Love in the Vineyard
By: Pamela Aares
Tavonesi Series # 7
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Release: September 10th, 2015
Publisher: SeaStar Press
Pamela Aares is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance novels. Her contemporary series, The Tavonesi Series, explores the lives, loves, friendships and sizzling romances of the Tavonesi family.
Her popularity as a romance writer continues to grow with each new book release, so much so, that the Bay area author has drawn comparisons by reviewers to Nora Roberts.
Pamela Aares writes romance books that she loves reading, particularly those that entertain, transport and inspire dreams while captivating and tugging at the heart. She takes her readers on a journey with complex characters in both contemporary and historical settings who are thrown in situations that tempt love, adventure and self-discovery.
Before becoming a romance author, Aares wrote and produced award-winning films including Your Water, Your Life, featuring actress Susan Sarandon and NPR series New Voices, The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination.
If not behind her computer, you can probably find her reading a romance novel, hiking the beach or savoring life with friends. You can visit Pamela on the web at http://www.PamelaAares.com.
From USA Today bestselling author Pamela Aares comes Love in the Vineyard, the seventh book in the Tavonesi family series featuring passion, mystery, and well-won love!
A one-night stand brought Natasha Raley the greatest gift of her life—her son. She wants to give him a better life than she had, but a gambling bet lands both of them in a homeless shelter. When the shelter director gives her a ticket to a masquerade ball, Natasha finds herself dancing with the most intriguing and mysterious man she’s ever met.
Adrian Tavonesi is creating a paradise on earth in Sonoma California, determined to be worthy of his vast fortune by making the world a better place. Convinced women only like him for his money and his status, he invents an anonymous relationship with the beautiful Natasha to create a dream world for both of them.
As passion flares into an all-consuming affair, the lies Adrian and Natasha have told each other threaten to ruin everything. Adrian is kind, generous, and sincere—Natasha knows he would be the ideal father for her son. But
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“Tasha, I’d like to take you somewhere. Somewhere special to me. I think you’d love this place I have in mind.”
She froze in place. Her breath caught, and she must’ve stiffened, for he stepped away from her as if to give her breathing room. As if to make her feel safe.
“Not now. I mean on a date. To the Asian Botanical Gardens.” He tilted his head and his eyes glittered in the glow shed by hundreds of white lights strung in the nearby trees. “But perhaps you’ve already visited?”
She’d love to visit a botanical garden, Asian, American or any kind. She hadn’t known there was such a place nearby. But she wasn’t ready to open herself to all that an outing with him would likely entail. Not yet. Maybe never would be if the trauma counselor she’d met with before Tyler’s birth was right. And it wasn’t just that she wasn’t ready. She would never be in the league that this man played in. She shouldn’t even be here with him now. He was in his element. She certainly wasn’t.
“I’m not dating right now,” she said, marshaling her voice and willing it not to hitch with the tension building in her chest. “I’m taking a break.”
Right. A six-year break. Ten, if she were to be honest. The guy she’d dated three times six years ago didn’t really count.
Behind the mask, Dumas’s eyes narrowed.
“Shall we wager? Red, you agree to go on a date with me. Black, no date. I prefer roulette unless you prefer dice?”
He couldn’t know the terror his easy offer of a bet unleashed in her.
“No.” She said the word louder than she’d intended, and several of the people around them looked up. “I mean, thank you, but no,” she said softly. “I don’t gamble.”
Not anymore. She’d never wager on anything, not ever again.
A series of chimes rang out from inside the tent.
“It’s almost time for the unmasking,” he said. “Let’s go in. I’ve a keen interest in the auction that will follow.”
“I have to go.”
“But it’s ten minutes to midnight. At least stay for the unmasking.”
“I prefer my anonymity,” she said honestly.
“Oddly, I’m enjoying mine as well. We could go on an anonymous date. To the botanical gardens—they’re close by in Kenwood. We can let the plants do the talking.”
Another set of chimes rang out from the tent.
“At least give me your number so I can call you.”
“I don’t have a pen.”
“I do.” He pulled an expensive pen from his pocket.
“No paper,” she said, as if that would protect her. Oddly enough, she wanted to give him her number. But the thought of trying to write down the numbers chilled her blood.
“Who needs paper?” He rolled up the lace cuff of his costume and flattened his palm. Then he grinned. “Better yet…” He pulled out his phone, swiped at it and then tapped in a code. Then he held it out to her.
She waved her hand, signaling for him to type in the number.
Slowly she repeated the carefully memorized numbers. She was never certain if it was forty-seven or seventy-four, but she took a guess. She’d bought the disposable cellphone at the drugstore and intended to use it only in case of an emergency involving Tyler. Just repeating her own phone number was a sort of roulette, a daily game that was neither welcome nor pleasant.
The chimes sounded again.
“Five minutes. You sure you can’t stay?”
She was already surveying the shortest route to her car.
“No, but thank you. For the dance. The dances. For everything.”
At that, she turned and fled down the lighted path to the parking area. Glancing over her shoulder, she was relieved he didn’t follow. Maybe he was a gentleman, maybe he wasn’t. One thing was certain, he swam in waters she’d never belong in and through currents she’d never master.
If he called, she wouldn’t see him.
But she’d have her memories of the evening and that would be enough. It had to be.