peggy j herring love's harvest

Twilight in Burgundy cast an almost mystic spell over the chateau as they innocently slept. Morning was sure to arrive much too soon.

“Love’s harvest” it’s such a delight to read, it takes us to the beautiful French wine lands of Burgundy at the Jeton Winery and chateau and envelopes a beautiful romance between Nicole Jeton and Camille Cartier, such different characters, yet so alike at heart trying to keep up the familly name and fame through hard work at the winery and leaving herself no time, but to take care of her sick father and paying debts for her depravate brother.

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“You make me feel so different,” Nicole said afterward.

“As if nothing else matters as long as I have you.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Bad?” Nicole said. “No, not at all. Just different.”

Camille raised herself up, arms outstretched on either side of Nicole’s body. “I’m in love with you,” Camille said.

Nicole was quiet, but put her arms around her neck and hugged her. Camil e took the silence to mean that Nicole, in return, was not in love with her. She accepted that easily enough, rationalizing that it was much too soon. They had only known each other a few weeks.

Peggy J. Hering takes us easily on the vaste fields of Burgundy at the beautiful Jeton estate that owns a winery for more family generations, yet with a secret to hide, where we find Nicole Jeton caring for the winery and allowing little time for herself and her desires.

 

I enjoyed their looks too, a blonde and a brunette together always spices things up.

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I find the landscape truly amazing and the integration of the characters into it is quie without a trace, like a slow flow. Nicole’s character reveals strength of will built from the need to prove the world that the Jetons are not known only for the murder that happened a long time ago, nor for the ghost of Eva, murdered by her brother, that keeps hunting the chateau and Nicole by keeping away the dangers.

Camille Cartier is a very down to earth individual, a woman who knows her own will and desires, lives in Paris and works as an editor for a firm, she gets to know Nicole at one of her cousin’s Marguerite’s parties and finds her incredibly attractive and somwhow wants to follow her wherever she may go.

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“It’s not always like this for me,” Nicole whispered. She had such emotion in her voice that Camille wasn’t sure if she would cry or not. “I feel so different with you. So different.”

She kissed Camille slowly, letting the softness of their lips arouse them both all over again.

Camille squirmed delightedly under her, holding Nicole’s face in her hands and loving those blue eyes that seemed to come to life so easily.

 

Afterward, Nicole held her and they drifted to sleep, entwined in each other’s arms.

Camille snuggled and nuzzled into the soft curve of her neck and shoulder, feeling safe and wanted. They didn’t stir for hours.

 

Nicole needs to fight with the ghosts of her past, present and future as she want Cammile and seduces her, somehow everything comes without warning at an unnapropriate moment in her life as her father is dying, the winery can be lost because of her brother, who wants to take all the family money for himself and with his new lover to go and create a new winery in California, yet somehow Nicole got used to her brother’s habbits to disappear for few years to spend money and then return and ask for more in the name of the first male born.

Antoine is Nicole’s best friend and cellar master of the Jeton winery and Lalo’s (Nicole’s brother) former lover remained at the chateau and winery to help out and somehow integrate and find a familly in Nicole.

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Nicole is stubborn and unselfish and only thinks of the family’s well care, yet her true love seems to be slipping through her fingers, because she somehow doesn’t want to involve Cammile in her familly’s mess. Yet, Cammile knows she’s in love with Nicole from their very first night together and Nicole also knows from Cammile’s very first touch that her touch means love and wanting and Cammile is ready to help Nicole in whatever case is necessary. The  two women have their upp’s and down’s while Antoine helps them to get together and solve things out.

„”Hello.”

“Camille,” came that wonderful voice that could make her weak all over. It was Nicole, sounding small and upset. “Forgive me for interrupting your party, but I can’t stop thinking about you.”

Camille felt the warmth rush through her as the words registered quickly. She sank even farther into the fur, oblivious to its effect on her allergies. “Nicole,” she said.

“I just wanted to hear your voice again. Have I made a terrible mess of things? Don’t answer,” Nicole said quickly. “I know I have.”

Thoughts of the gypsy came to Camille, and the insistent warning of prevailing evil surrounding them made her snap to attention.

“You’re in danger, Nicole. I know it. I can feel it.” She didn’t have the nerve to say a gypsy had told her so.

“Danger? Don’t be silly. Everything is fine here. That woman in your apartment earlier,” Nicole said sheepishly, “who was she?”

Camille listened closely, but didn’t quite connect with the question for a moment. She was still in shock at hearing from Nicole again so soon. Camille smiled as she remembered. Nicole’s confession of being so possessive.

Could she be jealous? Camille mused. How wonderfully juvenile. “That was Monique.” The words my sister would not pass through her lips. Not yet anyway. Nicole had to make the next move. “Monique and I came to the party together.”

“I see,” Nicole said crisply. “How long have you known her?”

“All my life. We’re very close.” It was not like Camille to play these adolescent games, but she felt as though Nicole had brought it all on herself. As she stood there among the various assortment of raincoats and furs, the word evil again stayed fresh in her mind, amplifying itself as she touched the door. Nicole was in danger. Evil could mean so many things. It could even be Eva, she thought suddenly. Aren’t ghosts and spirits evil?

“How is Eva?” Camille asked urgently.

“Eva is fine. It’s quiet here now. She’s restless when Lalo is around, so he stays at the

winery with his new friend.”

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Maybe Lalo was the evil the gypsy had referred to, Camille reasoned. She claimed to have seen a tall, handsome man in the crystal ball. Camille rolled her eyes. Am I really believing this? she wondered, but somehow it just seemed silly to take chances.

“You’re in danger, Nicole. I’ll be out of town tomorrow, but I’l call you. Please be careful.”

“Where are you going?” Nicole demanded. “Camil e,” she said desperately, “please. Who is this Monique person? Are you going away with her?”

Camille felt lightheaded as she listened. The desperation in Nicole’s voice registered

plainly and gave her hope.

In the end, I enjoyed that what happened between Eva and her brother Phillipe has been repeated trhough the generations as inherited by Nicole and Lalo, when he tried to strangle his sister because he couldn’t overcame her talent for wine nor for her strength to keep up the familly name.

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“Eva comes to me often,” she whispered. “She’s there in the chateau, walking the halls at night. She was there when I showed you my grandfather’s portrait.”

Camille trembled in her arms, and Nicole pulled a blanket up over them.

“She likes you. Don’t be afraid.” Nicole tightened her arms around her. “After my grandfather strangled her, he was never the same. It haunted him the rest of his life and he never quite recovered from it.”

“Did you ever hear an explanation about why he killed her?”

“Several. The most commonly discussed has been

jealousy,” Nicole said. “Philippe was jealous of Eva’s ability to run things without him. He would disappear for weeks at a time. No one knew where he was. There were rumors of a mistress and then rumors of foreign exports, but he never confirmed anything. Eva took care of the family business whenever he was gone. There was no one else able to do those things then. Their parents were old, and there were other children who were much younger.” Nicole’s voice was soft but steady. “One night Philippe returned after having been gone for a month. He rode up on his horse and stormed the stairs of the chateau to the second floor. He and Eva had a terrible quarrel. When the servants found them Philippe still had his hands clamped around her throat. She was dead.”

Camille buried herself deeper into Nicole’s arms. “What happened to him? Did he go to jail?”

“Nothing happened to him. The family kept it a secret for years. With enough money you can buy silence.” Nicole kissed the top of Camille’s head again and rubbed her cheek against her hair. “Lalo, my brother, always wanted to be like him,” Nicole continued softly.

“He’s wanted that more than anything. When he was younger Lalo would stare at the portrait for hours. He combed his hair the same way. Often wore similar clothes. He was so proud of the resemblance between them. He sees Philippe as this masculine hero who built the family fortune from nothing. My grandfather grieved for his sister for many years.

They apparently had been very close when they were younger. Philippe finally married and became the man my father idolized and talked about. The Philippe Jeton the villageremembers wasn’t a murderer. He was a hero. And that’s the man Lalo wants to be like.

The hero.” Nicole hugged her again and laughed. “But Eva’s spirit never let any of us forget what really happened that night. Lalo has trouble accepting Eva’s place in our family’s history. I always remind him that there would be no Jeton Vineyards if Eva hadn’t kept things going when Philippe would disappear for weeks at a time. My father eventually came to realize that I was right. Eva belongs there in the chateau as much as any of us do. Even now.”

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