Catherine C. Heywood
Immerse yourself in the daring and decadence of the Belle Époque...
A timeless love story set amidst the glamour of the Belle Époque...
PLEASE NOTE: There are TWO editions of this story. Scroll down to find the right edition for you.
Paris, 1889: Amélie Audet toils in a laundry when, only steps away, investors promise the most glittering dance hall the city has ever seen. Determined to secure an audition, she stumbles into a meeting with the alluring owner of the Moulin Rouge and must face her scandalous past.
She would have Paris at her feet.
He would have her at his.
Jasper Degrailly is enchanted by a painting come to life. He sets out to seduce Amélie with his gilded world and the dark warrens of his mind. Yet he has his own sordid entanglements, and soon the gentleman and the singer must manage the greedy machinations of bohemian and high-society Paris.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: This novella inspired the novel, May Leave Stars. Girl in Bath is Part I of that story.
Photo Credit: Jenny Loew
Read on for
May Leave Stars
"Wow! What a fantastic book. I would give it more than 5 stars if I could... I learned so much about Paris at the end of the 19th century... but still at the heart of it is a love story between these 2 characters, which binds the reader's emotions and carries you through everything."
"Heywood's Paris burns hotter and shines brighter — her prose clever and banter sharp — making the reader feel as though they are walking through the city’s streets. A story sure to capture your imagination and tug at your heart!"
Books, Tea, and Me
A vivid world… of the female and society’s judgements and expectations. Of power, control, passion, troubles, and hardships.
I loved Jasper and Amélie as a couple. Their chemistry was tangible… But it’s the backdrop and setting that makes the intense romance stand out.
Little But Fierce Book Diary
I absolutely love [Heywood’s] attention to detail and her historical research is so clear. She really makes the world of late-19th century Paris come to life.
READ AN EXCERPT
“Belle Étoile. Are you decent?”
“Just a moment, monsieur.”
The door opened, and Amélie stood in her gold dress with something calculating in her eyes. To the other girl in the room, Jasper nodded toward the door, and she scurried out. He sat on the sofa and motioned for Amélie to join him. After a long pause, she did. There was nothing appropriate in sitting so close with no chaperone. Still, they settled beside each other as if their closeness should be a perfectly natural thing. He dearly hoped it would be. And soon.
“You’re a talent, mademoiselle. It is mademoiselle, is it not?” He knew very well.
“It is. I thank you, monsieur.”
“Belle Étoile. Are you a star amongst the sky of performers in this district?”
“I think so,” she replied without hesitation.
There was his dilemma, for he thought so, too. The businessman in him would see her on stage when his greatest experiment, the Moulin Rouge—which had to succeed—opened later in the year. But the man in him would see her in his bed, where no other man could get to her.
“Tell me, how did you come to be Monsieur Talac’s figure model?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, monsieur,” she uttered.
She’d paused. Paused and seemed to choke on her denial.
“Yes, you do. It’s you,” he said breathlessly. “You’re Fille dans le bain. The figure model who vanished.”
After a pointed pause, she said, “Are you in love with me, monsieur?”
She’d tried to sound confident, yet her eyes looking everywhere but on him and the color flooding into her cheeks belied it.
“Any man who’s ever looked upon that painting is,” he said, “and if he says otherwise, he’s lying. But I think you already know that, don’t you?”
“Perhaps you might secure the services of Monsieur Talac. After all, it was his keen eye and deft hands that rendered me.”
“Talac did indeed capture something in your eye. But it was that something, that… passion, that is entirely you.”
“Hunger, Monsieur Degrailly. A desire to eat when the day is done. And to perform. That’s what you saw. If you think otherwise…”
Propriety be damned, he slid closer to her, his mouth mere inches from hers, the lower lip lush and shiny in the center, just begging to be kissed. “I know otherwise. You’re hungry, mademoiselle, for all that you say. And something more, I think.”
PLEASE NOTE: This novella is available in TWO editions. The mainstream edition has allusions to explicit sexual content while the "Writer's Cut" edition contains graphic sexual content. If detailed descriptions of bondage, discipline, consensual power exchange, and sex offend you, please consider purchasing the mainstream edition of this story. Thank you.