Discretion by Karina Halle
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Discretion, a full-length contemporary standalone romance by Karina Halle.
The Riviera means indulgence—if you’ve got money. For Sadie Reynolds, a down-on-her-luck student, the Riviera means dingy hostels and back streets. When a wrong turn puts her in jeopardy, the last thing she expects is to be saved by the most handsome stranger she’s ever locked eyes with. When she later wakes up in a luxury suite with a Mediterranean view, she’s in the tender care of her rescuer: Olivier Dumont, France’s most eligible bachelor, billionaire hotelier, and heir to the Dumont fashion fortune.
Olivier also owns his reputation for scandal. But Sadie is unlike any woman he’s ever met. Her humble persona and wild innocence promise real passion. He’s promising Sadie something too: anything she wants. From Bordeaux to Cannes to Paris, Sadie’s past in America is swept away and replaced with a fantasy too good to be true.
Pulled into Olivier’s orbit of wealth, glamour, and excess, Sadie discovers that the Dumont dynasty comes with a legacy of wicked secrets. And Olivier’s secrets may be the most damning of all…
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“Care to go for a swim?” Olivier asks, his tie now loose, his hands deftly unbuttoning his shirt.
“Um,” I manage to say feebly, “I don’t have a bathing suit.”
“Go in your underwear.”
“I’m not wearing a bra.” He smirks. “I’ve noticed.” Then he shrugs off his jacket and shirt until he’s topless.
Even in the dim light, he’s a sight to behold. Wide, firm chest, rigid abs, those lickable Vs on the side of his hips—all wrapped up in a smooth golden package.
Speaking of package, now his fingers are undoing his belt, and I’m not sure I’m ready for what’s next.
“I’m going in,” he tells me. “You’re free to join me. I highly advise a dip in the Mediterranean. The sea salt here is good for your soul.”
I’ll tell you what else is good for the soul: watching Olivier Dumont take off his clothes, that’s what. The sound as he undoes his zipper is so loud it seems to bounce off the waves.
I quickly avert my eyes, even though the temptation to stare is overwhelming, and then he moves into my vision: his perfect shoulders, back, and, yes, one hell of an ass, all lit by the soft moonlight.
He stops just at the stern of the ship, climbs over the railing, and with one quick smile back at me over his shoulder, swan-dives naked into the sea with barely a splash.
I get up and scramble over as quickly as I can with my ankle and peer over the side.
He’s swimming and grinning up at me, his wet hair pushed off his face. But that’s not the only thing that’s taking my breath away.
The water around him is lit up, like the moon’s glow has saturated it. The light continues out from around him along the dark waves, like cool white trails snaking through the sea.
“It’s called une mer de lait,” he says. “The sea of milk. It’s bioluminescence from a type of Mollusca.”
“It’s magical,” I say breathlessly, trying to soak it all in. “We have something like this in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s more blue and green. This is like . . . you’re swimming in the Milky Way.”
“Doesn’t it make you want to jump in?”
It does. And so does the fact that he’s so effortlessly bobbing in the waves.
“Is it safe?”
“Very much so.”
I think about it for a minute. “What about my ankle?”
“You can use the steps and platform at the back, just there. Unwrap your ankle so the bandage doesn’t get wet, and we’ll put it back on you after.”
“And my lack of bathing suit?”
“I just went in naked.”
“I didn’t see anything,” I tell him quickly.
“No? That’s a shame. It was the whole point.”
I smile, feeling extremely giddy all of a sudden, like everything inside me is fired up and ready to go. Fuck yes, I’m going in.
“Okay,” I tell him, walking around to the back, where there’s a step leading down to a wide wooden swimming platform. I sit down on the step and start unwrapping my ankle. “But you have to turn around when this dress comes off.”
“You do know by now that most women in France swim and sunbathe topless anyway?”
“And you know by now that I am not a Frenchwoman, nor am I most women,” I tell him, pulling the rest of the bandage off and setting it aside before easing up to my feet. “Okay, turn around now.”
He sighs but pivots in the water so he’s facing the shore. I quickly reach down and slip off my underwear, not wanting to get them wet, then unzip my dress and pull it over my head. I toss it back on the deck and look to see if he’s peeking.
To his credit, he’s not, but he is letting out a sly whistle of sorts as if he might have been earlier.
“You better not have seen anything,” I warn him as I hobble over to the edge.
“My imagination is pretty good at filling in the blanks,” he says, and I can hear the grin on his face. “Though I have no doubt it won’t do it justice for when I see the real thing.”
“When?” I repeat with a dry laugh, but inside a million fireworks are going off.
Time to take the literal plunge.
There’s nothing as nerve-racking as the moment before you’re about to jump, when something goes from a concept that you’ve talked about and considered to a real, actual thing. It’s scary. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking your first trip overseas or jumping into the Mediterranean Sea at night. The abstract becomes your reality, and it’s happening.
So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and jump.
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
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