5 sparkling stars
In the third book of this French-based series, Thom Lane follows the same formula that worked so well previously. But, I don’t care, I don’t care at all as I am seduced once again by the lovely writing and story-telling. With gentle charm and earthy humor, you are lulled into the countryside, and into the lives of an eccentric family that seems to be a haven for slightly lost ‘bright boys’ as Greg, our main character puts it.
How wonderful it is to return to this world of softly rolling hills, dappled footpaths, and vineyards bursting with earth’s bounty, sun-kissed and hope-full. Greg, on vacation, is adopted by the family Romaines -- well-known local vintners (known for their ‘pink fizz’ sparkling wine) already introduced in the previous books -- and specifically, the young Juliette. She takes an immediate liking to him and, ever the match-maker, tucks him under her wing. Perhaps she sees something in him that needs care. For Greg certainly comes across as the lone wolf. Shying away from commitment and any hope at love, he’s expert at stalking the quick and easy hook-up. Yet, he is slowly seduced into the possibility of something more by this warm and generous family.
I won’t go into Greg’s fall towards the handsome, self-sufficient Robin, so sweetly done -- from the start you feel the heat off the page: "Maybe if I stayed sitting down, he wouldn’t notice how my cock was pointing directly at him inside my jeans. Him, let’s take him. Let’s have him now."
It’s a given, an inevitability. For me, it’s the unwrapping of Greg’s inner sweetness (which he thinks he’s kept safely locked away against further hurt), that insight which makes him aware of Juliette’s own underlying heartache, that is the key to his character and to the story. Not only is he seduced by the family, the country, by Robin, but he succumbs to this inner kindness and when he does so, he discovers his true heart. The author does all this without laying it on thick, you are allowed to muse and fit the pieces together, it’s left to the reader to discover their own seduction. I love these books as quiet, gentle, literary gifts and for always bringing a smile.
(Aside -- it is a marvel to me that this author can so successfully produce these sweet, effervescent stories along-side his other darker tales of power-play and slavery. A further testament to his skills!)