Read Online Books/Novels:
On the Rocks
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.
That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild.
And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.
No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.
He sees me—the real me.
The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.
I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.
Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.
Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.
If only I had listened.
|Books by Author:|
To those who love whiskey and sunshine,
long summer days and front porch sittin’,
dips in the river and never taking life too seriously –
this one’s for you.
When you hear the word Tennessee, what do you think of?
Maybe your first thought is country music. Maybe you can even see those bright lights of Nashville, hear the different bands as their sounds pour out of the bars and mingle in a symphony in the streets. Maybe you think of Elvis, of Graceland, of Dollywood and countless other musical landmarks. Maybe you feel the prestige of the Grand Ole Opry, or the wonder of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Maybe you feel the history radiating off Beale Street in Memphis.
Or maybe you think of the Great Smoky Mountains, of fresh air and hiking, of majestic sights and long weekends in cabins. Maybe you can close your eyes and see the tips of those mountains capped in white, can hear the call of the Tennessee Warbler, can smell the fresh pine and oak.
Maybe, when you think of Tennessee, all of this and more comes to mind.
But for me, it only conjured up one, two-syllable word.
I saw the amber liquid gold every time I closed my eyes. I smelled its oaky finish with each breath I took. My taste buds were trained at a young age to detect every slight note within the bottle, and my heart was trained to love whiskey long before it ever learned how to love a woman.
Tennessee whiskey was a part of me. It was in my blood. I was born and raised on it, and at twenty-eight, it was no surprise to me that I was now part of the team that bred and raised the most famous Tennessee whiskey in the world.
It was always in the cards for me. And it was all I ever wanted.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Until the day Ruby Grace came back into town.
My ears were plugged with bright, neon orange sponges, but I could still hear Chris Stapleton’s raspy voice crooning behind the loud clamor of machines. I wiped sweat from my brow as I clamped the metal ring down on another whiskey barrel, sending it on down the line before beginning on the next one. Summer was just weeks away, and the distillery swelled with the Tennessee heat.
Being a barrel raiser at the Scooter Whiskey Distillery was a privilege. There were only four of us, a close-knit team, and we were paid well for doing a job they hadn’t figured out how to train machines to do yet. Each barrel was hand-crafted, and I raised hundreds of them every single day. Our barrels were part of what made our whiskey so recognizable, part of what made our process so unique, and part of what made Scooter a household name.
My grandfather had started as a barrel raiser, too, when he was just fourteen years old. He’d been the one to set the standard, to hammer down the process and make it what it is today. It was how the founder, Robert J. Scooter, first noticed him. It was the beginning of their friendship, of their partnership, of their legacy.
But that legacy had been cut short for my grandfather, for my family. Even if I had moved away from this town, from the distillery that was as much a blessing to my family as it was a curse, I’d never forget that.
“Hey, Noah,” Marty called over the sharp cutting of another barrel top. Sparks flew up around his protective goggles, his eyes on me instead of the wood, but his hands moved in a steady, knowledgeable rhythm. “Heard you made the walk of shame into work this morning.”
The rest of the crew snickered, a few cat calls and whistles ringing out as I suppressed a grin.
“What’s it to ya?”
Marty shrugged, running a hand over his burly beard. It was thick and dark, the tips peppered with gray just like his long hair that framed his large face. “I’m just saying, maybe you could at least shower next time. It’s smelled like sex since five a.m.”
“That’s what that is?” PJ asked, pausing to adjust his real glasses underneath the protective ones. His face screwed up, thick black frames rising on his crinkled nose as he shook his head. “I thought they were serving us fish sticks again in the cafeteria.”
That earned a guffaw from the guys, and I slugged our youngest crew member on the arm. At twenty-one, PJ was the rookie, the young buck, and he was the smallest of us by far, too. His arms weren’t toned from raising barrels day in and day out for years, though his hands were finally starting to callous under his work gloves.
“Nah, that’s just your mama’s panties, PJ. She gave them to me as a souvenir. Here,” I said, right hand diving into my pocket. I pulled out my handkerchief, flinging it up under his nose before he could pull away. “Get a better whiff.”