Sunday, 7 January 2018

Spotlight: A Love Story & Review of Smooth by Tracy Ewens

If only life came with a guarantee.
Patrick McNaughton wants more. More people drinking Foghorn’s beer, more money to push their brewery past the competition, and more cooperation from his brothers, who have no sense of urgency. He’s all about conquering one challenge on his way to the next, so long as there’s a remote chance of winning. That’s why Aspen Pane sits in the office down the hall, oblivious to his attraction. Patrick has always wanted more with her, but he never was one to risk it all.
Aspen Pane has more than enough. As business manager for Foghorn, she keeps the brewery in the black and lives up to the nickname the McNaughton brothers gave her—Wonder Woman. She’s worked hard her whole life for the money she now has in the bank, the small house she calls home, and time with her friends. So, even though it seems everyone close to her, including her brother, is inconveniently falling in love, Aspen sticks with her to-do list. Because love risks everything and she doesn’t do that for anyone.
After an unexpected flight and an eccentric venture capitalist thrust them into a battle of wits and lies even they’re not sure they can win, Patrick and Aspen must learn the difference between making a connection and making money. They may need to face their fears and risk it all in the name of finding a new work-love balance. 

Smooth - A Love Story
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Smooth is the tenth standalone novel in the author's A Love Story series.

On the surface, Patrick McNaughton is a man in control. He oozes confidence and control in his day to day running of Foghorn Brewery, a company he established with two of his brothers. However, when the object of his long-held desires finally acknowledges him. He can only hope his charm can convince her to take a chance on them.

Aspen Pane isn't a typical heroine because she spends most of the time trying to justify why she's single. Her brother may have decided to settle down with his girlfriend and her best friend Vienna, but that's not a route she wants to take her life...until she does...doesn't she?

Two people made for each other because they are so similar, but only one is aware of the other...apart from friends and family they surround themselves with. Patrick, the geeky looking boy Aspen went to school with has always had her on his radar. Beyond attending different colleges, they've always been aware of what the other is doing. So it was inevitable, Foghorn Brewery would seek Aspen out as a potential Business Manager for their brewery when she moved back to Petaluma. A successful move for the brewery and a frustrating one for Patrick.

I love that Patrick wasn't as typical an alpha male as his business persona showed. Deep down, he has a phobia he's spent much time trying to hide from family and friends. However, his weakness is one he admits to Aspen when they are unexpectedly on the same flight together. His vulnerability, a side of Patrick's personality Aspen hadn't seen before because she always viewed him as a man who led a perfect life, unlike herself. She is a driven, practical woman, determined to have everything she lacked growing up. Prepared to sacrifice finding love because she believed she was better off alone.

The romance build up is very slow-burn as the protagonists, slowly begin to get to know each other on a more personal level. Despite the pair knowing each other socially through work, I love the respect shown to each other as they navigated the tricky waters of a potential relationship. Nothing is plain sailing as the amusing secondary characters try and stir things up, adding light-hearted humour. Dialogue is witty and amusing, as is a sub-plot.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Tracy Ewens novel however, I found the narrative a bit too long and the eventual happy ever after could have happened sooner rather than later. That apart, I enjoyed the writer's style so will look to read more of her books in The Love Story series.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher via InkSlingersPR***

Premiere - A Love Story

Candidate - A Love Story

Taste - A Love Story

Reserved - A Love Story

Stirred - A Love Story

Vacancy - A Love Story

Playbook - A Love Story

Exposure - A Love Story

Brew - A Love Story

Tracy Ewens shares a beautiful piece of desert with her husband and three children in New River, Arizona. She is a recovered theater major who walks her dog Jack, drinks copious amounts of tea, and reads well past her bedtime.