Exquisite by Ella Frank is unbelievably the author’s first novel. Why unbelievably? Because it was well written, romantic, emotional, and hot as all hell, all in one exquisite story! Funny thing, I planned on buying this novel very soon, but the author ended up sending me one for review, so I read it immediately, and I’m so glad I did.
Dr. Lena O’Donnell is a bitch. Even her assistant is scared of her. She has one friend at the hospital she works at as a pediatrician, but she lets nobody gets close to her because of a tragedy that happened 9 years before that she feels responsible for. You want to hate her, but it’s clear that the bitchiness is a shield. Mason Langley is doing a favor for his mom delivering flowers from his mom’s store to said bitch at work. After making him wait 40 minutes, the Dr. was horribly rude to him, but, while both of them left hating each other, there was something that made Mason think twice about her.
Mason is the celebrity playboy chef/owner of Exquisite, the hottest, newest restaurant in Chicago. He is always quick to smile, easygoing and charming. After their disastrous first meeting, Lena has to go there for a work dinner, and sees Mason again. Again, it does not go well, but she is bribed into going on a date with him anyway. What follows is a fun getting to know you phase filled with biting animosity, then snarky, fun, witty banter between the two.
“My dad once told me that one day I’d meet someone who drives me so crazy I want to strangle her and yet never would because I can’t bear for her to be gone. Well, that’s when I’ll know I’ve met a woman worth keeping.”
Lena is uptight to the extreme. Hair always in a bun, blouses tucked in and buttoned to the throat, she is hard to melt down.
“You’re so buttoned up, professional. You make me want to unbutton things.”
Well as the two of them get to know each other, the build up is HAWT!!!!! They took their time and didn’t jump into bed right away, and the sexual tension was off the charts. I will never think of peaches without getting breathless and a little….ummm, sticky. And the shower/bath scene was possibly the hottest bathroom scene ever, and they didn’t even touch each other. Also, the next cute bartender I see is going to hear me order an Orgasm if this is where it gets me:
“He trailed his eyes down over her beautiful breasts then told her, “You’re going to keep your mouth shut and I’m going to give you that Orgasm you asked for.” He thought for a moment she was going to tell him to get lost, but instead she leaned her head back against the wall and pushed her hips out toward him.”
The best part of this book was the push and pull in their relationship, especially the banter between the two of them. I loved watching Lena change. She so desperately needed someone in her life. She had her best friend from work, Shelly, (who I LOVED) and she has also had Catherine, the wonderful owner of the flower shop she has gone to every week for the past 9 years. Remember I said Mason was delivering flowers from his mom’s store? Yup, same amazing lady.
“I believe in fate and I believe you were supposed to walk into my life, so Mason could walk into yours.”
I was about halfway done with the book, and thought, “This is a 5 star read if it ended right here. I was totally loving it. But I knew there was so much more….I almost wanted to stop, because you know, there has to be some angst….and there was. But first, the author skipped ahead 6 months. This pulled me out of the story and created a disconnect that never fully came back. The snarky banter was gone, and the book began to feel a little long to me. The end, luckily, brought the flirty banter back, and I can still say I loved the whole thing, especially Mason…….>sigh<………
- The slow build-up.
- The flirty banter.
- All of the side characters, especially Shelly and Rachel, Mason’s sister.
- The totally hot and sexy scenes.
- Mason <3
- Lena lost a little too much of the snarkiness, which made the couple not as much fun.
- Skipping ahead 6 months.
- Not enough of those amazing sexy scenes (sorry, I’m a horn dog, and she writes them GOOD).
This is the old cover: (which I happen to LOVE, and am sad it was changed.)