French Ghost by Corinne LaBalme

Ghost-writer Melody Layne is stranded in Paris when the over-sexed but unloved French movie star who hired her to produce his memoir accidentally drowns before the interviews begin. It's a major financial relief when his enigmatic Spanish son re-hires her, but the seductive Carlos Ortega is strangely silent about his reasons for funding a feel-good bio about a father that he clearly despised. There's enough amour in the air for Melody to ignore this apparent paradox… at least until she uncovers a hidden cache of death threats addressed to the actor. For the French police, the sexy, secretive Spaniard – and sole heir to the actor's immense fortune – is suddenly a prime murder suspect. Can Melody's research into the Ghosts of Carlos-Past be enough to save her lover from prison?



First meeting with Carlos:

“You never met him?” His eyes brightened and the 100,000-volt smile that followed was totally worth waiting for.  “Naturally, I assumed … but if you never met my father, you’re a very lucky woman.”

“Well, actually, I –”

His cell phone chimed but he ignored it. “Please tell me about this book. Who have you interviewed so far?”

“No one.”

He raised an eyebrow quizzically. “Who were you planning to interview?

“No one.”

¿Estas loca?” The smile disappeared and he pushed his chair back defensively, as if my brand of crazy might be contagious. “You intended to write an entire biography about a public figure without doing any research at all?”

“It wasn't a biography, it was a” I tried to keep the testiness out of my voice.  It didn’t help that I agreed with him. Perfectly innocent trees would have perished for a hard-cover manifesto that portrayed Charles-Henri Banville as a non-toxic lifeform

“A book that tells everything from his point of view? Everything he did? Everything he did to other people?” My host shook his head. “That's not what I need.”

“That’s all there was in the contract.”

“Your contract, if I understand correctly, was taking the lies that man told as the truth? If I knew another writer...” He paused. “Unfortunately, time is short. My lawyers will draw up the new contract and send it to you.”

He didn’t ask me if I wanted the job but since I did, I saw no reason to make a fuss.  He reached for the bill just as I slapped my voice recorder down on the table.

“You want research?” I asked. “Let's get started.”

Available on

Amazon ~~ Goodreads

About the Author

My first jobs after college (incredibly useful art history degree) were in the New York fashion industry (modeling, working for designers). When I gave up on my Greenwich Village walk-up (after realizing that I couldn’t bear to smoosh the cockroaches in my shower because they were a ‘family’), I cut out to Paris where I became Fashion Editor for the English language magazine PASSION.

I subsequently wrote and edited the gourmet destination guide LA BELLE FRANCE for fifteen years while freelancing for the NEW YORK TIMES Travel section, various in-flight magazines, and guide books (GAULT MILLAU, VIRGIN, ZAGAT). From 2011 – 2012, I wrote screenplays for the PBS travel series CUISINE CULTURE.

The cinema figures in FRENCH GHOST are loosely based on stars I’ve interviewed (and been groped by); the restaurateurs in Book 2 (FRENCH TOAST) are drawn from the lovely, often impractical, chefs I met through LA BELLE FRANCE.

I suspect that Book 3 will toss Melody Layne into the cut-throat Paris fashion scene. May the Gods of Ghosting have mercy on her soul…

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