Wednesday, September 12, 2012

THE CHOCOLATE THIEF (Chocolate #1) by Laura Florand

Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Kensington 
Genre: Contemporary romance novel, women's fiction 
Rating: 5 stars

 “…she was just an average-looking young woman with a strong sense of herself…she might own a significant chunk of world business, in fact. But she didn’t own Paris. Not yet.”

“He had something she desperately wanted. His chocolate. Now he wanted to see if he could use that to make her desperately want him.”

 “She might have gotten in under a fake name and as a spy; but she was going to be working chocolate in a Parisian laboratoire.”

“…he was hoping she would come back and steal from him some more.”

“It was those hands of his: they were exactly the fantasy she had carried with her ever since seeing that photo on his fabulously artistic web site…they matched perfectly the tall, sexy, dark-haired, passionate man who lived with all his senses…he was so delicious. How unfortunate that he was such a jerk.”

Cade Corey, heir to the Corey’s chocolate empire, has a grandiose business plan: fly to Paris and hire the best chocolatier to help her upgrade the Corey mass-produced chocolate bars to a gourmet line. But when top chocolatier Sylvain Marquis (the man who had immediately captured her interest during her market research) haughtily snobs her business proposal, she resorts to industrial espionage to steal the secrets of his craftsmanship. Insulted by Cade’s proposal to buy his artistry and reproduce it on a mass level, he decides to turn the table on her, but in doing so he falls victim of the same weapon he intends to use against her: seduction. 

The heart of the matter is that both characters are more than meets the eye. Cade is not a spoiled billionaire. She is a remarkably hardworking young woman, who’s totally committed to the family business even if that means sacrificing her personal dreams and her emotions. Her obsession for the handsome and arrogant Parisian chocolatier goes well beyond a mere business interest. On the other hand, Sylvain may appear snobbish and self-absorbed (after all he’s French), but what truly hides behind those disdainful looks is a very proud and wounded heart, yearning for love and acceptance, shaped by a difficult childhood and used to shield his vulnerability with that contemptuous attitude better known as “French politeness”. Our lead couple’s dialogues are engaging and charged with an undeniable sexual undercurrent. Their conflictual relationship enhances the drama and makes the “happily ever after” sounds even sweeter and more rewarding.   
I think I fell head over heels for this exhilarating and sensual romantic comedy. I loved every morsel of it: the hip and glam look of the cover artwork, the lovely choice of exotic setting and lush theme, the characters combination, the spicy and voluptuous sensuality, the light-hearted tone, the fairy-tale quality of the storyline, the witty dialogues and the humorous insights into the cultural gap existing between the “traditional” Old World and the “innovative” New World.
Heart-warming romanticism exudes from every page, seducing and inevitable like the extraordinary alchemy that transmutes the stimulants of the most exotic and sensual food into love endorphins, dramatic and sophisticated like the city that the author chose as a back-drop for our characters’ love thrusts. It’s a tale that will engage and please your senses. When Cade and Sylvain’s relationship shifted from a failed business bargain to an intimate connection that went beyond their explosive sexual chemistry, I felt emotionally fulfilled and gratified as if I had just devoured a bar of bittersweet chocolate! I just couldn’t resist the visual impact of Florand’s description of Paris' winter charm…the cobble stoned streets, the old buildings, the cozy restaurants, the walk by the river. I was completely mesmerized by the sensual tension building up, page after page, between Cade and Sylvain. I wouldn’t want to spoil any key element of this romance novel: suffice it to say that it contains some of the most sensual and romantic love scenes I’ve read in recent times…I’ll never look at a marble counter top or at a dim lighted staircase in the same way again! Great mood-lifter. I would like to thank the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

About the author
Laura Florand is the author of Blame It On Paris, and co-author of the Kiss The Bride anthology (All's Fair In Love And Chocolate) with Deirdre Martin and Christie Ridgway. The Chocolate Kiss (Chocolate #2) expected release date is December 24, 2012. To learn more about this author, please visit her website


  1. Mina, I love your love of the Classic's; the consumption of which, during your youth, obviously served to instill the genius of literary discernment to your title that was once thought to be reserved exclusively to scholars of peerless pedigree: you have certainly dispelled that notion as well as anyone has ever done. You have also undoubtedly resolved yourself to tease-out the complexities respecting all matters touching the human psyche as put forth in the written work; a craft that few possess for want of ability. Your passion for the genre of romance and intrigue ascends to the perfect pitch when you subtlety and masterfully unfold plots thick with suspense; and what's more, those laced with myriad twists and turns; but to your credit your delivery restrains the reader from seeing too far beyond the next bend in the road. Conversely, your panache for tempting the reader to your recommendations is exemplified by your facileness to grasp and unpack the essence of the dramas that you gravitate to, and ultimately expound on. The plots which you explore are cast with a parade of unsuspecting characters that demonstrate, through their actions, the widest range of human potential and kinetic power. Needless to say the conveyance of raw emotion kenneled-up within that potential is unleashed by the sagacity and authoritative delivery of your rousing synopsis'; which are as palpable to the senses as they are enthralling to the imagination. Keep up the marvelous work! David Grzan

  2. David, thank you. I am deeply touched, flattered and inspired by your kind words.