Sunday 6 September 2015

#CBR7 Book 82: "A Wish Upon Jasmine" by Laura Florand

Page count: 323 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

All Jasmin "Jess" Bianchi has ever wanted to do was make perfumes, like her father. The brain-child behind the massively popular Spoiled Brat, she has achieved great commercial success, but is everyone assumes that what she intended as an ironic comment on the industry is all she's capable of. When she inherits a small perfume shop in Provence, in the same year she had to bury her father and the little artisanal perfume company she had started was bought up by the powerful Rosiers, it's like a dream come true. Then she discovers that the Rosiers considers her little shop their rightful property, and the man she'll have to fight to keep it, is the man she almost lost her heart to, many months ago.

The Rosier family have a saying. "Be careful what you wish for, Damien will get it for you." While his cousins can be creative and nurturing, Damien Rosier is expected to be the calculating, ruthless and efficient one. He makes sure that the Rosier empire is strong, powerful and wealthy enough that his cousin Matt can grow roses and jasmine and his cousin Tristan can create new perfumes in his labs. Feeling deeply responsible not just for his large family, but the people and businesses in their little corner of Provence, Damien also makes sure that as many as possible are employed, preventing them from having to move from the area. He's very good at what he does, he just wishes everyone around him didn't think he was completely cold-hearted.

When Damien met Jess at an industry party many months ago, it was clear she didn't know who he was, and they shared a night of unforgettable passion. But the morning after, he woke up alone, and the next time he saw her, she looked stricken as she was told he had bought the company she was part-owner of. Now he finds her in the perfume shop where the Rosier brand started, discovering that his meddling great-aunt Colette has given it away. His grandfather wants Damien, the ruthless one, to make sure the shop is returned to the Rosiers. Damien wants an answer to why Jess just disappeared after their night of passion.

The big misunderstanding that is so often a feature in romances happens before the plot of this book really kicks off, revealed to the readers only in flashback. Jess and Damien are unaware of each other's true identities when they meet, spark an instant connection and share a night of hot sex together. Jess has to leave so early not because of second thoughts about her hook-up or guilt, but because her father is dying in hospital. All her life, Jess has heard stories of the Rosiers, who had such complete control over the region where her father was born, that as a non-Rosier perfumer, he had to leave to be able to make a name for himself. She believes them to be the enemy, a belief that isn't exactly disproved when her tiny company is gobbled up by their ruthless chief of acquisitions.

Due to their misunderstanding, the initial meetings between Jess and Damien in Provence are antagonistic, but they are also clearly crazy about each other and soon the hostility returns to the growing attraction they felt when they first met. It's pretty much confirmed that tante Colette keeps portioning out her inheritance to long-lost female heirs in some sort of really elaborate match-making scheme, but that she'd believed Jess to be a good match for Tristan, the youngest cousin.

While Laura Florand's books are always enjoyable, this one didn't really excite me much, probably because once Jess and Damien actually clear up their initial misunderstanding, there's very little tension left to overcome. Jess is also insecure to the point of stupidity, refusing to believe that Damien can have feelings for her for so long that I wanted to reach into the book and slap some sense into her.

That's not to say that I'm not going to keep reading Florand's books. There are after all, two more cousins left who haven't been paired off, and what I'm assuming are more attractive female heirs (or male, I would love if one of the cousins were gay, but I doubt it) tante Colette can give Rosier property to in upcoming books.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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