There's a word that's worked its way into New Orleans creole that's pronounced lan' yap and has come to mean "a little something extra; something you weren't expecting."
Lagniappe pretty much encompasses the beauty of the "category" romance, that sweet, sleek, slim little brand of read that promises a brisk devour-in-a-weekend jaunt to HEA, yet always delivers so much more. Kind of the same way Melanie Schuster delivers readers yet another Devereaux delicieux -- from among the Big Easy's easiest-on-the-eyes family of men -- to turn a Christmastime love story into a sultry and sophisticated "Picture Perfect Christmas" romance.
The holidays aren't all that joyful for powerful attorney and presidential advisor Philippe Devereaux; he was dumped Christmas Eve years ago by the young woman he loved since he first met her gangly legged, messy-braided and sassy-mouthed little girl self.
Yet when Philippe sees Chastain Thibodaux all grown up and fronting her first NYC fine-art exhibition, he's struck by three things: She's become even more dynamic and beautiful; he still loves her; and he's going to sue her blind if she doesn't remove from the exhibition three life-size nudes she's painted of him in living color for God and everyone to gawp at.
For her part, Chastain Thibodaux has no intention of changing anything for Philippe Devereaux, regardless of his threats or the fact that she's still feels drawn - and connected - to him after not seeing him for the years she spent studying in grad school and in Paris. Why should she put herself out for the man who broke her heart on Christmas Eve, who sent her off to study w/out a word of regret, rather than ask her to stay by his side in their beloved New Orleans stomping grounds?
Yet Phillippe and Chastain - can you stand how gorgeous those names are? - are brilliant, passionate people, whose lives and families are connected on many levels. What would it hurt, they decide, to face their still-simmering attraction head on, at least for the holidays? Chastain is certain it only can help her get over the pain Phillippe caused her and help her move on.
But Phillippe, being nobody's fool, plans to pull out all the stops - including using their family ties and the magic of the season, if necessary - to make up for his mistakes, and show Chastain how the time they spent apart only made them more perfect for each other in the long run.
What do you like about category romances? Do you have favorite "family" series of romances like the Devereaux? What makes you want to read more about a family in a series?
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