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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
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 will her past and the devastating gamble she once made destroy her new
world? Or will betting on the truth this time lead to the perfect, ever-lasting
WHAT THE HELL HAD SHE BEEN
Natasha’s thoughts hammered hard the next
morning as she walked the six blocks from Inspire to the Rock Wren Café. Petals
from cherry blossoms, blown loose by a gentle breeze, swirled on the sidewalk
and danced in the sunlight, but she barely registered the gorgeous April
What had possessed
her to say yes? To agree to meet Dumas—or whatever his name was—at a café? To
go to a botanical garden God only knew where?
She ordered a black
coffee and chose a seat outside in the dappled sunlight. The Rock Wren Café had
darned fine coffee. A cup of coffee she could afford. Pastries, no. Not yet.
But she’d eyed the croissants as she’d stood at the counter and wished for the
day when her choices wouldn’t be so difficult.
She’d said no right
off when he’d called. Very clearly. Told him she was busy for weeks.
He’d laughed and said
that life required that we make space in our schedules for spring. Otherwise
the powers that went to immense bother to conjure up such beauty would be
She’d had no answer
And then he’d again
asked her to go with him to the Asian Botanical Garden. A walk, he’d said. Just
And she heard herself
She sipped the
coffee, and it burned a trail of heat down her throat. Each time a car pulled
up in the parking spaces near the café, Natasha watched as doors opened and
drivers stepped out.
What had he looked
like? She hadn’t seen much of his face, but she’d recognize his eyes if he were
And she’d know his
She’d seen his smile
in her dreams. She hadn’t had the old dream last night—the dream where her
mother insisted that number seventeen would lead to her destiny, the dream that
lit a fuse of shame every time she awakened and remembered her foolish gamble.
But the sensual, almost magical dream that had replaced it had shaken her to
Her coffee cooled as
she sat waiting. Twice she started to get up and leave. Both times she talked
her fear down. What harm could there be in taking a walk in a public garden?
A silver sports car
pulled up halfway down the block. The door opened. The driver stepped out and
ran a hand through his hair.
Even though he wore
mirrored sunglasses, she recognized his dark curly hair and broad shoulders.
And his height. Not many men were six foot three or so. He ran his hand through
his hair again. Maybe he was nervous too.
He looked down the
street, saw her, then he smiled and raised a hand in a friendly salute.
Her hormones did a
tap dance in her belly, tattooing their glee through her veins. She’d have to
have a word with the rascals when she returned home.
He covered the
distance between his car and the café in strong, confident strides. Maybe he
wasn’t nervous after all. That thought made Natasha’s own nerves spike. No
wonder teenagers melted down during their dating years; meeting up with another
person was serious business. But this wasn’t a date. It was just a walk. In a botanical garden.
“Forgive me for being
late. I was…” He appeared to be searching for a word. His Italian accent made
him sound like someone out of a movie. She tipped her head to study him. So
maybe she wasn’t the only one who sometimes couldn’t marshal words to her beck
“I was detained,” he
finally said and held out his hand. “Adrian.” He grinned. “The impostor
musketeer formerly known as Dumas.”
A simple grin
shouldn’t shoot heat straight to her belly, so of course it did. She was way out of practice in the realm that
involved men. Heck, she’d never been in practice. She’d had relationships with
exactly three guys. Well, Eddie didn’t count as a relationship, even though
she’d had sex with him. Sex that she’d regretted five minutes after he’d slid
off her with a menacing look in his eyes. Eddie had put her off men for years,
planted fear when he’d planted his fists. And her two other failed experiences
hadn’t done anything to heal those fears.
She battled back her
maudlin memories and shook his hand.
He placed his other
hand over hers. “Tasha.” His velvet-smooth voice could charm a cobra. “Is it Tasha?”
No. No. No. No. She
was not feeling heat charge through her body just from the touch of his hands.
She was not melting at a simple touch and the purr of a smooth voice.
pulse hammered. And her mouth went dry. He wasn’t Eddie, and she’d be okay. Her
pulse hammered faster. Anxiety ripped through her. She wouldn’t be okay. Maybe she should run. She hadn’t counted on being
afraid. Maybe she should tell him she’d changed her mind. Maybe—
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
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.
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
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