Title: Once Tasted by Laura Moore
Silver Creek Series Book Two
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Three siblings, an extraordinary family, a lasting heritage—in the irresistible Silver Creek Ranch trilogy, they’ll fight for the land and the people they love.
Everything has come easily to Reid Knowles, the middle son of a California ranching family. But his charmed life is suddenly complicated when his good friend and neighbor asks him to help run the winery next door. His neighbor’s niece, Mia Bodell, is in charge—and she has made it clear that she’d rather be roped to a steer than to Reid Knowles. Never one to back down from a challenge, Reid vows to win her trust.
Her life marked by loss, Mia knows that nothing comes easily—love included. In high school, her heart was crushed by Reid, and even though years have passed, the hurt lingers. Mia is achingly aware that the teen heartthrob has matured into a devastatingly handsome playboy, and the budding winemaker refuses to let down her guard. But one taste of unbridled passion changes things. From Reid’s first intoxicating kiss to his unexpectedly tender seduction, Mia is swept into a passionate affair that could tear her heart to pieces . . . or give her everything she has ever wanted.
The second novel in Laura Moore’s Silver Creek series, Once Tasted is a sweet yet wildly sensual romance between neighbors Reid Knowles and Mia Bodell. Although these two have been interested in one another for several years, after a humiliating high school incident, Mia has maintained a frosty distance from Reid. Unbeknownst to Mia, Reid has been attracted to her as well but it is not until a business arrangement forces them to spend time together that the sparks between them burst into flame.
Mia is dedicated to her uncle’s winery and she’ll do anything, including spend time with Reid, if is beneficial to the business. She is at first shy and content to blend into the background, but once she decides she deserves more than she has been settling for, she makes small but significant changes to her life. Mia begins to build confidence in herself personally and professionally, but when her childhood nemesis and incredibly sleazy cousin Jay returns, her deep-seated insecurities cloud her judgment about her confusing relationship with Reid.
Reid is laid back and self-assured but he is not arrogant or cocky. He is sexy, charming and extremely popular with the ladies, but he has never been in a serious relationship. Reid is very happy with his role in the family’s ranch but he has been feeling a little restless lately. When he learns about the new partnership with the winery, he might be reluctant to work with Mia, but he is looking forward to the challenges of his new position.
There is plenty of chemistry and sexual tension between Reid and Mia. Their hostility slowly subsides as they brainstorm ideas and their attraction is always simmering in the background. The shift in their relationship is gradual but neither is willing to clearly define exactly what their status is. This lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and after Mia’s self-doubts resurface, their hurt feelings and anger endanger their fragile relationship.
There is ample conflict for Mia and Reid to overcome both individually and as a couple. Mia really blossoms when she takes on more responsibility at the winery and this new self-confidence spills over into her relationship with Reid. Reid is more than a pretty face and despite his self-confidence, he too has issues that raise a few self-doubts which lead to an overly cautious approach to their relationship.
While I enjoyed many aspects of Once Tasted, it is a little slow-moving. The wine-making part of the storyline is well researched but there are times when this information overshadows the rest of the story. The conflict with Jay is easy to predict but fortunately, it is wrapped up fairly quickly.
Once Tasted is an enjoyable addition to Laura Moore’s delightful Silver Creek series. The characters are multi-faceted and three-dimensional with realistic problems to overcome. The romance between Mia and Reid is passionate and deliciously steamy. Overall, it is a very heartwarming story that leaves fans eager for the next installment.