A very solid and nicely steamy entry in the V&V series sees former best friends reunite

12_V&V_Ashley_ebook_FINALStronghold by Ana Ashley

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

When I started reading, I felt sure this was going to be another solid 4 or 5* book, but unfortunately it just tailed off a bit towards the middle act and things fell a bit flat for me at that point.

There’s a super sweet ending and a very firm HEA though which definitely brought my enjoyment level back up by the time the book finished.

On the face of it, this sounded like it would be a passionate former best friends/enemies to lovers romance, with the added spice of a reality TV show – but the supposed camera crew that keeps popping up everywhere actually doesn’t, at all.

Well, they’re there, as part of said reality TV show, but only in the moments when filming is taking place for the competition, they certainly don’t appear randomly as if trying to catch out our two MCs actually having a relationship and not just being friends anyway.

It seemed to be a plot point that just never fully developed as the reality TV show part doesn’t even come into the book until almost two quarters of the way through, after Judson and Skyler have reconnected.

One thing the book does well though, is have them actually have a conversation about what led to Judson leaving 10 years ago and why Skyler’s overjoyed to see him and puzzled by his negative attitude.

It also scores highly on their emotional and physical reconnection, you can feel the UST leading up to the point where the pressure cracks and they end up snogging madly 🙂

There’s a secondary plot involving Skyler’s family farm which is also done well, and the integration into the wider Vino & Veritas series is solid, with a few of the regular characters turning up as part of the scenery.

I found both characters sympathetic, I liked how they were able to move past the misunderstanding which had caused Jud to leave and I liked that there wasn’t really much in the way of relationship angst.

Most of the tension points come from external sources, which makes perfect sense when you see what’s been going on, and they were also integrated well into the overall plot.

All in all, it’s a solid, and steamy 😀 entry in the Vino & Veritas series and very much a nice, easy read.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Heart Eyes Press in return for an honest and unbiased review

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