Title: Hearts and Hazelnuts
Author: Kris T. Bethke
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 103 Pages
At a Glance: Check this one out, guys! Cool Oregon landmarks and really lovely scenery, a nice low-angst romance, and a great, swoony epilogue. It made my heart happy.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.
Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Review: Awww—I really enjoyed this one! I’ve said it in other reviews…But, with very few exceptions, I’ve genuinely liked this States of Love line from Dreamspinner Press. In Hearts and Hazelnuts by Kris T. Bethke, we are taken to Oregon, and the author does a very nice job of bringing the beautiful Willamette Valley to life. I felt transported to Beckett Shaw’s hazelnut farm in Newburg, as well as the hazelnut festival, and several cool places in nearby Portland. I LOVE going to Powell’s book store in Portland, so it was fun to see it featured in the story, and now I have a few other places in town I want to visit also!
Both MCs were extremely likeable and genuine. Beckett was a sweetheart who wanted nothing more than to build the Shaw family name back up to what it was when his great-grandfather and grandfather ran the farm. His dad cared more about the bottom line than he did the product or the value of what they were doing, so the brand went downhill a fair amount when he was in charge. Beckett couldn’t stay on and watch it happen, so he left for several years and lived in Portland. But, now he’s had the opportunity to buy his dad out, and is putting everything into bringing things back to their old standards. Jordan has been out of work for a while, but his brother is able to throw a temporary gig his way, which turns out to be servicing some big farm equipment out at Shaw Farms. We definitely knew a little more about Beckett than we did Jordan, but I felt that Jordan was developed enough to enjoy his character. Jordan was also very sweet, and honest, and loyal. I also loved Jordan’s relationship with his brother, John.
The romance wasn’t suuuuuper well-developed, but I did like them together a lot. They seemed to come together naturally, and the pacing of the romance was good. I liked them so much; I just would really have liked to see more. 😊 This bit was sweet…
So, for the first time in a long time, Jordan was happy. He had fulfilling work to occupy his day, even if it wasn’t his first love of grease and engines and troubleshooting. And when the day finished, he got to spend time with a beautiful man who wanted him. Everything about it worked. And it was good.
The conflict in the story worked well also. It was well-plotted and woven in just right. And, I thought Bethke wrote a good creepy bad guy. I wanted someone to punch that sneer right off Gagnon’s face!
So, yeah, check this one out, guys! Cool Oregon landmarks and really lovely scenery, a nice low-angst romance, and a great, swoony epilogue. It made my heart happy.
You can buy Hearts and Hazelnuts here: