Growing up in the very rough suburbs to Paris, Célie was always determined to make something of herself, unlike her drug-dealing low-life of an older brother. Apprenticing herself to a baker, the brightest part of her day was always when her brother’s friend Joss came to walk her home. Pretty much at the moment Célie had worked up the courage to confess her massive crush on him, Joss broke her heart into a million pieces by going off to join the French foreign legion.
Five years later, trying to tell herself that she’s completely over Josselin Castel, Célie is the right-hand woman and head chocolatier to Dominique Richard. She has a creative and demanding job that she adores, she has friends and a great boss who has taken the place her biological brother was wholly undeserving of. Then Joss walks back into her life, tall and tan and larger than life and she falls completely to pieces for a little while. Having moved on and up in the world, forcing herself to forget him, Célie is not ready to just forgive the heartache he caused her and welcome him back with open arms.
Fully aware of the crush Célie had on him, Joss was determined to change his life, to make himself worthy of her. Having lost his job as mechanic because of his association with Célie’s criminal brother, Joss didn’t really see that they had any future unless he made himself into something better and more capable. He wanted to be able to offer Célie something real. Of course, leaving her without a hint of what he was planning, without a word to even let her know that he was alive or dead, might not have been the best idea either. Having survived not only the initial, excruciating training for the foreign legion, but going on to become the best of the elite soldiers, a paratrooper, Joss, never a man of many words, believed that it was better if he not try to explain himself to Célie. After five years as a super soldier, he’s done with the Foreign Legion, back in Paris and ready to lay all his accomplishments at the feet of the woman he loves. That she’s become an accomplished and successful woman with a life with no place for him never crossed his mind. Winning the girl of his dreams over may be a bigger challenge than he had expected, but for a man who survived years in the Foreign Legion, what’s another obstacle or two to win his true love?
I was actually lucky enough to be sent an ARC of this from Laura Florand, but by the time I had time to settle down and read it, the book was out in wider release, and as I had already pre-ordered the book ages ago, my review has in no way been influenced by the free copy. This is the first book in a new series, spinning off from her Amour et Chocolat books, and possibly connecting with her series set in the south of France, La Vie en Roses. With the exception of The Chocolate Heart, where the main couple are simply too angsty for me to fully enjoy the story, I either really like or absolutely adore Ms. Florand’s novels.
Mrs. Julien beat me to this by more than a week. Her review can be found here.
The rest of mine can be found here.