Ashes and Wine
by Taryn Elliott
I really, really loved this romance… I loved the lyrical writing in this story. I adored the characters and appreciated the humor and heart. *sigh* so much heart.
The heroines’ name is Tessa and she owns a bookstore. The store is struggling a bit with the changes in the economy and also peoples reading habits. I liked that the author included this realism into this fictional story. It grounded Tessa and made me immediately relate to her…. And be a smidge jealous! A long time dream of mine is to own a bookstore and hers sounds wonderful. It’s called As You Wish. There were a few other delightful Princess Bride references, because Tessa is a fan. I adored Tessa. She felt like a girl I could be besties with. I loved her snark, strength and courage.
Three years before this story starts Tessa went on a wine tour and met Royal. She felt chemistry and thought the attraction was returned. But in the past few years. NOTHING has developed from that. She’s frustrated that she hasn’t had chance to forget that dream because Royal has been coming to her bookstore and helping with a regular wine tasting event since they met.
Royal *sigh* He has a LOT going on in his life. He’s very relatable- but I also wanted to shake him!!! He is the oldest of five kids and his family owns a vineyard. It’s been in the family for two generations and it’s his whole life. His father is in the last stages of his battle with cancer. It’s been a vicious, long, difficult, struggle that he is losing. His father was diagnosed with cancer a few days after Royal first met Tessa. That was his reason for shutting the possibilities of a relationship with her down. He felt like he would have nothing left to give and needed to devote himself to supporting his family though this tough time. He was determined to be the good son and a strong support for his family to depend on. I admired him so much and wanted to hug him and like I said… Shake him!
Every month Royal comes to As You Wish for the wine tastings and to get his Tessa fix. He looks forward to these moments, like a kid dolling out his Halloween candy, he savors his time with Tessa and has clung to them like a life raft for the last few years.
It’s killing Tessa though. He won’t let her in. She doesn’t know what’s going on in his life and why she’s still drawn to the guy who hasn’t made a friggin’ move in three years! Ashes and Wine starts with another wine tasting. Royal is stressed out, grieving and at the end of his rope. It breaks. *fist pump* He finally makes a move and it’s delicious, literally. They open up a bottle of wine. The shared wine reminds them of their first meeting and all the feelings they haven’t acted on. *sigh* He lets his walls down a bit and lets Tessa in. It’s soooo hot. When they act on their passion it’s very sensual and the language used during the intimate scenes felt lyrical and warm. Royal plan is to just take one night with Tessa, like a fantasy, then go back to his real life.
“He brushed his cheek against her jaw, drawing in the crisp scent of her that would now forever be associated with two of his wines. At least he’d always have that to hold on to.”
I ached for Tessa and Royal. Tessa’s pain when the feelings between them are so vital and real and Royal seems determined to walk away from any potential their relationship could develop. Royal’s agony over letting Tessa go because he feels it’s too much to ask someone else to share his burdens. The rest of the story is how they deal with the very real connection between the two of them. Will he open up and let her in and is Tessa strong enough to go after what she wants and is she ready to deal with his hurt?
Oh! The secondary characters? I am very intrigued by Royal’s brothers and Tessa’s best friend Mercy. There’s a hysterically fun scene with Mercy, Tessa and tequila that is epic!
Here are a few of my favorite lines.
♦ He lowered his mouth until their lips met. Desire hummed between them. Instead of deepening the kiss, he swung her out in a fluid twirl that made the room spin. The absolute delight in his eyes was contagious. She’d never seen him like this.
♦ Tessa slid out of bed and let the sheet drop. Miles of ivory and rose skin stole his breath. “So…what? You’re just going to sit here and brood about it? How about you have an adult conversation with me?”
♦ “I don’t have anything inside me to give you right now.” She passed him and blocked the driver’s side door. “I’ve never felt more cherished and wanted in my life, but you think you don’t have anything to give?”
♦ “Because you’re standing here aching for me as badly as I am for you. You’re just afraid to give us a try:”
♦ He shook his head. Taking half or part of her wouldn’t be enough. If he let her in, even just a little, he’d never let her go.
I LOVED this book. It’s a beautiful story that deals with the pain of losing a loved one in a very open and empathetic way. Yes, life has loss but also love. Ashes and Wine is filled with so much rich detail, passion and emotion. It’s a gorgeous, sensuous, lyrical, decadent, story with full-bodied characters, depth and heart. I highly recommend this contemporary romance and I’m looking forward to the sequels.
The Queen of Tarts
PS. Oh! I pinned Taryn to my interview couch… and I don’t want her to leave! Click HERE to check out our chat and for a chance to win this book.
Yet one searing kiss between the stacks gives Tessa a glimpse of the passion smoldering beneath–and a secret pain further revealed when Royal fills in as the musician at a tasting event. Every note of Spanish guitar tells a story of family tragedy, loss, and ongoing suffering that’s made Royal afraid to lean on anyone…even if he needs Tessa’s sweet flavor more than the richest wine. Only her strength can save him when his world crumbles to ashes. But has Royal learned trust too late to claim Tessa as his own?