix passion with practicality."

She wished she didn't want him to kiss her again.

"So I'll prove it to you," he said, standing up and reaching for her hand.

Common sense dictated that she hail a taxi and leave trouble behind. She stood. But when had she listened to common sense?

* * *

Excerpted with permission from Murder in the Rue de Paradis by Cara Black, copyright 2008, Soho Press, Inc., New York.

Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author CARA BLACK!

Welcome Cara:

 

Although I was under the weather this weekend, I did manage to read your book:

 

Murder in the Marais (Aimee Leduc Series #1)  

 

Really enjoyed reading about Aimee. She is certainly a brave and courageous investigator traveling rooftiles and sewers and surviving beatings! I felt like a wimp complaining about my ills while she was taking all the beatings!

 

Can't wait to read the next Aimee Leduc in the series! 

 

How difficult is it to be living in San Francisco and writing about Paris?

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt