Monday, 4 May 2015

Blog Stop & Review: The Best I Never Had by Loni Flowers

Enter to Win Gift Pack Including: 
a wooden bookmark with a quote,  a silver bracelet with a "read more books" charm, 
a sticky note gift set, and a signed copy of THE BEST I NEVER HAD

DeVine Winery #1
Loni Flowers
Releasing May 5th, 2015

New job, new town, new people— new life.

That’s what Olivia Langston needed. At twenty eight, she was given a rare opportunity at an internship in the rolling valleys of Crystal Falls in California wine country, far away from her small town roots in North Carolina. It was an unexpected journey she desperately needed after her ex-husband crushed her.

At DeVine Winery, she expected a fresh start in a new environment to help let go of her past. Instead, she found Daniel Black and a hell of a lot of sexual tension she wasn’t prepared for. He was gorgeous, modestly wealthy, irresistible, and just happened to be part owner of DeVine, one of the largest vineyards in the country.

If only she knew that before she kissed him her first night in town.

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We stood at the base of a Ferris wheel, third in line as we waited for our turn. I was about to have heart attack. At least I’ll look good when I die. A couple got off the wheel as another got on, putting us second in line. My heart raced remembering the last time I rode one while in college. I had a panic attack once the wheel had finally made it to the top.
Why did we get all dressed up to come to a carnival? Are you sure we have to do this?” I questioned in panic.
This is just a pit stop. I want you to see the view from the top.” He kissed the skin at the bend in my neck, sending the two teenage girls behind us in to a swooning fit.
I can see the view from here just fine.” I huffed.
He chuckled as the couple in front of us boarded the next bucket on the wheel. “Trust me, Olivia. You’ll be fine,” he assured me.
I did trust him, but it didn’t stop my hands from shaking. And I felt dumb getting so worked up over a children’s ride. The next bucket came down, the ride operator lifted the metal bar across the riders’ laps, and they hopped out, exiting to the left. The operator motioned us forward, but I could hardly move. Daniel put his arm around my back, encouraging me forward. Once I was seated, he slipped my shoes from my feet and placed them next to me on the seat before whispering something to the ride operator. After he took his seat, the operator lowered the lap bar and walked towards the control panel. My anxiety kicked into gear. The bucket jolted forward and I gripped the bar, squeezing it as if my life depended on it. I gasped and squeezed my eyes shut.
I don’t even know why there’s a bar here. Anyone could slip out underneath it. This can’t be safe at all.”
Olivia, open your eyes.”
I shook my head lightly, scared that any movement would make us fall out and drop to our death. “Just tell me when it’s over,” I whispered.
His palm brushed over my bare shoulders in an attempt to soothe me when the bottom of our bucket shifted forward, causing the back to tip backwards. “Oh my God, stop moving. We’re going to fall. Please don’t move anymore.” I was on the verge of tears and frozen like stone. His palm pressed against my cheek and pulled my face in his direction.
Open your eyes, baby. Just focus on me.”
I did as he asked, cracking my lids open and searching for the blue of his eyes. “I’m sorry. I want to enjoy this, I really do. But…”
Have you always been afraid of heights?”
Yes. It’s one of the reasons I drove to California.”
I see.” He gazed out at our surroundings. “We are about to go around again until the operators get everyone off except us. He’s going to let us stay at the top for a while unless you want to get off now.”
He’s going to let you do that?”
Money talks just about anywhere. Can you handle thirty more minutes with me up there?”
I’ll do my best. Talk to me. Keep me occupied. Just don’t move too much. Please.” I squeezed my eyes tight and leaned into his shoulder as we made another full rotation. It wasn’t so bad if we were steadily moving, but the stopping and starting and the swaying of the bucket was ripping my nerves apart. Despite the romantic situation Daniel had created, I was too scared to accept the moment for what it was.
We’ve stopped, and we’ll be here for a while. Can you open your eyes now?”
I cracked them open, lifting my head slightly to peek out in front of me. There was nothing except the ocean and the great open sky coated in an array of bright oranges and pinks as the sun prepared to slip into the ocean for the night. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves and relax my tense body.
It really is beautiful up here.” I marveled at the scenery. I peered in the opposite direction and could see the entire amusement park and the wooden boardwalk that stretched along the beach.
Normally, I would agree.” Daniel slipped his fingers up the side of my neck, encouraging me to face him. “But I swear, nothing is more beautiful than you.”
You’ll have to forgive me if I disagree.”
You can disagree all you like; it won’t sway my opinion.”

A man with his crystal blue eyes caught the attention of Olivia Langston when she visited The Blue Room, a bar recommended to her in Crystal Falls. The town she would call home for the next six month. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, she is ready to re-build her life after her marriage broke down. The internship she's beginning imminently is a stepping stone to a new life. Olivia isn't looking for a new relationship, but fate steps in help change all that!

Daniel Black meets the woman of his dreams in the bar he part-owns, only to watch her drive off after they've exchanged a passionate kiss. All he knows is her name “Olivia” and that he's never likely to see her again. So Daniel is completely taken aback when his mother introduces Olivia as the new intern at DeVine Winery of which he also part-owns. With a new sense of purpose, all he has to do is pursued and charm Olivia into his life and heart.

The relationship between the protagonists is palpable. Both are attracted to each other but only Daniel is willing to act upon those feelings, whilst Olivia tries to shun his advances. There are secrets and past hurts that need to be aired and interference from someone from the past... it is possible for them to find a happy ever after? As time progresses sensitive topics come to the fore and they handled compassionately by the author. Added to the mix are some interesting supporting characters, including a handsome fraternal twin called Garrett (I'm looking forward to learning more about him) and you have an entertaining, fun and sexy read set in the beautiful wine growing region of California.

The Best I Never Had is a cosy story that leaves you with a contented feeling when you've finished reading. The plot is predictable at times and foresaw some of the events as they unfolded, although I was completely taken by surprise by an unexpected twist! Not that I see this as a negative – far from it. I believe there are books to suits moods and occasions and this one is perfect for reading on the beach, curled up warm on a cold winters night or simply relaxing in your favourite place.

4 Stars

***arc generously received in exchange for an honest review***

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Residing in Eastern North Carolina with her husband, 2 girls, and couch-potato dogs, Loni works a full-time professional job during the day and writes in her free time. She never thought it was possible to have a satisfying writing career, but with the love and support of her family, she's made it part of her life.

Loni searches for the tiniest speck of romance in any story and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after’s. She thrives off the sexual tension, and gets a kick out of taking her characters on a roller-coaster ride of drama-filled emotions. A romance that can soothe the soul is her number one priority.

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