Thursday, March 26, 2015

review || THE FRENCHMAN { blitz }


The Frenchman by Lesley Young

Publisher: L.A.Y. Books (12/2/2014)
Series: Crime Royalty Romance, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★★★

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.

READER WARNING: This novel contains explicit sex.

about Lesley || Lesley Young is a genre-defying author of unforgettable heroines who experience thrilling life- and love-altering journeys. Her debut novel was Sky's End; her most recent stand-alone series, Crime Royalty Romance, includes The Frenchman and The Australian. She loves to hear from readers.

{ excerpt } .

My chest hurt from a strange new kind of anxiety, high-pitched, full of woe. Dread closed in on me. I’d never felt so exposed standing before one human being before. And realization that he could desecrate me with a mere cold shoulder sank in.
And maybe that was his point. But why?
“Is that what you want? Do you want me to go?” I whispered, trying to keep my voice steady.
I swear a universe of emotion flickered in his eyes, but it presented itself so quickly, and was hidden from view, I wondered if it existed at all.
I waited.
He shrugged. As if I was asking him what color tie he wanted to wear.
I gasped. The floor opened up beneath me, and, as I fell, I knew it then. He was the keeper—the keeper of our connection. And he’d decided to punish me, without explanation, to prove a point that he refused to explain.
I recalled thinking once that he was a rotten man. What had happened to that idea? It was suddenly clear and present again.
I rushed into my dress, zipping it up on the way to the door. I stumbled because tragedy lay before me.
Was I going to leave?
My heart was up in my throat, and tears ran down my cheeks.
Why was he so mean?
I didn’t understand!
I was steps from his door. Yes. I was running home. To my mother. Like the child he clearly thought I was. The lump in my throat ached, as with one last gasp of disbelief, I pulled on the handle, desperate for him to stop me and desperate to get away, but . . . the door wouldn’t budge.
I tugged again.
His hand was above me, holding it closed. The tattoo glared down at me. He’d moved—fast. To stop me.
He didn’t want me to leave after all.
I didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified or angry.
I felt, only, numb.
When he stepped into me, my body moved of its own volition as close to the door as possible.
Seems he’d gotten what he was so desperate to have. I was scared of him.
He buried his face in my hair, and my chest burned. Tears of hurt streamed down my face. What had just happened? My heart was pumping so fast it was going to burst and spray black everywhere, and I didn’t even know why!
“Fleur,” he whispered.
No. I shook my head, but his body had drawn close and followed mine as I tried to shift away against the door.
“Fleur,” he whispered.
I paused. We stood there, barely touching, me trapped in a standstill of . . . hope. So much hope. Pure hope. It was a field of azure bluebells on a Texas highway promising to bud every spring without tending or mercy. I didn’t know what he wanted from me, not by the way he had said my name, or in general, anymore, and I didn’t care, not as long as he wanted me.
Slowly, gently, he pulled me into him, and I let him.
I let him.
And . . . time began again.

{ & on that note } .
5 reasons why you should experience an alpha hero from France
Author Lesley Young makes the case for why Frenchmen make for good romance novels reads

Obviously I am totally biased here, since my novel The Frenchman is set in France and features a hot, Alpha hero from Toulon (to up the ante I also made him a super fit rugby player and utterly rude). Anyway, I took my job quite seriously and researched the heck out culturally significant romantic facts. I mention a few here (the rest are based on one bout of firsthand experience in my youth).

Zhe accent
Seriously, is there a sexier accent, especially delivered in a soft, deep, hoarse murmur, at least, prevalent in romance novels? Oh sure, the old Scottish brogue will give you the odd pang, but it’s hardly as elegant, slick and let’s all agree — exciting. If I had an gift card for every book I read with, “Aye, ya wee lass...”

Fashion sense
Frenchman have some. Should I leave it at that? I know us novelists tend to dress our North American heroes quite snazzy, but readers know better. I like to think that’s another reason why The Frenchman is so realistic—you think maybe you could meet a truly debonair man just like Louis Messette in real life. . .  

You’ll know when he’s into you
Little known fact: Frenchmen don’t play games. They’ll call you the day after your first date, eager to set up the next one. Date three he’ll call you his girlfriend. Week two he might say he loves you! While my Frenchman, Louis Messette, didn’t play it straight, when he made up his mind about my heroine Fleur Smithers, he was ALL IN.

He’ll look you straight in the eye and always mean what he says, with emphasis. Yup, um. . . what was I writing about? Oh yeah, I made sure Louis held true to this truism, ack! (sorry, I got distracted there).

They invented the phrase je ne sais quo
Yes, they are so overwhelmed with adoration for you that they are unable to quite articulate why. This doesn’t mean your Frenchman will be complimenting you all the time (it does happen!) so much as openly admiring you—in all the ways that make your heart race.

Tell me if I delivered on these pluses in The Frenchman available Thanks for the opportunity and please stay in touch at, @LesleyYoungBks and

{ review } .

Every now and again, even I have to consult my rating guide to decipher if a book is a 4.5 or a 5 -- do I let emotion win and give it a 5? Is it just my reader-heart going all mushy-gushy on a book? Or should I really look into it, and maybe it only is a 4.5 star... Oh, decisions, decisions.

Per my rating guide (which yes, I did consult), the difference between a 4.5 and 5 star rating:

These are books that I enjoy immensely.
These are books that, without a doubt, I will read again and again; in fact, 
I may have already read it again since finishing it the first time. 

really, really liked.
These are books that I enjoyed greatly.
The only reason why it did not make the 'immensely' cut are typically reasons
such as: I was overly focused on character flaws or there was more side-story
than I prefer. I can't have too many ★'s, so this will typically be my highest rating.

So, then, according to that... THE FRENCHMAN just has to be a 5. Has to. I don't think I focused on flaws or anything -- I was sucked into the lives of Fleur and Louis and that was that.

Fleur -- and I have to love the girl because she has a name that is French and not the easiest to pronounce if you don't know what you're doing, like, oh, I don't know, moi -- is currently in France to get to know her biological mother, who she only just recently met. Her mother is a detective and spends long hours out of the apartment; she's trying to take down Georges Messette, part of one of Frances largest crime families.

Much to her mother's disdain, Fleur falls for Rugby playing, Penthouse living, playboy Louis Messette, brother of Georges Messette. Fleur battles with her feelings and truth vs lies throughout this book. She battles with the knowledge that your parents should be truthful, but perhaps they have their own agendas and will do anything to steer you differently.

Louis knew who Fleur was right away -- but when he realizes she's a virgin, all bets are off. He refuses to use her to make a statement to her mother. After leaving in a huff, running into Fleur later with two ... err, ladies ... on his arms, he sends a card down with money --

-- to which flirtatious but sexually shy Fleur explodes. He just brings out the best in her, I tell ya.

These two were steaming -- in emotion, in the sheets, on the boat... They were just well written characters with a wealth of emotion for one another. They were cute in the way new relationships are -- and as with new relationships, it was fragile and little things started to crack it, until Fleur was headed back home. 

I enjoyed that when things were starting to go down and the cracks were starting to widen, Louis kept trying to remind her that it wasn't a game, it wasn't a game -- he had a little bit of a hidden meaning, and it took her some (or rather, a long) time to understand his meaning.

No worries, though -- there's more than lovin' and leavin'. There was some comedy too. Such as an email from Fleur's newfound friend:
P.S. I am sorry for the delay. My phone was in the wall.
...and that was due to a certain hardheaded male ignoring the woman he's fallen for, and then hearing some not so great news. Ahh, Louis, you man you...

I have to say, I'd love to see more of these two (goodness gracious, that seems to be my go-to line with so many books), but I'm not thinking that this series is connected in any way, so I'm sure that won't be happening.

THE AUSTRALIAN is next! Got to love some down under lovin' men.... 

{ giveaway } .

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