Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Series or Standalone:Las Léonas #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: physical abuse; emotional abuse; racism; misogyny; sexism; references to slavery
This book made me thirsty in more ways than one! All I wanted to do was pour a glass of whisky and find myself a hunky Scotsman after reading this. With a diverse cast of characters, a fantastic romance, and a compelling plot, A Caribbean Heiress in Paris was an engaging, fun read.
Luz Alana Heith-Benzan arrives in Paris for the Exposition Universelle in hopes of expanding Caña Brava, her family’s rum business. After her father’s untimely death and the inability of Luz to access her inheritance until she marries, the trip takes on new urgency. However, buyers and shippers dismiss Luz as they cannot imagine doing business with a woman, let alone a woman of color. When she runs into James Evanston Sinclair, the Earl of Darnick, she initially sees a rival. But as she keeps running into him, she sees him as a potential business partner, even while fighting a growing attraction to him.
Meanwhile, for Evan, all he wants to do is continue to grow his whisky brand and get what is rightfully his, even if he has to take down his father in the process. A marriage of convenience may prove to be the perfect solution to both of their problems. But the more time they spend together, the less their marriage feels like a business arrangement and begins to feel like something real.
Marriage of convenience stories can be very hit or miss for me, but this one was a hit. I loved that they both got something out of the relationship of equal value – they approached it as a business deal, which works so well for Luz and Evan. These two were also clearly infatuated with each other very early on, so it was fun to watch them navigate their feelings. I was living for the scene with Evan and Luz together, as their banter and chemistry were sizzling hot. The romance was also relatively low-angst, even if there are a few incidents of Evan lying by omission. But this book was smoking hot when it came to the sexy times.
Evan’s got a wicked mouth on him, and I loved that. Plus, he’s a fan of the “good girl,” which I love. He’s incredibly opened minded compared to many of the other men in this book, and I liked that he doesn’t judge people based on their sex or race. At the start, he has a single-minded focus on making Braeburn his and getting vengeance on his father. But when Luz enters his life, that complicates things, especially as this man is so far gone for her. I loved that he also didn’t try to change her but respected her for who she was and actually admired her business skills. Plus, who doesn’t love a big, charming Scotsman?
I also love female business owners, so of course, I was going to love Luz. She is a flask and pistol-carrying woman – you don’t want to mess with her. Luz is determined to make a name for herself and her rum, even if she does put a lot of pressure on herself to succeed. I loved how she wanted to celebrate and build on the generation of women in her family before her. And despite the face she puts on when dealing with business, she also has a lot of emotional depth. I also loved that she was the one to initiate and ask for a sexual relationship in her marriage of convenience and didn’t shy away from those intimate moments.
Outside of Luz and Evan, I loved the secondary characters in this. Luz’s friends, Las Léonas, and Evan’s sisters were some of my favorites. Las Léonas are the type of girls you’d want to have in your corner as they genuinely care about their friends and will fight for you. Evan’s sisters were similar, as they also gave Evan and Luz a push in the right direction.
Despite really enjoying this book, I found it a little slow initially. It took a little time for the story to gain momentum, and things picked up for me as Luz and Evan spent more time together. I really enjoyed the ending – the plot went in a totally different direction than I thought, and the stakes were way higher than I anticipated!
Reading this book was so much fun, and this book was way hotter than I expected! I hope we’re getting more books in the series as I could see some of the couples potentially being set up. I’d love to see more of Las Léonas getting their happily ever after.