Alexandre Bonfils is the second son. His perfect elder brother is the CEO of their family company, Bonfils Bibendum, a London wine merchantry, and Alex has been able to be the “carefree playboy” for most of his life. Now, his father is tired of the shenanigans and decides to fire Alex. Not that this will mean he’s destitute or anything—he’ll still get his lavish allowance—but Alex’s pride has taken a huge blow.
Alex has never been interested in the day-to-day running of the wine business, but when he’s not allowed to be a part of it, it’s suddenly all he wants to do. Having heard that there have been some troubles at the main storage and processing warehouse, Alex decides to take his ill-gained free time and investigate. Appearing as intern Alex Goodson, he aims to uncover the saboteur and win back his father’s good opinion. He never expected that the warehouse manager would be so…appealing.
Tate Somerton isn’t best pleased with the new intern, Alex, who is rather shameless in his flirtations. Tate has a complicated life, raising his three younger siblings and caring for his arthritic grandmother, now that his parents died. He’s a dedicated employee to Bonfils, and he inspires a lot of loyalty in the people he supervises. Alex is a conundrum from the start. He’s clearly an upper-crust man, and his posh voice is highly mocked by the workmen, as is his unhappiness with the tea service and employee vending machines. IS it possible he’s never ridden a bus, or even shopped at a grocery? It’s also untenable that an intern should have as much viticulture knowledge as Alex inadvertently displays. Tate is mystified by Alex’s general incompetence at daily living, but he’s also generous to a fault. He invites Alex over when it seems he needs company. Okay, well, he doesn’t stop Alex from inviting himself to Tate’s—at first. Tate’s suspicious that Alex might be a spy—because he’s asking a lot of pointed questions about some problems they’ve been having in the warehouse. Problems that an intern likely couldn’t know about.
Still, the attraction is definitely simmering between them, and Alex is uncharacteristically persistent in wooing Tate. He’s already won over Gran, and Tate’s siblings adore him. Just as Tate starts to believe they could find a way to companionship, well, Alex’s false identity begins to unravel—and Alex is hurt on the job. With no one to care for him, Tate takes Alex in to his home temporarily. And that’s when it gets super complicated… Alex has never lived with a rambunctious family before. Seeing the care and love emanating from every corner gets him nostalgic for what might have been, had his mother lived longer. Meanwhile, Tate knows there’s some strange business that Alex is hiding, but he can’t protect his heart from melting seeing how Alex falls into his family’s daily lives. And Alex is learning how capable he can be when he’s determined to do a good job.
Their combined efforts lead to a couple of big reveals—including the saboteur and Alex’s true identity. Is their fledgling romance too tender to weather this maelstrom?
I liked both Tate and Alex. They are fun together, and Alex is a laugh and a half—he’s so incompetent, and Tate’s always struck by his odd, refined dialect. The way Alex is so blissfully inept at daily life is charming, especially as he has other talents that make him a resource, instead of a curiosity, with Tate’s family. I loved how deeply Alex fell for Tate, and his family, and how Tate was so mortified upon learning who is mysterious houseguest was, but how he let Alex make amends for the subterfuge.
This one is a bit of a caper, filled with lots of heart and a bit of heat. The extended family—Tate’s siblings and gran, are truly fun to experience. They each have a quirky personality, and it keeps both Alex and Tate on their toes. The work dynamic is also interesting, with Alex’s ham-handed attempts to blend and his quick observations and dry wit keeping him from becoming a pariah. His working class “peers” aren’t shy about dubbing him “Prince Harry” and cracking wise on his aristocratic voice–but he takes it all in stride. As for showing his father, Alex does manage to mend those fences in ways even he didn’t expect.
There’s a happily ever after here, and yummy sexytimes, too. It was the heartfelt confessions moments that really got to me, however. Though Alex was a spoiled man, he’s able to see beyond himself and from a deep connection with Tate. Both of them have had family troubles, and it was good to see them get a loving partner to share the load, not add a burden.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.