on August 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Series: La Vie en Roses #2
Published by Self Published
Copy for review provided by Author in exchange for an honest review.Goodreads
From Reviewers’ Choice Book of the Year nominee and bestselling author Laura Florand:
Ruthless. That was what they said about Damien Rosier. Handsome. Wealthy. Powerful. Merciless. No one messed with his family, because to do so they would have to get through him. No one thought he had a heart. Not even the woman he gave his to.
Cynical. That was what they said about Jasmin Bianchi. A top perfumer of her generation, Jess had achieved commercial success by growing a protective shell over a tender heart. The one time she cracked it open to let Damien in, he crushed it—after a night of unbelievable passion.
Lovers. That one magical night couldn’t survive the harsh light of dawn. When Jess woke up to discover the man in bed beside her had stolen her company, she fled.
Enemies. Now she’s come to the south of France with a threat to his family heritage. If he wants to reclaim both it and the woman who walked away from him, he’s going to have to fight as dirty as only Damien can.
But Jess knows how to fight dirty, too. And these days, she has nothing left to lose.
Certainly not her heart.
This second story in the La Vie en Roses series is the romance between Damien and Jasmin. Both involved in the perfume industry, they shared a passionate one night stand as strangers after a business event. But Jasmin was horrified to discover that her tender and passionate lover was none other than Damien Rosier, the ruthless businessman who bought out her company, destroying her plans to make niche perfumes and killing her heart in the process. When her ill father passes away, Jasmin inherits a small perfume shop in the heart of Grasse, Rosier territory. When she encounters Damien again, months afterward, the wounds for both of them are still raw – Jasmin for what Damien did, and Damien for Jasmin’s shutting him out and never letting him explain what happened. With mistrust and hurt on both sides, will they find the way back to the magic that bound them together in the first place?
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.
His lips brushed her cheeks, the corner of her lips, his body rubbing subtly against hers. There and gone. His breath passed lightly over her lips as he shifted to her other cheek. A gentle, teasing test of skin to skin, lips brushing down to the corners of hers again.
She closed her eyes, lifting towards him, bringing her fingers to his shoulders. Broad, strong shoulders. Fine, pressed cotton.
His lips, closing over hers. Firm and sure and sweet and hungry.
But not pushy. Not demanding. Not taking her over. Come. Come dream with me.
He’d kissed her like this that night on the terrace in New York, only a little more certain, a little more wondering, a little less in check.
I’m sorry. She went up on tiptoe, into the kiss. I’m sorry I made you afraid to believe in this again.
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.