Thursday, January 10, 2013

California Wine: Casey Dawes 10 Favorite Destination Spots and a Book Giveaway

Single mother Elizabeth Ladina is done with men. From her father on down, all they want to do is control her life.

Deciding to take her life into her own hands, she ends her five-year relationship and goes to Italy to visit Liguria, her family’s original home and rediscover the thrill of being on her own. A visit to an upscale skin care boutique in Italy inspires her. Dreaming she could create an upscale lotion line that is splashed across the pages of the best glossy fashion magazines, she’s eager to get home to California and make her vision into reality.

Italian Marcos Gamari has one goal in life - to create the world’s finest wine from the best vineyards in the world. His vineyards in Italy and France are producing prime wines that are already garnering awards and he has no time or desire for romance in his life. Emotional entanglements only lead to pain. His ex-wife had proved that.

Still, when he sees the pretty American eating alone in a hotel dining room in Liguria, he’s compelled to strike up a conversation, which leads to dinner and Elizabeth’s invitation to see the vineyards of the Santa Cruz Mountains near her home in California. She claims they are equal, and cheaper, than anything he’ll find in Napa, his original destination.

Sparks fly when they meet again in Costanoa. Elizabeth and Marcos are determined to maintain their single-track focus on their businesses. But can they keep romance out of their lives forever?

Sensuality Level: Sensual

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Casey's  10 Favorite Destination Spots
Anywhere my kids and grandkids are: I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like with them over the last decade. They’re mostly on the East Coast while I’m planted in Montana.  Montana is a lovely place, but getting inexpensive flights in and out is almost impossible.  But my kids know I’m with them in my heart.

Paris is one of my favorites. When I lived in Massachusetts as a young girl, they gave good readers the opportunity to learn French.  I stuck with it and France became almost like a second country.  Of course, my accent is so excruciating to most French people that they’re happy to switch to English almost from the second I open my mouth! But whenever I’m in Paris I feel beautiful and desirable, even if I can’t fit into their clothes.

Sydney, Australia: It’s a beautiful, unique city that I’ve been able to visit twice. Taking boat tours of the bay during the day to view the purple-hued Jacarandas or at night under the glow of the Opera House, especially with a loved one, is one of my favorite things to do.  The shopping, entertainment and restaurants are first-class as well.

Northern California: From Carmel to Mendocino, my husband and I love to travel and visit our friends there. We met in Santa Cruz and honeymooned in Mendocino. We also discovered our mutual love of wine there, which led to publication of our wine books of the Santa Cruz Mountains wineries and ultimately to my newest contemporary romance, California Wine.

Red Rocks of Utah: There are so many places to explore in the canyon areas of Utah, including Bryce and Zion National Parks and these are especially beautiful when the aspens are yellow in the fall. If you make it to the tiny town of Boulder, Utah, I can highly recommend Hell’s Backbone Grill.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming: I bought my first quilt pattern here and since quilting is another great love of mine (, I have fond memories.  My husband and I enjoyed an exquisite Grand Teton sunset while we sipped good wine.

Roads that are barely on the map:  My husband and I have reached an agreement after ten years of marriage.  He can take us on roads that are well off the beaten track (see the highway sign picture) and he holds the bolts for me at quilting stores.

Hawaii:  Isn’t that on everyone’s list????  And Alex O’Loughlin could be part of the scenery.  (Sorry Danno!)

New York City: I was a theater major in college in New Jersey and spent a lot of time there watching plays, touring museums and picnicking in Central Park. Later in my life I lived there for a few years when I imagined myself in a theater career. (Didn’t get much beyond  dreaming…) I miss going to plays.

My friend’s homes:  I’ve been lucky enough to have a varied life and have kept in touch with people all over the globe.  I love to visit them, see how their lives have changed and have them show me their favorite places.

Excerpt from California Wine
Oh, my.
Elizabeth’s eyes locked with a pair of the most intense blue eyes she’d ever seen. They belonged to a man with thick black hair to his shoulders, a strong aquiline nose, and high cheekbones. His smile was warm; his straight white teeth a sharp contrast to his light olive skin.
Why did Italy produce such heart-breakingly handsome men?
She looked down at the restaurant table and then looked up again. He was still staring, the smile even broader.
Maybe her daughter Sarah was right. Elizabeth should dine out more often, especially if the scenery was going to be like this.
The waitress brought her a salad and Elizabeth looked at it morosely. Was it possible to eat salad and not get some stuck in her teeth when a gorgeous man was staring at her? Or worse, drop a huge leaf of oily lettuce on her blouse, calling his attention to her less than abundant breasts?
But the salad looked so good…tiny red cherry tomatoes interspersed with baby carrots and radishes on a bed of mixed greens. She sighed and stabbed the nearest tomato with her fork.
The red orb escaped her plate and went bouncing off the table to land on the floor, rolled to the center of an open space, and sat there for only a minute before being squished by a waitress’ black shoe.
“Such a tragic end for a little tomato.” A rich masculine voice spoke near her ear.
She looked up into the blue eyes of the man standing next to her.

Comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of California Wine.
Meet the Author
Casey Dawes has led a varied life that includes teaching, working in an Equity Theater and traveling the world as a database guru. Her award-winning stories include contemporary romance, erotica and romantic suspense. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Montana Romance Writers.

She lives, writes and quilts on the banks of the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana along with her web designer husband and two cats who think they own the joint.

Connect with Casey at


  1. Just awesome!! I hope you have an amazing tour!!

    All the Best,

  2. Sounds like my husband! We've been on logging roads, secondary roads and even cattle trails! Mind you--those out-of-the-way places sometimes make the best road trips!
    Thanks for the wonderful interview!

  3. Nice list of favorite places.


  4. I like your destination choices, Hawaii especially as it's absolutely beautiful and amazing.

    Also, congrats MK on getting 500 blog followers!


  5. Pippirose -- Yes, it can be fun! Emily -- I'd love to go back to Hawaii. I haven't been since 2001.
    Nice to see you again, BN!