Today we are celebrating the publication of the latest novel from Adria J. Cimino, A Perfumer’s Secret. Which is a novel that I am really excited to read (look out for my review in the next week or so). And I think that after reading the following excerpt, you will all be just as excited as I am.
A Perfumer’s Secret is available to buy now, so if you find yourself wanting more, click on one of the purchase links at the end of the page!
A Perfumer’s Secret – excerpt
By Adria J. Cimino
Philippe Chevrefeuille ignored the wavy chestnut hair that fell into his eyes and pretended not to be nervous as he hurried through the parking lot and pushed open the door to Laboratoires Essence Plus. This odd jittery feeling deep within the pit of his stomach annoyed Philippe to no end. Yet how could he feel otherwise when so much was at stake?
He was a regular customer at the raw materials shop, selecting essences and absolutes for his creations. But today, he wasn’t visiting for a simple purchase of tuberose or jasmine. The laboratory had developed a new absolute of narcissus, and he dared to imagine this as a key ingredient for his project. Or at least what he hoped would be his project if he could outshine Henri Daumas. Of course, dozens of perfumers around the globe were vying to create the fragrance for Cherone, but Henri reigned as the best in Grasse, which automatically made him the most formidable adversary. There was a vague rumor that Henri wouldn’t compete for the contract, but until Philippe knew this for a fact, he didn’t want to get his hopes up.
What most interested Philippe about this particular contract was the talk that had been brewing lately: The winner would be offered the coveted opportunity to become Cherone’s in-house perfumer.
“Philippe, how are you?” Colette Revel, a wiry redhead with sleek rectangular glasses, greeted him at the door, kissed him on both cheeks and led him through the familiar hallway running parallel to the production facilities. “I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“I’ve been swamped. Luckily, Nadine was able to make a couple of trips here to pick up materials.”
“And you must be busy with the wedding plans, I suppose.” Colette smiled with the discretion of someone fishing for information. “Will many of your relatives from the U.S. be attending?”
Philippe flinched as her words grazed the old, but deep, wound he kept buried within. Images of himself as a child being torn from his home in Connecticut—from all he knew—flooded his mind. But Philippe wouldn’t let the sadness take hold. He pushed aside the memories and forced himself to return to the present.
“Most of the guests are locals, and Augustine is taking care of everything.”
He smiled feebly as he thought of how his fiancée admonished him for his lack of involvement. She didn’t realize what it was like to spend twelve hours a day in the office with the constant pressure of creation as a driving force. She had flexible hours, teaching cooking classes in Nice. But thoughts of Augustine were transient, quickly replaced by the fragrance he was piecing together bit by bit in his mind. For Philippe, perfume creation was more of an exercise for the brain than an exercise for the nose.
“This time, I couldn’t ask someone else to pick up the ingredients,” he said. “I came to smell the narcissus absolute.”
He pronounced the words slowly, as if they were of a sacred nature.
Colette stopped and swiveled around as they reached the door of the large storage room lined with refrigerators.
“We have another client who also is sampling a few products. Would you prefer to wait until my assistant has finished with her? Or can I bring out the narcissus for you at the same time?”
Philippe’s impatience to get a whiff of the scent outweighed his typical preference for privacy.
“Showing interest in narcissus isn’t a secret,” he said. “What I have the intention of mixing it with is.”
Philippe followed her through the double doors and stopped. Colette had already crossed the room and slipped behind the glass partition separating the rows of refrigerators from the long white counter where customers could sample materials. An elusive scent of sadness, of salty tears, had engulfed Philippe’s nose and then disappeared within a matter of seconds. His car keys escaped from his hand and hit the stone floor. And it was then, as he knelt down to pick them up, that he noticed the only other person in the room.
She swiveled around on the stool with a start, sending a shiny curtain of dark hair flying around her shoulders, and looked at him with blue-gray eyes that seemed to hold many secrets. An open container sat before her on the counter. Philippe fumbled for his keys and stood up. She was the source of the scent that had touched his nose. He was certain. But it vanished behind the potency of rose of May as soon as she’d lifted the lid.
Their eyes remained locked for only an instant, but Philippe felt as if it were an eternity. His mind raced. Something significant had transpired. A scent, an emotion. The fragrance that had so briefly tantalized his nose. It wasn’t an ordinary perfume.
About Adria J. Cimino
Adria J. Cimino is the author of Amazon Best-Selling novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs and Close to Destiny, as well as The Creepshow and A Perfumer’s Secret. She also co-founded boutique publishing house Velvet Morning Press. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, she spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News. Adria is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, which unites bright authors with smart readers. She lives in Paris with her husband, Didier, and daughter, Phèdre. When she isn’t writing, you can find Adria at her neighborhood café watching the world go by.
About A Perfumer’s Secret
The quest for a stolen perfume formula awakens passion, rivalry and family secrets in the fragrant flower fields of the South of France…
Perfumer Zoe Flore travels to Grasse, perfume capital of the world, to collect a formula: her inheritance from the family she never knew existed. The scent matches the one worn by her mother, who passed away when Zoe was a teenager. Zoe, competing to create a new fragrance for a prestigious designer, believes this scent could win the contract—and lead her to the reason her mother fled Grasse for New York City.
Before Zoe can discover the truth, the formula is stolen. And she’s not the only one looking for it. So is Loulou, her rebellious teenage cousin; Philippe, her alluring competitor for the fragrance contract; and a third person who never wanted the formula to slip into the public in the first place.
The pursuit transforms into a journey of self-discovery as each struggles to understand the complexities of love, the force of pride and the meaning of family.