Mille-Feuilles can't buy you love. . .
No one hates Paris—except Summer Corey. The moody winters. The artists and their ennui. The inescapable shadow of the Tour Eiffel. But things go from bad to worse when Summer stumbles into brooding, gorgeous chef pâtissier Luc Leroi and indecently propositions the hero of French cuisine. . .
Luc has scrambled up from a childhood panhandling in the Paris Métro to become the king of his city, and he has no patience for this spoiled princess, even if she does now own his restaurant. Who cares if she smiles with all the warmth of July? She doesn't eat dessert!
There is only one way to tempt her. A perfect, impossibly sweet seduction. . .
Praise for Laura Florand and her novels
"I adored this story. . .Paris, chocolate, and romance, all in one hilarious package." —New York Times bestelling author Eloisa James
"Both sensual and sweet. . .a story that melts in your mouth!" —USA Today bestselling author Christie Ridgway
About the Author
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The Chocolate Heart
By LAURA FLORAND
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2013 Laura Florand
All rights reserved.
She walked in, blond, small, tanned, smelling of monoï, the tiare-infused coconut oil from the islands. Luc recognized the scent because he smelled and tasted everything that passed through his hands, good or bad.
It wasn't a policy he usually applied to people, but ... she looked like someone a man wouldn't mind tasting, certainly. A sun goddess you might pick up off a beach on a tropical escape, feel the sand sticking to her skin when you made love to her, shake it out of the sheets in the morning with a smile on your face.
Or so he imagined. He had never escaped to a tropical island, not even once, but his ability to imagine—and realize—impossible things was world famous.
She looked tired, around-the-world-in-eighty-days tired, with a pinch around her eyes that went beyond jet lag. But when she looked up and met his eyes, she pulled out a smile so bright it was several minutes before Luc realized she had no idea who he was. She hadn't recognized him. She had just seen the symbol of the hotel under his name on his shirt and thrown him the same bright smile she would have given anyone.
So right from the start there was a problem. A conflict within him, perhaps. Luc knew with certainty that she had arrived on the edge of nerves and exhaustion. That she needed tolerance and compassion.
Yet he couldn't quite forgive her for that split second when he had fallen for that bright smile, and it hadn't been for him.
She probably thought he was the bellboy.
That was one hot bellboy, Summer noticed. Standing near the polished mahogany reception desk, framed by marble columns, light glimmering on his face from a gold chandelier. Welcome, Madame, to your mausoleum. Although doubtless he thought this place was a gorgeous palace.
Black-haired, probably about thirty, the man curled like a whip around her attention and yanked it to him.
How? She hadn't slept more than ten hours in the past four days, some of which she had spent hanging sick over the side of a cargo ship. How could he wake her up enough to notice him? Even if he was gorgeous, radiating sculpted, precise elegance, with a perfect, coiled tension in him. Tall and lean and lovely—and watching her.
Maybe someone at the hotel had checked out her dating history, figured out her type, and placed him there to keep her distracted and malleable.
How thoughtful of them.
She smiled at him because she was almost never too far gone to smile at someone as if he was special. The gift cost her nothing, certainly not any iota of herself, so why be stingy with it?
The bellboy, or whatever he was, stood perfectly still, a hotel logo embroidered on his stylish white shirt, with an open collar and up-to-the-minute cut. For a moment the power of his presence forced every detail on her: a honed, startlingly handsome face, the copper tone of his skin, the black hair, the black eyes that fixed her as if he had just spotted water in a desert.
"Monsieur." She put a hand on his wrist, smiling up at him, and a little flick ran up that matte skin. Great. She definitely needed a man who was putty in her hands right now; she didn't have the strength for anyone who could resist her. "Could you show me to my room, please?"
Tricky, for a bronze statue to stiffen further, but he managed it. Maybe not such putty after all. Wow, his eyes were so ... intense. Greed kicked through her, a desire to grab that intensity and wallow in it. Mine, mine, all mine. God, she must be out-of-her-mind tired.
"I think you have me mistaken for someone else," Gorgeous said with distinct hauteur. He kept cutting his way through every blurring of her brain, the one clear thing in her fatigue. He looked like a Greek god. A real Greek god, not those heavy-lipped marble things. Born out of Chaos, hardened by fire, ready to go fight some Titans.
"I'm Summer Corey," she retorted firmly. Top that, Greek God. "Come on. Here." She dove into her purse and came up with a handful of fifty-euro bills, fresh from the airport distributor, and lowered her voice as she pressed them into his palm. "Just get me to my room before anyone else realizes I'm here, okay? I need a nap."
Preferably in a hammock on the beach, but she wasn't going to get that. She was going to get some opulent bed that gave her hives. "I promise I won't let you get fired for sneaking me in."
Black eyebrows went up. "I promise you I won't be fired."
Oh, for God's sake, couldn't he take extravagant tips for discreet favors to rich clients gracefully? He was working at the top hotel in Paris, for crying out loud. Maybe she was going about this the wrong way. "I am Summer Corey." As in, the person who could do the firing, so stop arguing and get moving. Before she just fell over into his arms. She swayed a little at the thought of someone lifting her, carrying her, taking her away from all this.
"Congratulations." He left his hand open so that the bills scattered over his feet. "I'm Luc Leroi."
If she had had one iota more energy, she might have gasped and genuflected, just to subvert his arrogant tone. Le Roi, the King. She hadn't forgotten any European princes her mom was trying to set her up with, had she? No one came to mind. "So what are you king of?" she asked him with a little grin, which she was pretty proud of. Not everyone could pull out friendly grins for indiscreet bellboys when she felt ready for her own funeral.
His lips parted as if he had taken one to the gut, and his eyes went obsidian.
"Here," he said finally, with an edge to his voice. "Welcome to my kingdom, Summer Corey."
That couldn't be right. According to her father, this was her kingdom now. Her parents had always had trouble telling the difference between what might be their daughter's fairytale kingdom and her own personal hell. She curled her hand around his arm and leaned into him confidingly and then had a hard time not just letting him take all her weight. He took a soft, sudden breath as her body got close to his. Oh, yeah, so maybe he would like having her weight plastered to his body. She swayed just a bit more into him. "Here's some advice. When the owner of 'your kingdom' asks to be discreetly shown to her room, it's probably a good idea to help her out if you want to keep your throne. No matter who you think you are."
His eyes glinted. "That's thoughtful of you. The advice. Can I return the favor?"
Hard arms swept her off her feet and up against his chest, one arm under her legs, the other her back, the iron grip shocking her. He moved so fast it took her brain a few seconds to catch up and realize he had just saved her from this cold marble hall. And longer still to realize that she was probably supposed to be alarmed that he'd caught her, not overwhelmed with relief. Her body wanted to go limp as a rag doll.
"If you think your daddy's buying a hotel makes you queen of it, you might want to do some research on your new subjects before you come sweeping into your queendom. Thierry, mademoiselle's key."
A young man gaping at them from behind the mahogany desk blinked at the crisp command, fumbled, and finally slipped a card into Luc's fingers.
Black eyes glittered down at her. "And you might want to know a little bit more about a man before you ask him to escort you to your room." Her captor strode into the nearest elevator and dipped her enough to press a button without loosening his grip.
Summer stared up into night-black eyes as the doors shut them in. Never get caught with a strange man by yourself in an elevator. Especially if that strange man has literally grabbed you off the floor and hauled you into that elevator.
Oh, what the hell. It was better than being clawed to shreds by rage and loneliness and anxiety. She laid her head down on his shoulder and went with it.
His fingers spasmed into her, a tiny, quickly controlled pressure. His chest moved in a long breath under her cheek.
A strong shoulder. She curled her face into it, concentrating on the male strength and delicious scent of him. Such a strange, complex mixture of scents, whispers and promises of the entire world. Her eyes closed, tension draining out of her body.
His fingers flexed into her again, gentler, longer.
Good. He wasn't going to drop her. That was about all she needed to know at this point. She snuggled her face against his muscles, her mouth curving faintly as she drifted toward sleep.
The elevator's stop and his long, smooth stride as he left it nudged her awake again. Why was he walking so fast? Was he really carrying her off?
Her heart beat harder, adrenaline trying to break through her fatigue. She told her adrenaline to shut up. She liked this, plunging into erotic danger just where she had thought to be buried in deadly, merciless elegance. Kidnapped by a gorgeous stranger--you couldn't ask for a better distraction than that.
She wondered what he was planning to do with her, and how much she might like it. The muscles of his chest and abs flexed hard against her as he walked. It had been three years since anyone had held her, and he smelled so good.
Dimly, she grasped that fatigue and emotional stress had sent her right off the deep end, but she had no strength left to haul herself back up into a sane reaction. Besides, the scents in his shirt lured her like a fairy story. There, that vivid freshness, like strawberries growing in a wood, peeking under leaves. There, a crisp, bright, almost stinging scent, like limes gleaming on a tree in the sunlight. There, something rich and opulent she could sink into, curling up and letting its darkness velvet over her.
Her thoughts skated over the lean, hard muscles against which her body rested as he inserted her room card into the lock. She buried her face extra tightly in his shoulder to shut out the room. Goddamnit, but she hated hotels. Hated them with an intense and utter passion that made her want to scream their walls down--scream herself free.
Please don't leave me alone in this hotel. An irrational plea.
He set her down on the bed. For a second his arms caught under her, his body low over hers. Her eyes flickered open to his face, close enough that it was the only thing in the world she needed to see. "What's your name again?" she asked fuzzily. Probably best to know, since she was about to let him do whatever he wanted to her. Later, who knew, she might regain sense and have to track him down and punish him for taking advantage of her collapse. Find out if he had a deadly disease, or if she should acknowledge his paternal rights, or ... Shut up, brain. Let me just go with this.
His mouth compressed so hard she only then realized how much it had softened in transit. "Luc Leroi," he said, like nails into her brain. "It's on my shirt." He picked up her hand and drew her index finger over the first swirl of the L. "Here. Maybe you're a kinetic learner."
The shirt had a thick, tough texture, almost like an apron, not the usual silk-cotton blend. The thick, high-quality embroidery slid under her finger, the looping curve, the smooth fabric of the shirt, the muscles underneath. Down and around the loops of the L, the gentle wave of the U, curl the C, another L. She kept going after he stopped moving her hand, kept tracing the letters.
The hardness melted slowly from his face, his mouth softening, his eyes growing more intense. Maybe it was just her brain blurring.
As her focus faded, his sharpened. The thought of being at the center of that focus lured her like the one bright light deep in a tangled forest. No. Like the possibility of being the one bright light in a dark forest, of sinking into its depths and secrets, of being held as its one pure heart.
She took a breath. How did you keep a focus like that on you? Men with focus never focused on her for long. Luc, the king of something. Kings could be bought. Her dad did it all the time. If she bought him, then he would owe her his focus, right? She could pack him and his scents up with her and take him with her to her island. Clearly, he was worth more than a few bills from her purse, though, and he wanted her to know it.
"I could give you a Bugatti," she murmured to the fold of his shirt, because she couldn't keep her eyes open. Wait, what was she talking about? What use would a Bugatti be to him on that island? "Or a yacht."
His hand closed over her shoulder, hard enough to hurt. "What?"
She brought a hand to his, pushing at that painful grip, and he released her as if she stung, straightening away.
Well, damn. Her eyes flickered open enough to notice he looked furious. Gorgeous fury framed by the opulence of gray and rose silk draping above the bed.
Fuck. She threw her arm over her eyes-the next best method of shutting out the world she had been thrown back into. Apparently, being hauled off by a Greek god wasn't going to work out for her. The cold loneliness of the hotel room laughed, stretching little evil fingers toward her. I'm going to get you.
Maybe it was confusing the Greek god for her to keep trying to bribe him that way. You would have thought a god would be used to being offered tribute, but maybe not. She was slaphappy, wasn't she?
"I'm really tired," she said suddenly from under her arm.
A tiny silence. "Oui, j'ai vu." He sounded as if he was in some kind of pain.
A strong sure hand closed over her calf, and deft fingers released her sandal. Those same strong fingers hesitated and then closed briefly around her toes, wrapping them in warmth. "And freezing," he said low.
Maybe he could warm her up. She peeked out from under her arm hopefully. He gave her an incredulous, hard look and released her toes. Damn.
His hands flew. Faster than she could quite follow, he had her other foot bare and the comforter folded over her so that she was wrapped up in it like a gourmet hot dog.
And would have to warm herself up with her own reflected body heat. Damn it.
"How do you know I'm tired?"
He sighed. "It's obvious, soleil. Do you think I carry every beautiful brat who walks in and tries to buy me?"
He turned toward the door. Cold and loneliness rushed toward her, ready to fill all the void left when he abandoned her.
Beautiful. If you dropped the "brat," that sounded promising. "So you'll get back to me on the yacht?" she asked wistfully, just before the door closed on him.
He still felt dizzy from it the next morning. Almost sick with it. Like some sweet little beauty had stroked her hand down his body, curled it around his dick, and then slapped the fucking hell out of him.
He wasn't into that. He liked the stroking, craved its sweetness, but he didn't want anyone beating on him in careless self-absorption.
The beauty of her, like a ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds, falling into a cold dark place he thought no sunlight could touch. And then he reached out and realized he couldn't catch sunlight. It could glide over his hands, blithely, indifferent to him, but he couldn't hold it in his.
He had been so convinced, in that first moment, that she was drawing on all her strength to keep that sunlight bright. That she needed him to sweep her up in his arms, rescue her from a dragon, carry her into his castle and keep her safe.
And all she wanted was to tip him for carrying her bags. Worse than every other woman whose beautiful, golden worlds he had ever longed for from the incredible distance of the other side of an upturned hat held out in the Métro. At least the golden, glossy women who used to flick him raw with their indifference in the Métro were probably working for their money. Back then, when they had seemed at the very top of his world, he couldn't even imagine women like Summer Corey, who had limousines to take her places.
He should have left her in that marble and mahogany lobby. Walked off, with her money swirling in a little eddy on the floor. But tangled with his pride and rage had been, still, the ridiculous desire to save her.
Well, he had cracked. He had saved her because he just couldn't leave her there, dripping money, crumpling from exhaustion, and acting as if he was worthless.
For a moment it had seemed to work. Nothing like kidnapping a woman to make her notice you. She had curled into him, pulling his soul out of his middle with each deep breath she drew against his shoulder.
Excerpted from The Chocolate Heart by LAURA FLORAND. Copyright © 2013 Laura Florand. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautiful How is Summer Corey going to last three months in Paris, the place she hates most on Earth? Having to deal with Luc Leroi, the adored and famed pâtissier of Paris, doesn't make things easier, especially when she makes an indecent proposition the first time they meet. He keeps trying to tempt her with sweet treats she won't eat. Will Luc and Summer be able to reach other? Beautiful. There is no other way to describe Laura Florand's fifth book in her Amour Et Chocolat. I'm not sure which character, Summer or Luc I loved more. Laura Florand has a way of writing characters that are raw and real. Both have managed to save themselves from their pasts with some help, but somehow every time they interact, past insecurities help them bungle it badly. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to grab them by their shoulders and shake some sense into them sometimes! Then there were times when I wanted to wrap one or the other in a tight hug and comfort them. Oh but when they finally figured everything out it was magical. I was torn between salivating over Luc's creations and yearning to travel to Summer's island paradise sanctuary. It was magical to experience Paris from both Summer and Luc's eyes even when it wasn't the same for them. I do wish more had been covered about the evil douche who tried to take advantage of Summer, as well as Luc's parents, and even Summer's own parents. All of them play large roles in who Summer and Luc are and I would've liked to read more about them and seen some sort of resolution. Finding out why Summer didn't like sweets broke my heart. Another aspect of the book which I really liked was seeing almost everyone from past Chocolate books. I'm so looking forward to the next book in this series, The Chocolate Temptation and spending more time with Patrick, Sarah, Luc, and Summer. And as a side note to Kensington, the publisher, y'all have a gem in this series. You guys could do such a better job promoting it. Plus this is the second title where the models on the cover do not share physical traits with your characters. If you haven't experienced a Laura Florand book, make sure you do with plenty of good chocolate on hand. There is just something about eating it while reading her books that enhances the reading experience. I know it's hard to believe, but once you start reading, you will focus entirely on what's going on in the book and forget all about the chocolate. I did.
Laura Florand's The Chocolate Heart is a Parisian Valentine and a must-read in my book! Chocolate and Paris - who wouldn't love this winning combination? Summer Corey, that's who. Summer is author Laura Florand's newest heroine in her Amour et Chocolat series, which is as addictive as the chocolate her chocolatiers and pastry chefs create. In book five of the series, The Chocolate Heart, Summer is given a five-star Parisian landmark hotel by her father in order to compel her home from her South Seas idyll. Well really not an idyll as she is the lone teacher there for the island's native inhabitants, but everyone sees her as just a party girl - think Paris Hilton. When Summer arrives at the hotel, jet-lagged from her two-day non-stop trip, she inadvertently propositions the hotel's star pastry chef Luc Leroi. However the proposition wasn't really one-sided as it seems that the sparks between them go both ways. However, Luc is in love with Paris and feels for the first time in his life at home as a success, while Summer can't wait to escape back to her students (screensavers of her time there are front and center always in her suite). Even though her father and mother seem totally estranged from her, their quest for her to be "normal" within their jet-set mogul lifestyle includes setting her up with quite a few like-minded moguls - that would not include a pastry chef no matter how talented. As many times as Luc tries to tempt her with desserts - each more wonderful than the other - Summer refuses. Is there any way that these two will become a couple? So, will they work things out? And what mysteries are there between the two of them? It's a fabulous journey that Florand offers us with The Chocolate Heart and like the other books in her series captures a true sense of this city that everyone loves. I can't afford an airline ticket right now, so this book served as my taste of a city that feels like my second home. If you haven't already done so, please do add Florand's Amour et Chocolat and La Vie en Rose (set in Provence) series to your TBR shelves. I devoured these books, along with a cup of hot chocolate that unfortunately didn't rival my memory of Angelina's and a few Kleenex's too. The Chocolate Heart is a five star winner in my book! I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ¿¿ Spoiled little rich girl, that is how Summer Corey is seen by the world, but nobody has ever bothered to look beyond the surface. After a childhood filled with endless hotels, nannies, boarding schools, buy offs and the inevitable adolescent self-destructive rebellion by Summer, she disappears from the spotlight and her family's control, to find solace with an underprivileged island community. Far from the papperazzi, public opinion and her father's scorn, she is finally free to live her life as she wants, teaching the island's youth and enjoying the the simple but fulfilling life. Until a need in her community forces her to make a deal with her father that puts her in charge of a famous hotel in Paris, the city she loathes. Son of a gypsy and raised to be a beggar in the Paris Metro, Luc Leroi has climbed his way out of the gutters to become one of the most renowned pastry chefs in Paris and chef pâttisier at a three Michelin star restaurant. Luc loves Paris, he feels he has conquered her, from the depths of her bowels to the heights of the Eiffel Tower. And when a stunningly gorgeous creature, obviously fatigued from travel, falls into his arms in the lobby of his hotel, he thinks he may have hit the proverbial ball out of the park........ That is, until she opens her mouth, and offers him a tip for his services!! He instantly recognizes the attitude if one who has grown up with too many privileges, a spoiled brat! Despite her long journey and her exhaustion, Summer is instantly drawn to the Greek god of a man who caught her coming into the hotel. Shocked to find out he is working for her as chef, she tries to play off her indecent proposal of their initial meeting when she was barely conscious. Luc, although quite curt with Summer, is nonetheless still very taken with her and finds himself inspired to new culinary creations. Not a man comfortable with expressing in words, he attempts to show Summer through his dessert creations how he feels. With a mutual attraction growing, Summer's smiles slowly become more genuine and Luc's attempts at wooing her with his desserts more intense. But in order to get Summer to taste Luc's intentions, he must first break through her shields, and find what is real beneath the veneer. ***** FABULOUS!! A fantastic study in contrast, where one comes from everything and chooses for nothing in order to be free...... The other comes from nothing and struggles to create everything in order to be able to choose freely. And the truth lies somewhere in the middle...... The characters are multi-dimensional and not at all predictable, which is such a refreshing delight. Summer is easily pegged initially as spoiled socialite, but shows herself to have more depth and emotion and social intelligence than anyone gave her credit for. Unfortunately, expectations on her had always been incredibly low, therefore there were many qualities she could not even recognize in herself. Luc had seen two different levels of upbringing, one full of emotion but with little expectation, and later he was raised with no emotion but expectations were at a maximum and Luc excelled. He thrived professionally, but was emotionally insecure and underdeveloped. Both had found a certain security in viewing the world in a way that was safest for them, but to each other, they were the catalyst that allowed them to see a broader perspective. The writing of Laura Florand has such a distinct French flavour to it, and not just because of the occasional use of a French word or sentence here or there. It is the underlying passion in the interaction between people, the way the senses are concurrently engaged, the way I can imagine the hands flying when dialogue is taking place, or the expressive faces that just seem to hold a bit more drama. I'm not sure what it is that gives Ms. Florand's writing such a distinct French flavour; the passion, the tastes and textures, the humour, the heat....... And before you ask, I am European born, have frequented France and Paris specifically, so have an idea of what a French flavour might be. All I know is, she makes me crave romance and 'pain au chocolat', and I haven't eaten one in at least a decade or more!!! ¿A brilliantly scrumptious, seductive and witty assault on the senses!!¿ **ARC provided by NetGalley and Kensington in return for an honest review.**
Very Moving! This is finely written angsty romance where two fairly tortured souls fall in love. The baggage each of the them carries is weighty and Florand does a lovely job allowing the heroine and the hero to remain themselves as they fall in love. The second half of the book is very fulfilling and there is a simply divine and heartfelt epilogue. Again, I am always impressed by the lilting psychology of this series and the romance tucked into the very realism of what it means to be human and what love really is. Oh and Paris, chocolate, and sexy chefs. The first part of the book hurts a bit in both good and bad ways. Luc and Summer have a terrible time really seeing each. It is hard to believe in the love at first sight that is part and parcel of this series because of the blindness that goes on for far too many chapters. They are both cruel to each other and themselves. There are well founded reasons for how each of them behaves but I would have liked more true seeing than we get or at least an obsession that didn't seem just physical at first. All the details of who they each are captivate but there are several threads left dangling for me that I would have liked traced out (his father, her mother in detail, the nanny, the seducer). However, the book swings up and up and up until its wonderful closing making it a very good read. May I say one more time Yea! Epilogue!
I found this book dull and repetitive. You can pretty much skip over the first 150 pages as nothing is happening except the plot of "the big misunderstanding"! Neither character is appealing to me.
Oh my. The Chocolate Heart was so intense! I've mentioned that I read the series out of order, beginning with the first book, then skipping to The Chocolate Temptation (book six), then I read Sun-Kissed (book seven) then went back and read two through five. With all my hopping around, I've noticed that the series definitely gets more intense as you go from books two through five. The Chocolate Temptation was a bit less intense for me, but I think that was due to Patrick Chevalier's deceptively easy-going manner. I should also note that much of this story runs concurrent to The Chocolate Temptation, and it was very cool to see some of the same events happening through Luc Leroi's darker perception. Anyway, back to The Chocolate Heart! I really liked it. Like The Chocolate Touch, it was a harder read. The writing is still beyond gorgeous and I just love revisiting Laura Florand's Paris and her intense, emotionally draining men. What made it difficult was what also made it very good: Summer and Luc were profoundly damaged by their childhoods, slow to believe that they each held value to the other, and very, very slow to open up. Yes, it was frustrating to have those blocks between Luc and Summer, but I also felt it was true to their character and good of Florand to not make it "easy" for the sake of the reader. I honestly don't know what I can say at this point without becoming even more redundant. The entire series is a gorgeous experience. It's full of passion and angst and sexy and romance. Funny moments, sad moments, heartbreaking moments and moments so beautiful, so beautifully expressed that I'm brought to tears. It's been a wonderful experience. If you're looking for intense and beautiful, Amour et Chocolate is definitely the series to read. Favorite Quotes Her eyes flickered to his with a flash of pure hunger. Yes! Triumph licked him, thorough hot licks of her mouth on his skin. Oh, yes, I can make you hunger for me. And then her smile turned her whole beautiful, luminous, delicate face into something so impossibly wonderful that his hands- his hands- almost shook with the need to grab it to him, to crush it to him, and never let it get away. "You're so beautiful." Water streamed off him, that lean body of his all wild, taut muscle, his face burned clean of anything but passion. He kept saying that as if she really was. She slipped her hands up those slick shoulders. "Let go,"she whispered. "Lose control." His body shook in hard, long spasms that drove him deeper into her. "Hold me while I do," he whispered. "Hold me together. Don't let me go." So she wrapped her arms around him as hard as she could and held on. And he let all the wildness out. "I could kiss you until there's nothing left of you," he whispered. Where the words should have woken that visceral fear of being reduced to nothing in someone else's life, instead an image grew of herself: golden, strong, glowing in his arms like a precious star. "No, you can't." His thumb traced over her lips. "Don't underestimate how long I can kiss you." A soft smile, almost as contained as one of his, full of an astonishing amount of confidence. "Don't underestimate how long I can last." .
I was kindly provided with an ARC of The Chocolate Heart by the author in exchange for an unbiased review. Laura Florand writes my favorite kind of contemporary romances, ones where you "get" the heroine, fall in love with the hero and get treated to lush descriptions of decadent desserts! Chocolate Heart is the 5th in her Chocolate series and it was as much a pleasure to read as her previous works. Heart is the story of world famous pastry chef Luc Leroi and equally famous (although for not such positive reasons) Summer Corey (fans of Florand will recognize the Corey name and will be treated to mentions of past favorite characters.) Summer is the quintessential "spoiled brat" (or so you assume) that is summoned home from her South Pacific retreat in order to be gifted with a glitzy Parisian hotel by her weathly beyond belief absentee parents. The hotel is one of the few that also has a 3 star restaurant, in which Luc is the pastry chef extraordinaire. The two main characters have a rough initial meeting (she thinks he's a bell boy) and things don't get any easier due to the misconceptions these two have about each other. Summer is an interesting character, far different from the goody-goody heroine you often see in romances. She is seriously flawed and has major issues from her past which makes you root for her all the more. Luc is no walk in the park either, having developed a thick armor from his own troubled youth. In a sense, these two have to "get over" themselves before they can get into each other. I loved the depth of emotion that flowed throughout the book and ending was everything one could wish for. I will only add that this book deserves a way better cover!!(less)