Colette International Book 1
Meet Louis, the straightest student to ever fall in love with the new boy at school.
If you ask me, I’m a rock star.
Just the right amount of awesome, cute, and only slightly delusional. I attend the best high-school, in Paris no less, I’ve got the coolest best friend, the fiercest girlfriend, and more importantly, I’m absolutely, a hundred percent straight.
So no, Michael, the new British student, with his dark curls and sweet smiles, doesn’t interest me whatsoever.
I’m too busy anyway. I don’t have the time, or the need, to think about him at all. Not his hair, his British accent, or the way he makes me feel at times, when I’m alone and everything morphs into his handsome face…
Did I mention everything’s perfectly fine?
This is not the year I’m going to lose control, and possibly everything that matters to me, just because of one disorienting, unnerving, life-shattering English guy.
In this coming-of-age love story, Louis, a snarky student at an International High-School in Paris will struggle to admit the truth to himself and his loved ones as he wrestles with his sexuality.
Will he find the courage to accept who is he before it's too late?
I Want To Kiss You In Public is a story about love, friendship, truth, and heartbreak, packed with funny dialogue, and comes with its own Spotify Rock Playlist. It contains soft drugs and alcohol consumption as well as cursing.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Cheating, Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Friends to Lovers, Love Triangle
Word Count: 90000
Setting: Paris, France
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“What is this even about?” Tony says, whining.
Two weeks after Paquin gave us the assignment, Tony and I are spread over two tables in the confines of Colette’s small library. Turns out Lucie ditched me to do the essay with her Spanish buddy Chloé, and I’m stuck with Tony to write about the most difficult book I’ve ever read. At least Tony agreed we would get more work done if we weren’t at his house, where — almost — every distraction in the world could have tempted us.
I glance up at Tony. “What did you say?”
“What’s the book about?”
“I thought you read it.”
“And I thought you were smart.”READ MORE
“I’m not. I’m not smart.”
I’m definitely, definitely the worst idiot that’s ever lived. I know it. Otherwise, I would be doing the essay with Michael, and I wouldn’t be so miserable all the time. Miss Eugénie is right. Guess that makes sense since she’s probably older than the Titanic. That’s one consolation. If I get as old as Eugénie, I’ll be a very miserable, but very wise, schmuck.
“Don’t I know it.” Tony empties a whole bag of gummy bears into his monstrosity of a mouth.
It’s difficult to do any work around Tony, but even more difficult today. My head is in shambles after another series of restless nights filled with chaotic dreams. It’s not enough that I see Michael every day again. He won’t leave my nights alone either.
The next person who utters the word fling, I will murder with my bare hands.
Tony chews for a long time then swallows noisily, earning himself a glare from one of the librarians.
“Oh.” He slaps his tummy. “Oh fuck. This one won’t go down easy. I shouldn’t have had that extra big mac for lunch. Should we text Lucie?”
My bad mood is swelling by the second. I wish he’d just shut up, I can’t think with all his chatter.
“Because this is boring, Lou, this is shit, and I’m bored, and you look dead inside. So, we could text Lucie and ask her what she’s doing.”
“She’s at Chloé’s and they’re probably halfway through the essay already.”
“Oh, and where are we?”
“You only wrote the title, Tony. And you wrote it wrong too.”
He looks down at the copy. “Shit. Sorry.”
While Tony scratches off the title Wurstering Highs, humming to himself Everything is Average Nowadays, I smile despite myself. No matter how annoying he is, I love him, and I’d do anything for him. And I did.
I did. I know it because I’ll never be happy again.
The price to pay for the alternative was too high. Nothing is worse than watching your people leave you behind without a look back. I know I was right to cut any ties with Michael. And even more right NOT to do the essay with him, and his curls, his blue underwear, and his British accent.
Tony elbows me, his nose once again buried in his blackberry. “Lucie’s done in about half an hour.”
“What? God damn it, Tony, we’ll never be done in half an hour.”
Tony’s brown eyes look at me from behind his phone. “A lot of things can happen in half an hour, you know.”
“Tony, don’t overestimate yourself. You’ve spelt the title wrong again.”
Tony grimaces as he strokes his tummy, then takes a large swig of Coke and fights down a burp while I stare, horrified.
“If you know it will make you sick, then why do you do it?”
“Rockstars live dangerously, Lou. Or have you forgotten everything I taught you?”
That settles it. I never had what it takes to be a rockstar, then. Or perhaps Tony’s a fucking idiot, and I shouldn’t listen to a word he’s saying.
“Let’s focus on the essay, shall we?” I say in a low voice, quickly flicking through Wuthering Heights, a faint headache growing behind my eyelids.
I glance at one of Paquin’s question: “Explain the theme of nature versus culture” and slam my head against the table.
Tony yawns next to me. “What do you think about the shark?”
“What shark?” I begin turning the pages of the book again, bewildered. “There is no shark. I don’t see a fucking shark!”
Tony leans forward so his long face appears in my field of vision. “The Shark, Lou. The bar. For your birthday. Lucie’s asking.”
Defeated, I slam the book shut and toss it over my shoulder. A yelp of pain follows and Tony starts laughing. I turn around to apologise to whoever I’ve hit, but my throat grows dry. It’s François and Michael, the new BFFs.
Great. That’s all I needed.
“Why would you do that?” François shrieks, rubbing his arm.
Michael picks up the book and hands it over to me. Tony’s still laughing. François takes one cold look at our messy table, Tony’s snacks, our stupid faces, and lets out a judgmental sigh.
“You know you’re not supposed to eat in here, don’t you?”
Tony stops laughing, but still smiling, puts another handful of gummy bears into his mouth. Michael watches him, a blank look on his face.
“What are you doing in here anyway?” François asks. “I never expected to find you in a library.”
“Why is that?” Tony says. “Do you think we’re idiots?”
“At least one of you is.” His voice is laced with contempt.
“We’re doing our essay,” I say, annoyed, knowing exactly who this last retort was meant for. I almost add something else but mercifully keep my trap shut.
Michael leans over our table. “You spelt the title wrong.”
With a heartfelt groan, I put my head in my hands.
“Let’s go,” Michael says. “They’re trying to work.”
Like an obedient puppy, François obeys Michael, and they sit at a table further. But from my position, not only can I see Michael, but from the look he gives me, he can see me too. We lock eyes. A deep sense of frustration rakes through me. I wonder what he feels about all this.
Tony pats my hand. “Don’t worry about him, Lou.”
Startling, I tear my eyes away from Michael.
Tony puts a hand on my shoulder. “I said don’t worry. I know Lucie likes to say that he’s hot, but I know she’s not going to dump you for him.”
Confused, I shake my head manically. “Wh — Why are you telling me this now? And who said he would be interested, anyway?”
“Lou, my man, I don’t understand you. Why are you looking at him like he burned your farm and stole your chickens, then?”
Is that what I look like? Taking a deep breath, I rub my face with my hands to pull myself together. Tony’s expecting an answer. It will be hard to give him one without lying, or…
“He gets on my nerves, sometimes. He’s too… perfect, you know? Pisses me right off.”
Tony stares at me a moment, then shrugs and opens another bag of gummy bears.
“I get it. He annoys me too. Plus he’s too good-looking. I’ve got enough of you getting all the attention. Imagine being his friend.”
His words make me laugh. “What, like François?”
“No, not like François, Lou!” Tony gives me the look he reserves for dumb people. “What the hell is wrong with you? Michael won’t be a problem for François, he’s gay.”
“Hang on. You knew that too? That François’s gay?”
Tony sighs. “Lou, everyone knows François is gay. He told the whole school a million years ago.” He chokes on a gummy bear and hits his chest a couple of times.
“Michael could be gay too, you know, and then—”
“Then they would be together, wouldn’t they?”
Tony offers me candy. I refuse, feeling nauseated enough already.
“Why would they be together? Just because two people are gay doesn’t mean that they have to be together.”
“You’re right, but… They’re both rich and smart and boring. They make more sense together than, I don’t know…” Tony tosses me an odd look. “Like you and him, for example. You have nothing in common.”
“I guess you’re right.” Feeling quite defeated, I open the book again.
“So, the Shark? Lucie can book it for us.”
“Sure,” I reply, but my appetite for fun, just like for snacks, has vanished forever.
For a few minutes, I attempt, as diligently as I can, to answer Paquin’s questions and get a head-start on what promises to be a difficult essay. Oh, how I miss Dorian Gray, his funny dialogue and his lengthy descriptions of gardens and flowers. The truth is, I miss Dorian very much. I wish I could turn time and be with Dorian again.
I can’t help myself, can’t help throwing furtive looks at François and Michael. They’re both working, head bents over the same volume, Michael’s curls almost touching the page. He smiles. Looks up.
My cheeks warming up faster than a Chernobyl reactor, I hide my face behind my book. Beside me, Tony is still texting and laughing at whatever Lucie is saying. But of course, he feels me watching him and puts the phone down.
“Lou, you look like shit, are you okay?”
“I agree. We shouldn’t have had McDo for lunch.”
Tony pushes his bottle of Coke toward me. “Have a drink.”
“No, thanks. I think I need to go to the toilet.”
Getting up so fast that my chair falls over, I don’t bother to put it back, and I storm out, head down and close to a nervous breakdown, in the direction of the toilet.
Mercifully, since almost everyone else is in class, I find it empty. I rest my hands on each side of the sink in an attempt to catch my breath.
One day, I’ll laugh about it. I’ll tell my kids or my grandkids about that time I was obsessed about a boy and made up stories in my mind that I liked him, like I make stories in my head that I’m, like Tony, a proper rockstar.COLLAPSE
Samantha on Amazon wrote:
This has been one of the more enjoyable coming of age stories I've read in a while, characters that came to life & situations that were believable yet interesting. Slightly formulaic, but definitely worth the read to get to know the characters in the first Colette International book, hopefully to be joined by many more stories from this world.
JulyP on Amazon wrote:
Thoroughly enjoyed this sweet but angsty coming of age novel from a new to me author! It was well written with fun, engaging characters and a lovely plot! I would love to see another novel about them as adults.
Amazon Customer on Amazon wrote:
Louis's growth in the story is what drew me in... I love the journey it took me the reader on
Suzie on Amazon wrote:
Sweet,charming,funny. Fun,young characters. Easy story that brings laughs . Louis is a lovable but, kinda clueless kid and it’s endearing watching him figure his life out.
Allison on Amazon wrote:
Does Louis always act honorably? No. Does Louis make stupid decisions sometimes? Yes. Is Louis a realistic teenager trying to figure out who he really is and what he wants? Yes. Typical of many teenagers, Louis thinks he has things figured out and knows who he is. That belief is turned on its head when he is paired up with Michael for a class assignment. It takes him a good while to learn to stand up and be who he really is and there are times you would totally understand if Michael walked away for good, but fortunately for both characters, and the reader, Michael is a patient, grounded young man who helps Louis grow and own his feelings. I am not an avid reader of YA and coming of age fiction, but this book grabbed me from the first with characters I understood and cared about and I highly recommend it to any fan of m/m romance.
Love222 on Amazon wrote:
This was a very entertaining book.
I really enjoyed reading this story.
I’m looking forward to reading more from Zelda.
Janet on Amazon wrote:
This is a really great coming of age story. I loved the development of the characters, I do wish we had Michaels POV thats the only thing that would have made it better for me.
I received this as an ARC and voluntarily leave this review.
charneen on Amazon wrote:
This was a coming of age story. Lou has social anxiety and to be honest he was kind of a jerk in the beginning of the story. He tries to be someone that he is not, he worries about what others think too often. When he is paired up with Michael, a British student who is going to his high school in France, he must work with him to write an essay. This story ended up being really good, I actually struggled in the beginning because I did not like Lou and his friends. I loved Michael, he was a sweetheart, true and genuine. It is a really good story!! Well written with a lot of emotion and character development. Highly recommend. I am voluntarily leaving a review form an advanced copy that I received. My reviews are solely based on my thoughts and opinions.
Deanna on Amazon wrote:
I enjoyed this book so much, from the very start at reading the blurb to finishing the book I was just so much in love with it. The characters and the story it all stayed with me for a while after reading.
Catherine on Amazon wrote:
There's a great lesson within this story, a lesson of the importance to always be true to yourself. I'm sure many of us have struggled with personal insecurities, and that many still are. Louis was such a mess, fear definitely ruled his life. He was desperate for love, inclusion, and was willing to do just about anything to have it. I didn't really like the "Lou" he was with his friends and school mates. When Michael came along, I instantly loved him. While everyone else may cower to Louis and his friends, Michael stood proud, and always showed kindness. Louis and Michael getting partnered up for an assignment was the best thing for Louis. He needed the kind of positivity that Michael effortlessly gave out. I loved that Michael never pushed Louis to change, he was honest with him, and he tried to show him that not everything he thought was accurate, but never pushed him. I didn't care for the way Louis treated Michael when his friends and girlfriend were around, and especially didn't like that he continued his relationship with his girlfriend. It made me sad that Michael was his dirty little secret, and Louis never took Michael's feelings into consideration first. When everything came to a head, I didn't feel bad for Louis, he needed reality to knock him off his feet, he needed a hard wake up call. Once he was able to smarten up, I was proud of him for apologizing and taking responsibility for his actions. The truth that was revealed about Michael's painful past broke my heart, and that he was willing to still want Louis even before Louis apologized to him, it clearly shows just how great of a person he is. I really wish there would have been more to the end, but maybe more will come later.
Absolutely Awesome Read, Loved it, will have you hooked and turning pages can't get enough can't wait for more from this Author, well written, great characters, Awesome story line, you will enjoy, I voluntarily read this ARC for my honest review and loved it, thanks for allowing me to read your work...