If only life came with a guarantee.
Patrick McNaughton wants more. More people drinking Foghorn's beer, more money to push their brewery past the competition, and more cooperation from his brothers, who have no sense of urgency. He's all about conquering one challenge on his way to the next, so long as there's a remote chance of winning. That's why Aspen Pane sits in the office down the hall, oblivious to his attraction. Patrick has always wanted more with her, but he never was one to risk it all.
Aspen Pane has more than enough. As business manager for Foghorn, she keeps the brewery in the black and lives up to the nickname the McNaughton brothers gave her--Wonder Woman. She's worked hard her whole life for the money she now has in the bank, the small house she calls home, and time with her friends. So, even though it seems everyone close to her, including her brother, is inconveniently falling in love, Aspen sticks with her to-do list. Because love risks everything and she doesn't do that for anyone.
After an unexpected flight and an eccentric venture capitalist thrust them into a battle of wits and lies even they're not sure they can win, Patrick and Aspen must learn the difference between making a connection and making money. They may need to face their fears and risk it all in the name of finding a new work-love balance.
Note: Each Love Story is a standalone. There are some shared characters throughout the books (siblings, friends, etc.) Closely related books are often distinguishable by the similar covers. The book order so far is as follows:
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About the Author
When not working on her next book, she drinks copious amounts of tea, prefers an exit row seat, and reads well past her bedtime.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The moment Patrick and Aspen first interacted in Brew, I wanted their story. I knew there had to be some kind of chemistry between them and I was excited to see how it would play out in Smooth. (You don't need to read Brew first but you should definitely read it at some point.) It was pretty evident Patrick had more interest in Aspen than she did in him. She's just a kickass lady living her life and she has no time for shenanigans. Come to find out, Patrick has been interested in Aspen since the day he first saw her in junior high but he's never believed he had a shot with her. Cue swooning. They might have continued on as nothing more than coworkers until a business trip reveals Patrick's extreme fear of flying and Aspen starts to see him in a new light. This is a slow burn romance. There are false starts and they both have hangups. Aspen doesn't want to be dependent on any man after witnessing the disaster of her mom's love life. Patrick doesn't want to fail at anything and this singlemindedness has him latching onto an albatross at work, as well as not wanting to take a chance on Aspen and being rejected. I loved how good they are at their jobs and how Patrick wants to get married. I adored Aspen's friendship with Vienna, Bri, Sistine, and Ella. Female friendship is so important and I appreciate the way Ewen centers it in her novels. Patrick and Aspen work so well together at work but initially neither are sure about starting a relationship. But Patrick has a harder time shutting down his feelings for Aspen and she finds herself thinking more and more about him too. There are mishaps and miscommunications along the way as they each figure out what the other person means to them. I was here for it. For every longing glance, every question of what might be, every remembrance of the other person's best qualities. These two know each other so well and I was certain they were right for each other. Of course, there are bumps along the way. I don't want to spoil anything but there is a situation that develops that brought me to literal tears. At another point, I wanted to kill Patrick. But this is a love story and so we do get a happily ever after the tears and heartbreak. It was super satisfying, as was the epilogue. I came to care about these characters so much. The way Ewens developed them and allowed them to grow was just fantastic. They were fully realized people, the sort I'd be friends with and I only wish I could walk down to the Tap House after work one day. This is the last book listed out for this series but I really, really need the author to write a story about Sistine and Cade so I'm hoping that's on the horizon. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
While this is the tenth novel in the A Love Story series, it’s only the second set at Foghorn Brewery (the first was Brew). It works perfectly fine as a standalone novel, though. This is a sweet (very) slow-burn romance, with lovely, complex characters, and a friends-to-lovers premise. Of the three McNaughton brothers who run Foghorn Brewery, Patrick is the business guy. Along with Aspen Pane, the business manager, he takes care of all the marketing and financials for the brewery. Patrick is driven, and he only needs two things in life – for the brewery to do well, and Aspen. He’s been in love with Aspen for as long as he can remember, but has never so much as hinted at it. All that changes when, due to his fear of flying, he mixes alcohol and meds and reveals some of his feelings for her. “The energy was contagious, and once again, Aspen loved her job. Where else could she work where she had the challenge of budget projections and the best way to adhere beer caps to a giant trophy?” Aspen, like Patrick, is a workaholic. Ever since her dad left when she was ten, her mom has flitted from one relationship to another, more in love with love than any of her boyfriends. The only consistency she had in life was after they went to live with her grandmother (whom she calls “Grand”), so it should come as no surprise that Aspen’s anchors are her grandmother and work, and she has no time for things like feelings, and especially not for dating. “His hand at the small of her back, his eyes lit with mischief, and the way he looked at her now that she bothered to pay attention. Lord, the man knew how to look at a woman. It wasn’t a stare or even a trace of possession. No. Patrick appeared fascinated. It took her breath away.” Of course, the path to true love doesn’t run smooth. Besides their very valid worries about messing up their business relationship with a romantic one, they have different motivations for their drive. Aspen wants a comfortable, consistent life – she wants to have coffee every Monday with her Grand, and not worry about being able to afford niceties like well-fitting clothes and salon shampoo. A relationship of any kind is just a complication that she doesn’t need. While Patrick seems to be in control and in charge, in reality, he’s deeply vulnerable and feels like he has something to prove. Unfortunately, sometimes the challenges can consume him, to the detriment of everything else, including his relationships with his family and Aspen. All of this comes to a head when they meet a venture capitalist, Joel Siebold, who might be interested in investing in the brewery. Problem is, he’s as eccentric as they come, and he seems to enjoy having Patrick at his beck and call, asking for such varied things as business plans for a hypothetical music festival to Patrick’s favorite ice cream flavor. Living in the Bay Area, with friends and family who work at startups, Siebold and the whole VC dance felt very familiar. What Patrick can’t seem to realize, however, is that Siebold’s jerking around of him is just a progression of Patrick’s winning-at-all-costs mentality. When he can’t let the deal go, even after it’s obvious to everyone else that nothing will come of it, his ambition comes at the cost of his new relationship with Aspen. “’Aspen is at coffee with her Grand, and I’m going to report the hell out of you during our ten o’clock meeting. Tons of details about the industry. I have graphs and charts.’ ‘Christ,’ Boyd said, groaning
Foghorn's Beer is run by the McNaughton brothers. Great story of the struggles of running Foghorn in the black and finding love along the way. This is the eleventh "A Love Story" by Ewens. I have had the pleasure of reading two in this series and know that they stand alone nicely. Patrick is a driven man who on the surface seems to have everything under control. Aspen Pane is the business manager of Foghorn and because of a mother with unstable romantic encounters; Aspen has always shied from relationships. Full length novel with lots of love and parts that made me need a box of Kleenex. Ewens has a talent as an amazing weaver of romance. "A copy of this book was provided by author via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." Save this for a weekend read because it cannot be put down.