Jennifer Jones—JJ to her friends—has played it safe all her life, hiding behind a lab coat as a wine researcher. But after losing her job for dating a coworker, she jumps at the chance to head to Napa Valley to work for the famous MacAllester wine family. She’s learned her lesson: never mix business and pleasure.
William MacAllester-Moore may be the heir to a famous wine making family, but at heart he’s a farmer, growing grapes he hopes will make the best Cabernet in Napa Valley. But when his mother’s new assistant winemaker catches his eye, he realizes his grapes aren’t the only sweet, intoxicating things at the company.
As the sun-drenched days and heated nights stretch out before them, JJ and William’s romance ripens along with the grapes. But there are storm clouds on the horizon. JJ fears her feelings not only endanger her heart and her job, but William’s vineyards as well, putting the first harvest of his new vineyard at risk. Perhaps it’s just not possible to create a new wine and a new life together.
Read Chapter 3:
William Moore walked into his mom’s office and was presented with the cutest little derriere he’d ever seen.
He sucked in a sharp breath and tensed. One, he wasn’t used to such a gut response to an ass, and two, being turned on in his mom’s office was just wrong. Damn, what was his problem? Clearing his suddenly dry throat, he half groaned, half grumbled, “Can I help you?”
The woman jumped and hit her head on the desk. “Ouch,” she exclaimed, falling back down onto one knee.
William rushed to her side and placed a hand on her arm. “Here, let me help you.”
“Thanks,” she said, taking his offered arm and rising unsteadily to her feet.
“Are you all right?” Being this close, he caught her scent and all thoughts of checking for a concussion were gone.
“I am now,” she sighed and stared up at William. At 6’3” he was used to towering over people, but this woman was nearly as tall as he was.
William stared back, enjoying her warm brown eyes, pert nose, and the full lips grinning back at him. He shook his head, nonplused by the visceral attraction. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
“I was looking at the pictures and accidentally knocked a cork off the shelf. I was looking for it when you came in.” She reached over, returning the cork.
William nodded. “Who are you?”
“Oh, sorry, I’m JJ. Rebecca’s new assistant,” she replied, sticking out her hand.
Taking her hand, William raised an eyebrow. So this is mom’s new assistant, brains and beauty. He had read some of her research and had been impressed with the work.
“I’m William. Rebecca’s son and vineyard manager. Nice to finally meet you.”
“Thank you. Nice to meet you too.” She smiled.
“Hey, I found something better than the ’86, an ’84,” Maggie exclaimed from the doorway. “Hi, William. I see you’ve met JJ.”
“Yes, we were looking at family photos.” William grinned at JJ.
“What?” Maggie asked.
“Nothing.” William waved his cousin off. “So where is my mom?”
“Oh, she got stuck in the tasting room talking to a customer and will be back when she is done. But you’re just in time to officially welcome JJ to the team.” Maggie started opening the wine.
“Welcome to the team. Drinking around here is an occupational necessity.” William grinned and leaned on the edge of his mom’s desk, crossing his arms over his chest.
“William. That’s not true. You’ll scare her off.” Maggie gave him a chiding look as she handed him a glass.
“Are you scared?” William asked JJ, taking a sip.
JJ bit her lip to keep from laughing. Great, she has a sense of humor too.
Shaking her head, JJ took a glass from Maggie. “No, I worked in a wine research lab. Wine drinking was certainly an occupational necessity.”
“See, Maggie. She’ll fit right in.” William winked at JJ. “I had the chance to try the Norton Reserve you shipped here and loved what you did. It’s one of the reasons I think my mom decided to give you the contract.”
JJ brushed some of her silky, sable hair behind her ear. “Thank you. But it’s nothing compared with what you make here.”
“Don’t sell yourself short.” He set down his glass and stood up. “Well, I need to go chat with my mom and get back out in the field. Good to meet you. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”
“Actually, William, don’t forget JJ is staying in your cottage,” Maggie reminded him.
William stopped in the doorway. He had forgotten that Maggie had asked him if JJ could stay at his cottage. Not that he minded; since he’d finished remodeling his house, the cottage had just been sitting there empty. He just hadn’t expected her to be this cute, and hoped she wouldn’t be too much of a temptation. But what the hell, he had promised Maggie and he had to admit he liked the idea of having JJ so close. “That’s right. Not a problem.”
JJ glanced between Maggie and William. “Oh no, I couldn’t impose.”
“Don’t be silly, of course you’ll stay there. You might be an employee now but you were my friend first and that’s what matters,” Maggie assured her.
“That would be nice and thank you for accommodating me.” JJ smiled and nodded at William.
“My pleasure. You can get the address from Maggie. Now if you’ll excuse me, ladies.” William nodded at JJ. “I’ll see you at my house later tonight, say five o’clock?”
“Yep, that works,” JJ replied.
“Great, see you then.” William left his mom’s office with a wide grin. Yes, having her as a guest might turn out to be interesting.
Dawn DeSousa publishes travel-themed romance novels set in an exciting location she has actually traveled. As part of her mission to encourage women and girls to live their best lives, she created a program called Dimes of Love. For each book sold, a dime will be donated to an organization that empowers women and girls. So every time you buy one of her books, you are contributing to the wellbeing of others around the world.
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