Where Bo Marchand comes from, gay men are just confirmed bachelors who never found the right girl. But now Bo’s a successful winemaker on the central coast of California, supporting his whole damned Georgia family, and all he really wants is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Jeremy Aames.
Jeremy’s vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all his customers. Bo tries to help Jeremy and even provides a phony alibi for Jeremy when Ottersen turns up dead in Jeremy’s tasting room. But it’s clear Jeremy isn’t who he claims, and Bo must decide if it’s worth tossing over his established life for a man who doesn’t seem to trust anyone. When Jeremy gets kidnapped, some of the conservative winemakers turn out to be kinky sex fiends, and the list of murderers keeps dwindling down to Jeremy. Bo has to choose between hopping on his white horse or climbing back in his peach-pie-lined closet.
Title: The Case of the Voracious Vintner
Series: Middlemark Mysteries: Book 2
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: January 29, 2019
10 Wine Facts from Tara Lain’s The Case of the Voracious Vintner
Hi. I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be celebrating the release of my new mystery novel The Case of the Voracious Vintner. As its name implies, the book’s heroes are wine makers and I thought it could be fun to share some inside wine growing facts that I include in this new romantic suspense.
- The book is set on the central coast of California in the lesser known California wine country in and around Paso Robles. This is a favorite area of mine and if you’re visiting California, I highly recommend this area as a stop. Like it’s more famous cousin Napa Valley, the central coast wineries are dotted along one winding road, so touring and tasting are easy.
- The central coast makes all kinds of wines, but is most famous for red zinfandel. If you’ve never tried it, I suggest giving it a taste. Not as heavy as a cabernet, zinfandel is a smooth, robust wine with great flavor that could turn you into a lover of reds.
- Many wineries, like those of my heroes, make most of their money not from finished wines, but from selling grapes and bulk wine to larger wine makers.
- I also love the more famous wine country in Napa Valley, so I set a few scenes on a trip there. This is a fantastic area for a visit, packed with great food, beautiful scenery and, above all, amazing wine.
- The winery, Hilltop, owned by my hero Jeremy Aames in the book is based on an actual winery on the central coast where they not only have delicious wines, but also the best sandwiches ever.
- If you’ve read any of my books, it’s not hard to guess that my favorite alcoholic beverage is champagne, so I had to include a trip to a champagne maker in Napa.
- America’s premier maker of sparkling wine (aka champagne) is Schramsberg, located in Napa Valley. They actually have miles of caves where they keep wine as I describe in the book and they riddle (turn) their bottles by hand.
- Dry farming as is done by my hero Bo Marchand is an actual way of making wine, which uses almost entirely natural rainfall for irrigation and when you’re talking California, that’s not much rain. There are special techniques that encourage the growth of the vines and it also influences the taste of the wine.
- The handsome waiter, RJ, who I describe in the book is also based on an actual person – a movie star gorgeous wine tasting waiter who I encountered at a winery on the central coast.
- The references to the Dionysian mysteries in the book are based on Greek and Roman mystery groups that used wine and other intoxicants in their worship. Of course, poor Dionysus gets blamed for a lot, as is true in this story. LOL.
I hope you enjoy The Case of the Voracious Vintner!
Heart beating hard, Bo climbed out of the little silver-blue car and walked into the cottage-style building he knew to be a far more upscale establishment than its hippy-dippy furnishings made it appear. Jeremy was sitting on an old church pew against the entry wall when Bo walked in. Other would-be diners cast subtle glances at him—he was just that handsome—but his mane was pulled back into a strict tail at his neck, or they would have been staring openly. The smile he flashed as he stood went straight to Bo’s balls—and his cheeks with a flush of heat. Bo managed to get a word past his frozen lips. “Hello.”
Their eyes met and couldn’t seem to let go. Fine with him, but they weren’t even close to alone. Bo swallowed hard and glanced around at the other customers, then back at Jeremy. “So, are they ready for us?”
“Probably. They said they were getting the table ready when I came in.”
Bo walked over to the hostess and used the dimples. “Hello, ma’am. I’m Bo Marchand. You’re preparing a table for me and my, uh, associate, Mr. Aames. Would y’all happen to be ready for us?” Flashing all the expensive dental work seemed to do the trick.
“Oh yes, sir, Mr. Marchand. We have a lovely table for you, private as you requested.” She fluttered her lashes.
He leaned in. “A very important business meeting. You understand.”
“Oh yes, sir.” She looked behind her. “Violet, please take Mr. Marchand to his table.” She grinned and said softly, “Or anywhere else he wants to go.”
Bo chuckled and waved a hand to Jeremy to follow as Violet led them to a booth toward the back of the restaurant. They slid in on either side of the table.
Violet smiled. “Do you know what you’d like to drink?”
Jeremy asked, “May we see the wine list, please?”
“Of course.” She stepped to a nearby serving table and grabbed a menu. “Here you go.” She glanced down. “Can I ask how tall you are?”
Bo grinned. “Just a tiny tad over six feet four, ma’am.”
She giggled. “I’ll be back in just a moment.”
Jeremy chuckled. “You do package the charm there, darlin’.”
Bo’s cheeks heated.
Jeremy leaned across the table and angled the wine list so Bo could see. He said, “They have a few of my blends and most of your vintages.”
Bo said, “I’ll have a glass of the Marchand zin.”
“Excellent choice, sir.” A grin tugged at her lips. She probably remembered his name. She glanced at Jeremy. “You, sir?”
“I’ll have the same.”
“No Hill Top?” Bo asked.
“Nah, I like the good stuff.”
Violet walked away as Bo laughed. But then they were alone. Choose something to talk about. “Uh, so have you thought any more about how we can work together?”
A waiter walked up with two balloon glasses of red and placed them on the table. “Enjoy.”
Jeremy nodded. “Oh, we will.” As the waiter returned to the kitchen, Jeremy held up his glass. “To us.” His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Uh, to our partnership.” His nostrils flared. “I mean, to defeating Ottersen.”
Bo’s pulse fluttered in his throat. “To all of those.”
They drank and Jeremy closed his eyes, revealing long, thick lashes several tones darker than his dirty-blond hair. “Oh man, you do give good zin, my friend.”
“I’m so glad you like it.”
“I do. So much.”
The words were simple, but they made Bo shiver, and he sloshed a mouthful of wine between his lips, spattering some on the white tablecloth.
Tara Lain believes in happy ever afters – and magic. Same thing. In fact, she says, she doesn’t believe, she knows. Tara shares this passion in her best-selling stories that star her unique, charismatic heroes — the beautiful boys of romance — and adventurous heroines. Quarterbacks and cops, werewolves and witches, blue collar or billionaires, Tara’s characters, readers say, love deeply, resolve seemingly insurmountable differences, and ultimately live their lives authentically. After many years living in southern California, Tara, her soulmate honey and her soulmate dog decided they wanted less cars and more trees, prompting a move to Ashland, Oregon where Tara’s creating new stories and loving living in a small town with big culture. Likely a Gryffindor but possessed of Parseltongue, Tara loves animals of all kinds, diversity, open minds, coconut crunch ice cream from Zoeys, and her readers. She also loves to hear from you.
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