The title and blurb definitely pulled me in. Sometimes a snarky work romance is just the thing. This novella is part of the Wardham series, but it read well as a standalone. The small town setting with the winery at the fore with all the close-knit friends and family felt good. I read this one as part of the Red Hot Lovers box set and enjoyed sampling a new to me author and series.
This one started out where the two mistook unwanted attraction for hate. Beth thinks she can’t stand the sight of Finn even though she secretly lusts for him and she believes he deliberately tries to put snares into her marketing ideas. But underneath it all, when she wants to be truthful, she knows that the truth is that she could really care for him except he is not a guy who wants a real relationship and a family so she puts up walls and uses her snark to keep him at a distance. Only that won’t work so well now that her bosses hired him to be a consultant for the winery.
Finn is convinced that long-term relationships are nothing but trouble as evidenced by what he saw growing up and now having to help his sister raise her four kids alone. But Beth is the one woman that temps him and he can’t get her off his mind. He loves to provoke her and watch her eyes flash and he is eager to play cat and mouse with her as long as no feelings get involved. Unfortunately, kissing Beth strengthens the attraction and really scares him. He wants to be relieved when she backs away quick and makes plans to find a nice, solid guy who can give her what she wants. One night stranded at the winery changes the game. Which one will give in?
Alright, so this one does indeed deliver on the promise of the fireworks and I enjoyed much of the story. It went by quick though I had moments of skimming and feeling impatient. I was only mildly into the main characters. Finn drove me nuts and I really had the urge to smack him in the back of the head several times. I had no problem with his honesty about only wanting something temporary or that he might date around and finds Beth attractive. My problem was that he wouldn’t respect her goals of wanting a long-term guy and family. He kept trying to seduce her and then would back off when it started to get real. He got cranky when she moved on and really he should have let her. Beth did it unconsciously at first, but her ball-busting routine with Finn wasn’t attractive. She was the instigator with the verbal lashing out and it was like watching a kid picking at another one until they responded back, yet that was exactly what she accused Finn of doing. Oys, the pair of them….
All in all, it was enjoyable. I would probably pick up another of this author’s books and more than likely one from this series. Fans of office romance or small town contemporary romance with a bit of spice might want to give these a go.
My thanks to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.