Title: Let it Breathe
Author: Tawna Fenske
Series: ? (I hope so) ?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: March 22nd
Forbidden fruit can be downright intoxicating.
Vineyard manager Reese Clark is determined to bring her family’s Oregon winery into the big leagues, and she knows building a new tasting room and event pavilion is her ticket there. Having her ex-husband’s best friend—and her secret college crush—turn up to head the construction project, however, doesn’t pair well with her plans. Between her nauseating lovebird parents; her motorcycle-riding, pot-growing grandfather; and her pet alpaca, fond of head-butting groins, Reese has more than enough chaotic characters in her life.
Back in college, Clay Henderson was more likely to be sprawled over a bar than building one. But even if the new clean-living Clay has matured as deliciously as an oak-aged chardonnay, he’s still off-limits. As Reese’s well-laid plans for the winery crumble like bad cork, Clay the newly sober gentleman is sweet enough to rescue Reese from a wardrobe malfunction and still spicy enough to play “I Never” with her. Can he overcome his past rep to offer her a love too heady to ignore?
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This book was so much fun. Take one family-run vineyard, a recovering alcoholic, plenty of old feelings and several barrel loads of “interesting” characters and you end with this cracking second-chance tale that made me laugh a lot, but also wasn’t afraid of deeper emotions.
Considering how much fun this book frequently is I was a little surprised at the depth of hurt between the main characters. Especially how Reese reacts to Clay. She knew what his life was like back then and, when all’s said and done, she turned away from her attraction to him and picked Eric, which kind of ended any right she had to judge his relationship choices. Actually, her judgemental attitude towards Clay really got on my nerves. He’s trying so hard throughout this whole book and she rarely gives him a chance. Poor guy.
I loved Clay. I loved how hard he’s trying to change, I loved how strong he proves himself to be and I just plain liked him. I even liked his dirty jokes, even if he does keep restraining them. He’s a good guy, despite what he thinks, and I felt irritated every time someone looked at him funny. Speaking of, I wanted to smack Eric around the head so hard at times. How dare he bring up the bro code when he clearly broke it all those years ago. SMH.
Anyway, despite how painful things get between Clay and Reese at times, you’re never far away from a smile in this book. Mostly thanks to Grandpa Axl. He’s fantastic. Eccentric to the max, with a penchant for illegal activities and sharing way too much information when doling out advice. Loved him. The rest of Reese’s family is fun too, especially her cousin Larissa, while her parents often trod the line between cute and downright embarrassing. Then there was Leon. I have no room in my life for an alpaca, but man, I really want one now. He’s awesome.
Balancing the fine line between outrageous fun and melancholic romance, this is a perfect read for days when you want an easy escape, need a chance to smile or just want to have fun with a book. It’s playful, often has its mind in the gutter and contains plenty of wine, but it also handles the subject of addiction and recovery and atoning for past wrongs without making light of Clay’s struggles. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what Tawna Fenske comes up with next.
Let it Breathe is out March 22nd!
Visit Tawna Fenske for more details.