The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart
written by Jessica Ashley Dafoe
published by Friesen Press
About the book: Successful, lucky in love, taking the world by storm?…..not quite. Portia Delaney is down on her luck, disgruntled in a dead end, mind- numbing career with little prospects and is not even close to finding a stimulating romance to take her mind off her lack-luster situation. Her defeatist attitude and unmistakable idiosyncrasies don’t help much either.
But with rock bottom comes a choice, lie down and enjoy the cold and barren ground beneath, or climb that ladder of success to the top. Portia finally sets out to do just that. With a fantastic group of friends and a bit of fateful circumstance on her side, she begins her trek up and out of the despair filled trenches. But Portia soon finds out that with success, often comes hardships and unwelcome competition.
The venue is sparkling with what appears to be waterfalls of white twinkle lights, cascading from all sides. As I peer up through the triangular shaped glass roof, dusk is setting in and the faint appearance of stars in the sky are peeking through to become the natural back drop of this fateful event. Suddenly Michele Gagnon catches my eye. He is no longer the scruffy character I met yesterday; he has traded in his t-shirt and ripped jeans for a three piece suit with coat tails and a top hat to suit. My matching 18th century inspired ensemble and his choice of wear settles my nerves because it is clear that this night is truly meant to be. We are a dynamic duo, prepared to take on the cat walk.
Gagnon takes notice of me and swiftly walks towards me, his arms outstretched as he approaches. “Portia! You are perfection; a true complement to my collection and the season.” He wraps me in his affectionate embrace and I can’t help wanting to pat myself on the back for taking the time to learn about his new line. “Come, come. I will show you around the location and then we will begin to make the most magnificent show. You will be my behind-the-scenes-star.”
We amble through the venue where I see all the stark white seats set in stringent rows, so orderly and perfect awaiting Paris’ who’s who of fashion. My stomach does a little flip and I take a deep breath to inhale the calmness of the space at this moment. We continue through to the backstage area and I am completely taken aback by the scene. “Calmness” is definitely not the word to describe it. Models are scurrying all over the place, half dressed with rollers in their hair. Hair and makeup stylists are applying powder and hairspray with such thoroughness that there is a cloud caused by the mixture of beautifying products hovering over the whole area.
At this moment I see only female models and begin to wonder at what point I will be able to see Guillaume.
I am quickly thrust out of this train of thought as Michele takes my hand and rushes me into a curtained off area, just next to the runway. An overwhelming sensation at what I behold consumes me. Before me stands what I would equate to be on par with the holy grail of a runway stylist’s career. Three full walls of the most lavish jewelry are glimmering and shimmering like the stars above. Diamonds, emeralds and pearls as far as the eye can see; gold, brushed silver, rose gold, and every type of additional gem stone one could possibly fathom embedded in the necklaces, bracelets and rings from which I will be selecting. This is a dream; I’m living a truly magnificent dream. I casually turn to Michele and say “It will do. I can work with this.”
About the author: Jessica Ashley Dafoe resides in Toronto where she is an educator by day and a literary enthusiast and writer by night. She attained her BA in English Literature at The University of Ottawa and her B Ed at Brock and Queen’s University.
When Jessica does not have her nose in a book or is not scribbling out her ideas for her newest tantalizing tales, she’s most likely keeping busy trying out various exciting activities and delicious cuisine that the great city of Toronto has to offer or planning her next getaway to her immediate destination of choice. The travelling bug bites her often.
A romantic comedy addict to the core, she enjoys all things silly, frivolous and emotionally endearing which is the reason she writes stories that encompass all of these qualities.