Skip to product information
1 of 5

Vodka & Violets - The Hamiltons book 9 (ebook)

Vodka & Violets - The Hamiltons book 9 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 196+ 5-Star Reviews

Regular price $4.99 USD
Regular price $5.99 USD Sale price $4.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Purchase the E-Book Instantly
  • Receive Download Link From BookFunnel via Email
  • Send to preferred E Reader and start reading!


Xander and Tori
Xander Jacobs, former military man with a heart of gold, has had a soft spot for the vivacious and talented Tori DuPont for as long as he can remember.

They’ve known each other since they were kids growing up in Napa. They might come from big name wine families, and be considered ‘wine-country royalty’, but neither of them was comfortable in that world.

Even though they’ve barely seen each other in decades, Xander made it his mission to keep Tori safe when danger crept into her world. And when her life in Nashville dissolves around her, he’s determined to stay by her side for whatever comes next – even if neither of them know what that might be.

A visit to Tori's mom in the charming town of Summer Lake opens up new possibilities – and offers an opportunity that might suit them both.

Tori can be unsure of herself at times, but she’s always had a heart full of dreams, and she’s always known that she can count on Xander to have her back.

She’ll just have to hope that he’ll have her back when she reclaims her childhood dreams. She used to dream about having her own wine bar – and she used to dream about being loved by Xander Jacobs.

As they find their feet in Summer Lake, every sunlit moment and moonlit dance brings them closer, and the laughter they share becomes the soundtrack to their blossoming future.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Vodka & Violets is the Ninth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit The Hamiltons series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Tori edged quietly toward the kitchen door and peeked cautiously around it. When she saw that the coast was clear she hurried inside, headed straight for the fridge. She had nothing to feel guilty about, but that didn’t stop her. She might have every right to be here in her family home, but that didn’t make any difference; she felt like a sneak thief, stealing goodies. It didn’t help that Simon, the chef, would treat her as no better than a thief if he caught her.

    It wasn’t as though she was swiping any of his ingredients – she only wanted the chocolates that she’d put in here earlier. As she grabbed the bag and scurried for the door, she decided that she’d be better off getting herself a cooler and some ice so that she could keep her own things in her own room.

    She let out a sigh of relief as she stepped out of the back door and into the sunshine. The formal garden wasn’t any more welcoming than the rest of the house, but all she had to do was cross it without being seen. After that, she could sneak through the gate and be free.

    Once she was on the other side of the hedge, she finally felt able to relax. It was crazy really; she loved that Bentley had asked her to come home so that she’d be able to spend some time relaxing while she figured out her next moves. She just didn’t feel able to tell him that she’d never been able to relax here or that she doubted that she ever would.

    She followed the hedge all the way to the end. From there she jogged past the vines until she reached the stand of trees by the creek bed. There was no water; the creek was dry. But this was still one of her favorite spots on the whole estate. The trees provided shade and more importantly, they shielded her from view.

    It wasn’t that she thought anyone was watching her or that they would have a problem with anything she did if they were. It was just that being here made her feel … inadequate somehow. She’d always felt that way as a kid and she knew that she did it to herself.

    As the youngest of three siblings, she’d lucked out. Bentley and Willow were both awesome – she loved them to pieces and always had. The trouble was that they were both so … competent. Competent and confident – not words that she would use to describe herself.

    Ever since she could remember, it had been a given that Bentley would grow up to run the company. He was the oldest. Willow had always had her own ideas. She’d gone off to work her way around the wine world so that she’d be able to come home and do her part. It was as though their futures had been mapped out from the moment they were born. They were destined to take over the company some day and to take it to new heights. Since their mom had stepped down, they were doing exactly that – Bentley as CEO and Willow as COO.

    Tori felt as though the stork had dropped her with the wrong family. She’d heard her mom once admit that she hadn’t planned to have three children – she’d expected that she would stop at two – and those words had stuck with Tori.

    Now that she was old enough to have kids of her own, Tori knew that it had been no more than a throwaway comment. She didn’t even think those words had made her feel like the odd one out – that she didn’t quite belong in her own family. It was more like they had confirmed what she already knew.

    She followed the creek bed a little way until she found her favorite spot, then plonked herself down on the ground and took her phone out. She loved to sit outside and feel the breeze as she listened to her music, and this was the only place she felt comfortable to do that here.

    Back in her place in Nashville, she had an awesome backyard where she spent a lot of her time on the swing shaded by the huge bur oak tree. She turned to look up at the red willow she was leaning against then patted its bark, feeling disloyal to it that it wasn’t able to comfort her in the way that big old oak tree did.

    Her phone buzzed in her hand, making her jump. She peered at it warily, hoping that it wasn’t anyone wanting to ask how she was, or where she was – or worse still, what her plans were. She didn’t have any!

    A big smile spread across her face when she saw the name on the display.

    Xander: Whatcha doing?

    Tori: Not much. You?

    Xander: Thinking about you.

    Tori: I’m safe. Promise.

    He was so sweet. Even now that they were back here in Napa – and there was no danger to her whatsoever, he still checked in with her almost every day.

    Xander: Not as safe as you would be if you were with me.

    She stared at the words. If only he knew! Of course, he was right – if he was talking about being safe from physical danger. But being around Xander presented a whole different set of dangers for her. When she was with him, she didn’t feel safe from the risk of embarrassing herself – or of putting their friendship at risk.

    It was getting harder and harder to keep her feelings to herself. She didn’t want to tell him, but every time she was around him, she found herself on the verge of throwing caution to the wind and confessing that she was crazy about him!

    That was why she’d been trying to avoid him since they’d come home to Napa. She hated it. She missed him. After spending all their time together for the last few months, it felt like torture not to see him. But there was no reason for it here. She had to wean herself off him and somehow find a way back to just being friends.

    Sure, he’d hinted at wanting them to become more than friends, but that was probably just while they’d lived in such close quarters for so long – it would have been convenient.

    For all intents and purposes, he’d been her own personal bodyguard for a few months, but that was behind them now. He didn’t need to stay at her place with her anymore, didn’t need to escort her everywhere she went – and he most certainly didn’t need to share her bed.

    She closed her eyes and let the memories wash over her. She missed how close they’d been – and wished that she’d been brave enough to get closer while she could. He might have shared her bed every night for weeks, but they hadn’t done anything more than sleep next to each other.

    She looked down at her phone when another message came in.

    Xander: Sorry. I know you’re safe at home – you don’t need me anymore.

    How about you come out with me later? Make me feel a bit less useless?

    Tori: You could never be useless!

    Xander: Come out with me then?

    Tori: Where?

    Xander: Anywhere!!! Let’s get out of here for a while?

    She stared at her phone again. Of all the things he could have said, that was the one guaranteed to get her to agree. She longed to get out of here – off the estate, leave Napa behind for a little while. Well, she’d love to leave Napa for good, but it’d hurt too many people’s feelings when she admitted that – and left – so she was biding her time.

    Tori: Okay.

    Xander: I’ll be there in fifteen.

    Tori: Make it half an hour?

    Xander: K. What are you doing?

    Tori: Hiding down by the creek. I need to get changed.

    Xander: No you don’t, you look gorgeous just as you are.

    She looked down at her cutoff jeans and shabby old T-shirt and laughed.

    Tori: You haven’t seen me. You don’t know what you’re saying.

    Xander: I have and I do! Get moving, see you in 25.

    Tori: Ok.

    ~ ~ ~

    Xander shoved his phone back in his pocket and headed for the stairs. Tori didn’t need to change out of whatever she was wearing – no matter what she said. He didn’t need to see her to know that.

    But since she’d no doubt attempt to make herself look presentable as she saw it, he should probably at least check the mirror. He loved the way she looked when she was just being herself. She wore jean shorts and faded old T-shirts and when she paired them with the little cowboy boots that she generally favored, she drove him out of his mind.

    Since they’d been back here in Napa, she’d taken to dressing more conventionally. She was still hot – she’d be hot in whatever she wore, as far as he was concerned – but she wasn’t as comfortable, and that dimmed her light.

    He stood in front of the mirror in his bathroom and ran his hand over his cheek. He should probably shave, but the memory of her running her fingers over his stubble with a little smile on her face as she told him that it suited him made him think better of it.

    He changed his T-shirt and swiped on some more deodorant before running back down the stairs. He skidded to a halt in the hallway when Jacob stuck his head out of his study.

    “Do you want … oh, are you on your way out?”


    “Where are you going?”

    “Just for a drive.”

    Jacob stepped out into the hallway and cocked an eyebrow. “A drive?”

    “Yeah.” Xander had a feeling that his brother knew exactly how he felt about Tori, but he hadn’t brought the subject up yet – and now wasn’t the time to get into it.

    “I was going to ask if you wanted to come out for dinner later. Becca just talked to Piper. Apparently, she and Cam and some of the others are meeting up at Molly’s to eat.”

    “I’m good.” He’d love to go and have dinner with them all – he’d love even more to be able to take Tori. But if they went, they’d be there as friends. She’d give him a wide berth. He wanted to hang out with her, be alone with her. He wanted things to be like they were in Nashville. He wanted more than that if he was honest – but he sure as hell didn’t want less.

    “Are you doing okay?” Jacob asked. “You’ve been unsettled since you came home.”

    “I’m fine.” He did his best to resist checking his watch, but he’d told Tori twenty-five minutes and time was ticking by.

    “Are you going for a drive by yourself?”

    That was the question he’d been hoping to avoid. He didn’t want to lie. Instead, he shrugged.

    A small smile played on Jacob’s lips. “I should get Becca to invite Tori to join us. No one’s seen much of her since you guys came back.”

    Xander blew out a sigh. “Okay! I’m taking her out for a drive. What do you want me to tell you?”

    Jacob chuckled. “The whole story would be good, but I know I’m not going to get that any time soon. Go on. It’s obvious you’re in a hurry. But you know you guys should just come out and tell everyone that you’re together. They’ll be happy about it; I don’t know why you think it’d be a problem.”

    “I would love to tell everyone that – and I will, just as soon as it’s true. But it isn’t yet.”

    “It’s not like you to take your time with a woman.”

    Xander gave him a rueful smile. “True. But Tori’s … different.”

    Jacob grinned. “I was hoping that was the case. Go on. Don’t let me hold you up. But remember – I’m in your corner, and you can bet that everyone else will be too.”


    As he hurried out to his SUV, Xander wished that he could get Tori in his corner – or at least, on the same page with him. As he pulled away from the house, he turned on the radio – country music! It was all Tori’s fault. He’d grown to love it, just as he’d grown to love her. He could only hope that one day she’d love him back.

    As he approached the gates to the DuPont Estate, he grinned when he spotted her. She was walking down the long driveway and had almost made it to the gates. She waved when she saw him and jogged the rest of the way to meet him, letting herself out of the little side gate.

    His heart hammered in his chest when she climbed up into the passenger seat and gave him a shy smile.


    “What for? I’m the one who should be thanking you; I didn’t think you’d say yes.”

    She lifted a shoulder. “Like I said, I was hiding out down by the creek. I need to get out of here for a while.”

    Damn. And he’d been hoping that she might be as eager to see him as he was to see her. He gave her a mock pout. “So, I’m just your excuse to escape?”

    “No! I mean, well, yes, kind of. But not just that. I … I’m glad to see you, too.”

    He wanted to believe that her cheeks turned pink because she was embarrassed to admit that she was happy to see him. But it probably wasn’t that. Even so, he couldn’t resist reaching across and landing a peck on her cheek. “Not as glad as I am to see you.”

    He turned the SUV around and headed out of town. He hadn’t even planned where he was going. He’d texted her because he was sick of thinking about her and not being able to talk to her. He hadn’t expected that she’d agree to come out with him.

    “What have you been doing with yourself?” he asked.

    She shrugged. “Not much. Just trying to stay out of the way, mostly.”

    He glanced over at her. “Whose way are you in?”

    She made a face. “That’s the trouble. I don’t really know. I just … that’s how it feels when I’m at the house. It always has. You know that.”

    He did. He’d learned a lot about her in the months that he’d stayed with her in Nashville. He’d be forever grateful that he’d had that time with her. He’d gotten to know her better than maybe anyone else did.

    He’d gone there because Calypso Rayne – a big country music star, who Tori sang backup for – had a stalker. There hadn’t been any direct threat to Tori, but Xander and her family had wanted to do everything they could to make sure that she was safe. He’d recently gotten out of the Navy and so he’d volunteered his services to work as her personal protection guy.

    He’d loved staying in her quirky little house in East Nashville with her – loved getting to know the woman she’d grown into, and seeing how she lived her life. They hadn’t spent much time together since he’d left for the Navy when he was eighteen, but he’d always had a soft spot for her.

    They’d spent a lot of time talking when he stayed with her. She’d opened up to him about feeling like the odd one out in her family – she’d opened up about a lot of things. The more he learned about her, the harder he fell.

    It might look from the outside like they couldn’t be more different. In truth, they had a lot in common, having grown up here in Napa the way they had – as part of the circle that many referred to as ‘wine country royalty.’ He’d been surprised to discover that she felt like just as much of an outsider as he did. Granted, it was for very different reasons.

    He felt her gaze on him as he drove and turned to smile at her. Why waste time caught up in his thoughts when she was sitting right there beside him?

    “How about you? Have you decided whether you’re going to accept the job with Kolby’s brother?”

    He shook his head rapidly, knowing damn well that she would take that to mean that he hadn’t decided yet. He had – he’d known from the moment Cash MacFarland had called to ask if he wanted to join their team that he wasn’t going to take the job. He just didn’t want to admit it yet.

    While everyone thought that he was simply taking a break, they wouldn’t question his motives for staying here in Napa. When they knew that he didn’t plan to go and work for Cash, they’d want to know what he was going to do next. He didn’t want to have to explain to anyone that he was just biding his time until Tori made her mind up. If she stayed here, he would, too. If she went back to Nashville, he was going to find a way to go with her. Even if she didn’t want him with her, he’d go anyway. He’d get some kind of job there, even if it were working as a bouncer in one of the bars – there was always a demand for them.

    ~ ~ ~

    Tori turned to look out the window as they headed north out of town. She was happy that he’d asked her to come along, but she couldn’t help wondering why he had. She had a nasty feeling that maybe he’d just gotten used to looking out for her.

    She was dreading the day when he would announce that he was leaving town again. The only thing she could think of that would be worse than that would be if he were to meet someone here. If he started dating, she’d be on the jet back to Nashville just as soon as she could – even though there was nothing there for her to go back to.

    She was going to have to figure out what to do with her life. She couldn’t carry on the way she was. She was living on the family estate when she didn’t want to be there. She didn’t have a job or even any prospects. And glancing over at Xander again, she realized that the most depressing thing about her situation was that she got to hang out with him but didn’t have the guts to even ask if he wanted to take their friendship to another level.

    “I don’t think I can I live in limbo like this for much longer.”

    She turned back to look at him. His gaze was fixed on the road ahead. He looked serious, maybe even irritated – a little pulse ticked at his temple. She held her breath, dreading what he might say next. If he weren’t going to take the job with Cash, perhaps he’d already decided what else he was going to do. Her heart thudded to a halt – perhaps he’d asked her to come for a drive with him so that he could tell her that he was leaving.

    “What … what do you mean?”

    He shot a quick glance at her, and she braced herself for bad news. Then he turned his attention back to the road, and chuckled. “I can’t live with not knowing if I’m doing the right thing. Jacob said that everyone’s meeting at Molly’s for dinner. I decided for you that you’d rather come for a drive with me, but now I don’t know if I did wrong.”

    She gave him a wry smile. “You didn’t do wrong.”


    “No. I wouldn’t have wanted to go but I wouldn’t have had an excuse. Thank you.”

    He nodded slowly. “No need. You’re my excuse, too.”

    View full details