Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ARC Review: Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood

West, a venture capitalist, has paid for his wealth and success with long hours at the office and no personal life to speak of. Meetings, conference calls, and paperwork dominate his waking hours and have kept him from honoring the promise he made to his late grandfather years before.

After leaving the Marines, Rush returns to his hometown and settled in as a Christmas Tree farmer. His life is quiet and simple, and he likes it that way. When West arrives in town and buys Rush’s parent’s vineyard on a whim, that simple life is turned upside down. The animosity between them is palpable, but Rush shelves his preconceived notions in order to protect his parents’ legacy. He agrees to help West learn how to run the vineyard, and Rush soon realizes that love doesn't necessarily come in the package he expected.

Dani's rating:

The blurb had me at "Marine."

Then I saw "animosity" (no passion burns brighter than hatred to love turned) and "vineyard" (Because. Wine.).

And I was SOLD.

The enemies-to-lovers theme here is delicious.

Rush is initially hostile toward West for no apparent reason. He doesn't like West's fancy car and fancy clothes (although he sure likes the way West looks IN them), and certainly doesn't appreciate West buying Rush's parents' vineyard on a whim, even if it does allow them to finally retire.

West doesn't get Rush's hostility. He asks Rush for help with the vineyard, and Rush eventually grants it, albeit reluctantly.

Let the slow burn commence: working together, sweating together ... with all that pent-up anger and jealousy ...

When these men get it on, it's explosive times ten! This book has plenty of steam, but even more romance.

Once Rush and West fuck the anger out of their system, their relationship takes off. And FLIES.

Rush more than makes up for his initial unfair judgement of West. Rush's reasons for prejudging West may seem frail, but the human mind is complex, and Rush feels things deeply, particularly following the loss he experienced during deployment.

Rush comes to see West as a good man, a hardworking man, one who misses his grandfather and is exhausted (and disillusioned) by his 100-hour workweeks.

West, who has more money than god, can finally breathe. He loves tending the vines and helping Rush on his Christmas Tree farm. He makes friends in the small town, which begins to feel like home, and even gets used to drip coffee.

This book is romantic and sweet and sexy: the perfect trifecta.

The characters are complex, and the relationship progression believable.

I liked Rush's parents (who knew what they were doing all along), Casper (Rush's awesome dog), Rosie (who GETS West from the moment she invites herself for a ride), and Sebastian (who isn't over Rush the way Rush is over him).

So many moments made me smile: West's extravagant present, making out on a community bus on the 4th of July, comforting hugs on a beach, shockingly hideous bed and breakfasts, coffee cup cozies, and a coming home to beat them all.

This is such a lovely book, no melodrama, little angst, just friendship, family, scorching HEAT, and two MCs who won't give up on each other.

"Are you sure there's nothing else you want to keep?" Rush asked ...

West smiled at him ... "Nope. Just you. That's all I need."

Get the book:



I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.
~Jorge Luis Borges

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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