Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: He bent his head to her ear. “Unzip your dress.”
She shivered. “Oh, God, if you growl like that…”
“Unzip it,” he growled.
Oh that growl – I think I could actually hear Matt growling all throughout this book. The start of a new series from Laura Florand, she moves out of the kitchens and into the valley of France. Matt is heir to his family’s extensive rose valley, where they grow roses that the perfume industry uses. Roses are in Matt’s blood. Growing up in this valley with his cousins, Matt is the one that has shouldered the responsiblity. While his cousins all help at harvest and are active in the rose business, they have all done other things in their lives as well. When Matt tries to do other things, he always ends up right back in his valley. Most recently he tried dating a super model and that went very badly. So when a woman shows up, claiming Matt’s 96-year old aunt has given her a house, in his valley – a house he has spent a lot of time working on – Matt gets growly. VERY growly.
“To you?” Definitely he had roared that, he could hear his own voice booming back at him, see the way she braced herself. But – who the hell was she? And what the hell was he supposed to do about this? Fight a girl half his size? Strangle his ninety-sex-year-old aunt? How did he crush his enemies and defend his valley? His enemy was…she was so cute.
Layla had a very successful song that made the charts and pushed her into fame. But now she is burned out. Having no desire to write another album, when she learns that a mysterious woman has left her a house in France, she decides to go see what it’s all about. What she didn’t expect to find was a gorgeous man and an entire clan of cousins who are all interested in who she is and what she is doing in their valley. Layla takes one look at Matt, with his shirt off harvesting roses and wants to know him much, much better. This is one thing I like about Layla – she is never really intimidated by Matt and his cousins. Matt may roar and try to take back her house initially, but Layla always has respect for Matt and his family and tries to do the right thing. She is also very upfront about how sexy Matt is, and her flirtation with him is so cute.
“You’re pretty cute, you know that?” she tested softly.
The streak over those strong cheekbones turned ruddy bronze. He looked back at her journal, and the pencil lead broke. He stared at it, apparently not having a clue what to do with himself.
Which was so empowering. It gave her all kinds of ideas what to do with him.
And poor Matt – his cousins torment him mercilessly – they torment him about his devotion to the valley and nothing else. They torment him about the way he blushes (omg his blush) and when they realize there is something brewing between Matt and Layla, the torment -oh the torment. So delightful.
(Matt’s nickname for Layla is “Bouclettes”)
“Bouclettes, hmmm? Tristan grinned a little at the road. “Like Goldilocks?” Boucles d’Or. “I like it. Are you the three bears?”
His cousins were so annoying. Matt grunted.
Tristan’s grin widened. “Excellent grunt. Great role-playing there. I bet you get the part of the biggest bear.” His expression went innocently wicked. “Wasn’t he the one whose bed fit just right?”
Oh, yeah, Matt would like to see how she fit in his big, white bed, when he…he caught himself and glared at his cousin. “Don’t make me hit you while you’re driving.”
Matt had his heart broke with the failed relationship of his previous girlfriend, so he isn’t looking for romance, but Layla – she is a minx. She flirts with him, teases him and tells him outright how hot he is. For all of his growling and roaring, he blushes and stumbles his way along in this romance. It’s so adorable I could hardly stand it. And while he is blushing, this intense sexual attraction develops.
“I’m not touching you, Bouclettes.”
Damn. Why was that so hot? To not be touched? Why did it make her want to be touched so badly?
“That’s good,” she managed. The deep vibrations of his voice just wrapped her up and caressed her, easing into a tone so gentle it was all she could do not to curl up in it.
“Why is that good, cherie?”
She scrubbed her hands over her face, trying to rub some sense into herself. “Because I don’t know what I’d do if you did,” she confessed.
He drew one hard breath in, his fist clenching on the rag. Their gazes locked and sizzled. “That is a hell of a thing to tell a man while you keep asking him to do nothing.”
The roses are just as important as the protagonists in this book. As with her chocolat series I died because I couldn’t taste the amazing creations through my kindle, now I wanted to smell what this rose valley must smell like. (note: my kindle has no smell. It was disappointing).
“Thanks for the rose.” Her voice was almost a whisper, this husky blend with the softness of dawn.
He flushed a little. Him and his stupid roses. Why he had to go leave on the pillow beside her, he did not know.
“I put it in the vase,” she said.
Had she? Taken care of it just like the others?
Could Matt be anymore adorable??? I dare say no!
Once Upon a Rose is just a lovely, sexy book with two adorable protagonists and a setting that made me smile just as much as being in the kitchen with chocolatiers. I hear Tristan’s book is next (one of Matt’s cousins) and I can’t wait.