I had the pleasure of chatting with Brigham Vaughn upon the publication of the final book in this series (see interview here) and am delighted to see Lucas and Sean’s stories wrapped up in one yummy bundle!
Title: The Wine Tasting Series (3 Story Bundle)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
A complete collection of the three short stories that make up the Wine Tasting Series.
Spit or Swallow – Sean Powell, a wine distributor in his early forties, is having a terrible day. To top things off, his longtime friend, the sommelier at his favorite restaurant, has been replaced by a hot young sommelier with big ideas. Lucas Spencer is determined to liven up the staid and stodgy wine list, but manages to alienate the distributor during their first meeting. Can the two blend their professional frustration and personal attraction without risking their careers?
Aftertaste – Despite sizzling chemistry when they first met, Sean Powell can’t quite believe that the gorgeous young sommelier at Bistro Argent wants him. Anxious about risking his job, Lucas Spencer must decide if the handsome, red-headed wine distributor is worth the risk. Balancing a professional relationship with a more personal one is tricky, but it just might be worth the effort.
Finish – After four months together, Sean and Lucas have never been happier, but a wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens that stability. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’ fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy. Can they repair their relationship before it turns sour?
This series is about Sean and Lucas, two men who are greatly attracted to each other, share a common passion for wine, but really don’t like each other very much – at first. Thrown together as professional associates, the sparks fly when they get off on the wrong foot during their initial meeting. Lucas is the new sommelier at his restaurant, and Sean is the wine distributor who finds the new replacement hot and bothersome. Forced to work together for the good of the restaurant, they begin to find common ground in order to overcome their antagonism towards one another. Unable to ignore their mutual attraction, they tentatively begin a relationship despite their uncertainties and the conflicts that arise. Sean questions the propriety of getting involved with someone at work, while Lucas wonders if hot, young Sean is truly serious about developing a personal relationship with him. They both must learn to overcome their doubts and fears in order to have a future together.
First of all, the double entendre of the titles in this series had me giggling but also very intrigued. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Spit or Swallow, Aftertaste, and Finish, but I found myself swiftly pulled into Lucas and Sean’s story and made an immediate connection with the characters. These two men are hot together! Whether it’s their instant and electrifying chemistry in Spit or Swallow, or their more seductive, emotional intimacy in Aftertaste and Finish, I could practically feel the heat emanating from their scenes. Though their first meetings are unfortunate, the resulting sexual tension can be cut with a knife. Brigham Vaughn brings their initial desire for one another to the page with a vengeance, alternating between desperate encounters and staid denial. I truly enjoyed watching these characters battle against their attraction for one another in their professional environment and then slowly navigate their way to a workable solution and a possible future together as the series progressed.
All three books provide a satisfying balance of conflict, romance, and sex, though we see more of the development of the relationship in Aftertaste and Finish. As things start to evolve between Sean and Lucas, past insecurities and doubts create barriers that must be overcome in order for the relationship to succeed. These uncertainties and obstacles are human and realistic, originating from prior relationships and spilling into the present. I did get a bit frustrated with the boys at times and wanted to reach in and grab them by their collars, demanding that they stop obsessing, move on, and get out of their own heads. Overall, however, the resolutions were sound and gratifying,
An added bonus in these lovely little stories is the focus on wine! Not only that, but food pairings, wine tasting trips, and some glimpses into decision-making about the acquisition of restaurant wines were entertaining and informative. I also appreciated the local flavor that Brigham Vaughn blended into the series and the way she appealed to my palate through her vivid descriptions of meals and tastings.
However, one doesn’t need to be a wine lover in order to savor the Wine Tasting series. Solid, engaging characters, a unique premise, and plenty of sexual energy provide an enjoyable read for anyone who craves a fun, sexy romance featuring two delicious men!
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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