by Sylvie Parizeau
Publication date: October 22nd 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
LIAM O’SHEA, bestseller author of the SciFi saga, Eiloe.
All I knew was pain – a childhood filled with cruelty and villains who used and abused.
I first heard her sweet, angelical voice in the dark of night, when I lay bathed in my own impending death. Seventeen years later, it’s not the nightmare she pulled me out of that haunts me, but the glimpse of Happily Ever After she revealed just before disappearing.
They said she was a figment of my boundless imagination. A wish. A dream. Until I had no choice but to believe them, cherishing my imaginary savior the only way I knew how – in fiction and lore.
But fantasy has a way of transforming reality. When I finally tire of being a citizen of the world, I take an impromptu sabbatical as a professor at a small college on the coast of Maine. And there I see her, the girl with the sea-green eyes and angelic voice.
My world turns upside down. Turns out my girl is for real, and the pull between us is anything but imaginary.
Happily Ever After has a story … and this one is mine.
Monday morning, I feel like death warmed over, and probably look like it too, as I unlock the lecture hall and students start filing in. Some in far worse shape than I am, which is to be expected for seven in the morning on a Monday. Not that it makes me feel any better.
I make my way over to the lectern and shuffle some papers around, trying to appear busy so no one can guess I’m a complete and utter mass of nerves inside.
Logically, I know what a long shot it was, that beautiful girl on the quad on Friday being my Éolie, but I’d hoped. Christ, the pull from the library was just so strong. I tilt my head down and clutch the lectern just remembering it.
That leaves me with a Rose dilemma. Big time.
Fuck. I run one hand down my face.
Wildly attracted to Rose, a student. Madly in love with Éolie, a phantom.
Way to go, man.
A frisson runs up my spine and my entire body stiffens. A familiar feeling ribbons through me—Éolie’s Light—pulsing warm, strong and bright.
“Bloody everlasting hell,” I curse under my breath, running my hands through my hair in frustration.
I cross my arms and stare hard at the rows upon rows of students. If there’s one good thing about the early time slot it’s that everyone keeps quiet. And suddenly, I want nothing more than to begin—so that I can finish up and get the fuck out of here.
I unclench my jaw. Fortunately for me, this isn’t a regular class and there’s no actual teaching, it’s more about honing writing skills in a series of ad libitum projects the students will be challenged with.
“If you’ve read your syllabus, and I’m sure you all did, you know by now that last week was just a warm up for what’s to come, so we’ll dive right in and let the challenges of this extracurricular you signed for begin for real. Today, I’ll put your short story skills to the test. In two thousand words or less, I’d like to read about your most significant childhood memory,” I say.
Goddammit, did I just say childhood? I glance down at my notes. School. I was supposed to say most significant school memory, I grit my teeth.
Might as well admit I’m obsessing here. I forge ahead, and lay down the rules and objectives of today’s writing assignment, my usual inscrutable mask on. “I want to see your creative thought patterns, so you’ll give me handwritten copies by the end of class.”
My gaze lands on a small hoodied figure sitting in the back, and our eyes lock for a fraction of a second. I’m knocked sideways, recognizing their dazzling shade of pale aqua in an instant. I catch my breath, and pray I won’t lose all composure.
Rose. She’s here.
The class gets to work.
I refuse to look again in Rose’s direction. And fail by a mile. To my dismay, my eyes keep straying her way, but she never looks up again. She’s intent on her pen moving over her notebook. She’s bent so low, her expression is obscured, but the translucent color of her eyes is burned into my mind.
I have to see her up close.
The rest of class passes in a blur. Tight jawed, I keep my gaze fixed as much as possible on my laptop screen, but the article I downloaded might as well be written in Swahili. I don’t understand a word of it. All I can think of is Rose. Rose who’ll soon be coming down, turning in her assignment.
A paralegal by day and incurable romantic by night, Sylvie is a cross-genre, and she takes Happily Ever After very seriously. The End just isn’t in her vocabulary.
An incorrigible daydreamer, she now feeds her obsession with epilogues by concocting stories in which heroes deal with the happy from the get-go. Ready, or not. And she confesses under oath to loving every minute of it.
Sylvie lives her own Happily Ever After in the beautiful mountains of Les Laurentides in Northern Quebec, alongside her whole set of characters.
In between treks in their backyard wilderness, you can find them hanging out at www.sylvieparizeau.com