The Best I Never Had (DeVine Winery #1)
by Loni Flowers
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.
Evelyn showed me to a sitting room and handed me a glass of wine while she finished setting the table. Dinner was nearly ready, and she refused to allow me to help her in any way. The liquid in my glass was a deep red and even though it was her mission to find a wine I would enjoy before my internship was up, I doubted this was it. But I accepted the challenge and took a sip.
I nearly died.
It tasted as if I had swallowed the worst cough medicine in history. It was bitter. I didn’t understand how anyone in their right mind could find it pleasing to their pallet. I took one more sip, in case it was the mint gum I chewed a couple of hours ago affecting my taste buds, but holy crap, it was still disgusting. I choked it down, desperately fighting the urge to spit it back in the glass or on myself.
“I see the red isn’t for you.”
The sound of his voice instantly sent my heart racing, and I didn’t have to look up to know Daniel was standing in the doorway. Glancing in his direction, I nodded, answering his question with a cough, and watched him saunter over to me in the same suit he had on in the office. The satin, blue tie matched his eyes as they held mine with amusement.
“This is a red Cabernet wine. It’s high in Tannin, which gives it an extremely dry taste.”
“And a Tannin is what exactly?”
“It’s a textual element used when aging wine to give it a dry taste. It’s what gives it bitterness or maybe a taste like you just licked a dry Popsicle stick.”
“Yes! Exactly. What do you put in the grape juice to make it taste like that?” I asked, curious. The whole process of making wine fascinated me.
“Well, we use several different options. Oak chips, Tannin powder, or the skin from the grapes.” He stepped closer and pulled his hand from his pocket. His fingers reached out to grasp my chin as his thumb skimmed the corner of my lip. I stilled, caught up on a breath that wouldn’t escape.
“It’s not everyone’s glass of wine, if you will.” He sucked a red droplet from his thumb with a sly grin. “And it’s not one of my favorites, but I can always make an exception.”
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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