Title: Coming Up Roses
Author: Staci Hart
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 8 June 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads
Everyone hates parts of their job.
Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave.
But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all.
Except for Luke Bennet.
The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint.
When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him.
He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him.
Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet.
Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.
*Spinoff of The Austen Series
I adore Jane Austen and who hasn’t wondered what kind of person Lydia Bennet would grow-up to be. I was fascinated by the gender switch with Lydia becoming Luke in Staci’s Coming Up Roses.
I have to be honest and say I did struggle with Luke at the beginning, especially as the gender switch within the narrative highlighted the double standard where men and women are concerned in particular with relation to intimacy.
As time progressed I did come to like Luke more; on the surface, he appears shallow and vapid, however, getting to see beyond the surface allowed the real Luke to appear. A Luke who is loyal to those he loves, insatiably curious about the world around him which accounts for the short attention span but should not be dismissed as being removed from the world around him.
Tess, on the other hand, is the opposite of Luke in a lot of ways; grounded, practical and level-headed, she has experienced a lot of emotional turmoil in her life and loves the stability of the Bennet’s flower shop where she works.
Tess and Luke grew up together and were friends through school until an incident which altered their dynamic, an incident that Luke has no recollection of which only adds fuel to the negative emotions Tess now feels for Luke.
Working together to save the flower shop forces Luke and Tess together providing the opportunity for the pair to connect with the people they are now rather than the ones they remember from high school. Luke and Tess add balance to each other; although the high school incident is not the only barrier they face in their journey to happily ever after. There is also a snake in the grass whispering in Luke’s ear for their own purposes rather than out of the kindness of their hearts 😡
Coming Up Roses is a slow burn romance dealing with misconceptions about people where we project our own emotions (good and bad) onto who we think they are.