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Wrapped in a blanket reading on a porch with a view of the sea is not a bad way to start a rainy morning. Following that with a long run on an empty foggy boardwalk isn’t too shabby either. My sister’s little beach home is not meant for cold weather living – I’m wearing the entire contents of my suitcase – but I love being by the shore in the off-season. Wearing my knits indoors is a small price to pay.

And then there was the blender incident. I scooped half the slow cooker’s bubbling contents – potatoes, corn, carrots and coconut milk – into a blender, not noticing the tragic crack down the side. So now we have a pot of lumpy goodness instead of creamy corn chowder.

Oh, well.

I have Laura Florand’s steamy novels to keep my toasty. The Chocolate Thief taught me a marvelous life lesson: The melting point of chocolate is the exact temperature of the inside of your mouth. Test it.


This little book said take a break from life and come be billionaire candy bar heiress Cade Corey staying in Paris about to open a line of gourmet chocolates.

And I was like Okay.

Our heroine has unlimited resources. She visits the Louvre, walks cobblestone streets in impractically high heeled boots and eats as she pleases without glancing at prices. And she’s staying in a modest apartment across the street from Sylvain Marquis, one of the best fictional chocolatiers in Paris.

He spread it out across his marble counter. With a deft flick of his hand, he stroked it up and spread it out again, glowing and dark.

Oh, my.

Corey is primed to take over the family business making crappy chocolate bars, but first there’s this dream of making a line of affordable, breathtaking chocolate. She’s a woman accustomed to buying whatever she wants. When she pitches her idea to Marquis, expecting him to jump at the chance to be the magic behind her gourmet bars, she finds she can’t buy him.

So she sneaks into his workshop at night, samples his ingredients and helps herself to his divine creations. At first she hopes to gleam knowledge, learn from a master whether he likes it or not, but then she gets addicted and becomes The Chocolate Thief, famous among dozens of bloggers.

Marquis is accustomed to seducing women with chocolate, but he can’t figure out how to make Corey want him, not just his chocolate.

Her teeth bit through the delicate crunch of the robe, to the softest, silkiest, smoothest bitter that could ever melt across a tongue

This is an amusing meeting of opposites: mass produced American nostalgia bars pursues hand-crafted decadence with a price tag to match. It’s self-made, self-conscious sexy man offends and entices rich confident girl who can’t get traction for the first time in her life. The simple plot and characters set against lusty, chilly Paris in fall work. A romance drizzled in chocolate – it all stays on the surface like a perfect little getaway.

This is the first of many in Florand’s Chocolate series. I’m always happy to have a new indulgence on my list.