Review: Our First Embrace

OUR FIRST EMBRACE - Shirley Fleming
Harlequin Kimani/Romance
PRINT | EBOOK
March 2014
CATEGORY ROMANCE

REVIEWER:
Janet Caldwell |  RATING:
SYNOPSIS: Nicole Carter just landed her dream job working for fashion legend Alexander James in Paris. Sparks fly when they meet. But her buttoned-up alpha boss is determined to ignore the heat building between them, and Nicole knows crossing the line is taboo. Though that doesn't stop her from fantasizing about them sharing a steamy night together in the most romantic city in the world….

REVIEW: Hubbard’s latest installment in the Carter sibling trilogy delivers a poignant message - dragging old emotional baggage into a new relationship affects one’s ability to forgive and move on from the past.

OUR FIRST EMBRACE is the sequel to OUR FIRST KISS where Hubbard introduces Nicole Carter and Alexander James.  OUR FIRST DANCE kicked off the series and presents the Carter siblings Nathan Carter, Natasha Carter Johnson and Nicole.
Nicole Carter is a talented fashion designer who aspires to further her career by working in Paris under the guidance of famous designer Alexander James at his posh Alexander’s Fashion House.  Nicole eagerly accepts this job offer before learning of her brother's wedding plans.  Hesitantly, she asks Alexander for a delay of her start date to attend the impromptu nuptials.  Reluctantly, Alexander grants her request, but it is a move she later learns has consequences.

Wealthy Alexander James, with his exotic good looks, is the quintessential alpha male.  He heads a successful clothing line and is highly respected in the fashion industry for his designs.  He is a sullen workaholic and because he gives so much of himself, he demands a lot in return of his employees.  He has no interest in a relationship or sharing his life with a woman - particularly a subordinate since a previous office romance ended badly and nearly cost him his credibility and his company.  Alexander has worked fearlessly to rebuild both and isn't taking any more risks.

Just like the most carefully prepared plans can go awry, the desire between Nicole and Alexander is evident from the very beginning.  Fear, mistrust and their professional relationship, question their logic in exploring it.

Other characters impacting the story include Alexander’s former lover Nina, Nicole’s roommate Monica and Alexander’s flirtatious brother Victor.  The repartee between these two caused Hubbard to reconsider her plans to end this series after three installments. Additional characters making a brief appearance include Nicole’s parents, her siblings and their spouses.

OUR FIRST EMBRACE is appropriately set in Paris - the world’s global fashion hub. Hubbard excellently weaves the city’s ambience into the storyline, thus affording the reader a realistic feel of the “City of Love”.  Admittedly, like OUR FIRST KISS, the story line is predictable, but Hubbard’s flawless delivery and exceptional writing style held my interest as I anxiously read nonstop to the conclusion.  This novel clearly demonstrates how essential it is to learn to separate old wounds from your current relationship and to focus on the here and now and the relationship at hand.  This novel is a wonderful addition to the Carter trilogy and I highly recommend you embrace it as well.

1st March 2014 | romcol@caribsurf.com