THE CHOCOLATE HEART
Forget hot chocolate: Florand’s fifth entry in her Amour et Chocolat series is a guaranteed way to beat the winter blues, sans calories. As usual, Florand’s long-standing love affair with Parisian patisseries comes alive in her charming descriptions of the city and the delectable deserts her hero concocts. Most of the novel’s conflict comes from the hero and heroine’s internal angst, which sometimes overwhelms an otherwise delightful story full of sizzling sexual chemistry and a stellar cast of secondary characters.
Highly disciplined and self-contained, Luc Leroi has worked his way up from a child panhandling on the Paris Métro to head chef patissier at one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. When beautiful heiress Summer Corey breezes into his hotel and mistakes him for a busboy, he has no patience for the spoiled socialite — except her tired smile brings out his protective instincts and before he knows it, he’s snapped by the paparazzi scooping her up in his arms. The problem? Thanks to an unwanted gift from her billionaire father, Summer owns the hotel, which means she’s now Luc’s boss. For once his self-control is sorely tempted, but how is a French pastry chef supposed to seduce a woman who hates Paris and sweets? (KENSINGTON, Dec., 368 pp., $14.00)