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Host for the Holidays

Host for the Holidays

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Madi is counting on Paris’s reputation as the City of Love. Now she just needs to figure out if it’s old love or new love...

Main Tropes

  • Roommates
  • French Hero
  • Love Triangle



After two years and zero proposals, my relationship could use a little spark. Paris during the holidays seems like just the ticket—one perfect, final opportunity for my boyfriend to take things to the next level.

The fact that he’s rented me the tiny servant quarters in the apartment of a very good-looking Frenchman is . . . puzzling. And when he asks that Frenchman to take me around the city while he’s busy at work trainings? Color me confused.

Is this some sort of pre-engagement test? If so, I’m not sure I’m doing too hot.


Offering to host my friend’s vacation rental means making sure the first review is five solid, sparkling stars. When the guest who shows up is a beautiful American woman, I’m thinking my task might be more enjoyable than I thought. Until I find out she has a boyfriend. Madi deserves to have an amazing time in Paris, though, so I’m more than happy to oblige when the guy asks me to show her the city.

It’s cool. I’m cool. This is all for that five-star review…

Intro to Chapter 1

Just added to the tippity top of the List of Utterly and Completely Worthless Things: getting an “A” in every term of high school French. Je m’appelle Madi and Comment allez-vous? just aren’t cutting it as I speak with the employee at the lost luggage office in the Paris airport.

Would it have been so hard for Madame Wilson to teach us something useful like, “Hey, I’ve watched that carrousel spin around more times than a teacup at Disneyland, and my perfectly packed bag is nowhere to be seen”? Not once has this woman asked me a question that would necessitate an answer like, “I like to play soccer.” I probably should have listened to my friend Siena and downloaded one of those language learning apps for a refresher before leaving home.

Having said that, I strongly suspect this woman speaks perfectly good English, but she’s purposely trying to make it hard for me. Admittedly, making it hard for me is pretty easy at the moment. I just escaped eleven hours in a tight space with a herd of strangers, hovering miles above solid ground. Everything about that is contrary to my natural habitat. 

After fifteen minutes, I walk away with an assurance that my bags will be delivered to my vacation rental when they arrive at the airport, though when that will be, I have no idea. Thankfully, the taxi driver who approaches me just outside seems a bit less inclined to hate me than the lost luggage lady. Thank heaven for that, since it’s negative seven hundred degrees outside, and my oversized cardigan and leggings have not equipped me for December in Paris. 

The driver looks at the address of the Airbnb my boyfriend, Josh, booked for me and tells me in a thick French accent that it will be no problem to get me there. Grunting a bit under the weight, he chucks my carry-on into his trunk and opens the door for me to get in.

I sit down on the leather seat and take in a breath full of the gloriously heated air. It also happens to be saturated with cigarette smoke, and I try to stifle a cough. Siena warned me that the French still smoke like it’s the 1960s. 

She also warned me that French men are flirtatious—sometimes aggressively so. My taxi driver does not seem to fit that second stereotype, however, unless communicating in grunts is considered “aggressive flirtation” here. Either way, I’m not complaining. In the lead-up to this trip, I heard enough jokes about Taken to last me a lifetime.

I set my backpack full of camera gear next to me, clenching my hand around the strap as I realize how fortunate it is that this didn’t get lost. Not only is it thousands of dollars of equipment, it’s my passport into the future. The hopeful future, at least.

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