Like a Napa Valley grape ripening in the California sun, a new crop of romances in the Vino and Veritas series are ready to be harvested. Admittedly, that’s a pretty labored metaphor, but how better to describe the latest (and final) batch of irresistible LGBTQ+ romances centered around an inclusive wine bar/bookstore that features stories guaranteed to deliver the happiest of HEAs?
USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen launched Vino and Veritas as part of the expansion of her fan-favorite True North series. With The World of True North, Sarina invited other authors to write in her established, Vermont-based universe and four new series were born. In addition to Vino & Veritas, there’s the hockey/sports romance series Moo U, coffee shop-set Busy Bean, and the food-centric Speakeasy series.
We talked to Sarina back in January as these new series were announced. She told us she’d been considering the series expansion for a while. “It’s quite terrifying to let other people play in your sandbox in some ways. I had to sort of get over myself a little bit to make it happen. It’s possible that people will put words in my character’s mouth that I don’t love, and I will survive the experience, but everyone’s interpretation is fascinating and those facets are interesting to me.”
Sarina’s no stranger to gay romance, with her books The Understatement of the Year, Him, Us and this year’s Roommate. When it came to creating Vino and Veritas, she worked with a couple of other authors whose books became the first in the series. “I talked with Annabeth Albert and with Garrett Leigh, two writers of LGBTQ romance who I respect so much. Together we shaped how this wine bar/bookstore would work and why. The first book in the series is called Featherbed and it’s by Annabeth. When we were talking about what kind of book it would be, she said, it’s a little bit like a Hallmark movie, gay romance in this case, with a little gritty undertone because that’s the True North series.”
Garrett Leigh wrote the second book, Heartscape, and she got to bring wine bar manager Tanner to the page. She loved the idea of seeing what he was up to through the eyes of the other writers in the series. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Garrett said. “Because I’m not the one writing, it’s exciting because I get to find out what he’s doing and I haven’t had to sit down and write it myself. I’m in a very unique and very privileged position, in that I’ve got to contribute to it as a writer, and I also get to experience it as a reader as well. It’s amazing.”
Here’s a look at the final five books in the series.
Unforgettable by Marley Valentine
Reeve inadvertently sleeps with a co-worker from Vino and Veritas. Just one unforgettable night, that’s the deal. But what if he wants more? He agrees to play fake boyfriend at a wedding, but what do you do when pretend feelings start getting a little too real?
Undone by Leslie McAdam
Murph just can’t seem to get his love life together. A string of lousy guys means his straight roommate must keep saving him from one disastrous date after another. Perhaps his straight friend’s overprotectiveness means he cares more than he’s willing to admit?
Limelight by E Davies
A former rockstar turned beekeeping winemaker comes to the rescue of a nervous poet during an open mic night. A relationship blossoms, but can the musician leave the past behind and be truthful about the love he needs right now?
Stronghold by Ana Ashley
When Skyler spots his former childhood best friend at Vino and Veritas, it’s an opportunity to mend the pain of the past and build something more meaningful as adults. Will this be their second chance at love, or the second time that they ruin everything?
Showstopper by Regina Kyle
Kolby is on his way to the NHL, but first he must help his college hockey teammate pass his theatre class. The more time they spend together, the more they realize their friendship is turning into romance, but how can love win when their entire futures are at stake?
With 18 Vino and Veritas books to choose from, each filled with all kinds of tropey goodness, you should be able to find a story (or more likely stories) to add to your TBR. Rest assured, they can each be read as a standalone. But, if you’re like us, once you’ve read one, you’ll want to pick up more.
If you want to hear more about Vino and Veritas and The World of True North, check out our interview with Sarina Bowen in Big Gay Fiction Podcast episode 281 and our interview with Garrett Leigh in episode 288.
About the Authors:
Jeff Adams & Will Knauss are husbands, authors of m/m romance and podcasters. Big Gay Fiction Podcast, their weekly show, is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can learn more about them at BigGayFictionPodcast.com, jeffadamswrites.com and willknauss.com