Title: The Man in the Black Suit
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 19th December, 2017
Cover Design: Heather Carrier Designs
PR: Nina Bocci
Acacia Santos excels at her job as concierge at the prestigious Hotel Victoire in Paris. When her superior, Marcel, is attacked in a supposed random mugging, she is tasked with serving one of the hotel’s most mysterious and attractive guests.
Nicholas Cassirer checks into the hotel under an assumed name every three months. Usually, he stays in the penthouse suite with a beautiful female companion but on this occasion, he arrives alone and is displeased in having to deal with someone new. A match of wits ensues as he tests Acacia’s expertise with a series of almost impossible demands. Her intelligence and creativity rise to the challenge, earning his respect.
They strike a tenuous accord until Acacia discovers a famous stolen painting in his suite, she contacts a former boyfriend who works for the elite BRB, a unit of French law enforcement that deals with art thefts.
Nicholas is questioned by police and released when it is revealed the painting is a reproduction. Irked with her behavior, Acacia’s supervisor demotes her threatening dismissal and the cancellation of her work permit.
But Acacia has already attracted Nicholas’s attention. Remorseful that she may lose her job on his account, he offers her a choice – she can wait until her supervisor dismisses her, or she can leave the city of lights behind and become his personal assistant.
Acacia initially refuses his offer, but Nicholas is persistent. He reveals himself as a man who quietly acquires stolen art in order to restore it to its rightful owners. Faced with mounting familial debts and the possibility of dismissal and deportation, she agrees to work for him.
Nicholas opens up a whole new world of beauty and intrigue to Acacia as they travel the globe. Soon the line between employer and assistant is blurred, and the two lonely people embark on a passionate relationship.
Sneak Peek of The Man in the Black Suit
Paris, France ~ Present Day
The man in the black suit exited the limousine in front of the Hotel Victoire on the beautiful Avenue George V, a short distance from the Champs-Élysées.
Dark sunglasses shielded the man’s eyes. He surveyed the area as he buttoned his suit jacket before walking in step with his bodyguard. The man’s cellphone buzzed as he entered the hotel.
He removed his sunglasses and stared at the screen. His footsteps ground to a halt, as did his bodyguard, who stood watch.
The man’s thumb skated across the screen as he scrolled through a series of photographs. His expression darkened. He jabbed a finger at the phone and placed it to his ear.
“Freeze Silke’s accounts and change the locks on her flat.” He spoke in German, his tone low and commanding. “No, don’t notify her. She’s violated the terms of our agreement in the most egregious way possible. She knows what she’s done.”
The man ended his call and continued his walk toward the reservations desk. He moved with the kind of fluidity and command that caused heads to turn—as if he were a professional athlete.
He was very tall with dark hair, large, dark eyes, and a lean, athletic form. With the exception of one glaring deficiency, he would have been termed attractive, even handsome.
Céline, one of the front desk agents, smiled at him widely. “Welcome back to Hotel Victoire, Monsieur Breckman.” She spoke in French, taking care to look straight into his eyes. “We’ve prepared your usual suite.”
The man nodded.
Céline glanced behind him and noted the presence of the large, burly bodyguard. “Will Mademoiselle Rainier be arriving later?”
“Mademoiselle Rainier will not be arriving.” The guest glared. “Strike her name from the reservation.”
He pivoted, and his handmade leather shoes tapped against the marble floor as he crossed to the concierge’s desk. The agent stared after him, stunned.
Settling himself in an ornate chair in front of the concierge’s desk, the man slid his finger across his cellphone screen. “I need to speak with Marcel.”
“I’m sorry, Marcel isn’t in today,” the concierge replied. “My name is Acacia. May I be of service?”
The man lifted his dark eyes to meet hers. He was displeased. “I spoke with Marcel yesterday. He was arranging a meeting.”
“Of course. And your name?”
The man huffed impatiently. “Pierre Breckman.”
The woman turned to her laptop and pressed a few keys, her hazel eyes scanning. “I’m sorry, Monsieur Breckman. There’s nothing in your records about a meeting. Would you like me to reserve one of our salons?”
“No, I would like you to produce Marcel.” He stared at her with mounting hostility.
Acacia’s gaze strayed to the left side of his face.
A long scar curved across his cheek and edged toward his mouth. It was white against his tanned skin and very deep, as if someone had attempted to cleave his face in two. He was an elegant man in all other respects, which made the scar that much more jarring.
His dark eyes narrowed. “Find Marcel. Now.”
Acacia jolted, her hand moving instinctively to the curls at the right side of her face. She gave him a repentant look. “I’m sorry.”
The man leaned forward. “Keep your eyes on my accounts. I’m sure you won’t find them repulsive.”
Acacia glanced over at the bodyguard, who stood at the end of her desk. He was even taller than Monsieur Breckman, standing at six-foot-six and weighing at least two hundred and fifty pounds. His head was shaved, and he had pale blue eyes.
She consulted her laptop. “Marcel booked your usual table at Guy Savoy’s at eight o’clock this evening. Will you be needing a car?”
“No.” The man sat back in his chair. As if in retaliation for her perusal, he shamelessly assessed her intelligent hazel eyes, her tan and flawless skin, and the black, curly hair she wore in a bob. His upper lip curled. “Marcel said he’d be on duty.”
“Yes, monsieur. I was called in to replace him.”
“I’m a member of Les Clefs d’Or.” Her fingers brushed past the jaunty scarf she wore at her throat and touched the gold keys pinned to her lapel. “Marcel is my senior colleague, but I can assist you with whatever you may need.”
“I don’t need your assistance. I need Marcel.” The man tapped his phone with short, staccato motions. When his call connected, it went to voicemail. “He isn’t answering his mobile. Ring him at home.”
“I’m afraid Marcel cannot be reached.” Acacia’s voice was strained. She tried to hide her distress by consulting her computer. “He arranged for champagne and fruit to be delivered to your suite, and he noted your allergy to strawberries. Shall I arrange your usual breakfast for tomorrow morning?”
“I ask you about Marcel and you reply with strawberries.” The guest’s eyebrows snapped together angrily. “Has Marcel left the country?”
Acacia looked up in puzzlement. “No, monsieur.”
“Is he dead?”
“If Marcel hasn’t left the country and he isn’t dead, then why isn’t he here?”
Acacia forced a smile. “Monsieur Breckman, I would be more than happy to—”
The man stood abruptly and returned to the front desk, where he addressed Céline. “Tell the manager to find Marcel and send him to my suite. The concierge on duty seems to have difficulty fulfilling the simplest of requests. I asked for Marcel no less than four times, and she refused to assist me.”
The man strode toward the elevators with his bodyguard, his footsteps echoing angrily through the lobby.
I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.
I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.
I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Charities page.