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Prize 4: Onyx and red agate sterling silver bracelet
Prize 5: Jade, amber and red agate necklace
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Twenty-eight-year old Annabel Green is about to tie the knot with her college love, an aspiring author Jeremy Blake, but her plans for an ideal wedding are rudely interrupted when she catches Jeremy kissing his gorgeous book agent.
Shell-shocked by Jeremy’s betrayal, Annabel retreats into the quiet routine of TV dinners and solitary evenings. It is then that Annabel’s best friend, fashion designer Lilly Clayton, sets herself on a mission to draw Annabel out of her shell. In an attempt to persuade Annabel to keep an open mind on dating, Lilly takes Annabel for a stunning makeover, but after Annabel passes on a date with a dashing entrepreneur, Lilly decides that more drastic measures are needed. Lilly invites Annabel to see a palm reader who gives Annabel a lucky charm that is supposed to help her find true love.
A few weeks later, Annabel meets a new love interest, and as the two embark on a whirlwind romance, she starts to believe in the power of the talisman the palm reader has given her. But what Annabel doesn’t know is that Lilly is hiding a secret that could unravel her faith in her newly found luck in love.
After Annabel made her way down, she spotted Etienne’s Porsche parked next to the curb.
“Hello.” Etienne’s eyes danced with sparks. “I didn’t want to risk coming upstairs with your chaperone and all.”
“Hi.” She took a step closer toward him, aware of how glad she was to see him.
“It’s wonderful to see you again,” he murmured, taking her hand. Then his lips found her mouth and she felt her knees go weak.
“Well, I guess we’d better get going before we get caught.” Etienne smiled after he finally pulled away from her.
“It’s the housekeeper’s day off,” Annabel murmured, thinking that she would not object at all to scrapping the dinner plans in favor of Etienne having his way with her upstairs.
“We don’t want to be late for our reservation.” Etienne opened the car door for her, and Annabel blushed, fearing that he might have read her thoughts. Thank goodness that mind reading only existed in science fiction.
“Where are we going?” Annabel asked.
“You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”
Thirty minutes later they were still on the road.
“Could you at least give me a hint?” Annabel asked when she saw Etienne take the highway exit out of Paris.
“Let’s just say it will be a combination of history and dining.” He smiled. “It should be another twenty minutes or so.”
Finally, after driving through massive iron gates, Etienne put the car to a stop.
“Wow, this place is amazing!” Annabel exclaimed as she got out of the car.
“Just wait till you see what it’s like inside.” Etienne closed the car door behind her. “I thought you might enjoy a brief chateau tour before dinner. I remember you said you wanted to see the royal chateau. This is, of course, by no means the Fontainebleau, but I think that you will still find it interesting.”
“Do you think we could still get in?” Annabel looked at her watch. It was quarter to seven, and she remembered that most museums closed at five or five-thirty at the latest.
“Let’s just say that I’ve arranged for a private tour.” The mischievous spark in Etienne’s eyes made it impossible to resist his offer, and without a moment’s hesitation, Annabel followed him inside.
It was so quiet inside the chateau that Annabel could hear the panels of the wooden floor squeaking under her feet – the kind of noise that made you think of ghosts. The place was dimly lit with electric lights that were put into the candelabras instead of candles, and Annabel clasped Etienne’s hand tightly for fear of stumbling.
“Are we all alone in here?” she whispered.
“Don’t worry. I assure you that it’s perfectly safe.” Etienne put his arm around her. “I know the way well. We will not get lost.”
About the Author:Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels: This Tangled Thing Called Love, Lucky Charm, On the Rim of Love; romantic suspense: To Catch a Bad Guy; and a short story collection, A Dress in a Window. Marie is also the author of a young adult fantasy adventure novel,Over the Mountain and Back.
If you would like to learn more about Marie’s writing, please stop by her website: www.MarieAstor.com or visit her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marieastorcollection