Thursday, May 7, 2015

review || BEST I NEVER HAD

The Best I Never Had by Loni Flowers 

Series: DeVine Winery, book 1
Source: Tasty Book Tours
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

Rating: ★★

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.

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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.

{ excerpt } .
When Evelyn disappeared into another room, I pierced Daniel with a hard glare. He’d gotten his wish, to some degree, after all. Dinner had been his idea, and if he couldn’t get me alone for it, then having me at his mother’s house was the next best thing. 

“Are you always used to getting your way?”


“Well, this was the last time from me.” I stood up abruptly, the chair legs screeching on the hardwood floor, and hurried to the door. I made it out and halfway down the walkway before Daniel latched onto my wrist and pulled me to a stop. 

“Don’t leave like this. Not while you’re angry.”

I snatched my hand from his grasp and spun around. “I’ve told you on several occasions that I won’t get involved with my boss.”

“I’m not your boss, my mother is.”

“That is exactly why it makes you off limits.”

“I’m a thirty-five-year-old grown man. I’m capable of making my own decisions.”

“Then you’ve been around long enough to know when a woman tells you she’s not interested, then she’s not interested.” I took a few steps backwards and found myself between him the water fountain. Taking a step forward, he prevented my retreat and scanned my face with seriousness I hadn’t seen before. 

“You can say you’re not interested all you want, but the way those gorgeous eyes follow my movements in the office speak something entirely different.” 

“Really? And what exactly do you think my eyes are saying?” I countered. I was out of my league with the snarky comeback. Trying to pretend he didn’t affect me was pointless. But if I could manage to stay strong, he’d give up. Eventually.

“You can’t stop thinking about that night. No matter how hard you try, you can’t ignore what happen and how it made you feel.”

“Well, you need to get your eyes checked then. How it made me feel makes no difference. I have five and half months left in this internship before I move on. Getting caught up in you, or anyone else, isn’t going to do me any favors. I’m over what happened already. It’s about time you get over it too.”

“Is there something wrong with enjoying yourself while you’re here?”

I stared—shocked that he’d consider something so casual. I had no doubt he’d be good in bed, but I wasn’t that type of woman. I didn’t sleep around for the pure enjoyment of it. Sex meant more to me than that. It was special, a one-of-a-kind connection you didn’t find with someone random. It was what I thought I had with my ex-husband.

“No. There’s nothing wrong with being causal if that’s the type of person you are. But I’m not one of those people. And getting into a relationship, of any kind, is so far down on my to-do list, it’s practically nonexistent.” I blew out a heavy breath, relieved to get all of that off my chest, but my breaths were still heavy. My hormones didn’t get the memo my brain sent. He was too close. Smelled delicious. And sexy as hell. “Move so I can go home. Please,” I added. 

“Okay, but can you do one thing for me before you go?”

“What?” I put my hand on my hip, annoyed. 

“Kiss me again.”

{ review } .
Here's the thing...

I graded this one a little bit harsher only because I expect to be blown away by the next book. I will get into that, but I just wanted to put that out there right away.

Our leads meet one night at a bar (which we will later learn is Daniel's bar that he owns with his twin and his ex). In a quick moment, Daniel and Olivia kiss but Olivia is only in town for 6 months for an internship (at the ripe ol' age of 28) and she's currently sworn off of men. As she walks away, Daniel swears to himself that if he gets the opportunity to see her again... Well, he feels like by letting her walk away, he's letting go of something that could be amazing.

And while Olivia wants to be single and get through the next 6 months...? She feels the same; still, though, she walks away expecting to never see him again.

Funny thing, that, though...

Her internship is at a winery that Daniel's family owns. While Daniel's mom is the boss -- Olivia refuses to date the boss's son, so still she tries to stay away.

I like that Daniel worked for Olivia. He tried again and again to prove that he could be what she needed and wanted. He'd give her just enough space, but not enough for her to run away. Olivia has a hard time trusting men due to her ex-husband's mistakes, but Daniel proves again and again that he's not that man...

When another worker at the winery threatens to ruin the growing relationship, while Daniel tries to ease Olivia's fears, it's actually his brother that does most of the protecting of Olivia...

...and because of that, I love Garrett more than Daniel.

I was the recipient of plenty of heart clenches due to Daniel and his words & actions, but it was Garrett that caused tears and the major heart clench. Garrett, even though he doesn't like to be at the winery and prefers his home in London, is a good man. He stands up for his family; he is a protective rock/force for those his family loves -- and that includes Olivia; and he is an altogether great guy.

So while this story was Olivia and Daniel's, and I love them... the scene was set up perfectly for Garrett and his lady friend. I have questions when it comes to her, and I'm pretty sure that Olivia and Garrett have figured her secrets out, but I am most excited to watch Garrett prove to her that there are good men in the world --

-- and that is why BEST I NEVER HAD is only a 4 -- because I fully expect the next book to be a 4.5 if not a 5. I'm already 100% on board and invested in Garrett and his lady. Loni could probably write "he fixed her problems and they lived happily ever after" and I'd give it a 4.5, simply because of their side story in BINH...

for more reviews & tour goodies,

{ giveaway } .

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