The City of Lights sets the stage for romance, drama and intrigue in the latest Confessions novel from the world's bestselling mystery writer!
After investigating multiple homicides and her family's decades-old skeletons in the closet, Tandy Angel is finally reunited with her lost love in Paris. But as he grows increasingly distant, Tandy is confronted with disturbing questions about him, as well as what really happened to her long-dead sister. With no way to tell anymore who in her life she can trust, how will Tandy ever get to the bottom of the countless secrets her parents kept from her? James Patterson leads this brilliant teenage detective through Paris on a trail of lies years in the making, with shocking revelations around every corner.
THE BEST OF TIMES. THE WORST OF TIMES.
Walking hand in hand with James was like being wide-awake inside the most delicious of dreams.
He had a mischievous look on his face as he led me across the Pont des Arts, a footbridge that arched gracefully over the Seine. A low chain-link fence lined the walk, and it was festooned with padlocks—thousands of them.
James said, “Look what I have, Tandoori.”
I watched eagerly as he took something out of his jacket pocket. It was an old brass padlock, as worn and dinged up as our journey to this moment. James handed the lock to me, and when I turned it over, I saw our initials etched into the back.
James did that.
I looked up at his face. His cheeks were colored with emotion, and I understood why he had brought me here. With a shaking hand, I hooked the lock into the fence between other locks that had been placed there by lovers over the years. When I closed the hasp, it made a solid and permanent sound.
James separated two keys from a ring. He gave one to me and clenched his fist around the other.
“We have to do this together,” he said.
I followed his lead but turned to face him. Then he said, “On the count of three.”
We smiled at each other as we counted down. At three, we heaved the little keys over each other’s shoulders, beyond the sides of the bridge. They disappeared into the rushing water far below.
The moment was both joyous and solemn, as if we were taking vows that could never be broken: James Rampling and Tandy Angel together in perpetuity. Tears welled up, but I didn’t want them. No more tears. I’d already shed enough tears for a sixteen-year-old girl.
James squeezed my hand, and I saw tears in his eyes, too.
It just couldn’t get better than this—but it did.
We wandered the city for hours, just reveling in the happiness of finally being together and carefully avoiding any negative talk that could kill our buzz. When the sky turned cobalt blue, we dined alfresco on steak frites and café au lait at the Café du Trocadero. From our tiny marble table under the awnings, we had a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower, which sparkled madly with silver lights.
Our knees touched and our feelings arced between us like lightning.
“I wrote to you,” James said. “When you didn’t write back, I thought you blamed me for what happened. I thought you hated me.”
Of course, I hadn’t known that James had written to me. At the time, I didn’t even remember his name.
I told him what had happened to me since I’d last seen him: about my horrid abduction and wretched incarceration in a high-class nuthouse, the treatments that had erased him from my mind. And I told him about my parents’ savage deaths. They had done everything they could to keep James and me apart, but that obstacle was gone now.
“I didn’t know you had written to me until I found your cards in my mother’s desk.”
He covered my hands with both of his and told me about his own lockdown in a superstrict Swiss school without phones or Internet.
“My father, your parents. They did what they could to keep us apart. But this was meant to be,” he said.
We left the bistro and went underground to the Métro, getting off at the St-Paul stop. We walked under warmly illuminated arches and came upon musicians playing cello and violin under the stars.
James dropped coins into the musicians’ cup, and they called after us, “Merci, monsieur et mademoiselle. Bonne chance.”
Yes, it was phenomenal good luck that James and I were together at last.
The next thing I knew, we stood at the entrance to a small, run-down-looking hotel called the Grand Hôtel Voltaire. The brass appointments were tarnished. The stone threshold was worn down from the millions of footsteps that had crossed it through the centuries. It was a one-star hotel, but I thought it was perfectly poetic and completely romantic.
James looked into my eyes.
And he held open the front door.
Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson