Review: Cate Ashwood – Tasting Notes

1901212Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher:DreamSpinner Press
Genre:M/M Contemporary
ISBN: 9781623807658

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

There’s nothing that can’t be solved over a glass of excellent wine.

Joseph “West” Weston 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, Robert “Rush” Coeman returns to his hometown and settles 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 parents’ 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.

I enjoyed this story of two pretty mismatched MCs in an unlikely situation, but sometimes I’m willing to suspend disbelief when I like the “feel” of a story, and I really liked the feel of this one.

Joseph Alexander “West” Weston owns and runs his own firm in Chicago. He’s a venture capitalist, and other than the two interns he’s groomed and relies on for detail work, he’s a one-man business, responsible for every decision in his firm. Under more stress than usual one day, when he sees a man collapse in a restaurant, it brings back his feelings about his grandfather’s death, and he realizes that he still hasn’t granted his grandfather’s wish to have his ashes scattered in the sea. Then and there, he makes the decision to go home, pack his bag, and head out to California in his Ferrari.

When he’s almost to his destination, a brief stop in Canyon Creek becomes an overnight stay and ultimately a stay of several months because something draws his attention to a local vineyard, and he decides to make an offer the owners can’t refuse. Having caught the attention of a gorgeous man when he stopped to eat dinner the first night he was in town, he’s surprised to find out that the same man is the son of former vineyard owners when he goes to seek help in how to run said vineyard.

He’s turned down flat, however, as the man, Robert “Rush” Coeman, takes out his anger on West—anger built up from his parents selling the vineyard without telling him and from an old hurt by a rich playboy from his past. Rush, a former Marine chopper pilot, returned to his hometown, purchased land, and is now a Christmas tree farmer. When he finally realizes that the incompetent West might ruin his parents’ legacy, he decides to help him after all.

The hostility fades quickly, and over the next few months, the two develop a relationship which turns to love, and West has never been happier. Content to leave his interns and admin assistant in charge of his business in Chicago, he soaks up every minute with Rush. They even fly the helicopter he had bought for Rush to the coast to finally scatter his grandfather’s ashes. But when he returns home after a 4th of July celebration, he finds messages which indicate his Chicago business is going down the tubes, and he rushes to Chicago to salvage his good name.

Fortunately, the author did not use the old trope of misunderstanding at the departure being the cause of a breakup, and the two eventually get their HEA.

I enjoyed the style of the story, despite some of the issues which would normally cause me to question the unrealistic storyline. Any workaholic who has built his business to the extent West has is unlikely to drop everything and be on the road out of town within one afternoon. To then leave it in the hands of interns and an assistant would never happen in a million years. To be so upset about it that he has to run back within one day is equally unreal. Purchasing a vineyard within one day is another area that stretches the bounds of imagination, especially since the owners did not consult their son, left town without even assuring that the new owner knew what he was doing, and the entire sale went off without a hitch within a matter of days? Not in our good old paperwork-crazy country. That’s for sure. I won’t even mention being given a helicopter as a gift. And yet, I like the story.

If you can look past these issues, and just enjoy the love story, I would hope you’d like it as much as I did. I always enjoy this author’s characters, and a sweet contemporary love story is definitely appreciated.



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