Monday 29 March 2021

πŸ’œ VINO & VERITAS #4 #5 #6 🏳️‍🌈 Small-Town M/M Standalones πŸ’œ Excerpts 🏳️‍🌈

     ©  Bianca ✰ Janeane 

The New Vino & Veritas Series is a complete standalone series, but it is part of the new World of True North Series and slightly connected aka a spin-off to Sarina Bowen's True North Series!
So if you're weird like us - read Sarina's #Bittersweet first ☺

• Book #4 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4 Stars

Gabe wants Alec between the sheetstoo bad Alecs undercover already


Rich kid. Party boy. Gabe is tired of the labels. He’s a smart guy, but ever since he got kicked out of grad school, people are only interested in his no-limit credit card and his pierced earsand other places.


Tall, dark and scowling Alec hates Vermont, with its artisanal-freaking-everything and its irritating people. To be fair, most people irritate Alec, including the FBI director who sent him here to investigate a smuggling scheme involving yoga mats.


When one of the cutest twinks Alec’s ever seen takes an interest, Alec knows there’s an ulterior motive. No one with multi-colored hair, piercings, and an ass like that would want boring, serious Alec. The kid must be up to no good. Either way, Alec can’t blow his cover. If only he could keep his hands off of Gabe long enough to find out what he’s up to


Can they ignore their explosive chemistry long enough to foil a smuggling ring? Or will their budding relationship sink faster than a yacht full of contraband?

ARC received for an honest review
Ooooh, sexy undercover man, Alec.

But for me this was all about Gabe. Eliot Grayson had me from the minute I heard about Gabe's blue and purple hair haha.  I know, I know, how shallow - but I loved him from that minute on.

I did get frustrated with this book (and not just this book, but any book with undercover and lying and waiting for the other shoe to drop. It takes me a little out of the story, as I am always wondering when the other person is going to find out, and how much it is going to break somebody's heart - but that is just a me thing.)

But overall I adored them finding their way to each other - through books!

Whilst not my favourite in the V & V series, I still adored our lovelies and where their story ended up.

Alec + Gabe.
FBI Agent Alec is in Burlington to investigate a drug case.
Super cute and colorful Gabe is in town because he doesn’t really know what to do with his life after having been kicked out of grad school. He’s a 26 year old jobless rich kid with a black credit card and nothing to do.

They first see each other in the book part of Vino and Veritas and are very attracted to each other. BUT … Alec thinks Gabe might be involved with the drug smugglers!


That was cute and adorable.
Not my favorite in this series though. I just don't like the whole undercover and lying scenario. And I didn't like their first official meeting in the park... So creepy and weird. I would've called the cops!
But the story ended up being pretty funny and adorable and sexy.
I really liked Gabe & Alex. Just the whole lying part through the whole book was too much for me.

But the cover is one of the prettiest in the series - I just love the color and the model! 

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

UNDERCOVER was a cute little mystery gay romance! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Gabe & Alex - they'll be sold out in no time!


I swallowed hard, not missing how his eyes flicked down to my throat for a second, and finally found my voice. “What do you want?” I’d tried for challenging, but it came out husky and a little plaintive. Like I’d really said something more like, Looking for a good time?

He took another step, putting him squarely into my personal space. I caught a faint thread of the scent of him, leather and man, just like I’d imagined. Oh God.

“I’m kind of new in town,” he said, still staring right into my eyes. I pressed my hands back against the side of the building, concrete rough beneath my sweaty palms. “Where does a guy go to have fun in Burlington, anyway? You kind of look like you’d know.”

He looked down, pointedly doing a sweep of me from my purple Chucks, up my skinny legs, over my chest—lingering there for a second; could he see the outline of my right nipple piercing through my shirt?—and back up to my ear piercings and multicolored hair. He landed right back on my eyes again. His own seemed wider and darker. Dilated. Yeah, he liked what he’d seen.

Fuck it. Maybe there was something wrong with me—okay, I knew there was something wrong with me. I always went for the wrong guys, and this was wronger than usual.

But fuck it, seriously. I’d never been cornered in a park by a guy who looked like he could break me in half, and maybe I’d been missing out. Not like I could get away if I wanted to.

And I really, really didn’t want to.



• Book #5 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4.95 Stars

Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore.


Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heartache and regret into the lyrics he sings for the wine bar crowd a couple of nights a week.


When a friend coaxes Brent out for a night of wine and music, he puts Brent and Jon on a collision course. Their chemistry is instantaneous. Jon gives Brent’s battered body a much-needed remedial lesson in pleasure. And Brent gives Jon a reason to smile again.


Multiple reasons, actually. Neither man wants anything serious, but love has a habit of showing up whether it’s welcome or not. No matter how hard they try, the two can’t help having feelings for each other, even as life continues to throw them curveballs.


But they’ve both got baggage to unpack and hurt to move past, and if they can’t leave their pasts in the past, they might just miss out on an amazing future.

ARC received for an honest review
I am calling it - Aftermath is my favourite Vino and Veritas/World of True North book!

Brent and Jon's story is a lot heavier than the other books we have read so far - sure, they have all had their issues, but these guys got them by the busload.  I am not saying that in a bad way, just that their pasts are affecting them more than others.

I love how they kept seeing their relationship as a FWB thing for so long, when Blind Freddie could see that that was never their thing.

My heart hurt so much for Brent. As an old fart, I complain about aches and pain, but I could never imagine the mental strain being in constant pain. I ache just thinking about it.

I love these cuddle buddies - who doesn't love a good cuddle?

There are a couple of  scene stealers that come into the story later, but you need to read to find out about them yourself.
This was one of those stories that I couldn't wait to turn the next page, but didn't want the story to end.

This series need to go on for eternity, I know I would keep reading.

Brent + Jon.

A year ago 29 year old Brent was a famous hockey pro.
Now he's retired and in constant pain after a horrible car crash.

41 year old massage therapist Jon has been divorced for 18 months now. He shares custody for his 10 year old son with his ex.

Brent and Jon meet at Vino and Veritas, where Jon perfoms twice a week. It’s insta attraction for both, but they’re also not really looking for anything serious. So one night might be cool, right? Nope. That night does not go according to plan. And the newly formed friend/relationship is not what most people might call 'normal' either. LOL.


I loved reading this.
I think this will definitely go on my True North favorite list.
I loved Brent and Jon. Both are so adorable and sad and heartbroken. And in Brent's case in so much pain. I just loved to see them fall for each other in this sweet and insta but also so very slow and grown-up way.
It was a tiny bit too much with their constant .. But this is just a friends-with-benefit thing & He won't want to be with me anyway. Yes, we got it the first time. But you should finally get that it's NOT a FWB thing and that you're both falling! The book was a tiny bit too long with all that back and forth and repeat... BUT I really loved all the moments. The dog and kid and cuddle and sexy time moments. Just adorable! And sweet and heartbreaking and so full of pain for poor Brent. But we hope so hard for a happy end in all aspects of life for our darlings! 
Beautiful story!

And ooh how I hate Brent's dad! What an awful guy - I wish he would've gotten a bit better towards the end :/ 

Like I always say: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!

I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

AFTERMATH was a sweet + sexy + heartbreaking + beautiful + hopeful love story!!! I adored it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Brent + Jon - they'll be sold out in no time!


If there was one thing I was good at when I performed onstage, it was engaging my audience without being distracted by them. The lighting here at Vino and Veritas didn’t mask the crowd in shadows like bigger venues did—no blinding stage lights in my eyes obscuring the people beyond them—which meant I could make out a lot of faces. And there was usually a fair amount of activity, too. People came and went. Waiters brought out drinks and food. Bartenders poured drinks. Quiet conversations went on. Some loud ones, especially as more alcohol flowed.

I was used to it, and I was never distracted by it. The sea of motion and faces was easy to ignore.

Except for that guy’s face.

One glance at him, and thank God I’d been between songs, or I’d have forgotten what I was doing.

And it didn’t help at all that he’d been looking right back at me as if I’d caught his eye the way he’d caught mine. Not just like people casually watched a performer onstage, but like something I’d done had made him stop dead and stare. He was still, his eyes wide and his lips parted as he stared at me. I couldn’t tell if it was a trick of the lights, but I swore he blushed too.

As I played on, I kept my gaze down, or at least tried to only let it drift toward the side of the room where he wasn’t sitting. Otherwise I was going to go blank on every note and every lyric.

But then I was far enough into the music that I forgot, and I glanced in that direction again, and there he was, still looking right at me, and—

What song is this?

I only missed a beat or two, fortunately, and I recovered quickly. I doubted many people noticed, if any of them did. In a venue like this, a lot of people were only half-listening, as opposed to during an actual concert when they were all focused on me. I was background noise for most, even those who applauded between songs. Just as well when I was this distracted.

By some miracle, I made it through my set, and people didn’t mutter things like, “Oh my God, finally,” or “One more and I was going to stab my own eardrums” as I left the stage. Given that this hadn’t been my best or most focused performance, I’d take it.

In the back room where overflow books and promo items from the bookstore were kept, I put my guitar in its case and downed the rest of my water bottle. That had been, hands down, the hardest set I’d done since I’d started singing here. The first few had been tough because the emotions had been a lot more raw—because I’d been real smart, singing what I’d just written about my painful divorce-in-progress—so it had been rough for a while. But even during that period, I’d never actually struggled like I had tonight to remember lyrics and chords, or to keep my fingers from slipping or my tongue from getting tied.

And now I needed a drink. Not just water this time, either.

So, I left my guitar and jacket in the back where they were safe, and then headed up to the bar for a glass of wine. Only one, since I was driving. I’d probably have a couple more when I got home. Maybe not the healthiest thing in the world, but I’d been in a shitty place all day, and singing about my divorce poured some salt in wounds that hadn’t closed yet. I wasn’t apologizing for numbing that with a little alcohol once in a while.

“The usual?” Rainn asked over the bar.

I shook my head. “Glass of pinot blanc.”

Our eyes met. Then Rainn nodded and stepped away to get the wine. He knew me and what I’d been through the last several months, so he didn’t question me. He just didn’t need to know that my ex-wife wasn’t the one screwing with my concentration tonight.

He handed me the glass, and I thanked him before taking a sip. I wasn’t much of a drinker, but I had to say, I loved the wine they poured in this place. One of these days, I’d buy a bottle or two to keep at home. Maybe after I finished redoing the kitchen and had a place to put a wine rack.

That was another depressing thought that didn’t need to take hold tonight, so I focused on enjoying the amazing wine while I wound down after my set. My son was at his mom’s tonight, so I didn’t need to rush out of here to pick him up from the babysitter. I preferred the evenings where he was with me, but when he wasn’t, I couldn’t complain about relaxing here for a little while.

Someone stepped up to the bar beside me, and as I moved aside to give them some room, I glanced up and—

Oh. God.




• Book #6 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4.5 Stars

Jamie Morin’s college GPA drops every time a cow breaks through a fence, but he’s determined to get his degree and keep his parents’ Vermont dairy farm afloat. He’d rather be reading than milking, but he can’t let his family downnot the way his brother did. So the last thing he needs is distraction in the form of an irresistible bookseller with a mysterious backstory.


Briar Nord has a lifetime of experience proving that happily-ever-afters only happen in his favorite books. But his luck might be changing. He’s got a great job at a bookstore, and he lives in a city that puts maple syrup on everything. But Briar knows not to trust anything--or anyone--too closely, and that includes a gorgeous farm boy with soulful eyes and too many obligations.


When Jamie joins Briar’s romance novel book club, they both feel an instant connection and soon they’re turning pages long into the night. But Briar’s past was bound to catch up with him. Sometimes, though, it takes two heroes to write a new ending . . .

ARC received for an honest review
Awww, who doesn't love a book about a booklover?
Our lovelies, Jamie and Briar, are younger than the other books so far, but they are also more mature and know what they want in life.
But neither of them have it easy - Jamie is run ragged with work and school and cows - MOOOO! - and Briar is trying to escape his past, and has maybe, finally, found his place in the world.
They are so cute and adorkable and sweet with the love of their favourite books helping them fall for each other - even though neither of them is looking for it or feels that they are meant to get a HEA.
It s frustrating at times, and I wanted to slap some people around their ears with a hardcover, however I loved how things all came round on the side of good - eventually.
Loved seeing more of the guys from Vino and Veritas, and want more and more and more.  And maybe a HBO series (so we can get all the sexy times!!)


Jamie + Briar.

Jamie's dream is to become a librarian. He just loves books.
But a lot of reading and studying-for-college-time gets stolen by his family's farm. There's always something that his dad needs help with.

Enter Briar. He's new in Vermont. He's working his dream job at the book-side of Vino & Veritas. 

It's insta attraction between those two.

But two problems:
Jamie doesn't have time in his busy life for a relationship and Briar doesn't think he deserves it. He's afraid his past might catch up with him.

But between discussing books and fighting over baked goods ... falling for each other is probably not something they have any control over ...


Such a sweet story.
Both Jamie and Briar are very young. But both know what they want. Jamie wants to be a librarian with a life outside of the farm and Briar is just happy to be in a place that he can call home with a job and friends and maybe a boyfriend one day.
It's so adorable to watch those two fall for each other while trying not to.
I really enjoyed reading this. The story is cute, funny, heartbreaking, sexy, sweet, and hella frustrating because it takes them forever to get to that happy end. There are way too many problems in the way - mostly cows. LOL! But also some very dangerous things from Briar's past!

Great Love Story!
I loved the two boys and the V & V crew and the friends and the parents. Finally someone got gifted a set of parents who are not homophobe idiots! ♥

Like I always say: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!

I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

BOOKLOVER was such an adorable + sweet + heartbreaking NA romance!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Jamie & Briar - they'll be sold out in no time!


I start heading toward the circle of couches and chairs near the back where the inaugural meeting of The Booklover Club is supposed to take place. I make a quick stop at a shelf of new titles because the store’s got at least three that I’ve been meaning to read. I grab one of them, a nonfiction book about dairy farming, and I take a quick pause to wonder if my wallet can handle a bookstore binge. I’m still reading the inside of the jacket flap when I hear a voice behind me.

“Can I help you?”

I turn around and try not to do that thing Jeremy says I sometimes do, where I just stand there staring at someone or something without speaking. In my defense, I think the problem comes from spending most of my childhood surrounded by cows. Sometimes I just forget how to people.

Especially when incredibly hot human beings are standing in front of me. Which is happening right now.

This guy looks exactly like Porter, one of my other favorite book characters. He’s in Alyssa Samuel’s gay romance novel Lost Key, and right now I can’t help but wonder if he walked right off the pages of that book and into this store. The Porter look-alike in front of me has sharp, angular cheekbones sitting under hazel eyes and dirty blond hair and eyebrows. He’s got some scruffy I-wanna-be-a-beard-but-I’m-not-there-yet hair around his chin that’s straight out of the Vermont tourist brochures. His head is covered by a pilling green tuque, and his skin is this olive tone that should be next to impossible for any white guy to have in Vermont in March. He’s wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, which is pretty much the stereotypical Vermont uniform, but somehow on him it manages to look cool and unique.

And as if all that weren’t enough? He’s carrying a stack of books.

Some men dream of seeing their perfect lover strutting around in hot lingerie or tiny speedos. I dream of my perfect lover naked, with a stack of books strategically placed in front of them.


Books by Sarina Bowen:

🍎🍏🍎 True North Book #1 πŸŽπŸπŸŽ

🏳️‍🌈 Wes & Jamie πŸ³️‍🌈

Good Boy

The Company Book #1

Hockey #6

YA Rockstar Romance-ish

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.

She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college.

Waiting for more Ivy Years? You can read more about upcoming volumes in the four book series at

Also, the Gravity series.

Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

To be kept abreast of new releases, please feel free to sign up for the mailing list at

Or visit the her Facebook page, or tweet her @sarinabowen.