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Perfect for fans of Lucy Score. Read a sneak peek from I See London by Chanel Cleeton


Perfect for fans of Lucy Score. Read a sneak peek from I See London by Chanel Cleeton

For the first time in print! New York Times sensation Chanel Cleeton’s international, angst-fuelled romance is perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover and Lucy Score.

Maggie Carpenter is a small-town Southern girl who’s never been kissed. She’s ready for a change – and to leave her ordinary life and a failed attempt to get into Harvard behind. She accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, where she’s suddenly mingling with the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twenty-something British guy, she finds herself living the life she has always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? There’s someone else, someone she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese and impossibly rich, Samir Khouri has made it clear to Maggie that despite their intense attraction, he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything she thought she wanted – a player with no interest in commitments – but she just can’t keep away. Torn between her dream guy and the one haunting her thoughts, Maggie must fight for her own happy ending. But in a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

I couldn’t find my underwear.

Knickers, as the British called them.

It should have been easy; there wasn’t much to them. They were black, lacy…and shit, I was going to miss my flight home if I kept looking.

“Start by thinking of the last place you had them,” my grandmother would always tell me when I lost something. The bed seemed like the best place to start. Or had it been on top of the dresser? Or against the wall by the window?

I’d been a busy girl.

“You leaving?”

I stared down at the boy lying in bed. His voice was heavy with sleep, the sheets tangled around his naked body. The sight of all that skin sent a flash of heat through me.

I wasn’t ready to handle the morning after. Screw my underwear.

“Don’t worry about it.” I leaned down, pressing a swift kiss to his lips, barely resisting the urge to climb back into bed with him. “See you next year,” I whispered, grabbing my shoes and heading for the door.

I paused in the doorway, wondering how the hell I’d gone from spending my Friday nights studying to doing the walk of shame sans underwear.

I blamed the Harvard admissions committee.

Ten months earlier

I was going to die, and I wasn’t even wearing my best under-wear.

My Southern grandmother loved to tell me a girl should al-ways look like a lady—even down to her “unmentionables,” as she liked to call them.

“But no one’s going to see them.”

It doesn’t matter. You could be in a car accident and then what? Would you want people to see you in those?

I wasn’t sure if the underwear rule applied to plane crashes. But if it did? I was about to die in the world’s ugliest pair of black cotton underwear.

“Are you okay, dear?”

I loosened my grip on the armrest, turning slightly to face the woman in the seat next to me.

“It’s just a little bit of turbulence. Perfectly normal.” She looked to be about my grandmother’s age; unlike my grand-mother’s smooth Southern drawl, though, her voice had a clipped British accent. “Is this your first flight?”

I cleared the massive, boulder-sized knot of tension from my throat. “It’s been a long time.”

“It can be scary at times. But we’re only about an hour away.” The plane hit another bump. I gripped the armrests again, my knuckles turning nearly white.

“What takes you to London?”

“I’m starting college.”

“How exciting! Where?”

I struggled to focus on her questions rather than the possibility of the plane plummeting from the sky. The irony of my fear of flying wasn’t lost on me.

“The International School.”

According to the glossy brochure I’d conveniently received the day my dreaded thin-envelope rejection letter from Harvard arrived in our mailbox, the International School boasted a total of one thousand undergraduate students from all over the world.

“Do you know anyone in London?”

I shook my head.

“I’m surprised your parents let you move by yourself. You can’t be more than what, eighteen?”


My dad hadn’t been a big fan of the whole London idea. He could travel the world and live overseas. I just couldn’t go with him. I’d heard all the reasons before. He couldn’t be a fighter pilot and a single parent. It was too difficult for him to predict when he would be sent away on another assignment. If my mom were still around—

It hung between us, the rest of the words unspoken.

I could fill in the blanks. If my mom were still around, we would be a family. But she wasn’t. When she left my dad, she took our family with her, my dad’s parents assuming the role of my legal guardians. I loved my grandparents, and they loved me.

But it still wasn’t the same.

“You must be pretty brave to come to London by yourself. Especially at such a young age.”

Brave? I wasn’t sure if it had been bravery or desperation spurring my sole act of teenage rebellion. But ever since I’d received that rejection letter in the mail, my thoughts had been less than rational.

It was all I’d ever wanted—Harvard. It was the best. I’d imagined my dad beaming with pride at my high school graduation, the one he’d ended up missing anyway. Harvard had been my chance to change everything. It was the reason I didn’t date and skipped parties in favor of doing SAT prep on Friday nights, the motivation behind me joining every student organization. In the end, none of it was enough.

I wasn’t enough.

She nudged me. “We’re nearly there.”

I turned toward the window, peering through the glass. Fog filled the sky, the air thick and heavy with it.

“It’s hard to see anything.”

“Just wait for it. Keep looking.”

Lights. Scattered throughout the fog were lights. Hundreds, thousands of lights. Like a Christmas tree. Beneath us was a carpet of lights.

“Welcome to London.”

I peered out the taxi window, watching as the city passed me by.

The ride from the airport took a little under an hour. As we drove, we crossed into more urban areas where the landscape of little houses disappeared, replaced by large blocks of multistory apartment buildings and small shops on street corners. Little by little the traffic increased, the driver laying on the horn several times and shouting out the window. BBC Radio blared through the car speakers.

The sidewalks were filled with people, their strides long and confident. Everyone looked as if they were in a hurry, as though wherever they were going was the most important place in the world. And it was noisy. Even over the radio, I heard the city, so different from anything I’d ever experienced.

When the cab passed by the infamous Hyde Park and then Kensington Palace, only to turn onto what the cab driver referred to as Embassy Row, the reality of my new life began to sink in. We passed rows of expensive buildings—mansions, really. Some had guards stationed out front and flew flags of various countries, no doubt how Embassy Row got its name. Others were private residences, each one large and imposing. The taxi pulled through a set of enormous gates, traveling down a long gravel driveway. The driver let out a low whistle.

I stared out the window, barely resisting the urge to panic.

The school was huge. The grounds were perfectly manicured; large trees dotted the landscape. Security buzzed around as students gathered in small groups, greeting each other and joking around. Ridiculously expensive cars, the like of which I had only seen in movies, passed by.

Thank God for my scholarship.

I stepped out of the cab on shaky legs, offering a quick smile for the driver before sliding three crisp twenty-pound notes into his hands. I rolled my two black bags up the drive, ignoring the group of boys lounging in front of the school’s wooden doors.

“Samir, check out the new girl.”

“Not my type,” an accented voice, smooth and rich, called out behind me.

I stiffened, turning to face the speaker.

A boy stared back at me, lounging against the railing leading up to the school steps like he owned the place. He was average height and lean, dressed casually in jeans and a black T-shirt. His hair was an inky black, curling at the ends, his eyes dark brown, his lashes full and thick.

The boy—Samir, I guessed—did a once-over, starting at my long brown hair, drifting down my body, lingering on my boobs—my eyes narrowed—before coming back to rest on my face. There was something appraising in his gaze—a flicker of interest—followed by a smile that had my heartbeat ratcheting up a notch.

He flashed me another cocky smile. That smile was lethal. “Sorry.”

He looked anything but.

I wanted to say something clever, wanted to say something. But as always, words failed me. I’d never been good with guys—in high school I was prone to what I not so lovingly referred to as deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. If a guy I liked showed any interest in me, I would freeze, standing there awkwardly, all clever thought evaporated. It was a spectacularly effective way to ensure I never had a boyfriend.

Get me out of here, now.

His laughter, warm and smooth, filled the space behind me. I walked into the school on shaky legs, cursing my rocky start. But as soon as I stepped into the entryway, nerves gave way to awe. The building was incredible, like a work of art.

A woman at the front desk greeted me with a smile. “Welcome to the International School. We’re so glad to have you joining our family. Name, please.”

“Maggie Carpenter.”

“Nice to meet you, Maggie. I’m Mrs. Fox. I’m in charge of Residence Life. My staff and I will be responsible for your dorm room and for getting you settled into your new home here.” She thumbed through a stack of blue folders before pulling one out of the pile. “Here you go. You’ll find the code to get into your room in this folder along with your schedule. If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to come to my office. It’s on the map.”

I took the folder from Mrs. Fox’s hands, struggling to keep the instructions straight through the haze of jet lag. I headed toward the stairs, moving through the crowd of students. At the end of the hallway, I stared up at the narrow staircase in front of me.

“Need some help?”

A tall blond boy with a British accent smiled at me. He wore a blue polo shirt with the words Residence Life stitched on the front.

I hesitated. “No thanks. I can manage on my own.”

“Are you sure? Trust me, these steps are intense.” He peered over at the sheet of paper in my hand. “And you’re on the third floor? That’s four floors up.”


“Four floors. Not three. In London the main floor is considered the ground floor and the next floor up is the first floor. It’s different from how you do things in America.” He grinned. “Your accent sort of gave it away,” he offered by way of explana-tion. He reached out, grabbing the handles of my bags. “Come on. I’ll help you get to your room. I’m George.”

I followed him up the stairs. “Thanks. I’m Maggie.”

“Nice to meet you, Maggie. Where are you from?”

“South Carolina.”

His brow wrinkled for a moment. “Is that near New York City? I’ve been there.”

I grinned. “Unfortunately, it’s light-years away from New York City. I’m from a small town. There’s not exactly a lot to do there.”

I followed George up another flight of stairs, struggling to keep up with him. I couldn’t stop gawking at my surroundings. I’d seen some pictures of the school online, but I’d figured those were the best shots. I hadn’t expected it to live up to the advertising. The place looked like a museum.

“So, who are your roommates?”

I stared down at the piece of paper clutched in my hand. “Noora Bader and Fleur Marceaux.”
George turned around, a strange expression on his face. His voice sounded like a strangled laugh. “Did you say Fleur Marceaux?”

I nodded.

This time he did laugh, the sound filling the narrow stair-way. “Good luck with that one.”

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