Title: Tasting Notes
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: This is the first book in a new series for Cate Ashwood, and I am looking forward to the next installment!
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: 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.
Review: Joseph “West” Weston is a thirty-five-year-old venture capitalist, a man who has given everything he has to his job. Owning your own firm at such a young age is quite a feat, and it has made him a billionaire but left him wrung out and empty.
West’s grandfather meant everything to him as the old navy seadog raised him after his parents died when West was young. When his grandfather died, West makes a promise to himself to scatter his grandfather’s ashes in the ocean – a promise he hasn’t fulfilled because he has been too busy at work. West is headed for a breakdown, and after witnessing a man die of a heart attack at lunch one day, he can’t take it anymore. Loading his one pair of jeans and his grandfather’s ashes into his Ferrari, he heads to the coast to finally pay homage to the man that raised him. When West stops in Canyon Creek, he feels a pull to the little town, and suddenly, he can’t leave. On the spur of the moment and for sentimental reasons, he buys the small boutique winery of Lennox Hill.
Lennox Hill winery has been in Rush’s family for generations. Dumfounded that his parents would sell it without his knowledge, he is irate at the man who bought it – even though he’d told his parents years ago that he didn’t want it. Retiring from the Marine Corps has left Rush with wounds that refuse to heal, and the little Christmas tree farm he owns gives him all the peace he now needs. But Rush is angry, a bit of a hothead, and when West comes knocking and asking for help with the winery, Rush is an ass. Snap judgements are one of his failings, and he has decided that West is just a spoiled rich prick who is going to ruin what his parents worked their whole lives to build.
Tasting Notes is an enemies-to-lovers tale, even though there is never really any mutual animosity – it is all one way, flowing from Rush to West. I have to say that I had a real problem with Rush at the beginning of this book, and it never really resolved itself in my mind. He never gets around to fully apologizing, just explaining why he has the reaction he does. West is an amazing character, even though at times he is rather immature emotionally, not a characteristic you would expect from such a successful venture capitalist. They begin with a fragile friendship, working the vines, and when the explosion comes it is worth it.
This book is hardcore romance from that point forward. West is a sweetly vulnerable character, and Rush needs that to help heal old wounds from his past. The scene where West scatters his grandfather’s ashes was incredibly written, and the love and caring just pour from the page. The journey toward the HEA is not easy for these two men, but the vignettes that the author draws for us really paint a picture of two men willing to go the distance to be with each other and make their love work.
I would recommend this book for all romance lovers out there. Yes, I had some issues with it, but they were not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story as a whole. This is the first book in a new series for Cate Ashwood, and I am looking forward to the next installment!
You can buy Tasting Notes here: