Book 3, Paris Nights
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She's nobody's damsel in distress...
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?
He's a professional dragon slayer...
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina’s fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after...with him?
Dragons and desserts
Lina Farah fought her way up in a male dominated field to be a top Parisian pastry chef in a two star Michelin restaurant. Now, she has a new battle after a recent traumatic event. Because of that violent attack, she meets Jake, a special ops team member assigned to her, who has spent his adult life putting himself in harm’s way while doing the necessary but sometimes awful actions that are part of his job. In the first week after the shocking occurrence which happened in the previous book of the Paris Nights series, CHASE ME, Lina has to rely on all her training to overcome the fear and devastation she feels. Lina knows that if she gives into the temptation to hide away from her life, then evil has truly won. She understands that courage is being afraid, but going on anyway despite that fear. And now Lina has the added challenge of being judged by “color of her skin and not the content of her character” on a world stage to paraphrase MLK.
Lina’s job as a top pastry chef means she makes desserts which look so beautiful and tastes so divine that they should be accompanied by an angel choir. She specializes in the ephemeral that can only be enjoyed and appreciated in the now for a fleeting moment. Spun from sugar and her dreams, each creation is designed to bring joy and delight in appearance and taste, but how does such a sensitive artist continue to create this kind of beauty after her whole carefully fought for and tightly controlled world shatters apart? Lina’s heritage and family background as well as the incident puts her in the spotlight which only intensifies her initial anxieties. Lina fights back with determination not to be brought down with the only way she knows how which is by going back to her kitchen and continuing to produce her special desserts despite everything she and people she cares for have endured.
While protecting Lina, Jake is very drawn to her trying for a cautious flirtation as he is trained to make no sudden moves, but she surprises him by suggesting a casual affair. He understands that type of relationship all too well after having had such meaningless encounters to blot out the darkness from his missions in the Middle East. However, Jake decides he wants to be more to Lina than an antidote to the world’s madness. After the time they spend together with some very intense encounters, they both realize only true deep emotions and real feelings can satisfy the longings of the heart. Love is the answer to hate and those like Lina and Jake who are fiercely protective people do not give up trying to slay the emotional and physical dragons that would take them down. The recent terrorism both on and off the page in Paris has irrevocably changed lives. Lina and Jake exemplify the spirit of those who would fight back not with terror and bombs, but all the personal skills they have to show the world beauty and love instead of the hate and fear evil strives to engender.
Laura Florand once again demonstrates her talent at writing beautiful stories that tug at readers’ hearts and engage all their senses. Her skill of taking simple words like freckles and turning them into something sensuous adds dimension and depth to the romance. Descriptions of mouthwatering desserts as well as the Lina and Jake’s relationship will leave the reader longing to eat one of Lina’s creations while falling in love with someone very like Jake. Ms. Florand is a master at prose that is so piercing and evocative that each tale engages the reader fully. Her stories are truly a visceral experience where language evokes heartfelt passion in a very experiential way leaving the romance reader well satisfied in most aspects, but longing for more of her prose as well.
More Freckled Heroes Please!
Trust Me is a smidge of a departure in tone from most of Laura Florand's earlier books, probably because the roles are reversed with an American hero and a French heroine. That said, there is still the fill-your-heart-up, about-to-burst romance that I've come to expect from this author's writing.
As this takes place after the events in Chase Me, and I don't want to bring out any spoilers, I'll just say it was so refreshing to see a hero who was supportive, present, and actively engaging with the heroine without a come-in-and-love-saves-the-day vibe that sometimes comes in romances where one or both of the main characters goes through something difficult. I loved how Lina started out as a kick-butt, independent woman, and she ended the story the same way! I also loved how she showed her bravery by being open to emotions and channeled her anger into picking herself and her team up by carrying on with their work.
I loved Jake - love, love love! Oh Jake, so swoony! He knew from the very beginning that Lina had to find her way back to a new normal on her own strength, but he offered a quiet, supportive presence to help her feel comfortable while she got there. Plus, there just aren't enough redheaded and freckled heroes - more please!
Once again, this was another delightful read from Laura Florand from start to finish. I eagerly anticipate each new release, and this one was just as wonderful a tale as I've come to expect from this author. I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series for maximum enjoyment (especially as this book builds directly on the plot of the previous book), but I think there is enough background provided that this book could also stand on its own if you just had to jump in here.