Frederic Lafontaine: Billionaire by birth, art history expert by trade, he lives in the most romantic city in the world. Sadly, this lover of visual beauty is being robbed of his eyesight. Scarred by his parents’ co-dependent relationship, and afraid he’ll make the same mistakes, he’s determined to keep the world at arm’s length.
Motto: better to live alone than hurt the ones you love.
Problem: His housekeeper is damn hard to keep at arm’s length.
“Frederic winced as he peeled the wet shirt from his body. Not because the liquid stung his skin, although it did, but because he was appalled at his behavior. Yelling at his housekeeper that way. Like a child throwing a tantrum. Didn’t he swear he would never be that way? Become one of those angry invalids who took their bad moods out on others? Yet the first time he spills a drink, he lashes out. Embarrassment was no excuse.
What did he expect, falling asleep in the salon like that? It was the last glass of Bordeaux. Knowing the way alcohol went to his head and made him overly pensive, he never should have indulged. Last night found him sitting for hours, watching the tower’s twinkling lights, his mind a sea of morose thoughts.
The dampness from his shirt found its way to his palms. Resisting the urge to hurl the garment across the room, he draped it on top of the duvet for Piper to find later. He stripped off the rest of his tuxedo as well, making sure he returned the suit and his shoes to their assigned places in the closet. Oh, but for those days when undressing meant toeing off your shoes wherever you stood and tossing your clothes in a heap.
Obviously, last night’s moroseness hadn’t subsided. Why else would he be bemoaning a past that he couldn’t get back? After all, he’d come to terms with his failing eyesight long before it started to steal his peripheral vision. From the moment the doctors first told him his retina was degenerating, in fact. He knew full well that one day the tunnel through which he viewed the world would close completely, leaving him blind. He’d accepted his fate and framed his life in anticipation. And when the time came, he would shoulder the burden alone, the way a person should. He wouldn’t drag others down with him. A promise that, until this morning, he’d done a very good job of keeping.
“He owed his housekeeper a very large apology.”
Excerpt From: “Beauty & Her Billionaire Boss.”