The Master Vintners , Book 6
Harlequin Desire #2364
ISBN: 978-0-373-73377-4
March 2015
Series Romance

Australia - Present Day

For Raif Masters, the only thing worse than watching Shanal Peat get married is the fact that her groom is a man he despises.  Though Raif's teenage crush on Shanal turned into a bickering almost-friendship, watching her walk down the aisle is torture.  That she is marrying Burton Rogers, the man Raif blames for his ex-girlfriend's death, is even harder to take, but Raif promised his cousin Ethan Shanal's best friend that he would be there.  And when Shanal objects during the wedding and runs out of the cathedral mid-ceremony, Raif follows her and offers to help.

To save her ailing and destitute parents, Shanal agreed to marry her boss, but standing at the altar, she knows she can't go through with it.  Aware of what she's risking, she leaves the cathedral and, with Raif's help, is able to escape without having to answer any questions.  Needing to get away, Shanal agrees to take a riverboat cruise, and once she and Raif are truly alone, she begins to realize how complex her feelings are for him.  Much as she'd like to run away forever, though, Shanal has responsibilities to her parents and job, and a fiancé who's not willing to let her go.

THE WEDDING BARGAIN Shanal agrees to will save her family from financial ruin and allow her parents to keep their home as her father slowly succumbs to a debilitating disease.  Burton offers both financial and job security in exchange for marriage, and Shanal was willing to go through with it right up until the priest asked if there were any objections.  She's grateful that Raif offers her help without questions, but it's not until they are cruising the river that she finds herself attracted to him.  Raif, on the other hand, developed a crush on Shanal when he was fifteen and though she, three years older, rebuffed him, he's never gotten over her.  His animosity towards Burton had started as a friendly rivalry when they were schoolmates, and when he and his girlfriend broke up a few years earlier, she started dating Burton.  Shortly after that, she died while canyoneering with Burton, and though the man was cleared of any wrongdoing, Raif believes Burton is responsible for her death.  While part of him is thrilled at Burton's humiliation, Raif truly wants to help Shanal, and cares for her as well.

Though part of the Master Vintners series, this book stands well on its own, as it not only focuses so primarily on Raif and Shanal, but also because it takes place outside of the vineyard and away from the Masters family.  Stuck between a rock and a hard place, pick up THE WEDDING BARGAIN to see whether Raif and Shanal can figure things out.

Jennifer Bishop