Luke Scherer has turned bad romance into an art. When he catches his latest deadbeat boyfriend selling Luke’s belongings – and his own body – to cover his debts, Luke decides he needs a vacation. He just doesn’t expect his Napa Valley retreat to be a step into his past.
Eight years ago Mal Kuijpers was grieving his wife while his vineyard floundered. Hiring Luke for the summer put the business back on track and a smile back on Mal’s face.
Nineteen-year-old Luke had just gotten out from under his father’s thumb and started saving for his education, his last screw-you to his old man. Then he made the mistake of falling for his boss, his dad caught up with him, and Luke panicked-and fled.
Now they have another chance. Mal has his own share of closet skeletons, including a family he doesn’t talk to and a dead wife he sometimes does, and he’s gone without romance for years. He works hard to convince Luke he’s worth more than a casual fling and asks for nothing in return, but Luke needs a relationship of equals. If Mal can believe in himself and Luke can believe in love, two hot summers might yield a lifelong reward.
Luke is sent to Mal’s vineyard when his latest boyfriend is found selling Luke’s stuff and his own body! Mal was in Luke’s life years ago when Luke was young and running away from Luke’s abusive father. Mal, at that time, was a recent widow and considered himself too old and too sad to get involved with Luke at that time.
Now – Luke is feeling too cautious and insecure to want to jump right into another relationship, but Mal is ready and isn’t shy about letting that be known.
There are other roadblocks: Luke lives in LA, Mal in Napa. Luke is just now starting to really see his life on track and doesn’t see how moving to the country can help his fledgling architecture career. Not to mention that Mal was married to a woman for years. Luke doesn’t want to be an experiment.
However high the hurdles, these guys do manage to work through them all and we get a very HEA.
This is the first book I’ve read by herself, but I’ve really enjoyed her collaborations.
I think that if I had been reading this book it would have been a bit easier to appreciate the “flashback” style she used (at the end of each chapter is a snippet from the past to give us the back story of Luke and Mal). As a listener it was a bit disconcerting to be wrenched from a scene and thrust into the past… but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
I really like Mal as a character. He was seasoned but still had an air of innocence to him that was refreshing. He didn’t play games and that was nice. I did think that it was odd that the couple would “fool around” without having sex for as long as they did, but I loved the relationship building that occurred.
The secondary characters were rich accompaniment to the main characters and I thought they added nicely to the overall book.
John Solo did a GREAT job with this narration. Mal’s voice is growly and divine! He didn’t make Luke over the top but was definitely a different character than Mal. I thought he handled the women’s voices well and overall I really enjoyed listening to this story.
Book 4 of 5 hearts
Narration 5of 5 hearts
Overall 4.5 of 5 hearts