A story of the des Quatre-Frères Brothers
Created by C.J. Elliott ©
Characters used with permission
by Denysé Bridger
When she had first received the friend request on good old Facebook, she’d wondered what was going on – for about a minute – then she’d spotted several more just like it. So, fictional characters with their own Facebook profiles – what a great promo concept! She’d decided she was in, she was an author, too – she knew how hard it was to hook a reader, and this looked like fun! It didn’t take long before one of the fictional heroes, Rémy, stood apart from the others, and the banter began to take on the tone of a love affair building. So much so, in fact, that friends began to ask about her and the guy named Rémy. Strangely, he was hers in the moments that they played the game to promote her friend’s series of books. It’s probably why the whole thing was so effective, the eerie kind of connection that had been forged was playful, but also romantic.
As the weeks passed, the love affair became a source of curiosity, and laughter, and decidedly priceless promotion. It wasn’t until an evening on Facebook that was filled with joking that led to conversation about a party, Mexico, tattoos, and tequila that she really began to wonder about the whole thing. All the Brothers, the des Quatre-Frères, had distinct and strong voices. She’d given credit for that to her talented friend. Each brother, Rémy, Matéo, Sébastien, and Aimé – all with skills, personality, and unique charm that felt much too real sometimes. It wasn’t hard to fall a little bit in love with the fantasy of it all, and even easier to understand why others had questions.
When the invitation arrived in the mail one day, she thought for sure it had to be another promo plan. It was an invitation… to a private party being held at a lovely place called Sommet Bleu. She figured CJ was really playing the promo up in a big way, so she RSVP’d and said she’d be there the following week, as requested.
* * *
Sommet Bleu was a resort in the middle of a wilderness she discovered days later when she arrived at the place. CJ met her at the door, her smile wide and happy.
“Everyone’s been waiting to meet you,” she said after a huge hug and happy giggles were exchanged.
“You’ll see,” was the mysterious reply. “Reese has been anxious to talk to you, too.”
She did a double-take, but CJ was already halfway across the room and someone who looked distinctly like a security officer was looking over her invitation, and issuing orders that her small bag be taken to a room in the guest quarters.
This was one hell of an elaborate promotional gimmick!
Twenty minutes later, she’d changed clothes and was being escorted to the afternoon party. Her jaw dropped when she saw the familiar faces of characters from CJ’s books, all of them were mingling with assorted guests. The images from Facebook were living, breathing, and present. Actors, of course, but it was still incredible.
Something tingled at the base of her skull when she spotted the laughing, dark-haired man with his back to her. The lurch of her stomach and the surge of her pulse was disconcerting. Rémy. It had to be him.
As if he’d heard her, he turned around and the second recognition was even more shocking as she gazed into his eyes for the first time. Those eyes had reached out to her from an image on a computer screen, and she’d felt a real presence whispering to her spirit, touching her across a world that wasn’t real. Looking at him now, she felt the pull magnified to almost unbearable intensity. He put his drink on a table and walked toward her, every motion graceful and sure. He moved like a predator, yet everything about him screamed reassurance to her.
Rémy was tall, his dark hair short and stylish, but slightly ruffled and wild looking. Broad shoulders pulled at the smooth material of his white shirt, and her look dropped to the gleaming buckle of his belt when sunlight glinted off it. She finished the fleeting appraisal, suddenly far too conscious of the long, lean length of his legs, encased in dark jeans, and the polished black boots that completed his simple but elegant attire.
“You are even more beautiful in person, mon amour,” he said when he stood in front of her and took her hands in his.
Her head jerked up and she stared, unable to do more even while her brain raged at her imbecilic behaviour.
“What am I supposed to call you?” Her voice was strained, and the shaking inside her was notching up to earthquake intensity.
“What you always call me,” he replied with a wink.
“Your real name?” She pressed, eyes narrowing as he stopped and peered intently at her.
She sighed and looked around, trying to locate CJ in the midst of this madness.
“Our Authoress is busy with other guests,” he informed her. “Would you like to meet my brothers?”
Dazed, she mumbled what must have been agreement and followed him, enchanted far more than she should have been by his presence. Was it possible that she’d fallen into this game so deeply that she was imagining herself in love with the man who had given Rémy his face. It was CJ who did the Facebook stuff, they coordinated and played it for all it was worth, and it was generating sales and forging friendships that would last long after the series of stories was done and out there for readers.
She met them all. Sébastien was cool and courteous. Aimé’s welcome was warmer, and gentler in tone somehow. She felt a ripple of power brush over her when Matéo’s shrewd, sharp eyes measured her for a few indeterminate minutes before he embraced her – no, she amended silently, before he accepted her presence.
For the next few hours she mingled with fascinating people, but none as alluring as Rémy, who never left her side, flirted outrageously as they did on the website, and was as attentive as any man in love. If any of it had been real, she would have adored him… But none of it was, they were actors playing roles, however elaborate the game was. She needed to remember that!
The day slowly retreated, giving way to the persistent, encroaching darkness. Under the thickening cloak of night a glowing moon rose to kiss everything with silvery frost. Rémy was at her side moments after Matéo, his bride Reese, and the rest of the family had all said goodnight and drifted back into the spacious confines of Sommet Bleu.
“Would you like me to walk you to your room, ma belle?”
“You can stop the act now,” she told him. “There’s no one else here.”
He frowned slightly, but made no verbal response. He put his arm around her and led her inside, every step sure and straight, despite the lack of light. She wanted to turn into him and let his very essence fill her veins, the way she knew “Rémy des Quatre-Frères” could fill the void in her soul if he’d been real…
They were at the door of her room and he turned her to face him.
“Tell me to go, or I will stay,” he whispered, his voice tainted with something mildly warning in tone. “I promised CJ that I would let this be your choice.”
“What?” She was utterly confused now. “You’re an actor playing a role. Don’t get carried away!” His mouth set in an angry line and something dangerous flared in his dazzling blue eyes.
“Was it you on the pages of Facebook, or was it CJ?”
“Who do you think it was?” he challenged.
He eyed her, weighed his reply, then simply nodded.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
He glanced over her shoulder. “Let’s talk inside, security is everywhere because of the wedding parties.”
She stared stupidly for a moment, then shrugged and walked into the bedroom ahead of him.
She sat on the edge of the bed, and he kept his distance, watching her closely. After several minutes passed in silence, she dragged in a shaky breath. She was in a bedroom in a place named after a fictional estate, face to face with a character from a series of books… Face to face with someone whose name was a mystery, but someone she was almost in love with anyway… Clearly she’d entered the Twilight Zone somewhere between home and here.
“Who are you?” She asked the question with trepidation, her heartbeat roaring wildly in her ears, so loud she was certain he could hear it, too. Blue eyes sparkled with the familiar mischief she’d come to expect from him.
“I think you know, ma belle.”
“I know you’re CJ’s actor friend, the face of Rémy des Quatre-Frères, but I’d like to know who you really are,” she replied.
“What does your heart tell you?”
Dear God, he didn’t really want to know that, did he?
His brilliant blue eyes seemed to grow more intense with each pounding pulse of her heart, and she was mesmerized by him, just as she’d been all day. The air around them felt like it was mutating and sizzling with undeniable desire and something wildly exciting.
“My name is Rémy des Quatre-Frères,” he said, his soft, textured voice a rasp of sound that poured over her raw nerve-endings. “And you have been mine forever…” His voice grew deeper and ended on a growl.
She stared it disbelief as he took a step toward the bed and leapt… the air shimmered with a million glittering shards of ice and diamonds… when the waterfall of miniature stars fell away she stared into azure eyes that were even bluer than a moment before – and the weight of the magnificent black wolf rocked the bed as he settled next to her, his gaze never leaving her…