Saturday, September 8, 2012

In His Eyes by Emmie Dark (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Please give a warm welcome to romance author, Emmie Dark!

Hi! It’s an absolute pleasure to join you here on Reading Between the Wines. Especially as I am such a fan of both reading and wine, and my latest SuperRomance just happens to be set on rival vineyards in wine country!

I’ve been a fan of wine for my entire adult life. (I’m not talking about those ridiculous days of youthful overindulgence – the less said about those the better!)

I don’t like to use the term “wine connoisseur” because it sounds too fancy for someone who just honestly loves a delicious glass of wine and is also interested in the process that got it to my glass. I don’t have a private cellar, I don’t spend hours agonising over whether the ’08 was better or worse than the ’06. If I taste it, and I like it, I drink it.  So I think “fan” is a better description.

Many of my friends are wine fans too, and I have to say that one of my favourite pastimes is gather up a posse of friends and head to a wine region for a day of wine tasting. I live in Victoria, Australia, and lucky for me there are several within an hour or two’s drive that offer a range of amazing wines and some gorgeous scenery to boot. If I’m lucky, I end the day with a bottle of wine or two (or three) to take home, a touch of sunburn on my nose, a lovely sleepy feeling, and some wonderful photos of the fun we’ve had.

One day I will have to pull together a photo album entitled “winery wanderings” or some such – it will have to be a very large one, because there are a lot of photos to include!

Do you like visiting wineries? Are you a serious wine connoisseur, or just a fan, like me? Or is wine not your thing at all? Leave a comment to go in the running to win a copy of “In His Eyes”.

“In His Eyes” blurb:
What if everything he thinks about her is wrong? Hugh Lawson and Zoe Waters have a tangled history. But she left him ten years ago and he’s put her behind him. Except she’s here again–just when Hugh’s ready to make an offer for her family’s legendary vineyard. And her version of those long ago events is enough to make him question everything he thought he knew. Hugh can’t let the past destroy his plans for the future. Which means he has to unravel the truth. But as he does, he begins to realize that he may have been as responsible for what happened as Zoe. And that going back could be the only way to move forward.

Buy links:

Excerpt from In His Eyes

Zoe Waters drove up the long, rutted drive and noted that the pale green farmhouse ahead of her desperately needed a new paint job. But then, it had needed one for as long as she could remember. Only these days—more than ten years since she'd last been here—it was beginning to seem as if the flakes of paint were what was holding the crumbling weatherboards together.
Zoe wasn't sure whether she should feel comforted that so little had changed or disgusted by the neglect.
She pulled into the yard behind the house and climbed out of the rental car, stepping carefully to avoid the soft, squelching mud threatening her inappropriately delicate shoes.
The signs of dereliction were even more obvious here.
A strange, melancholy sense of déjà vu settled over her as she looked around. Now that she surveyed things closer up, it was clear that not only did little appear to have changed—pretty much nothing had. Everything had just decayed a touch more. The scattered car bodies near the back fence had rusted a little redder and sunk a little deeper into the overgrown grass. The door to the shed that held the tractor and her grandfather's other old-fashioned and outdated farm equipment was crooked, the top hinge clearly broken.
Zoe sighed heavily and leaned against the car, warm from the two-hour drive from Melbourne.
The task ahead of her seemed to grow exponentially as she surveyed the ruins of Waterford Estate.
The only building that still looked in reasonable condition was the tin shed and converted refrigerated shipping container that housed the winery. Well, what passed for a winery on the Waterford estate. She wondered if all those rich people in Sydney, California and France on the Waterford mailing list who so eagerly awaited her grandfather's vintage Shiraz each year would feel quite the same way if they could see where it came from.
She sighed again and ran a hand through her hair as the wind whipped the long strands into her eyes. Wrapping her light jacket more tightly around herself, Zoe shuddered—she'd forgotten the icy chill of the wind out here and how it could leach into your bones. Too much time in California. Too used to the endless sunshine and warm breezes, unlike the capricious weather of this part of the valley—stinking hot in summer, subject to grape endangering frosts seemingly out of nowhere in spring. Right now—winter—the weather was at least somewhat predictable. Cold. With a side of rain and wind.
She mentally surveyed the contents of the suitcase still sitting in the boot of the car. She was going to have to buy some new clothes.
A trip into town. Yippee.
The thought sent a different kind of shiver through her.
Turning away from her survey of the ruined outbuildings, Zoe shielded her eyes from the weak sun. The Waterford vines stretched out in long, bare lines to the north and east of the house, dormant for the winter yet still visibly neglected. It was a tragic state for any viticulturist to see—some of the oldest vines in the valley, planted by Zoe's great-great-grandfather and tended by a member of the Waters family for more than a hundred years. Until now.
To her left, the well-tended vines of the neighboring Lawson Estate—her family's rivals for her whole life—grew just a few feet from the property line. Zoe made an effort not to look, to pretend that across the post-and-wire fence there was just a big, empty nothing. Just as she'd always done—at least when her grandfather was watching.
The only way she could get through these next few days was to pretend Lawson Estate didn't exist, the township of Tangawarra wasn't there and Waterford had a protective force field around it. She snorted at the fanciful idea at the same time she wished it could be true.
Zoe pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head as the sky clouded over. Heavy, slate-gray clouds waited on the horizon. Rain was definitely on the way. More rain from the looks of the sodden ground. She shivered again. Maybe even a storm.
At least that would give her a break. A few hours to sit and catch up with everything that had happened in the past few days. Perhaps even the chance to turn her brain to the task of working out what to do next.
The very thought started a headache throbbing at the back of her neck.
Just as she made a move to dig out her belongings and find her house keys, the sound of a vehicle reached her. A white utility truck bumped along the corrugated dirt track that led from the unsurfaced road. It had prominent signage along the side—elegant black script, a flowing red ribbon—unmistakably the Law-son Estate logo.
She swore under her breath.
She couldn't have had a day or so—a few hours maybe—to get her bearings before facing reality? It seemed the universe wasn't going to extend even that small kindness to her.
Zoe stepped toward the ute as it pulled up beside her own bland white rental car. The driver's face was hidden in the shadow of a straw, American-style cowboy hat. It struck her as odd—most men in the valley preferred the very Australian Akubra or a simple cap, most often embroidered with the logo of their winery.
The driver cut the engine and climbed out. Time slowed somehow, and Zoe was conscious of every moment. The scuffed R. M. Williams boots that hit the ground first. The tight-fitting jeans, worn almost white around the knees and crotch. The chambray shirt that had once been crisply ironed, but was now creased and loosened by a day's work. The stubbled jaw—not quite bearded, but wearing more than a five-o'clock shadow—that gave his familiar face a hard, almost savage edge. And last—but never least—those blue eyes, shocking, tormenting blue. The blue eyes she'd dreamed of for ten years; the blue eyes that had been her ruin.
"Well, if it isn't Zoe Waters," he drawled.
Zoe's knees turned to jelly, and as her vision began to blacken at the periphery she realized she'd stopped breathing. Through pure force of will she took in a deep lungful of air and strengthened her wobbly legs. Fainting now would be an unacceptable humiliation. From somewhere deep inside, from the core of steel that had been honed over a lifetime and never before failed her, she managed to paste a tight, unwelcoming smile on her face. She'd show him how little she cared, even if it killed her.
"Hugh Lawson, well, well," she managed to say, pleased that her voice conveyed exactly the right tone of distaste.
"So the old man finally let you come back." Hugh was smiling, but his eyes were cold. There was no hint of the warmth or humor she remembered from so long ago.
Was he angry with her? What on earth for? She was the one who had lost everything…her family, her reputation, the only real home she'd ever known.
She managed another grim smile. "The old man died yesterday."
He hesitated and his cool look faded as concern creased his brow. She felt an odd satisfaction at the knowledge she'd unsettled him, but she clasped her hands tightly to hide their sudden tremor. It had been ten years, for heaven's sake! She'd moved halfway around the world to escape from her past. She was over it. The mistakes she'd made as an infatuated sixteen-year-old little girl were not going to taint her whole life. She'd made sure of that.
"I'm…I'm sorry to hear that," Hugh said. His eyes lost their hard edge for a moment and Zoe remembered how easy it had been to fall for him, how easy to think herself in love and to be fooled into thinking he might love her in return.
Hugh took a step forward and reached out a hand. For a moment, she thought he was going to hug her and a mess of emotion washed over her. Mostly, though, she was filled with horror at the idea that she looked as if she needed comforting. She stiffened and took a step back.
Hugh's hand immediately dropped. Whatever he'd been thinking, whatever sympathetic gesture he'd been about to make was now hidden behind that impenetrable blue gaze.
"Yes, well…" Zoe flicked out her hands in a helpless gesture. Apart from anything else, she had no idea what to do with sympathy; it had been the same when the nurse at the hospital had expressed her condolences. Her grandfather's death still wasn't real. Even when it did eventually sink in—assuming that happened—she wasn't sure how she should feel about it. Sad? Relieved? Indifferent?
She straightened her shoulders. "Why are you here?"
That laconic smile was back, warmer this time, more like the Hugh she remembered, erasing the years from his face and making him look just as he had when they'd snuck away to be together. "Neighbors look out for each other around here, Zoe, don't you remember that?"
Irritation flared inside her at his veiled reminder. Just where had he been when she'd needed looking after?
And she was over this. Over him.
Yeah, right.

Author bio and Emmie on the web:
After years of writing press releases, employee newsletters and speeches for CEOs and politicians – none of which included any kind of kissing – Emmie Dark finally took to her laptop to write what she wanted to write. She was both amazed and delighted to discover that what came out was sexy, noble heroes who found themselves crossing paths with strong, determined heroines. And plenty of kissing. Emmie’s overnight success has taken about five years to achieve. She began fiddling around with story ideas when the urge to write fiction became overwhelming.
 Emmie lives in Melbourne, Australia, and she likes red lipstick, chardonnay,  sunshine, driving fast, rose-scented soap and a really good cup of tea. Like, a really good cup of tea. She’s particularly fussy about it, and has been known to pack her own teabags when she travels. Most members of her family are too scared to make her a cuppa, in case they get it wrong.

As Emmie mentioned above, she is giving away one copy of In His Eyes to one reader, open Internationally. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Additional entries are available but not required. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Emmie,

    I like to see wineries, want to know how they make the wine but i dont like wine :(

  2. I love going to wineries, wine festivals and wine tastings. I enjoy the atmosphere and finding new wines to try.


  3. I have never been to a winery before but I would like to visit one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. I don't drink wine at all. The book sounds great though Thanks
    crystaley73 at yahoo dot com

  5. I live near Grapevine, TX/Southlake, TX - and there is a winery there that is really cool. Im not much of a wine drinker myself, but I enjoy it occasionally. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. I have yet to find a wine that I can drink. So far, every one that I have tried tastes like vinegar to me.

  7. i really want to visiting wineries...i only saw in movies....
    there is no wineries in indonesia..i think we import them from australia or sad :(

  8. It's been a while since I visited a winery, but it's a fabulous outing.

  9. Before we had our kids we would visit the area wineries and pick out some wine that we liked. I don't know much about wine but I do know what I like.

  10. I love to visit wineries. My nephew lives in Virginia and when we were last there went to a winery that also hosts a polo match every on Sunday afternoons - what a beautiful day!
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  11. I never visit wineries. Wine is not something we drink on daily basis. But if I have the chance I'd love to visit. I'm sure wineries are interesting business ^^

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy, Emmie!

  12. I have never been to a winery before but I would like to visit one, but i don't know if any winery near my home

    -Lilian S

  13. I have never been to any wineries. I really don't like wine. It is pretty at a meal, but if I drink I want to feel it. I rarely ever drink, a few times a year at parties. I choose straight vodka on ice. Just a little bit and I am there.


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