Publication date: July 30th 2013
My rating: 5 stars
La Vie en Chocolat
Dominique Richard's reputation says it all--wild past, wilder flavors, black leather and smoldering heat. Jaime Corey is hardly the first woman to be drawn to all that dark, delicious danger. Sitting in Dom's opulent chocolaterie in Paris day after day, she lets his decadent creations restore her weary body and spirit, understanding that the man himself is entirely beyond her grasp.
Until he touches her. . .
Chocolate, Dominique understands--from the biting tang of lime-caramel to the most complex infusions of jasmine, lemon-thyme, and cayenne. But this shy, freckled American who sits alone in his salon, quietly sampling his exquisite confections as if she can't get enough of them--enough of him--is something else. She has secrets too, he can tell. Of course if she really knew him, she would run.
Yet once you have spotted your heart's true craving, simply looking is no longer enough. . .
I said in my review of The Chocolate Thief that reading it was a heady and sensual experience. Reading The Chocolate Touch was that times about ten! Oh my, I am in love with Dominique Richard!
Big, rough, but oh-so gorgeous, Dominique Richard, is the top chocolatier in Paris. He rose from the bottom and gained success with sheer determination and will. His upbringing was harsh, and he knows he’s rough and dark from it. Still, when a sees a little wisp-of-woman sitting in his salon day after day quietly drinking and eating his chocolate, as if absorbing him, he’s thoroughly mesmerized and drawn to her.
There was no reason for her to stand out at all, except the way she sat there, too thin, so quiet, hidden in hoods and draping in spring sweaters, pulling all the essence of him into her body as if it was the only thing she wanted to do with her life.
Jaime Corey is Cade Corey’s younger sister and part of Corey Chocolate, the huge mass market American chocolate company. Jaime has always felt guilty being born into such wealth and privilege so she has spent years working for those downtrodden and exploited in other countries without regard for the dangers that go along with such an endeavor. After suffering a trauma and a shake in confidence, she’s recovering in Paris where her sister lives, and trying to build her strength back up. Sitting in Dominique Richard’s chocolate salon, and taking in bites of his exquisite chocolates with their edgy flavors, fortifies her. When she finally lays eyes on the creator, she is like a rock-star groupie, and instantly swept up by him:
Watching him choose his chocolates for her was like being stroked all over, gently, by those big, hard hands of his.
Jaime’s definitely star struck, but what draws her even more is the lure of his strong presence. She’d love to just soak him in, or better yet, yield herself completely over.
The Chocolate Touch was a deeper, darker, more emotional read than The Chocolate Thief, and yet I think I loved the story even more because of that. I was actually misting over with tears at a few points for both Dom and Jaime. They each have past damage and issues related to their upbringing, and with Jaime, a more recent traumatic event.
Dominique views himself as a big, brutish, dark soul, and has worries about turning into his father, a violent and horrible man. As a result he has no confidence that he could win a woman for more than just one night of rough and dirty sex. He’s convinced once she got a look at the real him she’s run off scared. But when he Jaime walks into his salon and life, he dares to dream the impossible. I loved Dominique. *sigh* He was the dangerous looking, gorgeous, bad-boy with a soft marshmallow heart inside. Really, underneath it all is a man longing to be worth love.
My heart went out to Jaime as well. Because she was born so rich she always wonders at the motives for people liking her. She feels entirely unremarkable in her looks, and the book doesn’t describe as gorgeous, but she’s probably a lot more attractive than she thinks with her current self-esteem. Besides her money, and with her work helping others on hold, she feels like she has nothing to offer. She fails to see what others see in her: a beautiful and giving spirit. And because of all this, Jaime thinks there’s no chance Dominique would think twice about her. Think again, Jaime!
This romance was so utterly hot and sensual! The longing and intensity was palpable. Neither Jaime nor Dominique thinks of themselves as attractive or worthy of the other, but this is a romance where the attraction comes down to more than what’s seen with the eyes. Has your attention been captured by someone you wouldn’t call traditionally good-looking, but there’s something about them that just draws you in anyhow? With Jaime and Dominique there is a needy longing for what they sense inside the other, making their romance so very passionate!
It was lovely to “catch up” with the characters from The Chocolate Thief. Seeing Cade and Sylvain as a couple was such a treat, and I loved how protective Sylvain was of Jaime, his soon-to-be sister-in-law. James Corey their spunky, protective, and loving grandfather has become my favorite secondary character.
Laura Florand has again bewitched me with this powerful romance! It knocked me over and swept me under. With the inclusion of gorgeous descriptions of chocolate and the setting of Paris, the consummate city of love, this story was near to perfect for me! I’m off to read the next in the series, The Chocolate Heart. I can’t wait!