Love on Tap by Karis Walsh is a contemporary romance between an archaeologist and an artisanal brewer. That might sound like an odd match, but thanks to the author’s deft hand, it works very well and makes for a satisfying read.
Stacey “Tace” Lomond is used to taking care of everyone else, having basically raised her siblings after her mom took off, and doing without so they could be happy. When her brother blows into town, asking her to pay off his latest massive gambling debt while giving her a failing microbrewery with empty promises that its sale could easily pay her back, Tace has no choice but to take in a boarder to help make ends meet.
Berit Katsaros is never happier than when she’s out on a dig, learning about cultures from long ago through the artifacts they left behind. When she’s injured on a site in Peru, she’s forced to step back and take a teaching job in Walla Walla, Washington while her body gets back to its full strength. Her attractive landlord, Tace, might be the only saving grace of being away from her passion, with her kind heart and determination to make the brewery into a success.
Tace will never leave Washington and Berit’s career is out in the world. With dreams that are so different, both know their connection can only be temporary. Can they truly resist the pull for forever between them?
Tace is sometimes difficult to like, especially towards the beginning of Love on Tap. She has a chip on her shoulder about not having a degree, which is exacerbated by living and working in a college town. She’s hardworking and caring, making sure that her siblings have everything she didn’t, which unfortunately means she can get taken advantage of. Her self consciousness about the difference in their education levels also makes her feel at times like Berit is out of reach, but something special happens when she takes over the brewery. I loved seeing her confidence grow as she took a business on its last legs and put it on the path to success, and especially that it happened alongside her growth with Berit from strangers to friends to so much more.
I haven’t read about many archaeologists in lesfic, so it was fun to see a bit of that in this book. Berit has a thirst for knowledge and itchy feet, making it the perfect job until injury forces her to slow down and recover. She knows she’s interested in Tace and can see something special in her that even Tace doesn’t see at first, but she’s reluctant to start anything because she won’t be in town for long. Berit’s career has always been her dream and her relationship with Tace changes her so that she considers someone else’s happiness and what that looks like as she pursues her own. I loved how the book ends and where both women are at because it’s just perfect.
Tace’s brother, Kyle, is a real piece of work. I don’t know if I’ve disliked a character as much as him in a long, long time, so kudos to Karis Walsh. I was so angry I ended up texting a friend who’d already listened to the book and was glad to hear she thought he was a jerk too.
The Writing Style
Love on Tap is an easy listen. The pacing is good and there’s enough information about brewing to make it feel real, and not so much as to bog things down. The romance is a slow burn with some delicious tension between them before they finally give in to their attraction. I like that it affects their decisions and plans for the future in a way that feels natural and right for who they each become.
I didn’t love the narration at first, but it grew on me and by the end I was glad I’d listened to it rather than read it on my Kindle. That said, I think this would have also been a good read in print.
Watching Berit and Tace each evaluate how important her dream is in relation to the other is my favourite part of this book.
I finished listening to it two weeks ago and I’m still mad about Kyle. I mean, I know that’s not actually a con. I just wanted to kick rocks in his direction again.
Love on Tap was an enjoyable romance and I’m glad I listened to it. It’s exactly what I needed and I’ll read it again at some point.
Excerpt from Love on Tap by Karis Walsh
Berit sat up with a start when she heard a car pull in to the driveway. Tace. She shifted back into her chair and went out to greet her.
“Look,” she called as she came down the ramp to meet Tace on the pathway. She wasn’t sure why she was so glad to see Tace. She’d been alone all morning, but she usually relished her time by herself since she got far too little on digs. Maybe she had just gotten out of the habit of being on her own. That was an acceptable explanation for her response of being happier to see Tace than she wanted to admit. She was wearing dirty and grass-stained jeans, her cheeks were flushed, and her hair was slightly damp as if she’d been sweating. Berit couldn’t keep from staring. What had she been doing? Moonlighting as a gardener? Tace had the look of an earth goddess. Connected to the land, strong and physical. Berit could imagine her out on a dig, dirty and perspiring and excited over some new find.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626395640
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc.
- Narrator: Robin J Sitten