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Vintage, The Crescent Lake Winery Series by @LucindaRace is an Indie Authors pick #romance #giveaway
Title: Vintage, Book XX The Crescent Lake Winery Series
Author: Lucinda Race
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Later in Life Romance
He’s an unexpected distraction, she gets his engine running …
On the worst day of her life, Stephanie encounters Leo and his two nephews in her father’s restoration shop. It wasn’t bad enough she had just become an orphan, but the kids knocked over a display and broke a very special model car, one she had built with her dad. Grief and that memory, however, don’t obscure her immediate attraction to Leo. Still, she has only returned to the small town of Black River for six months, intending to put the business on a steady path and resume her life on the West Coast.
Leo Price loves classic cars. He loves classic cars so much, he skipped working in the family’s wine business in order to open a classic car restoration company. But more important to him than business is family, primarily his widowed twin sister and her two energetic sons. Life is great and then he meets the beautiful Stephanie James. As a bonus, she knows how to keep an engine running.
When Steph realizes someone is stealing from her business, it could threaten her plans to keep her father’s legacy alive. And then there’s Leo. Dating him gives her ideas about what life might be like if she stayed—or is it possible he’d leave his roots in the valley and follow her west?
Leo parked his truck in front of Black River Restoration. The bright mid-April sun filled the cab. He turned in his seat and looked at his nephews in the back. Nine-year-old Johnny and George, the instigator at age eight, were punching each other in the arm and laughing.
“Do you remember what we talked about before we left your house?” He gave each boy his best stern look. “I have to see a man about a paint job and they’ve been closed for the last few days, so I need for you to be on your best behavior. No horsing around or fighting. After I’m done, we’ll do something fun until Mom gets home.” Normally he wouldn’t bring the boys, but Saturday was always a busy day for his twin sister and today he was on kid-sitting duty.
“Uncle Leo, the last time, it wasn’t my fault.” Johnny crossed his arms over his chest and frowned.
“Johnny, you knocked over an entire display of oil filters when we went to the auto parts store.” He struggled to keep a straight face. No matter where he took the boys, trouble followed. “You two are going to sit in a chair and, if necessary, sit on your hands. I’ll be less than ten minutes. Understood?”
George nodded and poked Johnny. “Don’t worry, Uncle Leo. Mom said if we didn’t leave a trail of chaos behind us today, we’d have pizza tonight.”
Leo took the keys from the ignition. Was that the way to mitigate damage? Bribe them with their favorite food? It was worth a try. “If we get out of here unscathed, I thought we’d have milkshakes with lunch.”
“What does that mean?” Johnny scrunched up his face.
Leo caught his eye in the rearview mirror. “We leave the place in the same condition it was when we walked in the door.”
He slid two comic books into his back pocket in case they needed a distraction. The boys brightened and began to talk about what flavor of milkshake they were going to get. Leo opened up the back door and they hopped out with an ear-piercing yell.
He growled. “Guys, not the best way to start this meeting.”
Johnny stopped and looked up. His large brown eyes and blond hair made him the spitting image of Leo, whereas George had Leo’s twin sister Liza’s hazel eyes.
“Sorry.” He gave Leo a gap-toothed grin.
Leo ruffled the boys’ hair and jerked his head toward the door that said ENTRANCE.
They stepped into a large metal and glass lobby. Sunlight bounced off every stainless-steel surface. It was bright enough for sunglasses; he noticed the window blinds could be tilted to reduce the glare. The counter-height desk was directly in front of them. Behind it was a door that must lead to the shop. Leo was surprised to see it had a swipe card access only. But they only dealt with high-end clients, so it made sense. He admired Eddie James. He was someone Leo aspired to be like, an honest businessman and one helluva body guy. Leo was good but this guy was the best and the people who worked for Eddie were trained by him personally. Leo might even learn a few things from him. If nothing else, he’d deliver for his client. To the right was a hallway, and the floor had the same black-and-white tile in the lobby. He surmised it must lead to the business offices.
He jabbed a finger at two leather and metal chairs. “Boys.” It was then he noticed a display of model cars behind the chairs, and he cringed. All he would need is for the boys to spot them and decide to investigate. Hopefully he could make this quick.
Johnny and George sat down and Leo pulled the comic books from his back pocket. “Read these.”
“Wow. The new Avengers.” George grinned.
Johnny said, “Cool.”
Leo looked around. It was pretty quiet for a Saturday morning, and he’d thought there’d be guys working today, since the shop had been closed earlier in the week. He had come over midweek, and there had been a sign on the door stating they were closed for a couple of days. He should have checked social media to see what was going on but he just didn’t have the time. He had decided to take a chance today since the website said they’d reopened, and he was anxious to talk to Eddie. The paint job he needed on the ’67 Chevy Chevelle was beyond his skill set and he knew subcontracting it out was the best thing for his customer. Eddie had a reputation as a top-notch classic car restorer.
Five minutes dragged by with no one coming to the desk. He looked out at a parking area that said Employees Only. There was an impeccably restored, deep-blue Ford Bronco. He guessed it was a ’75. Had to be the owner’s, but where was he? It was like a morgue around here. He leaned over the desk and saw a pad of paper and a pen. He’d just leave a note asking Eddie to give him a call; surely, he’d remember him.
The boys were passing the comic books back and forth. He wrote a brief message and had added his phone number and returned the pad to the desk when he heard a loud crash down the hall.
“Boys, stay right here!”
He jogged down the hall. Now it sounded as if someone were trashing an office. Shit, maybe he should have called 9-1-1. Too late now. He eased around the door and stopped dead in his tracks.
A woman dressed in a severely tailored black pantsuit and cream-colored blouse was standing surrounded by what resembled the aftermath of a small tornado. She looked at Leo. Her dirty-blond hair had been pulled off her face in a sleek ponytail and a trail of mascara ran down her cheeks. But it was her eyes—deep-gray eyes filled with grief and fear stared back at him. Despite that, she was beautiful, polished, and out of his league. A soft floral scent teased his senses and something tugged at his heart—his desire to wrap his arms around her and hold her while she cried.
She picked up a thick book and held it as a weapon. In a shaky voice, she demanded, “Who are you?”
“Leo Price. I was looking for the owner.” He took a step closer. “Who are you?”
Her gaze swept the room, and then she sank into a chair, shoulders slumped. “The owner.”
Now he was confused. “I’m looking for Eddie James.”
She gave a half nod. “My father.”
He wasn’t quite sure what was going on. Was she pissed at her dad and taking it out on his office? Then the pieces started to come together. The clothes, the mascara, and those eyes. Something terrible had happened.
“Ms. James?” He took another step closer. “Is there something I can do, or maybe call someone for you?”
She dropped her head to the desk. “No. There’s no one.”
The way she spoke caused his heart to ache for her. He leaned over and picked up a stack of folders and set them on the desk.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
I'm a sucker for a couple who find love later in life find and then get their HEA.
Leo is the single uncle always putting his family first and never quite sure if he'll find love for himself. When he walks into Stephanie's life it's BAM: love at first sight and they both realize something special is between them.
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs December 7 – December 15, 2021. Winner will be drawn on December 16, 2021.
Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys as she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them. Lucinda lives with her husband and their two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on. It’s too bad her husband doesn’t cook, but a very good thing he loves takeout.
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