Love in Vogue
When her tycoon father suddenly dies, Corinne Marchand throws herself into running his couture empire based in Paris. Having been abandoned by her playboy lover Philippe de Rochmort three years earlier, she’s also mistrustful of men and convinced that she is better off alone – so when she meets attractive merchant banker Miles Corsley, she refuses to give him the time of day, let alone a date.
Corinne's younger sister, model Yolande, has loved Philippe’s brother Yves all her life, and they are to be married – but after meeting bad boy film star Patrick Dubuisson she breaks off her engagement and embarks on a passionate affair in Hollywood.
When Philippe finally returns to France and shocking secrets are revealed, Corinne has to decide if she will trust Miles with more than her money as they battle to save her company from a hostile takeover – while Yolande learns the hard way that Hollywood glamour doesn't always bring happiness.
Paris is the city of love, but will it ever be in vogue for the Marchand girls again?
Eve Bourton was born in central London, where she still lives most of the time. She read English with French and Italian at University College London and has always been passionate about fiction, having studied the early development of the novel for her thesis. She wrote two novels while still at university, but got sidetracked by historical non-fiction, screen-writing and life in general. Life in general has taken her from corporate offices in the City to managing the family farm in the West Country with various jobs in-between, but she has never stopped writing since she was a teenager. There are still so many stories to tell...
‘God, I feel sick.’
Corinne Marchand’s dark eyes dimmed with pain. It was too hot. So horribly oppressive. Mid July, and despite the air-conditioning she was sweltering in a black linen suit in the executive bathroom at her father’s office, making last-minute touches to her make-up.
‘So do I.’ But Yolande, standing beside her, still looked infuriatingly cool even at this moment of crisis. ‘You’re smudging your mascara. Let me.’
Corinne obediently stood still while her younger sister skilfully repaired the damage. Her stomach had been invaded by a squadron of butterflies, her hands wanted to shake. But she had her speech ready. In her head. Word perfect. She was here to fight. And she was going to win.
‘What if they vote against me?’
‘But everybody expects Georges to take over.’
‘Why? Papa certainly didn’t want him to, and he doesn’t even want it himself.’
‘What about you? You’re perfectly entitled to stand against me.’
‘Oh, Corinne, really …’
And they both had to grin. As if. Yolande had never been interested in anything other than modelling and enjoying herself in Parisian night spots where Corinne always felt out of place.
‘Had to read you your rights, petite fleur.’
Yolande smiled sadly. That had been their father’s endearment for her. ‘Yeah, I know. But no thanks. Oh, I miss him so much.’ She turned into her sister’s arms, clung on, choked back the tears.
‘Me too. Me too.’ Corinne held her close, struggled to keep her control. ‘Don’t start me off. I’ll look like a complete Goth if this mascara runs again. We’re already late.’
It was quite a change after the high-rise steel and glass of the bank’s office on London Wall – a boardroom in exquisite Second Empire style, with all the gilt and glamour befitting the headquarters of a major fashion house on the chic Avenue Montaigne. Miles Corsley was at last beginning to enjoy his secondment to Paris. He briefly checked his tie in one of the huge mirrors and laid out his papers on the polished walnut table, tuning his ear in to the various conversations in French going on around him. There was Marchand Enterprises’ finance director, Georges Maury, a well-built man with thinning grey hair combed back neatly from his forehead, in ponderous discussion with a sharp-featured junior: business school clones. Then a couple of leisured looking gentlemen, more interested in their golf handicaps than the fact that they were here to vote on the future of one of France’s most prestigious companies. Non-executive directors up from the provinces, Miles guessed. Probably from Burgundy, where the late Jean-Claude Marchand had started his business empire as producer of one of the finest wines on the Côte d’Or before branching out into exclusive cosmetics and fashion.
Miles had met the legendary Jean-Claude only once, four weeks previously, and had been almost knocked out by his sheer zest for life. He was every inch the tycoon – tough, shrewd, and charming, with penetrating green eyes and a sharp wit. That he had found time in his crowded diary to try to lick a young banker from London into shape was a tribute to both his generosity and his energy. And, Miles was sure his Uncle Rupert would say, to his incurable optimism. Now he was dead. It was a sharp reminder that one should always seize the day.
An impeccably dressed young man with a shock of black hair was pacing the other side of the room. That had to be Yves de Rochemort, one of the major shareholders. Miles noted his height because it was unusual for him to meet a Frenchman at the same eye-level as his own six feet two inches. He was a baron, if Miles remembered correctly, though of course the title was of no account in the FrenchRepublic except in certain circles where the old nobility still concerned themselves with such things. He kept looking anxiously at the panelled double doors.
Clearly the Marchand sisters were unused to business, and didn’t realise they should have been here fifteen minutes ago. They probably wouldn’t stay long. All Miles had heard was that their late father had been wildly indulgent and that the youngest, Yolande, who intermittently pursued a modelling career at Hervy, the ailing couture house he had rescued from oblivion a few years before, filled the gossip columns with her escapades. Twenty-nine-year-old Corinne was something of a mystery. An airhead like her sister, his colleague James had said, but without the looks. She worked for her father in some senior role, but seemed very good at keeping herself out of the limelight. No, they would be gone quickly. Georges Maury was sure to become the new managing director, and then Miles could have a long hard chat with him about the huge sums that Marchand owed Corsley First European Bank.
The boardroom doors swung open. So the Marchand sisters had finally decided to show up. Miles glanced up perfunctorily; and was sure he heard the thud as his jaw hit the floor. The taller of the two had the grace of a dancer and a beauty that was searing and vital – tumbling chestnut hair, luminous green eyes under arched brows, high cheekbones, full mouth, and a surprisingly firm chin. Aristocrat and sex goddess all in one. He wouldn’t have believed her to be real if she hadn’t cast him a curious half-smile as her eyes swept the room. Obviously used to making an entrance, he thought. And bloody terrifying; the sort of girl who could eat a man for breakfast and two more for lunch and dinner. That had to be Yolande. He would have recognised her anyway by the strong resemblance to her father. Yves de Rochemort bounded over to her and circled her waist with his arm, then kissed her lips. He escorted her to a seat, while Georges Maury went over to Corinne. After the formal cheek-kissing, he gave her an affectionate hug.
Miles watched in growing appreciation as Corinne was led to the head of the table. James needed to get his sight tested. Though her looks were more reticent, she was every bit as easy on the eye as her sister. Curvier, but still slender, her legs and hips were swathed elegantly in black. She wore a pale pink silk blouse and minimal jewellery. Dark hair was swept back from a classic face, with the same arched brows, high cheekbones, and uncompromising chin as Yolande. He realised that smouldering black eyes were trained on him warily but he just stared back. Couldn’t help it. A man could drown in molten eyes like that. And when he caught the spicy notes of her perfume, he felt as though he’d been punched in the gut.