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  • Sexy, poignant love story

    If you haven’t read a Laura Florand story before, you are in for a treat – both because this story is evocative and touching as all of her works are, but also because you have a lovely backlist to catch up on. This is the second story in the Rosier family perfumerie series, but there are also several featuring chocolatiers in Paris in the Amour et Chocolat series, all equally wonderful. Damien is the businessman in the family, the one who makes the money so that the rest of the Rosiers can go about making their perfumes. His reputation is of a ruthless, hard driving, supremely confident man. If you want something done, you go to Damien. It’s a reputation he thrives upon, but is also one that masks his care and concern for his family and the families of those around him whose livelihoods depend on him. He feels the weight of that burden constantly, and it make him appear hard and stoic. There are few who see past that outward facade. When he met Jasmin back in New York she was like a balm for his soul. Meeting as strangers, she knew nothing of him except what he showed her – and what he showed her then was his true heart. They connected on an intimate level, both in and out of bed and he was devastated when she disappeared before he woke the next day, and even more so when they met next and he discovered that the company he was trying to save, to improve so that they would be successful was hers, and that she viewed it as the ultimate betrayal. It only reinforced to him that being open and caring was a mistake, one he wouldn’t make again. Jasmin comes across as a cynical woman hiding a sweet and tender heart, bearing the grief of the loss of her father who had been ill for some time but succumbed shortly after her one night stand with Damien, at which time she also lost her company. She is down, but not out. The inheritance of a small perfume shop in Grasse beckons her to this small town, though she is fully aware that this is Damien’s territory. If anything this makes her determined to claim this small piece of it, of him, just like he claimed parts of her. When they meet again, the sparks fly – both the sexual attraction and the animosity they now have for each other. Slowly however the truth of their first encounter, the circumstances that Jasmin was under and the false beliefs they had of each other start to crumble the wall they’ve built between them. I loved how this was done slowly, brick by brick, revealing the hurt of the past and the means to mend it. They can’t deny their attraction to each other, and as they start to reconnect, the passion and emotion of their feelings for each other shine through in their steamy love scenes. All of Laura’s stories involve the senses and this one is no exception, as we experience the scents and sounds of Grasse and Provence. I really enjoyed this glimpse into the world of perfumes, how they are made and especially Jasmin trying to make a personalized scent for Damien, to capture his essence in a bottle. The thread of that weaves through the story as Jasmin’s view of Damien changes when she comes to understand the man that he is and the mistake she made in not believing in what they had started together. The glimpses into the lives of the other characters who live in Grasse, Damien’s family and their history show a deep love for their country. With every story we learn more of what has made this family who they are, and the women who get to hold onto these men are very lucky indeed. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t without their flaws, but at heart they are good, solid men with strong hearts. It’s always a joy to read one of Laura’s stories and I’m delighted with this latest endeavor. 5 stars.

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