A Fiery Clash in Napa Valley

4 out of 5 stars

 

I just finished listening to Just Like That by Karin Kallmaker, narrated by Quinn Riley, and it was an emotional rollercoaster in the best way possible. From the moment Syrah Ardani returned to her family’s vineyard to find it on the brink of financial ruin, I was hooked. Kallmaker’s vivid descriptions of the Napa Valley landscape were so immersive that I could almost taste the wine and feel the sun on my skin. Syrah’s fierce loyalty to her family’s legacy resonated with me deeply, making her a character I rooted for from the start.

Enter Toni Blanchard, the corporate turnaround specialist with a reputation for ruthless efficiency. I have to admit, I was initially worried that Toni would be the stereotypical cold-hearted businesswoman (and she was in some ways). However, Kallmaker masterfully peeled back Toni’s layers, revealing a complex character who’s grappling with her own personal demons, including a tumultuous breakup and some deals that didn’t go so well. The dynamic between Syrah and Toni was electric, filled with tension and an undeniable chemistry that kept me eagerly listening for the next twist in their relationship.

This palpable spark between Syrah and Toni made the entire vibe of the story a definite “Will they or won’t they”. The angst was almost too much to bear at times but in the most delicious way. I found myself constantly hoping that each would see the depth in the other that was so obvious to me as a listener. And oh, the drama brought in by Toni’s ex! There were moments I wanted to scream at Syrah, warning her of the manipulation at play. This added layer of tension kept the plot moving at a brisk pace, and I found myself listening to chapters long into the night, unable to put it down.

Quinn Riley’s narration brought the story to life beautifully. Riley’s performance added depth to each character and enhanced the emotional journey in a way that made me feel deeply connected to the story. This was somehow my first Kallmaker audiobook, but I already have a few more of them in my TBR pile, and after this experience, they’re moving to the top of my list. Just Like That is a must-listen if you enjoy stories with strong, multi-dimensional characters, breathtaking settings, and a romance that sizzles with intensity.

Book Description:

Syrah Ardani tried independence—but the call of the Napa Valley hills and rolling vineyards of her family’s winery have brought her home again. She is content with her ordered world until she learns that her father’s feckless management has put Ardani Vineyards into receivership.

Corporate turnaround specialist Toni Blanchard’s arrival is preceded by tales of her slash-and-burn techniques. Determined to meet this soulless corporate raider head on, Syrah proudly prepares to do battle for her home and family business.

Toni has reason to retreat from a high-pressure Manhattan lifestyle, not the least of which is a bitter breakup. She’s been told that Syrah Ardani is attractive and single, but Toni never mixes business and pleasure.

Creditors clamor for a quick sale and payment. The beautiful—and hostile—Syrah wants Toni off her land and out of her life.

Their clashes smolder with distrust and resentment, but also threaten to light a completely different kind of fire. Most dangerous of all is the one thing Toni can’t control—the way her heart reacts when Syrah looks at her . . . just like that.

four-stars
Just Like That by Karin Kallmaker
Narrator: Quinn Riley
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
Published by Tantor Audio on December 19th 2023
Genres: LesFic/Sapphic Fiction, Age Gap, Enemies to Lovers, Workplace / Office Romance
Format: Audiobook
Buy from Audible
four-stars
Brian

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