by Marina Adair
Series: St. Helena Vineyard #3
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Frankie Baudouin has a hundred reasons not to trust Nate DeLuca. First, he’s a DeLuca. Second, he kissed her—in front of the entire town—and then never called. Oh, and he’s after her land. Sorrento Ranch is Frankie’s last chance to prove to her family—and to herself—that she has what it takes to be an award-winning winemaker. And she will stop at nothing to ensure her success—even if it means playing nice with the starched, sophisticated, and oh-so-sexy Italian. For Nate, Sorrento Ranch is more than just soil and grape vines; it was his father’s dream—a dream Nate is determined to make a reality. So when he finds himself forced to cohabitate with a hot-headed, irrational, and incredibly gorgeous Baudouin, Nate is surprised to discover that chaos could be so much fun—especially when she sleeps in nothing but lace.
I have been enjoying author Marina Adair’s St. Helena Vineyard series, with it’s fleshed out characters and small-town charm. I was delighted to finally read Autumn in the Vineyard which shares Frankie and Nate’s story. From an adorable alpaca to smexy rough and tumble Nate DeLuca, I enjoyed my time spent at the Sorrento Ranch. Mini review: romantic, humorous and touching.
The Baudouin family and the DeLuca family have long been winemaker rivals in this small California town. Sorrento Ranch with its rich soil and delectable grapes has been a prize both families would like to possess. When the property goes up for sale tensions get hot, and back door deals are made. Frankie and Nate both think they own the property. After a court hearing they discover they both own it. Well sort of! When they are forced to live together or lose the house the tale that unfolds had me laughing, sighing and completely caught up in the lives of Frankie and Nate.
We meet both Frankie and Nate in previous novels, and so I was able to slip into the tale. Frankie is complicated. She is harder on herself than anyone else and has a Grand Daddy that demands gold. She is all biker chick and hard-ass on the outside and soft on the inside; a fact she keeps carefully hidden. Trouble is Nate DeLuca can see right through Frankie’s tough exterior. He is also wondering what is under those t-shirt and torn jeans she wears. I adored the banter between them, and Nate’s subtle way of showing he cared. Frankie undergoes tremendous growth throughout the novel, and I felt for her on many levels. The DeLuca family and the Baudouin’s stick their noses in everything, as does the small town making for some hilarious, horrible and tense moments. We get a hint of the next romance, and I am already looking forward to watching another DeLuca fall.
Autumn in the Vineyard was such a wonderful tale, with characters and a small town I have come to love. Adair paints the town and breathes life into the characters making you feel right at home. She provides just enough angst to make the journey to my HEA exciting all while weaving smaller threads regarding the families, town and wineries into the mix. I am a huge fan of small-town romances, and have enjoyed visiting St. Helena and seeing wine country through the author’s eyes. I love the friendship to lover’s trope, and Nate and Frankie’s romance felt genuine. I giggled at their banter, cried when things went wrong and sighed at the sexual tension that sizzled in the air whenever they were around each other. We get some heat, with just enough detail to curl the pages, and Adair knows how to make a kiss melt your heart. Wait until you meet Mittens the alpaca. I never laughed so much in my life, and now secretly dream of adding one to my herd.
Fans of small-town romances will adore Autumn in the Vineyard and the St. Helena Vineyard series. Be Mine Forever the next book in the series is expected to release January 21, 2014.
Four cups of coffee out of five