We're happy to be hosting Paulita Kincer on her PARIS RUNAWAY Virtual Book Tour today!
Title: Paris Runaway
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves. After learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the two attempt to find the missing teens. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between watching the hours pass and living.
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I knocked on one apartment door that had a wreath hanging on it. It could still be his door, I justified. Maybe Monsieur Rollande liked to decorate. Avoiding the wreath, I rapped my knuckles against the worn wood. Maybe Monsieur Rollande remarried and his new wife chose the wreath of dark-green leaves topped by lily of the valley with its tiny white, bell-shaped flowers. When I got no response, I walked to the door opposite. No wreath and no sounds from within. I knocked three sharp thumps and waited, but heard no squeaking of the floor as someone moved toward the door. I sighed. No one home again.
There are worse places to wait, I thought as I heard a louder crack of thunder from outside. The sky had been threatening rain all morning, and apparently the clouds now delivered on their threat. I imagined myself standing outside the gate without buttons to push as the rain soaked me through the t-shirt, jeans and thin cardigan.
I assessed the landing where I could be waiting for most of the day. A thick wool rug covered the floor and a small table fit flush against the wall with a flat back. The other half curled out in a semi-circle. On the table sat a round fishbowl with aqua-colored rocks in the bottom. A goldfish swished back and forth in the dim light. How strange, I thought, as I became entranced watching the fish make his circles, pausing to open and close his mouth in my direction a few seconds before swimming around again.
I sank to the floor with my back against the wall, like the little table. I would be able to hear or see either door if it should open. I might as well rest my tired feet. I debated undoing those ankle straps. But I decided to simply rub at the sore spots while leaving the sandals buckled. Who knew when I’d have to make a dash to catch someone?
I sat where I could gaze at the fish, and his endless rounds made me feel calm. I could feel my breath becoming slower and deeper. I knew I’d find Scarlett today; I just needed to be patient. Slow and steady, I told myself as I became more mesmerized with the striking orange fish.
Suddenly the fish ducked inside one of his faux coral hiding spots. I hadn’t moved or startled him. I glanced around, moving only my eyes, and I saw the reason for the fish’s abrupt disappearance. A handsome black-and-white cat crawled stealthily up the stairs. His front paws perched on the top step, and his nose and eyes just peeked between the paws. The rest of his body must be poised on the stairs below, ready to pounce on the table and snatch up the fish.
The cat moved only his eyes too, but they found me, and he froze. I was going to ruin his attempt at breakfast. I smiled. I missed my own cat Puck. His warmth on my lap, the way his purring could put me into a trance of well-being. This cat on the stairs seemed to have accepted the fact that an actual person sat in the stairwell. His eyes locked with mine, and I saw his body relax. He would not need to pounce after all. He turned to look at the fish bowl, but the wise goldfish remained hidden.
“It’s okay,” I said. I held out my hand, palm up, toward the cat. “Here, kitty. Come see me.” I didn’t have anything to offer him, but if he smelled my hand, he might let me pet him, rub my hand over his soft fur, gain some sort of relief from contact with another living creature.
“Come on, boy,” I said, making an assumption about his gender. It didn’t matter because the cat probably didn’t understand English anyway. My voice was soft and soothing as I tried to coax him. Suddenly, a desire overwhelmed me to hold a cat on my lap, stroke his soft back, and feel his purr kick in and vibrate against me. Even a cat that didn’t understand English must sense distress and want to comfort a human. To feel some sort of release from the past two days would be such a respite.
About the Author
Paulita Kincer has an M.A. in journalism from American University. She has traveled to France 11 times, and still finds more to lure her back.
She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her three children, two cats and one husband.
Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Paris Runaway.
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