Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.
Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.
Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family business will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.
The setup of this story is what caught my interest at first (besides the cover of course). A young woman travelling to France for one year, to live with her biological mother. While trying to get to know her mother better and connect with her, Fleur gets to experience the life in Toulon. She's definitely going for it, getting herself a job, starting extra language classes, some dinner experiences for her food blog, and maybe even meet a hot frenchman.
Though she never quite expected to meet someone like Louis. I have to say that my first impression of the guy wasn't the greatest, he was a jerk. When they bump into each other afterwards, that's when we get to really know the guy, even though there is this obvious fence around his heart. Fleur to me was a bit naive when it came to Louis. She's inexperienced, and well Louis is quite captivating. The attraction between them was pallable and just freaking hot. I could definitely understand why Fleur always went back for more.
It's mostly the part of his family and his animosity towards Fleur's mother, that made Fleur a bit naive in my eyes. She really has no clue what is going on, and at times I was even wondering if she simply didn't want it to see. Her mom is one of the best police officers in town and her mission in life is to rid Toulon of criminals, and one of those biggest gangs are the Messettes a.k.a. Louis' family. Except Fleur realizes this too late.
Besides a bit naive, I thought Fleur was a nice character. She has clear passions that keep her occupied, and I liked how she wanted to connect with her biological mother. Fleur obviously got more than she bargained for in Toulon, but still she knew how to handle herself. Louis might have been the clear leader in the beginning, though in the end it was Fleur who made the decisions.
Louis is not what I would call a nice guy. He's intimidating, passionate, aggressive in a way, and straight up alpha. It took some time for me to warm up to him and I believe he will never be a typical boyfriend. He's too intense for that. Due time it does become clear how he feels about Fleur, but he made some stupid choices and keeping secrets is never a good idea.
The Frenchman was an intense read. I do like the mystery part added to the story. While you might expect a pure romance novel, it was nicely balanced. Throughout you're kept guessing as to who the good and the bad guys are. I love those kind of spins. A great romantic suspense novel, and I'll definitely be reading more of this series.
Crime Royalty Romance - Reading order and purchase links
*All books can be read as a standalone*
Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).