Buy: Kindle Ebook | Paperback
Wow, what a surprise! Super-emotional, oh-so-hot and gorgeously romantic, this book absolutely captivated me and I loved every moment of it!
This is my first read by Beverly Preston, and I absolutely loved it! Her writing is emotive and descriptive without being overly sappy, and she swept me right up into the story. I feel like I’ve been on a journey, and I read this book in one sitting unable to put it down. This is book #2 in the Beyond the Preston Family series, but it’s easily a standalone. Obviously I haven’t read any of the other books and I was able to follow along fine – though I’m now adding all of the earlier books to my tbr because I want more!!
Hope Tidwell is a successful, independent and single-minded career woman. Her enviable job as a sommelier sees her travelling the world tasting wine and negotiating big-budget deals. Her itinerant lifestyle leaves her no time for a relationship – not that she wants one – and she has a collection of men around the world that she calls up whenever she’s in town for no-strings, guilt-free sex. She’s living her dream.
Antonio Giovanni is one of Hope’s hook ups, and the one she feels the strongest connection with. He is a winemaker at his family’s vineyard in the rolling hills of Tuscany, and through their years together they have become great friends as well as lovers – but neither of them have ever tried (or given any indication of wanting to try) for anything more.
For most people, relationships were as natural as breathing, on the contrary, Hope and Antonio were two players who mastered in the art of seduction and the fear of emotional intimacy.
I admit that the beginning of this book took me on a bit of a ride that I was in no way prepared for. I was expecting one thing and got something completely different, but OMG did it set up for something truly special! The feels were intense as we get got to know Hope and see her deal with some huge shifts in her life, and when she finds herself at rock bottom, she finds the strength to pick herself up and start over – in Italy and right near Antonio.
OMG, this love story is beautiful! Hope is understandably scared of a relationship, but she finds herself drawn in by Antonio and the bond that they have always shared. Of course he’s gorgeous, successful and sexy as all hell, but more than that he is her rock, and somebody that she knows she can open up to and depend upon. And amidst banter filled teasing, sweet and romantic moments, soul-baring conversations and passionate encounters, the man who has loved her secretly for years sets about breaking down her walls.
“Having feelings isn’t a weakness. It just means you’re human.”
“I know,” she lied, averting her gaze to the window.
“You don’t fool me, Hope.” He curled his finger beneath her chin, bringing her focus back to him. “This is the best I’ve ever had…the best I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Antonio is a bit of an alpha, but he’s also gentle, understanding, loving and affectionate and I just adored the way he cared for and supported Hope. He knows her so well, knows exactly what she can handle and what she isn’t ready for yet, and even though the book is written in entirely in her POV, I could see everything that he was feeling. The way he treated Hope, the way he spoke to her, and the way he wore his heart on his sleeve for her absolutely melted me. And holy hell, the man is hot! He is perfect!
“You need to trust me, bella.”
“I do trust you, Antonio.”
“I want you to trust in this. In us.” Antonio took her hand and placed it on his beating chest. He laid his palm over her heart. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Hope has been through a lot in her life, with more challenges to come, and her fear of love, intimacy, and losing control of her carefully ordered life are very real. But having said that, there is no angst or stupid drama in this book. Of course there’s some drama, but it fits the story, and makes sense. There are challenges that need to be overcome, and the drama that comes with that all ties in to the character development and is honest, realistic and emotional. I could understand where both Hope and Antonio were at and I never got annoyed or wanted to smack anybody (and that is, sadly, a rare thing!). Hope’s journey is beautifully written, and I could feel and empathise with everything that she was going through, and I just loved her as a character. And her and Antonio together were something truly special.
I feel like I was taken on a journey with Hope’s story and I finished this book with a massive smile on my face. I laughed, I cried, and I fell in mad love, easily lost in the story, and eager to check out more of this author’s work.
Beyond the Mathews Family
The books in this series can be read as standalones, but do have connections to The Mathews Family series.