I've had a lot of projects, a daughter with ear issues, my own dental care, work hours and economics to contend with... It burnt me out on writing, with productivity in mind, so I let my mind wander and returned to my circa 1978 "prequel" of Étienne's youth and love story.
I've drafted the new first chapter and I like it. I don't feel it's perfect but it's a start. I'll share page one:
Heat consumed Étienne from multiple angles; the sun from Ghislaine’s window soothed his nude flesh and his aching thrust erupted inside her with a rippling whirlpool that chased away the Paris dampness. He offered a tired grunt and savored that moment when his muscles dissolved. She gasped and collapsed against his chest, her body still quivering against his.
He cried. Her cheek pressed against the metal of his identification plaque. The slight tickle of Ghislaine’s long bleached blond hair blanketing him and the soft yet firm push of her breasts pressed against him had punctured the cigar smoke. The telltale earthy scent of Montecristo #4 had fallen when his commanding officer reported that Étienne’s father had died. That was more than a week ago. With the aftershocks of the sex the only barrier between him and his new found grief, Étienne wrapped his arms around Ghislaine and braced for the tears.
His father smoked Montecristo #4 cigars. The cigar smoke had filled the barracks like a protective cloud. It stayed with him as he packed, during the eight-hour, red-eye flight to Paris, and through his brisk walk to Ghislaine’s apartment.