American Lola Laforet was swept away in a whirlwind wedding and found herself the chef/owner of the Hotel Riviera. Her life seemed to be a dream come true. But then her husband Patrick disappeared one day with nothing more than a wave goodbye.Six months later, Jack Farrar, an American ex-pat living on his boat, drops anchor in Lola's harbor and teaches her the true meaning of attraction. When various shady people-all claiming ownership of the Hotel Riviera-and the police appear, Lola and Jack have to track down the mysterious Patrick. And along the way, they fall in love. With great food, wonderful sensuality, and lush scenery, Elizabeth Adler holds you under her spell and transports you to one of the most romantic places on earth.
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St. Martin's Press
August 31, 2003
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Excerpt from The Hotel Riviera by Elizabeth Adler
IT WAS LATE SEPTEMBER WHEN I FIRST MET JACK FARRAR, ON one of those balmy, soft-breezed south-of-France evenings that hinted summer was finally over. And though I didn't yet know it, it was a meeting that would effect great changes in my life.
My name is Lola Laforýt -- and yes, I know you're thinking I must be a stripper. Everybody thinks that. Actually, what I am is chef and patronne of the Hotel Riviera, and I used to be the much more normal Lola March from California before I married "the Frenchman." But that's a long story.
It's been six years since I welcomed my first guests to the Hotel Riviera, though "hotel" is far too grand a title for this old villa. It's a casual sand-between-the-toes, cool-tile-floors kind of place. There are just eight rooms, each with tall French windows opening onto a terrace spilling over with bougainvillea and night-scented jasmine. You'll find it on a spit of pine-covered land off the Ramatuelle road near Saint-Tropez, down a long sandy lane shaded with umbrella pines and alive with the chirruping of cigales. We have our own little private beach here with sand as pale as platinum and soft as sugar, and in summer it's dotted with marine-blue umbrellas and sunny-yellow loungers, and the golden-tan bodies of our guests. Small children run in and out of the lacy wavelets while grown-ups sip iced drinks in the shade. And in the heat of the afternoon they retreat to their shuttered rooms to nap, or to make love on a cool white bed.
Imagine a sunny sea-lapped cove, gift-wrapped in blue and tied with a bow like a Tiffany box, and you'll get the feel of my little hotel. It's a place made for Romance with a capital R. Except for me, its creator.
Somewhere in the process my own Romance withered on the vine. Somehow it was never my "Frenchman," Patrick, and I dining alone on the candlelit terrace with the moon throwing a silver path across the dark water, and champagne fizzing in tall glasses. It was never Patrick holding my hand across the table and gazing into my eyes. Oh no. I was always in the kitchen cooking delicious feasts for lovers who had the romance in their lives I so badly wanted, while my own "lover" took in the delights of summer in Saint-Tropez night-life.