Excerpt: In Spite of Honor

Here’s another scene from the first in The Rocky Shores Resort romance series. I’ve settled on a title for this book: In Spite of Honor. The following excerpt is a scene from chapter five. As the Flying Dutchman Winery is a real place, I’ve included some photos I took while at the coast.

This is still a work in process with around 42K words. As I’ve said before, it will undoubtedly go through some revisions once the beta readers and editors get a hold of it. But I had so much fun with chapter five, I couldn’t wait for the book to come out to share. I hope you like it.

In Spite of Honor - SuzanneThe Flying Dutchman Winery was in an unassuming building, one of the two bungalows adjacent to the park. Charlie held open the brick-red door as he ushered her into a large, open room.

“Hi, Dominic.”

“Hey, Charlie. What brings you down here? A problem with your order? Or do you need more White Riesling?”

“No. Nothing like that, Dom.” He turned to Suzanne and smiled. “Ignore us and have a look around.”

Planked wood covered the walls and ceiling, and matched the wine tasting bar on the right. On the left, the small gift shop beckoned. She tuned out the shop-talk between Charlie and Dominic and went exploring.

Glass Shelves With Two Driftwood LighthousesTwo lighthouses on the top of glass shelving caught her eye, drawing her into the room. Turned wood, made from driftwood. Several pieces of signed artwork hung on the walls. Calendars, mugs, plaques and novelties, it was an eclectic collection of local artwork, nautical and wine related souvenirs.

Walking around the room, she spied a small bookshelf in the corner. Along with full-color photo-guides of Oregon, there was one shelf of fiction. Three or four copies each of several titles, all written by local authors.

People on the coast really cared about each other, and were so supportive of the local economy. She was used to businesses that cared only about their own bottom line. It was a stark contrast to her world.

On her right, she noticed a rack of apparel. The t-shirts and sweatshirts were typical souvenir fare. But the windbreakers looked to be of a higher quality and featured black insets on the sides. The store name and logo were embroidered on the left breast. She grinned. A functional souvenir. She preferred the style with the lightweight lining. And the price was reasonable.

While Charlie talked with Dominic about wine making—it seemed he knew everybody in the area—Suzanne grappled with the difficult decision of what color jacket to get. Red was out, but she liked the bright royal blue. In the end, she decided on the white. She could wear white with anything.

“—wedding Saturday… Here she is…”

Suzanne held the jacket up to show Charlie. “I’ll get this one. Then you can have yours back.”

“That’ll work. Suzanne, I’d like you to meet Dominic. Dom, this is my friend, Suzanne.”

“Hi Suzanne.” He reached for the jacket. “I can ring that up for you. Would you like a taste of wine first?”

“I don’t know if I should…”

“Go ahead, Suzanne. I’m driving. And their wines are really good.” Charlie pointed to her left. “They make them right here.”

Wine Barrels, Back Room at The Flying Dutchman Winery“Here?” Through the open door she saw several oak casks. “I thought this was just an outlet.”

“Oh, no. Let me give you the grand tour.”

Dominic snickered as Charlie guided her through the door into the small storage room. Oak barrels were stacked on racks from floor to ceiling on three of the four walls. In the middle of the room, more barrels were stacked three high. Several dozen barrels at most. Bags of corks, stainless steel vats, and assorted apparatus indicated it was more than just a storage room.

“This room holds a little more than half of the barrels. The rest are stored in the back. Wine is stored in the oak barrels for the secondary fermentation process, which can take years. This Merlot, for example,” Charlie lightly tapped the barrel, “will age for about four years.”

“There isn’t enough room here. Where do they crush the grapes? Where’s the press?”

“Listen to you! Maybe you should be giving me a tour.” Grinning, Charlie reached up and carefully tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

She turned her head slightly, feeling warmth flush her face from the intimate gesture. “I took a tour of a winery in Napa once. Years ago.” She took a step away from Charlie. “The place was enormous. And there were miles of vineyards in every direction.” A few steps further and she gazed out the window on her right. “I haven’t seen any grapevines around here. Where do they get the grapes?”

“From vineyards in the Willamette Valley.”

He was standing close behind her, his voice soft in her ear, his breath warm on her neck. Her pulse picked up.

“You didn’t answer my first question.”

“Which was?”

“Where do they process the grapes?”

“Outside. Behind the building. Here,” he moved to the left, “this photo shows them at work. Barrels here, fermenters behind, and the ocean in the background.”

Suzanne followed and studied the photograph. “You know a lot about all this. Did you work here summers, as well?”

“No. Not here. My great-great-grandfather left France because he wasn’t interested in making wine. The family business…” He shook his head, like he was telling himself not to go there. “I have cousins in France who are still in the business. It’s interesting, but the resort is my family’s business.”

When Charlie volunteered nothing more about his family, Suzanne broke the heavy silence. “I’m ready to taste some of that wine now.”

To learn more about the wines and winery featured in this Sneak Peek, visit The Flying Dutchman Winery online. I appreciate the owner, Richard Cutler, giving me permission to use the winery in my book. And their wines are pretty awesome, too.