THE PARIS GAME now available for Nook / on B&N!

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THE PARIS GAME can now be purchased in paperback, or for the Nook, on Barnes & Noble.

“Royale wants to see you.”

The maître’d caught Sera at her dressing room door, blocking her way. She tried to step around him, but he persisted. “Now. You have time.”

“I should be on stage. Our next set starts in a minute.”

“I’d love to tell him that you wouldn’t come when he ordered. Have it your way.” He turned and she caught his arm.

“I’ll go.”

The back corridor of the jazz club frightened her, claustrophobic and dark. It seemed to stretch forever, until she turned the corner and a sliver of light shone from under a door. She moved towards it, her footsteps in her high heels echoing off the scuffed parquet. Cigarette smoke, and something more rancid, like rotting meat, hung in the air.

She knocked.

“Entrez!”

The wet sound of coughing greeted her as she opened the door. Monsieur Royale, the club’s owner, covered his mouth with a linen handkerchief. When he saw her, he tucked it away in his pocket and gave an imperious wave towards the chair in front of his desk. Sera took a seat, pushing a lock of her dark hair back behind her ear. Her gaze wandered as she tried to look at anything but him. She could pretend he wasn’t undressing her with his eyes, or calculating the money he could make from her.

The office was cramped and untidy, and it reeked of a combination of smoke and body odor. The rancid smell she’d noticed out in the corridor seemed to be from a forgotten plate on a shelf behind him, holding the remains of a meal. Her eyes followed Royale’s hand as he grasped the packet of Gauloises on the desk, bringing one to his fleshy lips. A diamond pinky ring glinted in the light. He dug a gold lighter from the pocket of his expensively tailored jacket and lit the cigarette.

“Mademoiselle Durand,” he said, clearing his throat. “You’ve disappointed me.”

Sera dared a glance at him. He glowered at her from under bushy brows, his eyes dark.

“What have I done?” Her fingers tightened on the folds of her black dress and she made herself relax. She hadn’t done anything wrong.

“When I lent you the money, mademoiselle, I told you quite clearly that it needed to be repaid swiftly. And you’re such a good girl, I thought you’d obey.” He coughed again and reached for a snifter of brandy that sat on a pile of old ledgers. “The €200 payment you left me this week is not what I would consider swift.”

“It was all I could afford,” Sera retorted, though she tried to keep her voice even. Work had been slow.

“That’s not my concern, just yours. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear when you came begging.” He leaned forward, filling her field of vision. “If you default on your loan, you’ll pay up in other ways.”

Sera remembered, her stomach churning. He’d pinned her to the wall and yanked up her shirt. “A bit small,” he’d said as he groped her breast, his rancid breath washing over her. Now, his lewd gaze slid over her cleavage.

“I’ll give you more this week,” she replied, straightening in the chair. His eyes flicked up to her face, weighing her words.

“If I have less than €300 in my hand, I’ll consider you to have defaulted.” He looked at his watch. “And if I’m not mistaken, you have work to be doing, mademoiselle.”

Sera rose, swallowing against the bile that threatened. She smoothed her dress, anything to keep her from showing her fear to Royale. “Good night, monsieur.”

She backed from the room. Turning away from Royale always made her uneasy. Though his bulk meant he didn’t move quickly, she didn’t trust him. She pulled the door closed and hurried down the corridor. She could already hear Benoît warming up on the piano and the low tones of Patrice’s cello. She turned the corner and stepped out into the small club, nearly colliding with the bartender as he shifted a case of liquor.

“Sorry, Edouard!”

He smiled at her, the dimple showing in his olive-skinned cheek. “You’re late.” He scolded her gently. She hurried down the three steps and across to the stage, darting around a table full of carousing men. One tried to pinch her buttocks, but missed. Serge, the drummer, held out a hand as she ascended the stage, helping her up.

“It’s our last set,” he said. “Then we can relax. Are you ready?”

“Of course.”

He gave her a look and she squared her shoulders and looked back. “It’s Piaf first, then the Billie Holiday,” she replied. Any doubt in his eyes faded.

“’Le Vagabond‘,” he replied in a low tone. “Let’s wow them—make them glad they tore themselves away from M6’s cop dramas.”

Sera laughed. “Yes, let’s.” She stepped up to the microphone and looked out into the club, pretending that its faded crimson walls were instead the bright gloss of a club in Monte Carlo and the tarnished candelabra were glittering chandeliers.

A smattering of applause accompanied the first few bars of the song. She smiled, mostly to herself. One day it might be Monte Carlo. She wanted to leave this all behind.

THE PARIS GAME now available for Kobo!

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As Sera stepped up to the microphone, she glanced at the band. Benoît gave her a nod and she heard the opening bars of ‘Le Vagabond’.

The first lines came easily and she saw the club’s patrons turn their heads to listen. Even Jean paused in his work, holding a snifter of cognac. Her confidence swelled and she allowed a small smile to hover on her lips between verses, widening as she saw Jeremy Gordon moving from the bar to a better vantage point. Perfect. Near him, Sophie waited her turn for a drink. Sera met Edouard’s gaze across the bar and knew he’d spotted her as well. She watched them until the song finished and she had to turn her attention back to the band.

Benoît had chosen a song by Dietrich for their next piece, one of her favourites. It seemed appropriate to sing about falling in love again as she watched Sophie hover by the bar with her drink, Edouard speaking to her every time he had a lull in his work. Satisfied, she let her gaze wander.

The flicker of a cigarette lighter in the gloom caught her eye. It flickered again and held, illuminating the face of a man she hadn’t seen in weeks. Marc Perron lit his cigarette and his features faded back into the shadows. Not that she needed bright sunlight.

He would be elegantly dressed—a suit, pressed shirts with cufflinks, and depending on his mood, a tie. For all his apparent fastidiousness, he was never a dandy. Even now, moving amongst the crowd to stand at the rail, clear to her gaze, he confidently filled his space. He had a certainty about him, even when they’d first met in that tiny bar years ago. He’d beckoned her over, introduced himself, and had her telling him all her troubles before the night was over. Tonight, he gave her a hungry look that caused her to catch her breath in the midst of the phrase she was singing. She saw that half smile of amusement as he sipped a glass of wine. No one else had noticed her distraction, but he knew.

THE PARIS GAME Release Day!

The Paris Game - Alyssa Linn Palmer It’s release day for the debut novel, THE PARIS GAME, in my new series!

On the darker side of Paris, it’s dangerous to not pay your debts…

A singer in a jazz club past its prime, Sera Durand must come up with thousands of euros to pay back her boss, a ruthless gangster.  A confrontation with her ex, an art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, leads her into a questionable wager, but one that could solve her problems.

Marc Perron knows a winning proposition when he sees one. Seducing a shy young woman of Sera’s acquaintance will be the easiest thing in the world, and the prize, to have Sera in his bed once again, is worth the chance of losing a sizable sum. What he didn’t expect was the depth of Sera’s desperation.

When one of his deals goes awry, Marc’s solution could cost them more than money…

Read an excerpt.

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Buy the trade paperback at:

Buy the ebook at:

Trade paperback purchasers can email Alyssa to receive a free ebook version in the format of their choice.

Praise for The Paris Game:

“The Paris Game is a sexy noir romance–a gritty, thrilling peek between dangerous Parisian sheets.” -Tiffany Reisz, Award-Winning and International Bestselling Author of The Original Sinners series (Mira Books)

“Characters who grab you. A plot that takes hold and won’t let go. Sexy and seductive, “The Paris Game” is modern noir at its best.” -Cathy Pegau, author of Rulebreaker and Caught in Amber (Carina Press)

“Dark, mysterious, sexy. Noir at its best.” -Roxy Boroughs, author of A Stranger’s Touch

“‘The Paris Game’, the first book in Alyssa Linn Palmer’s ‘Le Chat Rouge’ series, strikes a delicate balance between erotica and intrigue. … On the whole, ‘The Paris Game’ marks an exciting first instalment in a series that promises to thrill crime and romance readers – and those looking for some escapism in la ville lumière.” Ma Vie Française (myfrenchlife.org)

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The follow-up to THE PARIS GAME, entitled MOONLIGHT & LOVE SONGS, will be released in Fall 2013, as a part of the Le Chat Rouge series:

Take a walk on the darker side of Paris…

A jazz club on the Left Bank, Le Chat Rouge seems stuck in another era. Neglect and crime have left their mark, but the club is a haven for the desperate. Sometimes a singer whose talent is worthy of the world’s greatest stages, or a patron who has wealth to spare, find their way to its smoky interior.

Gangsters, drug dealers, con artists…many occupy Le Chat Rouge’s worn velvet banquettes and tread its creaking parquet floors, but all submit to Royale. The ruthless owner demands loyalty and few earn his favour. Those who do are as brutal as he is, and those who defy him might very well risk their lives.

It’s a dangerous place, but fortune awaits the most daring.

Review of THE PARIS GAME from Ma Vie Française + Win a Paperback!

The lovely folks at francophile site Ma Vie Française have reviewed The Paris Game! And, in conjunction with the review, there is a contest. Sign up to the site and comment on the post, and you could win a paperback of THE PARIS GAME.

‘The Paris Game’, the first book in Alyssa Linn Palmer’s ‘Le Chat Rouge’ series, strikes a delicate balance between erotica and intrigue.

…In some sense, Sera and Marc provide the moral middle ground. In a world where there are debts to be paid, nothing is as clear-cut as it seems. As enigmatic as each other, they’re ruthless in their respective bids to win the wager. And as the stakes get higher, the pace ratchets up.

…For francophiles, much of the book’s pleasure, of course, lies in its setting. Lovers of Paris will trace the protagonists’ steps from Saint-Sulpice to the Pont du Carousel to the Montparnasse Cemetery. And when wide-eyed art history student Sophie is filled with wonder upon discovering Shakespeare & Co. for the first time, we know that feeling exactly!

The contest runs until June 21st, so get your comments in soon!

Cover Reveal: The Paris Game

I’ve been sitting on this for a little while, waiting until I returned from my trip. But now, I’m pleased to be able to show off the cover for my upcoming release, The Paris Game! It is the first in a new series, and I’ll be releasing a second book later this year.

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On the darker side of Paris, it’s dangerous to not pay your debts…

A singer in a jazz club past its prime, Sera Durand must come up with thousands of euros to pay back her boss, a ruthless gangster.  A confrontation with her ex, an art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, leads her into a questionable wager, but one that could solve her problems.

Marc Perron knows a winning proposition when he sees one. Seducing a shy young woman of Sera’s acquaintance will be the easiest thing in the world, and the prize, to have Sera in his bed once again, is worth the chance of losing a sizable sum. What he didn’t expect was the depth of Sera’s desperation.

When one of his deals goes awry, Marc’s solution could cost them more than money…

The Paris Game - Alyssa Linn Palmer