Title: At Your Service
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 14, 2016 – 206 pgs
When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.
Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.
What happens when a trans-continental one-night-stand turns into something more? This is a novel for anyone who has ever daydreamed about falling in love with a handsome Frenchman in Paris.
For Anthony and Paul, the Atlantic Ocean is less a barrier to their relationship than their own conflicting views on love and relationships.
Anthony is very much the awkward American abroad. There is a brilliant moment at the start of the book when he changes into white tennis shoes for a Parisian dinner and then wonders how French men manage to be so elegant. His Americanisms are sweet and often funny, though he speaks fluent French and has lived in France before. He is open, gentle and starting to want a partner of his own.
Paul is Anthony’s opposite. The handsome waiter enjoys superficial hook-ups but guards his emotions closely. His family restaurant demands long hours and he has developed few interests outside of his work.
This is the sweet story of an unlikely romance. Ultimately a simple story, Ariel Tachna lends it her usual warmth and a cast of entertaining friends and family who care for Anthony and Paul. Paris is beautifully written and the food and wine at Paul’s restaurant is described in exquisite detail.
Anthony and Paul start a fling while Anthony is in Paris for work for 5 days. The meeting of the two at the restaurant where Paul works at immediately started the chemistry brewing and you could feel it. The 5 days that they share is more than just physical as they keep thinking it was, it became emotional.
Anthony had to go home back to the USA and they kept in touch via email, Skype, and instant messaging. During the time while they were apart, the story was a little choppy and chunks of time were missed. I would like to have read more about them communicating together and really getting to know each other.
After moving back to Paris, Anthony and Paul hooked back up but didn’t want to ruin the friendship that they grew. Paul had to prove to Anthony that he had changed for Anthony to trust him. Paul had, but Anthony was a little dense in the fact, he didn’t really talk with Paul about what that meant. Of course, Paul wasn’t being very forthcoming either. They each wanted to please the other but just could not be open about it. Paul needed the emotional security while Anthony needed the physical security. It took Paul’s brother to make the two see how special they were for each other.
Once they became a couple, you could feel the emotions played out between the two and the love they shared.
Overall, this was a simple yet entertaining story of about 3-4 stars, but with the setting in Paris, and all the reminders of what I loved when I went to Paris, I had to bump it up to a solid 4. If you have never been to Paris, this story will definitely make you want to go.
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.