Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Here's the blurb for Once Tasted:
Three siblings, an extraordinary family, a lasting heritage—in the irresistible Silver Creek Ranch trilogy, they’ll fight for the land and the people they love.
Everything has come easily to Reid Knowles, the middle son of a California ranching family. But his charmed life is suddenly complicated when his good friend and neighbor asks him to help run the winery next door. His neighbor’s niece, Mia Bodell, is in charge—and she has made it clear that she’d rather be roped to a steer than to Reid Knowles. Never one to back down from a challenge, Reid vows to win her trust.
Her life marked by loss, Mia knows that nothing comes easily—love included. In high school, her heart was crushed by Reid, and even though years have passed, the hurt lingers. Mia is achingly aware that the teen heartthrob has matured into a devastatingly handsome playboy, and the budding winemaker refuses to let down her guard. But one taste of unbridled passion changes things. From Reid’s first intoxicating kiss to his unexpectedly tender seduction, Mia is swept into a passionate affair that could tear her heart to pieces . . . or give her everything she has ever wanted.
A cowboy and a winery? In one book? Of course I asked for it. And then, as I do, I sat on it for a while. When I realized that my time was running out I decided I better at least sample it and ended up reading the entire thing in a matter of days. Final verdict? Very good, but with a few minor flaws.
Reid is *almost* unlikable by his complete perfection. He's laid back, handsome, completely liked by both men and women. He breezes in and out of the ranch and no one is annoyed. His one "flaw" is some behavior from high school *that only he knows about.* All of this together should mean that he's a complete stereotype (he is) and that we will all just roll our eyes. However, Reid is saved by his genuine desire to help Mia with the winery and make up for his bad behavior in high school. He feels as if he was a jerk to Mia then and knows she hates his guts (really she's just still mortified) and really really wants to help her out. In hindsight, it seems obvious even to him that he would fall for her.
Mia, on the other hand, is a strange combination of traits. Tall and shapely with beautiful hair, she finds herself lacking. She hates her curly hair, but doesn't cut it. She dresses in shapeless worn out clothing for no reason I can discern. She's very very focused on the wine itself and because of her history her social skills are incredibly weak- which is why she needs Reid. Her uncle takes off and leaves the winery in her hands forcing her to realize that he did it on purpose because he trusts her. Mia really does grow through the novel, she stands up to her greedy slimeball cousin, she learns to trust Reid, even though she doesn't want to, and she's mostly honest from beginning to end. It is easy to see why they would fall for each other.
There are a few other small problems with the book- it's very much a roller coaster of good, good, good-- bad, bad, BAD- which seems a bit lazy on a plot making level. People who are looking for really outstanding writing won't find it here, but neither will they find anything unbearable (I'm looking at you, Susan Mallery!) If the first or third book in the series were to show up at the library or on NetGallery I'd be more than happy to find out what happens with the other siblings.
Overall: Nice solid read, firmly in the romance camp, hot cowboy included.
Once Tasted was published in May 2014.