#HumpDayReviews: Secret Blend by Jennifer Bramseth

Earlier this week I posted an excerpt and giveaway from Jennifer Bramseth for her latest book, Secret Blend. Today I’m bringing you a review of the book!


MediaKit_BookCover_SecretBlendWhen longtime courtroom rivals Rachel Richards and Brady Craft get appointed to the bench in Bourbon Springs, Kentucky, tempers flare as they are forced to share chambers.

Working closely with the obstinate-yet-sexy Brady is not an attractive idea to Rachel—although she has to admit that Brady himself is pretty damned attractive.

Rachel doesn’t have to run for office to keep her judgeship, but Brady does. He draws a formidable opponent, Hannah Davenport, a wealthy co-owner of Old Garnet Distillery, where some of the finest Kentucky bourbon is crafted north of town along Old Crow Creek and near the historic springs which gave the town its unique name.

And Hannah just happens to be Rachel’s best friend.

As the judicial race heats up, so does the relationship between the judges—so they decide to keep it a secret.

But can any secret be kept in little Bourbon Springs, Kentucky?

Secret Blend is the first book in the Bourbon Springs Series, an upcoming nine-book series of smooth, sensual, sexy, slow-burn contemporary romances set amidst the lush and rolling Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass of central Kentucky.

My Thoughts

Although Kentucky is probably the last place in the world I would expect to find romance, Jennifer Bramseth’s Secret Blend offers compelling evidence to the contrary. So even though I’m not a fan of bourbon (I’m more of a vodka gal, myself), I liked learning about the drink’s distinct characteristics, and watching how various facts about the beverage – and its birthplace – were skillfully woven into the story.

You might think a tale of two judges would be about as dry as a couple of legal briefs, but in a town as small as Bourbon Springs, there’s bound to be talk – so why not give ’em something to talk about? That seems to be the mentality of Rachel Richards and Brady Craft, two judges in a town that doesn’t seem big enough for the both of them.


I enjoyed the romantic scenes between Rachel and Brady, once their affair finally took off (chapter 13, in case you’d like to skip to the good stuff), and Rachel’s penchant for nude swims made for a great start to their rendezvous – particularly after a hot, sweaty day. Though I’d quibble with a couple hashing out condom etiquette in the pool, given the possibility for shrinkage (not to mention pruney fingers!), it was interesting to discover that both had been through a similar dry spell of five years.

I was also a bit perplexed by Rachel’s decision to prime Brady’s pump in the shower, with the rather spurious explanation “When they at last fell into bed together and he was inside her, she wanted to make sure he lasted more than a nanosecond.” Have all of Rachel’s previous lovers been Nanosecond Men? Does she simply assume that all men are pathetic creatures who can’t hold their wads once inside her magical vagina? She’s never been with Brady before, so what gives with the stereotyping?

Then again, I wouldn’t exactly peg manly Brady as the type of dude who’d scream Rachel’s name during sex – and certainly not after a simple handjob – but there you go.

As for his formidable foe in the judicial race, I have to admit I never bought that storyline to begin with. Hannah Davenport, with no legal background whatsoever, decides to run for the elected office just because she’s got the money? Maybe I’m missing something, but I was always under the impression that judges had to have at least some experience in court in order to run for a position that requires extensive knowledge of the law. If that’s not the case in the state of Kentucky, then whoa nelly!

But perhaps even more unbelievable than Hannah’s totally random career change is the way she utterly flips out once she discovers Rachel’s been sharing even closer quarters with Brady than their office at the courthouse. Let’s just say that anyone who acted as cruelly as Hannah does to Rachel wouldn’t even be on my yearly XXXmas card list, much less my BFF. (And who really refers to their best friend as a “little idiot” behind their back?!)

Despite these out-of-character bits and pieces, I really liked the way this story ended. After all, you can’t build up a tale of love, lust, betrayal and alcohol in a small town without setting off of a few fireworks, can you? I won’t spoil the ending, but I enjoyed the way a seemingly simple court case suddenly had its stakes raised by a minor character taking the reins. Good ol’ boys: can’t live with ’em, can’t get your happy ending without ’em!

If you’re up for a little courtroom drama, some sneaking around small town gossips, and a good old-fashioned love story with none of the naughty bits left out, then grab a glass of your favorite bourbon and a copy of Secret Blend from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.