A loner by choice and chance, Naughton Butler has no social skills. That works for him, because the secret he holds means he can’t let anyone close enough to need them. But when he and his brother are left four-hundred acres of prime vineyard land, he has to muster up enough civility to interview an assistant winery manager for the new facility.
His brother and business partner recommends Bradley St. John for the job. Naughton agrees to interview him, but when Bradley arrives for the interview in high heels and a short skirt, Naughton thinks his brother’s playing a joke. The pretty, young woman had the right degrees, and might be good for working in a tasting room, but did she have the experience to run a winery?
In shock, Naughton insults Bradley in the worst way, and she walks out, saving him the trouble of kicking her out. But he can’t get her off of his mind, and feels guilty for being rude, which was a first. He goes to find her to apologize, but when he gets to her uncle’s ranch, he realizes the joke is on him.
Not only was Bradley St. John born into winemaking like he was, it was obvious as he followed her through the vineyard, she knew what she was doing.
Hiring her would solve an immediate problem for both him and his brother, but Naughton had a feeling having her around would create an even bigger problem. He found himself fiercely attracted to her, which was something else that hadn’t happened in a long time.
He didn’t need a distraction, and would make it clear to his brother it was up to him to keep her away from him. The question was, how far away would be far enough?
I am really loving this series, there is so much suspense and intrigue. For a dead man Kade seems to be everywhere and in everyone’s business.
Now that Naughton and Maddox have two vineyards, they are hiring a wine maker, even though the one at Demetria won’t be yielding fruit for a while yet. Of course Naughton does manage to mess things up in a most amusing way, at least for the reader.
This is a favorite scene.
Maddox had warned her that Naughton could be abrasive. He hadn’t warned her, however, that he was an arrogant, sexist asshole.
Bradley was used to people being surprised by her name but not having someone insist she was lying about it.
“What are you doing back so soon?” her uncle asked.
“Naughton Butler is a…jerk.” There were about a hundred other things she could call him, but her Aunt Jean and Uncle Charlie had always been good to her. She wouldn’t disrespect them just because Naughton was pond scum.
Her uncle laughed. “You got that right.”
“What happened, honey?” her aunt asked.
“He asked where I was hiding my boyfriend.”
“What an odd thing for him to ask.”
“He refused to believe I was Bradley Saint John. Evidently, the last thing he expected was a woman applying for a job as winery manager.”
Her uncle was chuckling and pointing to the road. “Here comes Maddox now, and it doesn’t look like he’s alone.”
“I’ll be inside.”
That was all it took—her Aunt Jean saying her name in that way that reminded Bradley of her mom. “Okay,” she murmured and stayed where she was.
Naughton was the first to get out of the truck. He nodded at her aunt and uncle, and approached her, holding out his hand. Instead of shaking it, Bradley folded her arms in front of her.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“Evidently, I owe you an apology,” he said, quietly enough that only she could hear him.
Bradley took a step back.
Naughton was a little too heart-stoppingly good-looking to be standing so close to her. “Nice apology. Wait, you didn’t actually apologize, did you?” she smirked.
“I’m sorry, Bradley,” he whispered, taking another step forward.
God, his voice. It wasn’t just his rockin’ hard body, but his gravelly voice was sexier than all get-out too.
Bradley hadn’t moved, but Naughton had. The step forward he took brought him close enough that she could smell the vineyard on him. She breathed in and instinctively closed her eyes. The vines had a certain smell that lingered on the clothes of someone who spent their day in them. It was like the smell of a campfire to those who loved to camp.
“Bradley, I asked you a question.”
It came out almost like a growl, but a damn sexy one.
“Yeah,” she muttered. Why had the fight she had in her only moments ago abandoned her?
“Can we begin again?”
She nodded, still unable to find her voice.
“Good. How about we walk?”
Instead of turning around, Naughton went forward, and Bradley followed.
“Mad says you’re the new rock star.”
“Is that what he said?”
“No, but I thought you might take it the wrong way if I told you he said you were gonna be the hottest new winemaker on the Central Coast.”
Bradley smiled. At least he was trying to be nice, however misguided his attempt might be. “I give credit for whatever I know to my uncle.”
“Where’d you go to school?”
Naughton raised his eyebrows.
“My father lives on the East Coast.”
He nodded. “And your mother?”
“My mother passed away when I was twelve.”
“I see. I’m sorry I asked.”
“Jean is my mom’s sister.”
“Why’d she name you Bradley?”
Interesting that Naughton asked why her mother had named her Bradley, instead of her father or both her parents.
“It was her maiden name.”
“I like it.”
“What? My name?”
They walked in silence through her uncle’s vineyards, the ones she’d walked every summer of her life since she was five years old.
“What do you think of Butler Ranch wines?”
“But not as good as your uncle’s.”
Slade, Heather. Butler Ranch Box Set: Books 1–3 . Sparrow Publishing. Kindle Locations (7053-7088). Kindle Edition.
Now there is an immediate attraction between these two, but Bradley has a boyfriend. Guy Deveux III aka Trey also has a family in the business and is quite full of himself. He also seems to know Rory Calder, not a good recommendation in my opinion.
Lots of action in this one starting with a fire and progressing into other problems with wineries in area of the Butler Ranch. More on Kade’s many secrets, and plenty of sizzle with Naughton and Bradley. I can’t seem to read these books fast enough.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.
I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.