Barreled Over (Trinity Distillery #1)- Jenna Sutton
Jenna Sutton/Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead!
Synopsis: Ava Grace Landy’s music career is humming along until a shakeup at her label jeopardizes her recording contract and curses her with the world’s worst boss. Determined to satisfy him, she partners with Trinity Distillery to access a larger male audience. To her surprise, she’s the one who’s satisfied—by none other than Jonah Beck, the gorgeous, yet gruff man behind the bourbon.
No doubt about it, bourbon runs in Beck’s blood. But it’s audacious Ava Grace who makes it run hot. When she signs on as the spokesperson for his craft distillery, he doesn’t plan on hoisting her onto an oak barrel and rocking the rickhouse. Though he’s convinced their lives don’t mix—like a terrible cocktail—he can’t keep his hands off the alluring country star.
Ava Grace and Beck try to keep their intoxicating relationship private, but the glare of her fame is too bright, revealing secrets they both want to remain hidden. With a spotlight shining on his tumultuous past, their future is at risk. Now they must decide if being together is worth sacrificing the career she loves and the company he’s poured his heart and soul into.
Country music star Ava Grace Landy needs a way to access a larger male audience. Craft bourbon maker Jonah Beck needs a way to access a larger female audience. Partnering up sounds like the perfect solution- until they find they can't ignore the chemistry between them. Beck doesn't want to live in the spotlight, Ava Grace's job keeps her in the spotlight nonstop. Now they have to decide if being together is worth the uphill battle against outside forces?
Ava Grace is the kind of character you love right away. She's always upbeat and positive, hardworking, intelligent, and goes for what she wants. After winning a major TV singing competition she may have rocketed to stardom but she hasn't forgotten the people who helped her or let the fame go to her head. When her new boss wants her to appeal to a larger male audience Ava Grace turns down his demeaning ideas (provocative magazine covers) in favor of some creative ideas of her own. Mutual friends suggest she become the spokesperson for Trinity Distillery and Ava Grace takes the idea, adds bourbon themed cookbooks and is off and running. She isn't one to back down from a challenge and doesn't expect anyone to do anything for her. While she's never applied this approach to life with men, when Ava Grace meets Jonah Beck and the chemistry between them is instant, she decides to go for it. Beck is a solid guy and she thinks he could be the one for her.
Beck had enough bad experiences with fame as a kid when his father was accused of embezzling from his own company to know he doesn't want to live in the spotlight. As attracted to Ava Grace as he is, he doesn't want to be attracted to her. He's convinced their lives can't mix and Trinity should be the only thing they have in common. I have to admit, Ava Grace saw his potential way before I did. Beck has plenty of moments where he's a jerk, tries to push Ava Grace away, but gets upset if there's any distance between them. For a good part of the book he seems to be more than happy to have her be the one doing all the compromising in the relationship. While that may be because of his previous experiences, it was still more work for Ava Grace than I'd have put into the frustrating relationship. Each is afraid to be the one to say "I love you" first and they have plenty of communication issues that need to get worked through (though personally I blame Beck for most of them. I'm not as nice as Ava Grace). But Ava Grace's fame is the big hurdle. It's exactly what Beck needs for Trinity bourbon, and exactly what he doesn't want in his daily life. When Ava Grace winds up in the hospital after an accident and her medical records get leaked to the media, they put the worst possible spin on the situation. Beck can't handle the negative press and in a move that may be understandable from the selfishly personal point of view but is a cowardly jerk move from the relationship point of view he leaves Ava Grace to deal with everything by herself. It's only after friends point out that he isn't good enough for her that Beck realizes that he is so miserable without her that he's willing to work hard to become good enough for her.
Ava Grace was the shining star of Barreled Over as far as I was concerned. She handles everything life throws at her- from fans to her father's Alzheimer's- with a grace and strength that is inspirational. You're cheering for her to get her happy ending from page one. Beck is a lot harder- I liked him, but he took a lot of work to like. Sutton does a great job with these two, giving them an instant chemistry that makes the relationship worth the work. Barreled Over is a fast-paced, fun start to a promising new series and I can't wait to read more!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review