In Jasmine Guillory’s Latest, A Woman In The Wine Business Gets Drunk On Love

Get a sneak peek at Guillory’s new, Napa Valley-set novel in this exclusive excerpt.

by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory's latest book is 'Drunk on Love.'
Andrea Scher/Courtesy

In this exclusive excerpt from Jasmine Guillory’s Drunk on Love, Margot Noble — a woman who helps run her family’s winery — finds a welcome distraction in the handsome Luke.

Margot let out a small sigh as they approached the door. She was sad that the night was ending. Even aside from how fun it had been to flirt with Luke, it had been one of her best actual conversations with someone in a while. They hadn’t talked about work — as a matter of fact, they hadn’t talked about wine at all. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a conversation with anyone that didn’t touch on wine. She didn’t even know what wine Sydney had poured for her — a Cab, obviously local, but that was all she’d recognized. God, that felt great. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her job — she did love her job — but it was all-consuming sometimes. Most of the time.

As they stepped out of The Barrel, they walked into a crowd of slightly rowdy tourists, complaining about Napa’s early last call. One guy got in Margot’s way, and she almost stumbled as she pushed past him. Luke put a hand on her back to steady her and then stepped in front of her. Margot didn’t even see how it happened, but the path in front of her cleared, and she followed him until they were around the corner from The Barrel. The tourists were now halfway down the street, still complaining.

“Thanks for that,” she said.

He shook his head and smiled at her.

“It was nothing.”

Okay, that was obviously her cue to say good night and walk home. Just as she opened her mouth to do that, Luke looked up at the sky.

“Up here in Napa, you see so many more stars than you do down in the city,” he said. “I always forget that.”

“You do,” she said. She looked up, too. “I miss a lot about living in a bigger city, but this is one of the things I love about living up here.”

They were silent for a moment as they stood close together, both staring up into the clear night sky, bright with stars.

“Can I ask you a question?” he asked. She was still looking up, but she could tell, without even looking, that he’d moved closer to her. She looked at him. She liked that look in his eyes.

“Sure,” she said.

He took another step closer to her. It would be too close, if this were someone else, if this were a different night, if she hadn’t just spent two and a half hours wanting this, even as she’d pretended to herself that she hadn’t.

He leaned down, his lips close to her ear.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked. His voice was low, warm, clear. He asked the question politely, but there was a rough edge to his voice. She liked both of those things, too.

His lips were so close to her ear that he could have kissed her there easily, without even moving. But he stopped, a hairbreadth away from her, and waited for her answer.

She turned toward him, so they were face-to-face, eye to eye.

“Absolutely,” she said.

His lips were on hers immediately. His lips were soft, firm, demanding. He kissed her like his whole day had been leading up to this, like he’d been thinking about how to do it since she’d sat down next to him, like all he wanted in the world was to keep kissing her. He kissed her exactly how she wanted it.

They moved together, slowly backward, kissing the whole time, until she was pressed up against the side of the building. His hand stayed right where it was, at her waist, and she realized how much she wanted it to roam around her body. She wanted more than just this kiss. She wanted it all.

That’s when she forced herself to pull away.

“We can’t do this here,” she said. “Too many people know me around here.”

He dropped his hand and took a step back. She was gratified to see how fast he was breathing.

“Okay,” he said. “Sorry. I got carried away.” Then he smiled slowly. “Wait. Did you say here?”

She nodded.

“I thought you were an unusually good listener.” She stayed close to him. “You said you lived around here — how close? I’m four blocks that way.” She gestured down the street.

He put his hand on her back and turned her in the opposite direction.

“I’m two blocks this way.”

They didn’t talk as they walked those two blocks. What was there to say? They’d made all of the necessary small talk — and more — at the bar. They weren’t going back to his place for more conversation — they both knew that.

They kept their distance from each other — he dropped his hand from the small of her back, they were arm’s-length apart on the sidewalk, and anyone looking at them from a distance might think they weren’t even together.

But the air between them almost crackled. She was so aware of him — of the way he walked, long limbed, relaxed, but with purpose — of the way he glanced over at her every so often, a smile on his lips. Not that same smile from inside the bar, the friendly, interested one, but a smile of anticipation, one she could feel on her own face.

And God, she was aware of his body. At the bar, they’d been too deep in conversation for her to get a chance to look at him more than shoulders up. But after that kiss, after the way he’d touched her, after the way she’d touched him, she couldn’t stop looking at him — at those broad shoulders, long legs, firm chest. When they were at the bar, she’d noticed a little hair peeking out from under his shirt.

She wanted to see more.

From DRUNK ON LOVE published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2022 by Jasmine Guillory.