Once upon a wish destine.., p.1

Once Upon a Wish (Destined for Love: Europe), page 1

 

Once Upon a Wish (Destined for Love: Europe)
 

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Once Upon a Wish (Destined for Love: Europe)


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Other Books by Danyelle Ferguson

  Once Upon a Wish

  Copyright

  Dedication

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  Destined for Love: Europe Series

  Looking for More Romantic Adventures?

  12 Days to Love - Preview

  The Indulgence Row Series

  Acknowledgements

  About the Author

  Other Books by Danyelle Ferguson

  Indulgence Row series

  Sweet Confections

  Love Under Construction

  Falling Stars & Stolen Kisses (coming soon!)

  Anthologies & Short Stories

  Carol of the Tales

  A Christmas of Hope

  Hobby Journals

  For the Love of Sewing

  For the Love of Stitches

  For the Love of Reading

  Nonfiction

  (dis)Abilities and the Gospel

  © 2017 Danyelle Ferguson

  This is a work of fiction. The characters, names, places, incidents and dialogue are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief passages embodied in critical reviews and articles.

  Published by Wonderstruck Books, Kansas City, KS

  ISBN: 9780998088631

  Cover design by Steven Novak

  Cover design © 2017 by Wonderstruck Books

  Interior design by Wonderstruck Books

  Dedication

  This one's for you, Lisa Swinton! Movie nights, chocolate, and long distance conversations are the foundation of our friendship. Thanks for keeping me sane. You are the bomb!

  CHAPTER ONE

  Monday, September 18th

  DELPHINE TAPPED HER FOUNTAIN PEN against the notebook lying open on the café table. The blank pages defiantly glared at her, daring her to jot down ideas for her next novel. Instead she dropped the pen and slouched back into the metal chair, readjusting her position to match her pout. Except the stupid, straight-backed chair wasn’t cooperating, so she shifted into a more lady-like position and crossed her legs before reaching for her drink.

  The china demitasse cup rattled against its saucer as she hastily picked it up to calm her frustration with some chocolat chaud. The hot cocoa was like sipping liquid decadence. Creamy milk and rich dark chocolate melted into a velvety indulgence that made her taste buds burst with delight. A stark contrast to her first trip abroad as a young girl, when she was introduced to instant hot cocoa. Delphine felt bad for the poor Americans who came to her country, experienced this magnifique concoction, then had to return to their country’s poor watery substitute.

  Hugo, her Yorkie Terrier, whined at her feet. She set the cocoa aside, then motioned for him to jump onto her lap, where he snuggled in. She had hoped that escaping her cramped apartment to sit at her favorite café across from La Rochelle’s stone towers and soak in the autumn’s salty ocean breeze would rejuvenate her creative brain. Instead, the pressure of writer’s block and a looming deadline weighed on her.

  Her first three novels had received great reviews, fairly good sales, and a solid readership. It was her fourth novel that had shocked her by hitting several bestseller lists. Now, instead of her editor kindly inquiring about her next project, Michel was pushing for updates to pass onto the publisher’s buying committee.

  The combination of stress to produce another bestselling book and the fear of letting her readers down had sucked all the creativity out of her.

  What if four novels was all she had in her? What if she was a one-time bestselling wonder?

  She wished she could talk to her favorite brainstorming partner, but Maman was currently out of commission and would be, well, for a long time. No, Delphine was on her own for this one. She took a deep breath to calm the quick flutter of her heart.

  “What do you think, Hugo? Should we give up for the day?” Hugo’s nose twitched and he sneezed, then shook his head back and forth to clear away whatever had tickled his nose. Delphine laughed. “I’ll take that as a sign we should stick it out a while longer.” She continued to pet him, the motion soothing both of them.

  She shifted her gaze to the cobblestone-paved plaza, hoping the mundaneness of everyday life would inspire her. There were the usual tourists, making their way from tours at Maison de Henri II into the port to snap photos of the majestic entry towers and multi-colored sail boats lining the ocean front. Teenagers from the local lycée school made their way to various vendors for a pastry before heading home or to the bus depot. She spotted a few university students sitting on ledges, ear buds in place as they studied their electronic tablets. Delphine’s lips lifted into a smile as she spied mothers chatting as their children scrambled around the plaza fountain, playing a game of tag. A child darted through a group of young men, causing one of them to stumble backward, arms flailing before regaining his balance.

  “Pardon, monsieur,” another child yelled as they continued the chase.

  The man who stumbled simply waved them on as his friends patted his back and teased him about the incident. The mothers, though, called their children back to them, clearly correcting their rambunctious behavior before gathering their things together to leave. One little girl tugged on her mother’s shirt to capture her attention before pointing to the fountain where a group of teenagers had stopped to toss coins in. The mother responded with a firm shake of her head. The child grabbed her younger sibling’s hand and cast a longing glance at the wishing fountain before disappearing with her family down another street.

  Delphine loved the fountain’s classic pedestal design and the ornate flowers carved into the side, each unique and intricately detailed. The water bubbled up from the center and filled the pedestal’s bath before gracefully landing in the pool below.

  The teens who cast in their coins had their heads together, whispering and giggling before moving on. Delphine couldn’t remember the last time she believed in the whimsy of wishing fountains. She certainly had before her family moved from France to Switzerland in her tween years, forcing her to leave her friends behind. Now, with her adult perspective, she was grateful for those bitter months during her formative years. It was then that her love of reading morphed into a passion for creating stories, the characters becoming her friends, her lifeline to surviving a foreign country.

  Maybe what she needed was to recapture some of her youthful whimsy. After all, if she was writing for teens, she should try to get into their perspective a little more. Delphine pulled out her change purse and used a finger to push the coins around until she found the one she was looking for. She clicked her tongue to get Hugo’s attention. After a hand signal, he leapt from her lap and settled in the shade under the café table.

  Thank goodness for those obedience school classes, she thought as she tied his leash to her chair. While dogs could go just about anywhere with their owners in France, they were expected to be well-behaved. She tested the leash’s knot, then signaled for Hugo to stay where he was.

  With the coin pressed firmly into the palm of her hand, she crossed the short distance to the fountain. She skirted away from a few
groups until she found a little isolated spot that seemed just right. She opened her fingers and nudged the coin with her thumb, wondering what to wish for.

  As a child, she often wished for an ice cream treat or to visit her Aunt Valérie’s so she could go horseback riding. Teenagers probably spent most of their wishes asking for the attention of a certain special someone. Not that romance was unappealing, but Delphine preferred the predictability of her character’s love stories. No matter how much conflict they endured, they always ended up together.

  Real-life relationships didn’t come with that guarantee, and Delphine found that terrifying. Her wants these days had more to do with hoping for a royalty check big enough to pay the bills, buy groceries, and have enough left over for something fun. Those checks weren’t going to keep coming if she didn’t produce another book. So she ditched fanciful and went for practical. She closed her eyes and squeezed the coin.

  All I wish for are story ideas. Well, not just any story idea, a magnifique Sci-Fi YA story, one that my readers will love. Because no matter what the sales numbers turn out to be, having happy readers is the ultimate goal.

  Delphine took a deep breath and sent her wish out into the universe before she opened her eyes and tossed the coin into the fountain. Her gaze followed its path through the air, but she was shocked when another coin collided with it before they both hit the water with a big plop and sank.

  She gasped, then looked around to find a man whose face reflected a similar feeling of surprise.

  He was handsome in a preppy casual sort of way. Jeans were paired with a white dress shirt, topped with a deep green v-neck sweater, both sets of sleeves pushed up to his elbows. His hairstyle completed the look, the dark waves giving it a tousled, careless vibe. What would it feel like to sink her fingers into his hair? Would it feel as silky as it looked? Or would she be disappointed to find it sticky with hair product?

  Her heart fluttered again, not from anxiety, but from the hesitant smile that appeared on his face. He lifted his hand in a wave. Delphine tried to swallow past the lump forming in her throat, but her mouth had gone dry. Her hand inched up, ready to return his greeting, but what if—gasp!

  What if she had a set of characters who were crushing on each other, but just when they were finally brave enough to admit their feelings, they were forced apart? But why? It would need to be something against their will, something they couldn’t control but absolutely had to follow.

  Delphine’s hand dropped back to her side. She knew well the tragedy of leaving friends behind, but what would it be like to abandon your newly discovered true love?

  She dashed back to the café table. Hugo greeted her with a little yip before settling back down, his front paws and head lying across one of her feet. She flipped the notebook open and uncapped her fountain pen. As soon as the nib hit the paper, details about the two main characters flowed. It wasn’t the most original idea; in fact, it had been done before, many times over, but this time, it was her story, and that made it unique.

  Delphine didn’t know how to describe the story unfolding in her mind. Tidbits about the characters turned into fully fleshed beings: their likes, dislikes, characteristics, scraps of dialogue, how they reacted to their feelings being crushed. As those details came together, so did conflicting ideas for the setting and the culture’s background. Delphine flipped forward several pages in the notebook, bent a corner, then jotted down those notes to review later before flipping back to the character section. She didn’t even mind sipping the cooled chocolat chaud as she became even more absorbed in Candessa and Felix’s story. Yes, Candessa and Felix, she thought, nodding and adding their names at the top of their bio pages. The characters were blooming and coming to life right before her.

  Discovery was her favorite part of the writing process. When the passion of creation flowed through an author, it was the headiest drug, addicting in its own perfect way. It was like having a front row seat to witnessing the majesty of God creating the heavens and the earth. If she pursued that flow, if she heeded the promptings of her muse, then the results would be a marvelously beautiful thing.

  CHAPTER TWO

  EVERYTHING AROUND JEAN-PAUL seemed to be changing, like there was an electric charge in the air. It all started when he discovered that beat up coin next to the fountain. He almost passed it by, but instead dislodged it from where it was wedged between a cobblestone and the fountain. It was an old French franc. Now that euros were the accepted form of currency, the former French currency had either been turned into banks to be exchanged for euros or hidden away hoping that one day the francs would be rare enough to make a coin collection more valuable.

  Jean-Paul turned the coin around, examining both sides. What journey had led the coin to this particular place? As a child, his grandmother always said it was bad luck to toss a coin into a fountain without making a wish first. So before he could discard it, the coin needed a proper wish. His grandma also said the best wish a coin could receive involved a request for love. Jean-Paul shrugged and dismissed that idea. Relationships always ended with a crash-and-burn nose-dive at the end. The coin would just have to settle for what he really wanted—more clients for his marketing firm.

  He had recently opened a new branch of his father’s marketing firm in La Rochelle, focusing specifically on online and social marketing. So far he had added a few new clients on top of his father’s existing clientele. If only he could get the right network connections within the nautical or tourism communities, then he could make some leeway in growing the business.

  Not that he lacked opportunities. Their long-time friends and business associates, the St. Germain family, had made it their mission to introduce him to all their friends, one tedious social event after another. At first it all seemed innocent enough, but lately, the outings centered around escorting their daughter, Angelique, to various events that were more centered on appearing in the society columns than actually making business connections.

  He liked Angelique well enough. After all, they’d known each other for their entire lives, even spending at least one family vacation together each year. But these days it was rare to catch a glimpse of the friend he grew up with. Somehow between their university years and now, in their late twenties, she had changed from a young woman with convictions and a strong vision for her future to a society diva, with the matching wardrobe and personality. On top of that, he had picked up on some clues indicating the hopeful expectation for their friendship to evolve into something, well, more than what his heart felt.

  Which brought him back to his biggest priority at this particular time of his life—his work.

  I wish for the opportunity to get into the right networks so I can expand my father’s marketing company.

  With the flick of his thumb, he sent the coin flying through the air. He almost turned away rather than watching it. After all, he had seen dozens of coins plop in fountains, but something kept him rooted to that spot. His eyes followed the path of the coin, leading right to the beautiful woman tossing in her coin from the other side. He barely saw the two coins’ collision. He really didn’t care about them. It was the hopeful look on her face that drew his attention. Then the round ‘oh’ of her mouth when her expression turned to surprise. He felt like he was in lycée again, raising his hand to wave to the pretty girl he was too shy to greet.

  His heart plummeted when she dashed away, but the look of inspiration on her face was unforgettable. Her destination ended up being a café table she had obviously occupied before their moment at the fountain. He had no idea what she was writing, but it filled her with passion. There was no other word that better described her complete preoccupation with her project. It was mesmerizing.

  When was the last time he felt so strongly about a project that the rest of the world melted away?

  He checked the schedule on his calendar, and even though the timing would be a bit tight, he decided to set up his work at a table on the other side of the café. Once the laptop
was set up, Jean-Paul tried to get some website design done, but his progress slowed every time he glanced up at the young woman. He smiled as she pushed her long sandy blonde curls away from her face yet again, knowing in a few moments the wind would pick them up and blow them back.

  What was she doing that was so fascinating?

  Beep, beep.

  He picked up his cell phone to check the caller ID. Seeing it was the secretary for Monsieur St. Germain, he answered. “Bonjour, Madame, how are you?”

  “Wonderful, Jean-Paul,” Madame Wiedmaier replied. “Monsieur St. Germain would like to set up an appointment to discuss Simply Bella’s upcoming holiday promotions and schedule of website updates.”

  “Absolument.” He pulled up the calendar on his laptop.

  Across the café, the woman picked up her demitasse cup, took a sip, then wrinkled her nose before quickly replacing it and nudging it away from her work. Jean-Paul smiled and signaled for the waitress.

  “Would next week on Monday afternoon work?” he asked Madame Wiedmaier.

  “Parfait,” she responded. They exchanged a few more details, then ended the call.

  Jean-Paul turned his attention to the waitress, whose name tag displayed her name as Fleurette. “Merci for waiting. I would like to order a refill for the mademoiselle at the table there,” he said, motioning toward the mysterious woman.

  “Oh, oui, monsieur. She is having chocolat chaud. I can relay a message as well, if you’d like.” Fleurette’s eyes radiated delight with the task given her.

  Without hesitation, Jean-Paul said, “Tell her I hope her wish was granted.”

  Fleurette nodded and left to fulfill the order. As soon as she disappeared, Jean-Paul realized just how idiotic his message sounded. Why didn’t he simply inquire if he could join her?

 
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