Before the summer is over for certain, while we still have a little warmth and sunshine, I cannot recommend Hot Basque enough to those of you who love gentle, sweet romances. With a beautiful setting in the south of France and some well thought out characters to follow I am sure many of you would give Hot Basque a high rating. You can check it out on Amazon, along with book one in the French Summer Novel series, Biarritz Passion (although they can be read as stand alones).
You can also check out an excerpt of Hot Basque and Laurette Long’s author bio in our recent promo. (Please keep reading for my review.)
Sit back with a glass of chilled rosé and let yourself be carried away to the white sands and pounding surf of the French Basque coast. What could be more relaxing? Find out what’s going on at the Villa Julia, where Caroline and her honey are enjoying the song of the crickets, the glow of the stars and happy romps in the boudoir. Caroline is also doing some matchmaking between best friend Jill and the hot Basque himself, Antoine, he of the smouldering eyes and perfect teeth. And Annabel the sister from hell, is miles away, no need to fret about her. What could be more idyllic? Not a cloud on the horizon…well, maybe it’s looking a bit black to the north, but nothing to worry about, surely??
REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)
Oooh! I am still swooning after this little sweet summer sizzler! Contemporary romance fans will love this gentle summer read, which comes with a little fun and a little drama, in the breath-taking setting of Biarritz, southern France. And, is it just me or does Antoine remind you of a younger Antonio Banderas, albeit Basque, French? Either way, I read Hot Basque with him in mind and was gutted when I reached the end. More please, Laurette!
During the opening chapters the reader becomes acquainted with Irish redhead Jill, Caroline’s best friend, who lives in Edinburgh and is constantly being match made to all the wrong men. They are either dull and boring, or not physically attractive to her. There is plenty of humour surrounding Jill’s character as she was put into some pretty outrageous scenarios that surely did bring a smile to my face!
“She was hauling herself out of the water and up the steps when she felt a pinch on her bottom. A decided, deliberate, old-fashioned, good-handful-of-flesh pinch. She turned around…
Grandad was grinning up at her, gap-toothed, gold chain glinting in his grey chest hairs.
‘Welcome to wor class, lassie. Fair got a wee stiffie on me just watching yer do them jumps!’
He gave her a leer and a wink as she shot up the final steps and made for the showers. What could she do, report him for sexual harassment? He must be at least a hundred and four. He’d never make it to the police station.”
There is never a dull moment in Hot Basque, partly because of all the interesting characters that Laurette Long has created, and partly because of the mood and scenarios that the characters find themselves in. Caroline has been though some troublesome times in the past involving her ex, Liam, and her sister, Annabel, causing trouble. But now her life is full of love as she is living happily in Toulouse with Edward, after giving up her life in England. And, she hasn’t really looked back. Now Caroline and Edward are ready to return to Biarritz for a holiday and Caroline has invited her best friend, Jill to join them.
The story becomes more and more interesting as Julian, Edward’s best friend, and his baby son, Joshua, along with the nanny, Nadia, come to stay at the Villa Julia with them all, after Julian despairs about his wife’s behaviour and attitude to their relationship, and to Joshua. She hasn’t a maternal bone in her body, and with him working extra hours to keep his business growing, and then coming home to look after Joshua – night feeds and all – he is absolutely exhausted.
Unfortunately, Julian’s wife is Caroline’s sister, Annabel. Annabel is a troubled character, constantly desiring attention and popularity. Although marrying into a rich and wealthy family, she has given her magazine career up to live with her new husband in Frankfurt to keep his business thriving. Away from the limelight, and now with a baby she barely has time for, the tension grows between her and Julian.
Caroline is very eager to introduce Jill to local restaurant and café owner, Antoine. Afterall, if it hadn’t been for being swept off her feet with Edward, Caroline wouldn’t have minded the hot Basque, muscled, white smiled, surfer, with his smouldering eyes and beautiful use of the sexy French language, who always calls her ‘la Rose’ herself. Oh yes, there are plenty of French words and phrases, which are used for authenticity, humour and plenty of soft and sweet amour! And, Jill is smitten! So is he, it seems, as he offers to take her out for the day to a small village where his ancestors are from, talking of the history of the area and his family, before visiting a beautiful waterfall. Yes, love is in the air. Oh, and did I mention he had a motorcycle?!
“Antoine had been knocked for six by Jill. Bowled off his feet. He’d offered to take her out for a drive to show her some pretty villages in his ‘pays’. Jill had said she’d love to see his ‘pays’, and leaned a bit closer, chin cupped in one hand, ‘décolleté’ slipping off one shoulder in front of Antoine’s mesmerised gaze.”
However, as the story continues, what begins as a serene, love-filled holiday, and a few days of relaxation and fun for Julian, turns into suspense and tension as the situation with Annabel begins to affect them all, ending with Edward going to England to seek her out, and Antoine has a visit from unexpected visitors whilst he was celebrating with his holiday-making friends and introducing Jill to his family.
I love the way in which the author weaves each scenario through all of the main characters, to be able to build up a tense atmosphere from a happy, relaxed holiday to the suspense of those waiting at Villa Julia for news from England. It is brilliant writing, showing how the impact of the drama is reflected on each and every character, as opposed to just those dealing directly with the situation.
“The atmosphere in the villa was oppressive, the three of them wandering around, listening for the phone, listening for Joshua to wake up, unable to settle to any activity for more than a few minutes.”
During these times, more emotion is written into the story, and there was certainly a very strong scene of this nature with Julian that really tugged at the heart strings. It was so heartfelt. The whole change in atmosphere, and how it affected each character makes it very true to life, realistic. The characters and their circumstances are extremely believable, and likeable. The reader will be drawn in as the writing is captivating.
I haven’t read book one, and although these novels can be read as stand alones, reading Hot Basque has made me want to read and acquaint myself with Biarritz Passion. I am also delighted to add that there is a planned French Summer Novel book 3, Villa Julia.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker