Review: Whiskey Business (States of Love) by Avon Gale

Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder’s ultimate goal is to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he's worth the investment.

Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home, in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder is to his tastes.

If reading Whiskey Business doesn’t make you want to grab a glass and pour yourself an ounce or two of the amber goodness, there is definitely something wrong. Whiskey Business is an ideal addition to the States of Love series. I don’t think anyone could have pulled off a town like Gallows Grove like Avon Gale does. It could have easily gotten too kitschy and lost its edge, but instead the quirky characters and all the gothic names balanced with a good story and solid MC’s. Gallows Grove read like a town I would love to visit on the Bourbon Trail and the author kept it from becoming a caricature of what it was meant to be.

Ryder Waites has inherited the family business and in order to keep the town afloat he has sold the recipe for the whiskey his family has been distilling for generations. Ideally, the production will remain in Gallows Grove, the distribution will grow and the town will make it on the map. Problem is, Ryder isn’t heavy on the business savvy side, didn’t completely understand the contract he signed and the town may end up losing Hanged Man Bourbon all together if the distillery isn’t salvageable. So, in comes Adam Keller, a rep from Lexington to determine if they have enough to work with in Gallows Grove.

And thus, the push and pull of the enemies to lovers shenanigans begin.

I definitely had a better feel for Ryder for the first half of the book, which made sense since he was home and surrounded by people who knew his family since the beginning of time. Adam is an outsider, but he still holds his own with professionalism and tact. As the two tour the property, dig into operations and spend copious amounts of time together, they let loose with a lot of snark and a little flirting. The snark starts to get more good natured, the flirting gets a little more overt and it isn’t too long before the two of them cross the line and the clothes went a-flying. But, dammit all, as with the best of the enemies to lovers stories, feelings start to get involved and the future starts to look a little brighter for both yet a lot more complicated too.

Whiskey Business is pretty low on the angst scale and the actions that lead up to Ryder and Adam “splitting up” are pretty realistic given the situation and it all had to go down for a believable HEA to happen. The time apart was well written and kept the story grounded and from being too easy. It was also when I felt like I got to know Adam too. He was back on his turf and his life back in Lexington really explained why he was so reticent to change and why he had trouble accepting the casual, but sincere affection that he received from the town of Gallows Grove in general and from Adam in particular.

Oh, that ending.


I loved it. It was the perfect ending for Adam and Ryder, and for the whole town. It was an all-encompassing HEA that made me thirsty for a Bourbon Press and itching to take a road trip.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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