At the age of 19, Kurt has been through a lot. He has scars both visible and not visible from being trapped in a fire and he lives with PTSD. He brother, Ethan, means well, but Ethan’s level of protectiveness is suffocating. Kurt is finishing up school and getting a graphic design business started, but he’s not back to who he was before the trauma. He’s getting help, but Kurt may be the one in denial.
While at a wedding, Kurt shares a kiss with a man, Penn, that made him forget his worries. But Kurt has no reason to think that he will ever see Penn again, and even a year later, Kurt is chasing that feeling of Penn’s lips on his. But the odds are in Kurt’s favor this time as Penn is his new design client. Except, Penn thinks that their 10-year age difference is insurmountable.
Penn is back at the family vineyard as his father is terminal. He doesn’t get along with his father and a deep-rooted argument about the vineyard had Penn leaving the family business. He would love to be back on the land making wine, but is father is determined to pull all the strings straight to his grave and beyond. But Kurt makes everything sweeter and while the men know exactly what they want, they have mountains to climb to get it.
Pinot & Pineapple Lumps is part of the Southern Lights series. While the relationship between Kurt and Penn stands alone, the storyline links back to Kurt’s relationship with his brother, Ethan, in Powder & Pavlova, and the trauma Kurt suffered in Flat Whites and Chocolate Fish and there are spoilers for those storylines.
When we first met Kurt, he was a teenager and it was great to see him mature into the mostly confident and snarky man he has become. I say mostly confident, because while Kurt is confident in most areas of his life, he has PTSD, and crowds and loud noises are a barrier for him.
Kurt and Penn meet by chance and the attraction is instant between them. They share a kiss and besides them not being a good geographic match, when Penn finds out how old Kurt is, he shuts down any possibility of anything between them. It was a little clunky for me how we found out their ages and that area of conversation didn’t flow as naturally as it could have. I also found that some of their expressions came off as much older than their age and that had nothing to do with maturity, but things that 20-year olds don’t usually reference in casual conversation.
Penn puts up a lot of roadblocks at first to the idea of being with Kurt, but he starts climbing the walls when he can’t stop thinking about Kurt. The attraction and banter between the men is well played and Kurt knows how to push Penn in all the right directions and soon they are falling and falling hard for each other.
There are a lot of obstacles in their way, however. Penn’s father is terminal and Penn is trying to come to an agreement with him over the family vineyard, but his father is determined to have it his way or no way at all. Kurt wants to think he’s getting better, but he still has a lot of healing to do and then there are events that derail his progress. There is never a doubt the men love each other and are a perfect fit, it’s getting them there to believe in it and start to see what building a life together could mean.
The highlight here is definitely the time Penn and Kurt spend together and the playful and heated encounters they have throughout the entire book. With cameos from previous MCs in the series, and new characters introduced for potential stories in the future, it was great fun to be back with the men of Southern Lights.