A Good Vintage

A Good Vintage - Ashlyn Kane

No, this was the part where Mal broke Luke down into tiny component pieces and put him back together different. When this was over, Luke didn’t know who he’d be. Just that he’d be Mal’s, maybe forever. And even though the thought terrified him, he couldn’t stop it. Didn’t want to.


I absolutely loved American Love Songs by this author, but then I read True North and I didn't like it and was kind of disappointed. Then came A Good Vintage and I didn't know what to expect and I was kind of dreading more disappointment. But I needn't have worried because this book hit the spot!

When Luke was 19, he left home and started working in a vineyard in Napa in order to earn enough money for his first year's college tuition. There he met Mal (then 28 years old), whose wife has recently died from cancer. There was chemistry between them and over several weeks they grew closer, but nothing ever happened because Luke picked up and left before it could.

Fast-forward eight years. Luke is a man who relationship-vise made one bad decision after another. He claims he's a poor judge of character, but I got the impression it was more like self-sabotage. His father was abusive, especially toward Luke, seemingly for no reason, and no matter how much Luke resented and even hated his father, he couldn't help feeling as if every beating and abusive word were somehow deserved, so naturally he doesn't deserve a boyfriend who's not a deadbeat like his father in one way or another.

When he catches his live-in boyfriend whoring out in their bed for money he needs to cover his gambling debts, Luke packs his bags and goes to his older brother, Val. Val sends him to a vineyard/b&b to relax, but 'forgets' to mention it's the same vineyard Luke worked at the summer he was 19, with it's name changed. There, Luke meets Mal again. The chemistry is still there and the book follows them learning to be in a relationship - Luke in the first relationship with a man he actually trusts, Mal in the first relationship since his wife died. They are learning to trust each other and to communicate, and along the way you fall in love with them too.

What bothered me about this book is how many of the plot points remained unresolved -

How did Jo's tests go? What about Gabriela? What about Luke's real father?

(show spoiler)

These are mostly minor events (or treated as such), but it's the stuff I wanted to know, because I loved the side-characters too. Also, the book ends with a HFN ending and I would really love to know weather the HFN turns into a HEA at some point.