Once Tasted

*I was given a free copy of the book for an honest review. All thoughts about the book are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for this review*

Once Tasted

Published: May 27, 2014

I love discovering new authors that I’ve never read before. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so great. This book was not the case.

I’d never even heard of Laura Moore until I got this book. That cover…*sigh*. Do you see that cover? It makes me want to find my own hunky bad boy cowboy dude.

Right from the start I had a feeling that I was going to like this one. Mrs. Moore’s writing style is smooth as a fine wine. It was apparent that she really loved her main characters, Reid Knowles and Mia Bodell along with all of the secondary characters — Reid’s family (I love his sister Quinn. She’s seriously the best), Mia’s uncle Thomas and the winery workers. Plus the animals. I loved the animals.

I should probably explain all of that.

Reid Knowles and his family live on a ranch next door to Mia and her uncle Thomas, who own a winery. I’m not that knowledgable about wine (I’m partial to vodka…preferably with orange juice) but when I do drink wine, I’m like Quinn (Reid’s little sister). Both Quinn and I choose our wine based on how the label looks. If it’s pretty and I can tell it’s a sweet wine, I’ll buy it.

Mia has pretty much avoided Reid since they were in high school and Jay (Mia’s evil cousin) steals Mia’s diary and reads it OUT LOUD for everyone to hear. Not only is that a horrible thing to have happen to someone, but the diary contains Mia’s feelings for Reid. She’s mortified that Jay embarrassed her, and furious at Reid for not doing anything to stop it.

It isn’t until they’re both adults and that Thomas decides to move to France to be with his ladylove that Mia and Reid are thrown together and have to start working together. Thomas’ trip was a seemingly sudden decision, and he left Mia in charge of running their winery. Before he leaves, he offers Reid’s family a stake in the winery (they’re successful business people) which is what causes Reid and Mia to have to work together.

It isn’t until later on in the book that Reid starts to think about Mia differently. He starts to notice little things about her that he hadn’t before and it starts to drive him crazy. I loved it. Mia, of course, had always had feelings for Reid… sometimes she had feeling like she wanted to strangle him, others that she wanted to kiss him silly… but she always had feelings for him.

Watching them fall in love — watching Reid fall in love — was so sweet.

Mia’s cousin Jay was evil. He was that guy that we’ve all known… or at least have heard of or seen. He slicks back his hair, wears button down shirts that are halfway unbuttoned, and adorns his fat fingers with gaudy gold rings. Basically, picture a mobster wanna be. That’s Jay. He’s got a sick sense of humor and a mean streak a mile wide. He gave me the creeps and he’s not real.

Jay does his best to sabotage Mia and the winery after she turns down his request (which was more like a demand) for more money beyond what he had already received as his cut from the winery. He poisons her dog — that alone made me hate him — and he all but destroyed the winery. He almost killed the relationship between Reid and Mia until Reid figured out what was going on.

Is it bad that I totally wished the worst for Jay after all the bad he’d done? Karma definitely made an appearance and I hope he gets exactly what he deserves.

Because of Jay’s interference, Reid and Mia have a horrible fight and break up. Terrible things are said on both sides because they’re hurt. Mia has no idea that he could love her… she thinks he’s just a playboy bad boy cowboy that was just having fun with her. He never made any sort of move to prove to her otherwise. So…thinking that she’s saving herself, she breaks it off and pushes him away. That of course isn’t at all what Reid wanted. He did love Mia but he wasn’t sure how her feelings were on the matter. When she breaks things off, he’s blindsided and pissed and basically sticks his foot in his mouth. And then adds the other foot. Stupid man.

I wanted to hug Mia and shake Reid…and then I wanted to hug Reid and shake Mia. Jay I just wanted to strangle.

Thankfully, everything works out in the end and we get our sweet happy ever after.

I wasn’t quite sure if this book was meant to be a stand alone or if it was meant to kind of lead on to the next book (I think it’s Quinn’s story). We never find out if they’re able to salvage enough of the winery after Jay’s attempts at sabotage to produce any good, drinkable wine… and we never find out what exactly happens to Jay. Maybe there will be a mention of those things in the next book.

Overall, I seriously enjoyed this book. If you’ve never read Laura Moore before, you should go to your favorite book buying place (Amazon, Barnes and Noble…etc) and find her. I can’t wait to read Quinn’s book, whenever that comes out. Mrs. Moore has a new fan!

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