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Moonlight and Roses [Secure eReader]
eBook by Jackie Braun

eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Buying the Monroe family winery gave Zack Holland the fresh start he needed. But the business came with one determined woman, and he could see she wasn't going to hand over the reins easily. Jaye Monroe knew they had to work together to make the winery a success. But she couldn't bear to give up everything her family had worked for--to an outsider. Yet the attraction sizzled and, what's more, the mood was set with the heady mix of moonlight and the scent of roses! Soon Jaye started to wonder whether they could develop the perfect relationship--business and personal....

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2008

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JAYE stood on the upstairs balcony of the house her father had left to her and watched the silver convertible shoot up the paved road that led to Medallion's winery, tasting room and business offices. She caught a glimpse of sandy hair, ruddy cheeks and a cocky smile. The car's top was down despite the fact that the outside temperature was flirting with fifty.

If it were later in the day, she might wonder if the fool driving had already imbibed a bit too freely at one of the area's many other wineries. Since it was just past eight in the morning she doubted that was the case. Besides, she figured she knew exactly who was driving that fancy foreign number.

Zackary Holland.

Even thinking his name had her lip curling. The man had pulled up stakes at his family's century-old Napa Valley vineyard and bought Medallion from Margaret before Jaye even had known a deal was in the works.

Jaye hadn't met Zack yet, although it looked like she was going to have the privilege today. She wasn't looking forward to it, even if she was anxious to get it over with and find out where things stood. Where she stood. She wanted Medallion back, and eventually she would have it. A man who would slough off his birthright surely could be talked into parting with this vineyard. In the meantime, she wanted to keep her job as head vintner.

Usually, Jaye wasn't one given to snap judgments, but she doubted she would find she liked Zack very much and not just because he owned what by right should have been hers. Having traveled in wine circles, she figured she knew his type. She'd met more than one pompous, pedigreed vineyard heir who considered substandard any American wine produced east of the West Coast, a couple of New England vintages excepted.

As a child, Jaye had led a comfortable life thanks to her father's keen knack for investment, but after college she'd earned her own way, putting in fifty hours or more each week at the vineyard to draw a paycheck. The Zack Hollands of the world didn't earn their way. Some of them never bothered to learn more about the making of wine than how to assess their family's finished product from pricy stemware.

She surveyed the acres of terraced grapevines that were spread out like the quaint pattern of a quilt on the surrounding hillsides. Cabernet, chardonnay, and pinot were among the varieties she'd helped her father graft and plant. In the distance beyond them, the maples and oaks were starting to change color, sprinkling the horizon with splashes of red and gold that heralded fall as surely as the crisp air that turned her breath white.

It was nearly harvest time and this year promised one of the best yields yet at Medallion. Jaye and her father had spent the past nine years toiling and sweating, first to establish the vineyard and then to earn recognition for their wines. Finally they were succeeding. She swallowed around the lump in her throat. All of that hard work, and her father hadn't lived to see the fruits of their labor.

She swiped at the tears that streaked her face, irritated to find them there. Again. She wasn't one to cry, although she'd done her fair share in recent months. She didn't like it. After all, what was the point of crying? What had railing against fate ever changed for her in the past? Her mother hadn't come back. Her father couldn't. The vineyard? Time would tell.

She returned inside, plaited her heavy hair into its usual no-nonsense braid and dressed for work. Unless—or until—the new owner told her to clear out her desk and leave, she had a job to do.

* * *

Zack parked his car and got out. Then he stood, feet planted shoulder width apart, and grinned as wide as his wind-numbed face would allow. His previous visit to the vineyard hadn't prepared him for the beauty to come. Oh, the area had been pretty in late summer with all of those shades of blue and green, but decked out in the bold hues of autumn it simply dazzled.

He'd arrived in Michigan late the evening before, taking a suite of rooms at a hotel in nearby Traverse City. Until he found a permanent home, he would be living there. When he'd awakened this morning, he'd felt like a child on Christmas, too keyed up to choke down more than a couple bites of toast before he'd hopped in his car and followed the highway that bordered the aquamarine waters of Traverse Bay. Halfway to the vineyard, he'd stopped to put down the top on his Mercedes. He'd wanted an unrestricted view of his surroundings.

He rubbed his stiff fingers before stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He was paying for his impulsiveness now, but he didn't care. He felt more alive than he had in years. Anticipation hummed inside him as he entered the tasting room at Medallion. This winery was his and his alone. He would set its course, decide its future, and call all of the shots. He wouldn't have to run his ideas past anyone else for approval that ultimately would be denied. No. He was in charge.

He revised his opinion half an hour later when a woman stalked through the main doors of the tasting room. He pegged her age at about thirty and her mood as supremely agitated if the stiff set of her shoulders and grim line of her mouth were any indication.

She was tall, only a few inches shorter than his six-foot-two, and lean. What he could see of her figure beneath a bulky wool sweater and loose-fitting carpenter jeans might best be described as willowy. She certainly commanded attention, though. The workers stopped what they were doing, glancing around nervously. An unnatural silence fell, and even though no one moved, Zack got the distinct impression sides had been taken.

Copyright © 2007 by Jackie Braun Fridline.

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