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Love in Harvest: Westmore Estates, #2

Love in Harvest: Westmore Estates, #2

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Love in Harvest: Westmore Estates, #2

Panjangnya:
194 pages
2 hours
Dirilis:
Mar 17, 2020
ISBN:
9781393956075
Format:
Buku

Deskripsi

After a devastating loss, Andrea Westmore coped by burying herself in her work. Now, after burying her father, she's embarked on a new business venture, starting a winery with her two sisters. When sparks fly with the head vintner, Andy finds herself intrigued and interested, but still cautious about risking her heart again.

Raised by a free-spirited single mother, vintner Seth Kelly grew tired of his nomadic childhood. All he wants is to establish his career, make fabulous wine, and find a good woman to settle down and have a family with. The practical-but-feisty Andy fits the bill, and the more Seth discovers they have in common, the harder he falls, but getting Andy to open up to him proves far harder than making a good Chardonnay.

The Westmore Estates trilogy continues with book 2, Love in Harvest.

Dirilis:
Mar 17, 2020
ISBN:
9781393956075
Format:
Buku

Tentang penulis

Michele Shriver grew up in Texas and now lives in the Midwest, where she has a general law practice. In her free time, she enjoys bicycling, Zumba fitness and watching sports on TV. She is working on her second novel, a spin-off of After Ten.


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Love in Harvest - Michele Shriver

Prologue

"

What a day," Andrea Westmore muttered under her breath as she helped herself to another bottle of wine from her sister’s dual temperature zone wine cooler. If Alex wanted to pout and storm upstairs because the conversation got a little too uncomfortable for her, so be it. That didn’t mean Andy had to leave. Alex had said as much.

You can say that again, the youngest sister, Abby, chimed in. Is there some of that for me? Partner?

Andy tried not to grimace, but doubted she fully succeeded. Partners? Really? The various shocks of the afternoon were still settling in. It was painful enough being summoned to the office of their late father’s attorney for the reading of his will—a totally anachronistic legal procedure, according to Alex. It was quite another to learn that she was now forced into business with her two sisters. An equal partnership, to honor their father’s dying wishes, in which they’d be making wine. That part was okay, but they were also expected to maintain the partnership for five years, meaning none of them could buy the others out. That part called for another drink.

Of course, Andy uncorked the wine and poured them each a glass. She and Alex didn’t always get along, but the two of them were closer than either of them was to their younger half-sister, Abby. Andy knew her way around Alex’s kitchen and wasn’t afraid to make herself at home in it. Besides, when Alex had gone upstairs in her pout, she told them they could stay if they wanted. Andy fully intended to take her up on the offer and finish the bottle, because it had been that kind of day.

Abby accepted the glass from her. So, Alex really had an affair with a hot Portuguese wine maker? And she ruined it all by cheating on him? Abby leaned forward as she spoke, her blue eyes wide as saucers, eager to learn the dirty details.

Andy merely shrugged. You heard her. She’s always claimed she didn’t cheat, exactly, whatever that means. I don’t judge, or at least I try not to, because my own personal life hasn’t exactly been the stuff of romance novels. She could count a couple of serious relationships, one of which was led to marriage, and subsequently an ill-fated pregnancy, which ultimately doomed the marriage. There had been one other sort of long-term relationship, if six months could be considered long-term, and more recently, a briefer relationship with a nice enough, but sort of boring guy she knew from work. In between, there were bad first dates and sometimes worse second ones. All of which were forgettable.

Mine either, Abby said, causing Andy to laugh.

At your age, I wouldn’t worry. At mine, I sometimes do. Andy didn’t like to admit it, but it was the truth. Especially the closer she got to forty. Had her best chance for happiness passed her by when she lost Jarrett’s baby, and then lost him?

The thought was too depressing, so she sought to change the subject. Enough of that. Let’s get to work.

Abby blinked. Work?

Yep. Andy clapped her hands together. We have a vineyard to start, and the two of us may not know the first thing about making wine, but we bring other skills and knowledge to the table. Didn’t you say you could develop a business plan?

Abby was close to finishing her MBA, and a few minutes ago had been touting her knowledge. Now, she hedged. Well, yes... I mean, this is new to me, but I do know business.

Great, because I know real estate. We can totally do this. Let’s make our father proud. Maybe by the time Alex gets done pouting, we’ll have something to show her. What do say, sis?

A slow grin spread across Abby’s face. You’re right. Let’s get to work and make Daddy proud.

Chapter One

"Y

es, I’ll let you know if anything else comes up, Have a good day." Or try to, anyway, Andy added to herself as she hung up the phone.

She rubbed her temples, hoping to ward off a tension headache. It had been a long day, filled with challenging clients and professional setbacks. As much as Andy enjoyed her work as a real estate broker, she didn’t love every aspect of her job, and especially hated having to give clients the bad news that they’d lost a bidding war on a house they’d dreamed of owning.

It often led to second guessing on her part. Was there something she could have done differently? Should she have advised her clients to offer a higher purchase price? In this case, she doubted there was anything she could have done differently to improve the Andersons’ chances of getting the house, but that was little comfort. First thing tomorrow morning, or maybe even tonight, Andy would resume her search to find her clients their perfect home. Now, though, it was time to get out of the office and over to the winery.

A knock sounded at her office door, and Alex opened it a crack, peeking inside. Can I come in? I didn’t see your assistant out there.

No, she had to leave early today. How are you? Andy asked her sister.

Tired, Alex said. It turns out heels are a bad idea for six months pregnant attorneys when they’re in court all day. Her sister gave an exaggerated shrug of her shoulders. Who knew?

Certainly not Andy. Her only pregnancy had lasted only few months, and she still had the scars from the loss. She’d be lying if she said it didn’t sometimes hurt to see her sister’s growing pregnancy, but Alex radiated happiness these days, so Andy was happy for her. She’d grown much closer to both of her sisters in the months since they’d buried their father and embarked on the journey to establish the family winery.

Maybe they should offer a manual for that, she said, and Alex laughed.

Right? It would be so much easier, she said. I changed shoes, though, so I’m good now. Are you ready to go? I can drive.

Sure. They were going to the winery to sample one of the wines that their head vintner, Seth Kelly, had been working on with their consultant, David Matos. David had agreed to a six-month stint to help them build the Westmore Estates brand, but now that he and Alex had rekindled their relationship and were expecting a child together, it appeared David would be sticking around, at least in a personal capacity.

Andy closed and locked her office. Our very first wine. I’m so anxious to try it.

Me, too, Alex said with a touch of wistfulness. I guess you’ll have to let me know if it’s good or not.

Andy chuckled. As if you’re worried it won’t be? If the wine passed their own taste test, and everyone expected it would, then they planned to host a special release party the following week to officially debut Westmore Estates to the public. Abby had already reserved the event space at an upscale hotel and invited some of the top restaurateurs and sommeliers in the area, hoping to impress them enough to add Westmore Estates to their wine lists, along with other high profile guests from the community and local businesses.

Not at all, Alex said. We hired a heck of a team.

That we did, Andy agreed. Now if she could just keep from getting all discombobulated around Seth, she’d be good. Unfortunately, he seemed to have the power to turn her into a babbling idiot. Maybe it was the green eyes. She’d always been a sucker for green eyes.

SETH PACED. IT WAS ridiculous to be nervous, but he was. He was confident in his abilities as a winemaker, but this—the Westmore Estates Chardonnay—was his fist effort as head vintner. That meant there was a lot on the line. Funny thing, when he interviewed for the position months before, Seth wasn’t thrilled about the idea that he’d be working with a consultant, even if David Matos was one of the most renowned winemakers in Europe. He also wasn’t pleased, at least initially, that he would be working with an assistant vintner, especially one almost ten years his junior, and fresh off her studies in Europe.

This was supposed to be his baby, his time to shine.

Seth wanted the job, though, so he checked his ego at the door. He was glad he had. The knowledge he’d gained from David was immeasurable, and so far, he enjoyed every minute of working with Becks. She soaked up the knowledge and experience that he and David offered, proved to be a quick study, and even though she studied in France and came back with a wealth of knowledge she was eager to share, she never overstepped.

Her sense of humor was also a great asset in the laboratory, as they’d come to refer to the building that housed the winemaking operations. It would be almost a year before the first wines made with homegrown grapes were ready for release to the public, and Seth already had a tentative date marked on his calendar.  

He’d also circled next Thursday as an important date—the most important one thus far in the winery’s brief existence. Although the grapes were sourced from another vineyard, the techniques were his—okay, his and David’s and Becks’—and the official launch of the Westmore Estates label would be one of the proudest moments of Seth’s life.

Assuming the wine didn’t suck, and they had to cancel the whole thing, but there was little to no chance of that happening. The three of them had sampled it a few days before and deemed it ready to go. This was merely formality, allowing the owners to sample the bottled wine before it was released to the public.

The venue was booked, and the invitations had been sent out. All they were missing was the approval of the Westmore sisters. If they loved the wine, then things were all set.

He needed to relax.

You’re nervous, David surmised.

Is it that obvious?

The European winemaker laughed. Yes, and I get it. I was there once, too.

Not anymore?

David hesitated, only briefly, before shaking his head. No. Perhaps my ego is out of control, as Alex often teases me, but I’m assured in my ability to make delicious wine.

I am, too, Seth said. Your ability. Mine. He turned to Becks. And yours. We’re great vintners, all of us, and this launch is going to be incredible. I know that.

Then why all the pacing? David asked.

So, it was obvious. Seth rubbed his hands on his jeans.

If I may, Becks cleared her throat, I don’t think it has anything to do with his fears the wine won’t be good, because we all know it is, she said. I think it’s more about seeing Andy again. Her eyes met Seth’s. Am I right?

Chapter Two

‘A

m I right?’

Becks wore a smug expression, one that made Seth wish he could offer a genuine—and convincing—denial, but any attempt would miss the mark on both counts. Becks had a keen eye, and she’d apparently picked up on what Seth hoped wasn’t obvious. He crushed on his employer.

And who could blame him? Andy represented everything Seth wanted in a woman, along with everything his mother always told him he should look for. That struck him as a little bit funny, as the ultra-organized, practical, and professional real estate agent was the total opposite of the eccentric and free-spirited Daria Morgan, Seth’s beloved late mother.

‘Find a nice girl. Someone pragmatic and down to earth. Stable,’ Daria had told him.

Seth wanted to protest. After all, he considered his mother to be the most remarkable woman in the world. She was right, though, because what Seth wanted for his future, and his children’s future, was what he never had as a child. Stability.

He wanted marriage, and kids, and a nice home to raise them in. One they could grow up in, maybe spend their whole childhood in the same house, going the same schools. Unlike Seth, who’d moved around a lot, whenever Daria got a whim that some other trendy city was the place she needed to be to make it as an artist. It was a good childhood, albeit a nomadic one, but it wasn’t the life Seth wanted for his own kids.

No. He wanted the kind of life he thought he could have with someone like Andrea Westmore.

Too bad she happened to be his boss.

Wow, that sure got you quiet, Becks quipped, bringing Seth out of his trance. I guess that’s all the answer I need. You’ve got it bad for the middle sister.

Seth shot her a glare. Maybe she interests me a little bit, but that’s my problem to work through and it doesn’t need to extend beyond these four walls or the three of us. Okay?

Got it. Becks made an exaggerated motion of zipping her mouth with her fingers. My lips are sealed, she said. "And hey, I didn’t mean to hit a

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