*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com
I’m a big fan of Cari Quinn’s erotic romances for Ellora’s Cave but this was my first time with her new Love Required series for the Brazen line of Entangled. “No Flowers Required” is the follow-up to “No Dress Required” but it works well as a stand-alone story.
“That smiley face makes me want to punch something.”
Our story begins with the newly downgraded circumstances facing Alexa Conroy as she struggles to keep her recently inherited specialty flower shop open in the face of ongoing competition by the big hardware chain threatening to put her out of business. She’s sold her beloved home in an attempt to keep the bills at bay and moved into an apartment just above her shop that’s barely fit for humans. It seems like the universe is against her in so many ways and that she should just give up. But then she meets Dillon.
Dillon James is the co-heir to the company started by his mother and stepfather, one which not only owns the hardware chain that is Alexa’s sworn enemy but also the very building in which she lives. His brother has thrown himself into making the company even more financially successful, and will stop at nothing to make that happen, even if it means kicking Alexa out of her shop and her apartment. But Dillon cares more about people than profit margins, which is why he’s tasked himself with personally rehabilitating all the shabby apartments in the buildings owned by his family’s company. That decision pays off for him on the day he meets Alexa. They have an immediate physical attraction in spite of themselves and that attraction soon builds into an emotional connection which is threatened by what will happen when Alexa finds out who Dillon really is.
“I would’ve said I could shoot rainbows out of my ass to keep your mouth on mine.”
Normally I’m not a big fan of the mistaken identity trope, as it tends to distract me from enjoying the actual story of how the hero and heroine fall in love if it’s not done well. I’m happy to say that “No Flowers Required” handles it very well, especially when we see how the initial misunderstanding occurs from both Alexa and Dillon’s POV and how the reveal finally occurs. Both Alexa and Dillon are sympathetically portrayed and their respective circles of friends and family provide additional character support to give us a fuller picture of who they are as individuals and how they can succeed together as a couple. I also liked how Dillon’s brother, the presumed villain of the story, was more than just a stereotype and how we got to see his actual motivations and ultimately, his growth as a key character in the story.
“No Flowers Required” is a winning story of two realistic characters who turn an intense physical attraction into true love. I enjoyed it immensely and will be going back to read the first story in the series while waiting for the next one to be released.
Sensuality level: 4 (hot and steamy but nothing kinky)