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. . .
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
"Readers will devour this frothy, fun novel."--Booklist
"Both sensual and sweet. . .a story that melts in your mouth!" --USA Today bestselling author Christie Ridgway
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Chocolate Touch
By LAURA FLORAND
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2013 Laura Florand
All rights reserved.
Dom straightened from the enormous block of chocolate he was creating, gave his maîtresse de salle, Guillemette, a disgruntled look for having realized he would want to know that, and slipped around to the spot in the glass walls where he could get the best view of the salle below. He curled his fingers into his palms so he wouldn't press his chocolaty hands to the glass and leave a stain like a kid outside a candy shop.
She sat alone as she always did, at one of the small tables. For a week now, she had come twice a day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon. She was probably a tourist, soaking up as much French artisanal chocolate as she could in her short stay in Paris, as they liked to do. But even he admitted it was strange that her soaking up should be only of him. Most wandered: him in the morning, Philippe Lyonnais in the afternoon, Sylvain Marquis the next day. Tourists read guidebooks and visited the top ten; they didn't have the informed taste to know that Sylvain Marquis was boring and Dominique Richard was the only man a woman's tongue could get truly excited about.
This woman—looked hard to excite. She seemed so pulled in on herself, so utterly quiet and contained. She had a wide, soft poet's mouth and long-lashed eyes whose color he couldn't tell from that far away. Hair that was always hidden by a hood, or occasionally a fashionable hat and a loosely tied scarf, like Audrey Hepburn. High cheekbones that needed more flesh on them. A dust-powder of freckles covered her face, so many they blurred together.
The first day, she had looked all skin and bones. Like a model, but she was too small and too freckled, so maybe just another city anorexic. When she had ordered a cup of chocolat chaud and a chocolate éclair, he had expected to see her dashing to the toilettes soon after, to throw it up before the binge of calories could infect her, and it had pissed him off, because he loathed having his chocolate treated that way.
But she had just sat there, her eyes half closed, her hands curling around the hot cup of chocolate caressingly. She had sat there a long time, working her way through both éclair and chocolat chaud bit by little bit. And never once had she pulled out a journal or a phone or done anything except sit quite still, absorbing.
When she had left, he had been surprised to feel part of himself walk out with her. From the long casement windows, he had watched her disappear down the street, walking carefully, as if the sidewalk might rise up and bite her if she didn't.
That afternoon, she was back, her hands curling once again around a cup of his chocolat chaud, and this time she tried a slice of his most famous gâteau. Taking slow, tiny mouthfuls, absorbing everything around her.
Absorbing him. Everything in this place was him. The rough, revealed stone of the archways and three of the walls. The heavy red velvet curtains that satisfied a hunger in him with their rich, passionate opulence. The rosebud-embossed white wall that formed a backdrop to her, although no one could understand what part of him it came from. The gleaming, severe, cutting-edge displays. The flats of minuscule square chocolates, dark and rich and printed with whimsical elusive designs, displayed in frames of metal; the select collection of pastries, his gâteaux au chocolat, his éclairs, his tartes; clear columns of his caramels. Even the people around her at other tables were his. While they were in his shop, he owned them, although they thought they were buying him.
The third afternoon, when the waiter came upstairs with her order, Dom shook his head suddenly. "Give her this." He handed Thierry the lemon-thyme-chocolate éclair he had been inventing that morning.
He watched the waiter murmur to her when he brought it, watched her head lift as she looked around. But she didn't know to look up for him and maybe didn't know what he looked like, even if she did catch sight of him.
When she left, Thierry, the waiter, brought him the receipt she had left on the table. On the back she had written, Merci beaucoup, and signed it with a scrawled initial. L? J? S? It could be anything.
A sudden dread seized him that Merci meant Adieu and he wouldn't see her again, her flight was leaving, she was packing her bags full of souvenirs. She had even left with a box of his chocolates. For the plane ride. It left a hole in him all night, the thought of how his salon would be without her.
But the next morning, she was back, sitting quietly, as if being there brought repose to her very soul.
He felt hard-edged just looking at her restfulness, the bones showing in her wrists. He felt if he got too close to her, he would bump into her and break her. What the hell business did he have to stand up there and look at her? She needed to be in Sylvain's place, somewhere glossy and sweet, not in his, where his chocolate was so dark you felt the edge of it on your tongue.
She needed, almost certainly, a prince, not someone who had spent the first six years of his working life, from twelve to eighteen, in a ghastly abattoir, hacking great bloody hunks of meat off bones with hands that had grown massive and ugly from the work, his soul that had grown ugly from it, too. He had mastered the dark space in his life, but he most surely did not need to let her anywhere near it or to think what might happen if he ever let it slip its leash.
"She certainly has a thing for you, doesn't she?" his short, spiky-haired chocolatier Célie said, squeezing her boss into the corner so she could get a better look. Dom sent a dark glance down at the tufted brown head. He didn't know why his team persisted in treating him like their big brother or perhaps even their indulgent father, when he was only a few years older than they were and would be lousy at both roles. No other top chef in the whole city had a team that treated him that way. Maybe he had a knack for hiring idiots.
Maybe he needed to train them to be in abject terror of him or at least respect him, instead of just training them how to do a damn good job. He only liked his equals to be terrified of him, though. The thought of someone vulnerable to him being terrified made him sick to his stomach.
"She must be in a hotel nearby," he said. That was all. Right?
"Well, she's not eating much else in Paris, not as thin as she is." Célie wasn't fat by any means, but she was slightly more rounded than the Parisian ideal, and judgmental of women who starved themselves for fashion. "She's stuck on you."
Dom struggled manfully to subdue a flush. He couldn't say why, but he liked, quite extraordinarily, the idea of Freckled Would-be Audrey Hepburn being stuck on him.
"You haven't seen her run and throw anything up?" Célie checked doubtfully.
"No, she doesn't—non. She likes having me inside her."
Célie made an odd gurgling sound and looked up at him with her eyes alight, and Dom replayed what he had just said. "Will you get out of my space? Don't you have work to do?"
"Probably about as much as you." Célie grinned smugly, not budging.
Hardly. Nobody worked as hard as the owner. What the hell did Sylvain Marquis and Philippe Lyonnais do with employees who persisted in walking all over them? How did this happen to him? He was the biggest, ugliest customer in the whole world of Parisian chocolate, and yet in his own laboratoire—this was what he had to put up with.
Célie waggled her eyebrows at him. "So what's wrong with you? Are you sick? Why haven't you gone up with your—" She braced her shoulders and swung them back and forth, apparently trying to look macho and aggressive. She looked ridiculous. "We could cover for you for a couple of hours."
She tried to treat it like a joke, the way Dom could walk up to a woman, his aggression coming off him in hard edges all over the place, and have that woman get up and disappear with him for a couple of hours. But a profound disapproval lurked in her brown eyes.
Dom set his jaw. His sex life was really nobody's business, even if it was infamous, and, well—"No. Go start on the pralinés before I make you come in at three a.m. tomorrow to do them."
For a wonder, Célie actually started to move. She got three steps away before she turned back. "You haven't had sex with her already, have you? Finally broken someone's heart, and now she's lurking here like a ghost, snatching at your crumbs?"
Dominique stared at her. "Broken her—ghost—crumbs—what the hell do you guys make up about me when I'm not in earshot?" He never had sex with women who had hearts. Not ones that beat for him, anyway.
"Nothing. We contemplate possible outcomes of your actions, chef, but I think we're pretty realistic about it." Célie gave him her puckish grin and strolled a couple more paces away. Naturally, his breath of relief was premature, and she turned back for one last shot. "Now if we were creative, we might have come up with this scenario." She waved a hand at Dom, wedged in a corner between glass and stone, gazing down into his salle below.
Whatever the hell that meant.
He blocked Célie's face from the edge of his vision with a shift of one muscled shoulder and focused back on the freckled inconnue's table.
Putain, she had left.
Cancer, he thought that night, with a chill of fear. Maybe that explained the hats or hoods or scarves that always hid her hair. Maybe that explained the thinness, and the way she seemed able to just sit still forever, soaking up his life.
He started preparing her plates himself, arranging whatever she had ordered to his satisfaction and then adding in little surprise presents: a miniature tower of three of his square bonbons, for example, fresh from the ganache room where trays of them were scattered on wire shelves, waiting to replenish the displays below.
He went to his secret spot, in the corner of the glass walls above the salle, to see her reaction. She didn't smile. But she bit into them slowly, taking her time, eating the tiny morsels in two, sometimes even three bites, as if she wanted to savor every aspect of his flavor. The texture of him on her tongue.
And when she was done with him—with them, with the chocolates—she always left. Rising. Brushing crumbs off her lap if she had had one of his famous chocolate mille-feuilles. Laying down cash, never once paying with a card so he could know her name.
Was it just his imagination, or was her boniness softening, from the week of absorbing him?
The sixth day, he broke cover, moving suddenly out of his observation post when he saw her rise. His feet sounded too loud, too violent on the polished metal spiral that descended into the room. He was only halfway down by the time she reached the door. She didn't look back toward the sound. She stood as the glass doors slid open for her, and her shoulders shifted in a sigh. And then she was gone, out on the street.
Guillemette and both waiters were eyeing him, eyebrows raised. He turned abruptly on his heel and went back up into his laboratoire.
The seventh day, he almost wanted to open the shop, even though they never opened on Monday, because—what would she do? Where would she go without him?
He resisted his own foolishness and then spent the entire day off roaming restlessly around Paris, sometimes on his motorcycle, sometimes on foot, visiting all the tourist spots, which was ridiculous. Sure, a man should take the time to appreciate his city and not leave it all to tourists, but the odds of spotting someone in the Louvre when you didn't even know if she was there were ... pretty nearly none. Standing looking up at La Victoire de Samothrace and as she soared above the crowds in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre inspired him, though, made flavors and textures shift and flow in his mind, tease his palate, as he tried to think of a chocolate that he could call Victoire.
He liked La Victoire de Samothrace. The flowing, exultant winged marble would have represented the essence of his soul, if only he could purify it of all its darkness and make it that beautiful.
After the Louvre, he even went up the Eiffel Tower, which he hadn't done since a school trip at age ten. He climbed the first two floors on foot, up and up, taking pleasure in the eventual protest of his thighs, and looked down from it at the whole of Paris. His city. He may once have been this city's outcast, but he had made Paris his.
He liked the Eiffel Tower. All those years it had been shining over his city, and he had never until now realized that. He liked the impossible, fantastical strength of it, the way the metal seemed so massive up close. He liked the fact that it had risen above all the complaints and criticism that surrounded its birth and stamped its power not only over the city but the world. He pulled out the little moleskin journal he always carried with him and stood for a long time sketching the curves and angles of the bolts and metal plates, thinking of designs for the surface of his chocolates.
From the railing, he eyed the tiny figures milling around the Champ de Mars wistfully. He didn't know why he was looking for her. She was too thin and too fragile for him, although something about her conversely exuded strength. He didn't even know what color her hair was, and—her features were quite lovely, with the blue eyes and over-full, wide mouth, too full for her thin face; the thick pale dust of freckles entirely charmed him. But ... there were any number of women with lovely features in his chocolaterie at any one time. 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 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.
The eighth morning, she didn't come.
His heart congealed. Everything lost its flavor. He looked at his elegant, luscious displays and wanted to throw them all out for their worthless, desperate pretense that he was something other than a twelve-year-old sent by his own father to hack meat off bones for a living. The desperate pretense that the truth of life was not there, in that bloody, stinking, cold place while his father at home kept warm with alcohol.
Something moody and bitter rose up in him, the thing that leaked into his chocolates, made them "dark and cruel," as one critic in Le Figaro had called them, apparently in approval, because Parisians eager to prove their sadomasochistic relationship to chocolate had rushed to his salon the next day.
When she continued not to come, he couldn't stand himself anymore and flung himself on his motorcycle and cut through the streets, dodging traffic with a lethal disregard for life and limb, over to the Île Saint-Louis. Pretending he needed to see Philippe to talk to him about the Chocolatiers' Expo in a couple of weeks.
This type of event forced him and the other top chocolatiers and pâtissiers to cooperate, not their favorite thing to do. Dom was well aware that he cooperated worse than any of them. He couldn't stand his rivals. Being around them made him want to start a fight, and pummel and batter his way to the top of the heap of them, and grin in bloody, bruised victory. Yes. I can beat anyone.
He did like Philippe's little fiancée, Magalie, though. Quite a lot. He liked her smallness and those boots of hers and that impervious center to her, as if she couldn't be touched, and he liked the idea of cutting Philippe out, just hard-edged muscling between them. Mostly he liked the rush of violence in the air whenever he thought about it, liked the fact that it was real and dangerous, that Philippe would genuinely try to kill him, and they could fight with fists and bodies and not just with pastries and chocolate.
He didn't because ... well, it sure as hell wasn't because he liked or respected Philippe. Bordel. It made him gun his motor and cut far too close in front of a car just thinking about that as a possible motivation.
Excerpted from The Chocolate Touch by LAURA FLORAND. Copyright © 2013 by 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh yeah....no one writes tortured, romantic heroes like Laura Florand. It's like, the passion of Heathcliff without the crazy and abuse. These men, all her men, are passionate about chocolate and the woman who steals their heart. My impressions from Dom Richard have been through the eyes of his frenemies. Those impressions were that he was a brutish flirt, womanizer, and that he took arrogance to a new level. But I cheated. I read Sun-Kissed, and got a glimpse of a man in love, and who protected his love with a remarkable care. So, I knew Dom had it in him, but in this book I learned how far he'd come in his life, how hard he'd worked, how difficult it was for him to fall in love, and exactly how beautiful that love for Jamie Corey was. I also went into The Chocolate Touch very curious about what Jamie had undergone off-page. I knew in Sun-Kissed that she'd been severely injured, but that she was okay. And that she had Dom. I have to say, Jamie has been the most endearing heroine of this series, for me. Her strength and capacity to love Dom was so beautiful. Even though I knew where Dom and Jamie end up (Sun-Kissed is a must-read!), their story was all I'd hoped for. I loved The Chocolate Touch. I think I'm still a bit partial to The Chocolate Temptation, and The Chocolate Kiss is my favorite, but this one stands right up there. Favorite Quotes Him,with his all-out, aggressive, take-it-or-leave-it approach to women, he was so reined in, so subtle, so gentle. Slow, slow, slow, he told himself. Slow. She's a cream or a pastry or a chocolate to be tempered just right. Think about her that way. Sloooow. Let her absorb you. Just the way she sat in the salle day after day and absorbed everything you made ,as if it was the only thing in life she wanted to do. She pushed the free hand toward the one he held,apparently trying to gesture closeness."Warm,"she said again.And then she did something that undid him to the last faint whisper of his soul:she gave his hand a squeeze with fingertips that could just barely reach around his,apparently using him to indicate what she wanted to say. He meant warmth.He meant this word she couldn't find. He turned and kissed her "Whatever it is you're trying not to do. You can do it to me." He had survived everything else after all. She shook her head, her mouth a bitter twist as she forced her gaze back to her chocolate. "You don't know what you're asking." "Then why don't you tell me?" Blue eyes locked with his in one moment of naked honesty. "If I could, I would crawl into you and never come out. "Why don't you ever stay the night with me? Only one time, since we've started dating, have you stayed until I woke up. It's confusing, the way you're always gone in the morning." "I've always stayed the whole night," he said, startled. "I leave for work." Still pressed back against his desk, he stared at her. "You didn't know that?" She shook her head. "So when you wake up and I'm not there, you've been thinking--what?" "That it's understandable you would need space. That I need to let you breathe." There was a silence. "No," was all he said, the word packed tight with meaning. "No. I--breathe better when you're right here."
Love the book
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. 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. After suffering a trauma, 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. 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. 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. 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. Besides her money, and with her work helping others on hold, she feels like she has nothing to offer. And because of all this, Jaime thinks there’s no chance Dominique would think twice about her. 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. With Jaime and Dominique there is a needy longing for what they sense inside the other, making their romance so very passionate! 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! A copy was provided by Kensington through Netalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
I adored it! I have had this book for a while but saved it for when I needed a really good book Boy, was it ever! I love everything about this book. My only quibble is I want an epilogue. I know I will see Dom and Jamie in future books in the series but I want more now. The sensuality, humanness, and sheer love on display in this book make it grand. Dom quickly become one of my favorite heroes and Jaime is match. They both take huge emotionial risks. I find that so compelling and romantic. There are tons of wonderful little details here in this chocolate soaked love story but if I gave away anything it would ruin your enjoyment of each burst of flavor. Clearly, I highly recommend this book. I am off to reread it!
Loved this book...wasn't disappointed, such an arrogant sexy man! Makes me want to go to france and eat delicious chocolate.
I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book to review, but this did not affect my rating First tip: This book needs to be read with chocolate on hand. And not just any chocolate, but the good stuff. Laura Florand's ability to transport the reader into the story does not disappoint,. As with her other books in the series, she creates wonderfully vivid descriptions that make characters and scenery jump out of the pages... I loved the character development in this book, as I have in the others in the series. It's nice to see vulnerability in male characters...Laura creates complex personalities in all of her characters that make them seem all the more real and compelling. Second tip: This can be read as a stand alone book, but, you will become addicted to the stories so it's best to start from the beginning to avoid spoilers! I enjoyed 'catching up' with characters from the other books in the series. Can't wait for more!
The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand I wanted to read this book first for the chocolate. That this is also a love story set in Paris just makes it that so much more enticing. Dominicique Richard is a chocolatier and finds the woman who visits the shop daily very fascinating. He finally meets her and they connect. When he finally finds out her name he still doesn't know her last name. The chocolate expo is soon approaching and he has to come up with a sculpture made out of chocolate. That and taking her to new places keeps him busy. Love the sound of his laboratory - at work where he does his magic with chocolate. Very erotic sex scenes and he does find out why she's in town and he's afraid she will pack and leave. Love her storyline with her family and their connection. Chocolate in Hearts is the next in this series and a sample chapter is included. I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
As a recent devotee to Laura Florand's delicious Chocolate series, I was thrilled to receive an ARC of her as-yet-to-be released novel, "The Chocolate Touch" in return for an unbiased review. This latest installment was a decadent addition to the series. "Touch" focuses on Jaime Corey, American candy bar heiress and Domanique Richard,the "bad boy" of the French artisinal chocolate scene. Both were mentioned in Florand's earlier works, "The Chocolate Thief" and "The Chocolate Kiss." Florand's writing fleshes out these two damaged characters beautifully, allowing the reader to root for them and their romance. And of course the third main character is the chocolate itself! I have never read such mouthwatering descriptions of desserts in my life and would happily like to dive into Florand's chocolate world to partake! In addition to being a good love story, "The Chocolate Touch" was filled with humor and snappy dialogue. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Dom and Jaime's grandfather, James Corey. As many of my friends know, I lost a ton of books due to hurricane flooding and swore never to buy another "actual" book, instead just stock up electronically on my Nook, but these books have me tempted to buy Florand's entire collection in hard copies. Maybe holding the book in my hand will make me feel closer to the chocolate? LOL. All in all, a great read. I think at this point I will read anything Florand writes!
Laura Florand’s Chocolate series has been one great book after another! The latest book in the series “The Chocolate Touch” features the sister of a previous heroine and another temperamental, hunky, French chocolatier. Jaime Corey has endured a traumatic and physically damaging experience and is now in Paris, spending a lot of time in the chocolate shop of Dominique Richard, enjoying his unusual chocolate creations. She sits alone and allows the essence of the place to help her heal and finds herself becoming more and more attracted to Richard. Dom is the bad boy of French chocolatiers. He comes from a rough background and became famous but not well liked in the elite community. He is fascinated by the skinny, fragile looking woman who eats his creations with such enjoyment and he finds himself trying to change his brusque persona. I really enjoyed the beauty and the beast theme in this book. The strange thing is that both Dom and Jaime see only the beast or negative side in themselves and the beauty in the other person. Jaime sees herself as a damaged frightened shell of what she once was and Dom can’t seem to rise above the violent and aggressive person he used to be. You can feel the longing between them as you read the book and when they finally get together, the words sizzle on the pages. The expectations of family and antipathy of the other chocolate makers cause some problems in their relationship. Jaime being a member of the dreaded bourgeois Corey family is a bombshell for Dom but he handles it well. I really loved the emotion in this book and how afraid both people are to love each other initially even though they desperately need the physical and emotional contact. When they work through their issues, you feel as though they have been through a marathon to get to each other. One of my favorite bits was how Jaime’s grandfather keeps trying to get Dom to make spinach infused chocolate. I also liked seeing the couples from past books even if they weren’t always nice to Dom. There is another Corey sibling featured in the next book, The Chocolate Heart, due out in December. The anticipation is killing me….
A mouthwatering read! To celebrate the release day of this book, I made sure I had some delicious chocolate truffles and chocolate covered fruits at hand. They were delicious and hit the spot, but somehow I don't think they were as delicious as the treats crafted by Dominique Richard. The descriptions are intense and will make your mouth water. Heck, I even wanted to try the chocolate with spinach! I really do envy Laura Florand's research that goes into all of her chocolate books. Dominique. Not only doe she make mouth watering delights, but the the way hes described in the book is mouth watering. I'm afraid the cover model doesn't live up to that at all. I hope you're listening Kensington arts department! What a shame, but that's alright, I used my imagination to picture a much better and dreamier Dominique. Is there anything more attractive than a man who wants a woman but is trying his hardest to stay away from her because he doesn't think he's good enough? Now coming to Jaime. She's physically frail but quickly shoring up her strength. For someone whose so small she's so strong. I love see her coming into her own in this book. She has heart, passion, and a drive to be better and do better. I felt like a voyeur in their interactions with each other; with both Dominique and Jaime laying their souls bare. It was nice to see people and couples from the past Chocolate books. I am sincerely looking forward to seeing more. I've loved every character in this series, but I think Dominique and Jaime have stolen a little piece of my heart. I've said this once, and I'll say it again. Laura Florand's books are magical. Her words are like prose and it would be a shame to miss out on them.
I really enjoy Laura Florand’s books. I think I fell a little in love with Sylvain Marquis when I read The Chocolate Thief. I wasn’t sure I could like Dominique Richard, knowing Sylvain’s view of him. But I did like Dominique Richard. A lot. The Chocolate Thief was a fun, fantasy of a romance. The Chocolate Touch has the fun, the romance, but it is more real. I could imagine myself in this story in a way I could not imagine breaking into a Parisian chocolatier. Both Dominique and Jamie have some heavy issues they are trying to deal with. And those issues lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications and wrong assumptions. And that can be funny or heart-breaking depending upon the moment. I like that Florand does not overplay the misunderstandings. Though the main characters have been through trauma, this remains a fun romance and doesn’t get bogged down in drama. I am a sucker for the alternating points of view Florand does so well. I love getting insight into how both characters perceive the same situation. Dominique, like all of Florand’s heroes, appears strong and impervious on the outside, but his insides are vulnerable and sweet. I guess I’m a sucker for that, too. I also like love at first sight when it’s done as well as Florand does it. She made me believe that a real connection existed between Dominique and Jamie before they knew each other. I appreciated seeing Sylvain & Cade and how their love story is developing. I have a soft place in my reader’s heart for them. I think this may be Laura Florand’s best book yet. If you’re like me and enjoy strong character development, fabulous descriptions of chocolate, and a good love story, you’ll like The Chocolate Touch.
Whenever I open one of Laura Florand’s books, I can’t stop reading until I finish it. I am addicted to her stories, but thankfully my addiction has no criminal or caloric consequence. Her books are like a box of Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolates, enrobing seductive men and smart women with the sensual pleasures of romance set in the milieu of Parisian chocolateries. The Chocolate Touch expands on stories from characters in her previous books, The Chocolate Thief and the Chocolate Kiss, so the story stands on its own, but if you have read her other books, you will enjoy the references to other chocolatiers, just as you can savor more than one piece of chocolate. Dominique Richard is the “bad boy” of the chocolate world, having worked his way into the refined world of high-end chocolates by way of an abbatoir (slaughterhouse) and an abusive father. Jaime, born into a family of a global corporate chocolate manufacturer, is the cocoa fair trade justice worker who was who gets injured for her ideals. She recuperates in Paris by nourishing her body, soul, and heart, with Dominique’s exotically wild chocolate flavors. The story weaves much from real life fair trade cocoa issues, the hardship that young apprentices face (or are running away from in their work), and the internal battle of women who strive to be strong when they need to rest and heal. Standing up to strong personalities and surrendering to trust others are themes that run throughout this story. It is also delightfully funny when the two chocolatiers, who have been lifelong competitors, forge a bond once they realize that they share a common point of view. I loved the tentative nature of the attraction built from Dominique and Jaime’s past histories. They are both wary and hungry for each other for different reasons. One of my favorite lines moments is when Jaime says, “You‘re going to kill me Monsieur.” She laughed. “An overdose of deliciousness.” Laura’s books always get me hungry for Paris, delightful chocolate, and a delicious man, and after reading The Chocolate Touch, I’m ready to book my flight!
The ending of this novel had me sighing a happy sigh, but also was a conclusion that was realistic, understandable, and rational. I am one happy reader. :) This novel is WONDERFUL. It was my first Laura Florand book, and I did not look up her other novels before reading this one.
Laura Florand pulls us into Dominique Richard's salon with molten chocolat chaud and scents that entice Jaime Corey as she tries to find her footing after a brutal beating in the Ivory Coast. Jaime has been the "change-the-world" sister of the Corey chocolate heiresses, but her field work with fair trade cocoa made her a target and airlifted to Paris by her sister, Cade, from "The Chocolate Thief." In her recovery, she is slowly trying to build her strength through Dom's chocolate and he is instantly taken by her stillness and mystery, so different than the other patrons. He is brusque and take-charge, in and out of the bedroom, and struggles with how to even approach Jaime. But once together, it gets incendiary! He doesn't realize she is a Corey, and Cade and Sylvain try to warn Jaime away from Dom, not realizing Dom is different with Jaime. Jaime and Dom are both flawed, but strong and it is heartening to see them stumble in the early stages. The chocolate is scrumptious in this book, as with all in this series. Florand has found a good pacing and the juxtaposed French/English language and culture is fun to read. I was lucky enough to win an ARC in a drawing.
The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand is a wonderful story of love, seeing in someone else what you think in lacking in yourself, and coming to terms with your past. Let me tell you a little about this amazing story. Dominique Richard is a Chocolaterie in Paris and his chocolate creations are among the best. Growing up in a broken home where his father abused both his mother and himself, forced to work in a slaughterhouse at the age of 12, Dominique has climbed his way out of that life and created a new one for himself. Although he keeps people at a distance and never gets involved in relationships, afraid that he will end up like his father, an abusive, mean, hurtful man, there is something about the beautiful young woman sitting in his salon, absorbing his chocolates that makes him want to hold her and keep her forever. Jamie Corey, heir to the Corey Chocolate fortune, can not get enough of Dominique and his wonderful chocolates. In Paris after an accident that has left her unsure of her future, Jamie wants nothing more than to be with Dominique, but what does a plain, simple unexciting woman like her have to offer someone like Dominique? I just fell in love with this couple. They had such inner strength. Each saw in the other the things that they found lacking in themselves, yet those qualities were there all along. Dominique, trying to be gentle and kind for Jamie, not understanding that this was his nature and that he had always protected and sheltered those around him. Jamie, thinking that she had nothing to offer Dominique, telling him that he is the sun to her, bright, warm, security, all of the things that Dominique longed to hear all of his life. They both had secrets that they kept from each other, about their past, about who they really are, but the way that these secrets were reveled and how they the characters handled them, only made me love them more. I will definitely read the other books in this series and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a truly wonderful love story.