BOOK REVIEW: Stronghold (Vino & Veritas #14) by Ana AshleyStronghold (Vino & Veritas #14)
by Ana Ashley
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


A second chance at love? Or a second chance to ruin everything?

When Skyler spots the new bartender at Vino and Veritas, his body responds before the guy even turns around. But when he does, it takes only a heartbeat for recognition to set in and for sparks to fly. Judson’s been gone for ten years, but he’s the man Skyler never forgot. Or forgave.

The last place Judson wants to be is back home in Burlington, living with family. Not so long ago he was a world-class chef with the lifestyle to prove it. Now he’s serving drinks and flying under the radar until he can get the hell out again. But when his childhood best friend reenters his life, looking finer than any entree at a five-star restaurant, he wonders if it’s time to update his menu of life choices.

Working through past wounds with Skyler won’t be easy, though, especially with family obligations--and the occasional dairy cow--interfering. When their loyalty is tested, will their newly built stronghold be sturdy enough to withstand the storm?

Stronghold is a sweet and sexy Vino & Veritas romance with some creative use of maple syrup.


Okayyyyy everything about this was perfection. To this day I argue with myself about what I love best: friends to lovers or enemies to lovers. I think I just need to quit trying to decide and accept the fact that I love both equally but can be in the mood for either/or at different times. This one was a bit of a friends to lovers/second chance situation. Due to a misunderstanding their senior year (isn’t there ALWAYS ONE?!?) these former best friends hadn’t seen each other in ten years. Judson literally fled across the world to France where he attended culinary school while Skyler stayed home to help out his family after his dad almost gambled away their entire farm while also getting into the maple syrup business.

Fast forward to now–Judson is back due to a bad situation in France and is just trying to pick up the pieces of his life–again. The two run into each other and it’s obvious that whatever soul-deep connection they used to have, never went away. My favorite part about this book was that it didn’t take long for them to finally open up about what happened the night before Judson left. Sky had been left broken and confused when he left but quickly realized what it was that Jud had overheard him say. They quickly straightened that out and were able to build an actual romantic relationship from there. The fact that Sky was able to FINALLY, after all these years, tell Jud how he truly felt was so satisfying.

I cannot tell you how many romances were spoiled for me because these miscommunications are handled poorly because one half of the couple storms off before hearing the other side’s perfectly reasonable explanation or love declaration. OOOOOH it frustrates me to no end. This one however, has none of that. These two TALK and COMMUNICATE and also eat maple syrup off one another which doesn’t hurt anything, either LOLLLLLLLL. Loved, loved, loved.

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this in exchange for an honest review!♥