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.
Keep reading to see the full Love Note!
My Dear Mademoiselle Santos,
I know I’ll never send this letter; it’s the height of impropriety. Nevertheless, I find myself unable to stay silent any longer.
From the moment I met you I was fascinated. And yet, I have been surprised to discover that others have not shared my fascination. Guests enter and exit the lobby, unconscious of the fact that the most intelligent and charming lady in Paris is sitting quietly behind the concierge desk.
You are quick to smile and patient, slow to anger but firm. You are the soul of hospitality and wondrously kind. Again, I observe your interactions with other guests, simply to see what you will do next. Will you smile? Will you laugh? Will your beautiful face crease with sympathy?
Like a schoolboy, I’ve contrived excuses to visit the lobby so that I might see you. I’ve lost my key card. I’ve requested a new, uncreased copy of Le Monde. I’ve asked the pretty concierge to help me secure a new black suit…
I think the colour of your eyes must be a shade in between green and brown. I’ve been unable to ascertain the truth. In order to discern their true colour, I’d have to stare into your eyes without the prying oversight of the hotel manager and other staff. I’d have to spirit you out of the hotel in order to gaze into your eyes in the sunlight, perhaps on a bridge by the Seine. Perhaps in a garden near the Eiffel Tower.
I long to know you – to know your secrets and your joys. To know what pleases and vexes you. To know why someone as accomplished as you is hiding behind a concierge desk. But again, I find myself restrained. The chains of propriety imprison me.
Were I but free …
Alas, this letter must remain unsent. My words must remain unspoken.
But I remain, your devoted servant,
The Man in the Black Suit
I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.
I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.
I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Twitter account or my website.