THE WINEMAKER'S SON
BUY THE BOOK
When his knee shatters on the playing field, Charlie
Marston is plunged into turmoil. The fallen college
superstar joins the family winemaking business, but
working alongside his parents is not the future he had
planned. He escapes work whenever he can and soon finds
a new friend named Randy Black. Randy is part
stunt-pilot, part Casanova, and part drunken Pied
Piper. Randy introduces Charlie to Deirdre Deudon, the
provocative wife of a French farmer. They come together
in an ill-conceived stunt that explodes into
consequences that chase Charlie and Randy back home to
Massachusetts and change Deirdre's life forever. The
after-effects of this tragic mistake bind the three of
them together and threaten everything they hold dear.
Charlie Marston’s hand wavered as he poured the
last of the third bottle of merlot. He ignored the red
droplets on the battered table and turned toward a
breeze that blew in through the unscreened window.
Outside, the scraggly grass waved in the moonlight and
the weathered barn stood silently in shadow. Charlie
watched and listened for Randy’s return, half expecting
the owner of the old house to arrive first and run him
off. Charlie had met the owner only once. He knew Perry
didn’t live in France and he seldom visited, but the
farmhouse was his and trespassing put Charlie on edge.
Randy had stated his philosophy on the matter before he
left, "Apologize if you must, but never waste time
waiting for permission."
Charlie watched the field nervously, but nothing
stirred. His problem wasn’t out there in the dark. It
was nine kilometers away at the winery his father had
just acquired. His damaged knee condemned him to season
after season of growing grapes and formulating new
wines instead of doing what he loved. He had been just
six months short of the draft and all but promised a
starting position with Pittsburg, when a
two-hundred-eighty-five-pound defensive lineman crashed
down and shattered his kneecap. The scouts saw the
injury from the stands and watched him carried away on
the stretcher. Even if they hadn’t, it didn’t matter.
After months of therapy and two years of recuperation,
Charlie could barely trot.
Two years at U.C. Davis had stalled the inevitable, but
now that his coursework was complete, there was nothing
to stop his induction into the family winemaking
business. Charlie often imagined traveling here to the
south of France as a football hero and how the money
and celebrity status would draw a flock of women; being
here as a grape farmer was infinitely less exciting.
Wine was his father’s passion, his life, and Charlie
joined the business with trepidation. One hope had
pulled him through U.C. Davis: getting to know the man
who’d been little more than a ghost during his
childhood. Charlie’s graduation thrust them together
and for the first time he saw his father with an
adult’s vision. Charles berated employees for minor
misjudgments and he never once consoled his son for his
plunge from professional athlete to professional
winemaker. The longer they worked together, the lower
Charles Marston sank in his son’s esteem.
The idea that he’d sprung from such a man and that he
might grow to resemble him, soured Charlie’s interest
in winemaking. Whenever possible, he ventured away from
the twenty thousand square foot stone castle his father
called ‘the chateau.’ On one such trip, he met an
American businessman named Brad Perry who told him
about an old farm he had bought as a site for his new
vacation home. Charlie deduced the farm’s location and
decided it was a safe place to hide away. In just a few
days, Charlie had cleaned away years of neglect from
the interior four rooms and made himself a comfortable
place to escape his father’s constant admonitions.
Charlie stood in the house now, studying the murky
space around the barn. The hum of a car’s engine drew
nearer and idled in front of the garage. Charlie’s
heart quickened as he imagined what Randy was doing
with her down in the car. Afraid to move and drown out
the sounds below, Charlie stood frozen at the window.
The engine ceased. He held his breath as one door
opened and then the other. His immediate thought was to
hide, yet he waited. Listening. Footsteps crunched in
the gravel, heels clicked on the steps, and then a
flirtatious, inebriated giggle.
She was here! Randy had found her.
Randy’s power over people was confounding. From a
distance, he looked like a guy you’d cross the street
to avoid. Tall and thin, he always dressed in black and
wore iridescent, reflective sunglasses tucked into
unkempt hair that waved well below his shoulders. On
the rare occasions he shaved, he left behind enough
stubble to cover his features. When Randy had first
approached him, Charlie couldn’t imagine what kind of
character lurked beneath the hair and glasses. But
despite the bedraggled appearance, Randy had drawn him
in with a zany philosophy and a life that was all about
fun. Like his hair that fanned out in every conceivable
direction, Randy would say or do anything at any time.
He knew no boundaries and that freedom attracted a
crowd of fun-seekers when he went out. As Charlie
listened at the window, he realized that Randy was
exactly what this woman sought.
Even after a hundred readings, just thinking about her
Internet ad made his heart stutter. He couldn’t believe
she was about to strut into the room. It could be
another woman coming inside with Randy, but Charlie
wondered what ‘LustyFarmWife’ would really be like. Her
ad said she was forty-one, five-four and her picture
showed a slim, curvaceous figure with the face blurred
over. The first line of the ad played over and over in
Charlie’s mind. ‘Lonely wife seeks young studs for sex,
no strings, no inhibitions, willing to try anything
once… twice if it’s fun.’ The last part is what
attracted Randy. After two months cavorting together,
Charlie was sure the ‘anything’ Randy had in mind was
something he had never dreamed of.
Charlie heard the front door open and Randy’s voice in
the hall. Two sets of footsteps creaked their way up
the narrow stairway multiplying Charlie’s excitement
with every sound. A head of long, fine hair led the
way. The woman’s face was older than Charlie expected,
different than the college girls he’d known. She was
attractive, but her eyes were lined with wrinkles, her
skin smoothed with makeup. She cautiously wobbled into
the small bedroom unaware of Charlie at the window.
Randy came in after her, placed two fresh bottles of
wine on the nightstand, and firmly grabbed a handful of
her behind. He reached his free hand around to her chin
and angled her face toward Charlie.
"Eve, Charlie. Charlie, Eve."
Randy nibbled at her earlobe and made his way down
along her neck as if the trip up the stairs had
interrupted his work in the car.
Eve tipped her head to one side to accommodate him,
smiled, and surveyed Charlie, who was feeling more than
a little confused. Randy hadn’t said what they’d do or
how. Charlie couldn’t imagine how to get started. He
couldn’t join in with Randy blanketing her the way he
was. Eve, as if that were her real name, seemed to
sense Charlie’s uncertainty and waved him over.
"Don’t be shy. I don’t like the dark and I don’t like
snakes, but anything else you’ve got in mind is
When Charlie failed to move in, Eve turned and kissed
Randy, grinding her body against his. Slowly, she
released him with a deep sigh, savoring his taste. She
turned away from Randy, who was still wrapped around
her, and licked her lips with her eyes focused at
Charlie, licking then sucking her finger before
motioning him to join them.
"I’m sure you can go all night, but there’s no need to
wait that long."
Randy didn’t seem to care if Charlie joined them or
Charlie’s feet refused to move. He’d been with several
women, but never like this. Randy was rubbing his hands
all over her. While Charlie hesitated, Eve licked her
lips once more then abruptly turned away, lifting her
dress to reveal lacy black lingerie stretched tight
over her rear end. She gyrated beneath the fringes of
her silky red dress, enticing him. Randy slipped his
hands under her dress, lifted it off, and tossed it
toward the bed.
Charlie crossed the room, but stopped a foot away. The
wine had gotten him this far, but the gap between
watching and touching seemed immense. Finally, he
couldn’t resist and hesitantly placed his hands above
her hips and began feeling his way around her smooth
skin. Eve, still facing Randy, grabbed his wrists and
pulled him to her. Charlie’s doubts vanished when their
bodies touched front-to-back. He eagerly helped Randy
strip off her lingerie as she wiggled between them.
Eve was overjoyed to feel herself pinned between the
two men. She turned back and forth grinding her
backside against one while kissing and rubbing the
other. Every few moments she switched to face the other
partner. At the third such turn, Randy pulled off his
belt and led Eve toward the bed, instructing Charlie to
follow. Charlie’s mouth was agape when Randy wrapped
the belt around and around her wrist then secured her
to the bedpost. Amazingly, she didn’t protest; she
seemed to enjoy it. With a little urging from Randy,
Charlie fastened her other hand, but his side was far
too loose. Randy walked over and cinched it tight,
leaving Eve standing naked in the middle of the small
room leaning forward toward the bed. Randy, still
standing behind her, quickly pulled of his boots and
stripped off his pants. Charlie backed to the edge of
the bed and sat in awe as they began to move in unison
without a word between them. Eve saw Charlie sitting
there and flicked her tongue seductively, eyeing the
bulge in his jeans. She reached for him, but couldn’t
move her bound hands. It was too much for Charlie. He
ripped off his pants, scooted himself onto the bed and
knelt in front of Eve, his hands firmly planted in her
Just as her lips parted and her head began to lower
toward Charlie, there was a crash at the front door.
Wood crackled. The door scraped and dragged partway
open. Charlie’s attention snapped to the heavy thudding
footsteps on the stairs and the hissing of a light
jacket that rubbed along the wall as the intruder
climbed toward them. Randy was still fully engaged with
Eve as the man crested the stairs and stopped inside
the room to survey the scene. He was a hulk of a man,
not unusually tall, but solidly built, poised to
spring, and fuelled by the horrifying scene before him.
His muscles tensed, his face swelled evermore furious
with rage. His eyes darted around the room finding new
details to deepen his horror with each passing second.
Charlie looked over at the fingers gripping the bedpost
and noticed a worn diamond ring. He hadn’t seen it
earlier and even if he had, it wouldn’t have stopped
him. He looked back to the man at the door. For an
instant the man held fast, his anger building as he saw
the two naked men, the bound hands, and the apparent
drunkenness of his wife. His overwrought mind searched
for a target to lash out upon. He found it when Randy
eased out of the woman and backed up half a step.
"God damn you, Deirdre!" he screamed, the sheer volume
of air rushing from his lungs testified to the power of
this man. In two thunderous bounds, he buried his
shoulder into Randy, knocked him backward against the
dresser, rolled over him, and slammed him to the floor
beneath the open window. Randy, still considerably
drunk and clothed only in his sunglasses, was more
confused by his abrupt change of position than injured
by the rolling tackle.
Deirdre yanked at her bindings, struggling to get free.
Charlie couldn’t be sure if she intended to help her
husband or run from him, so he left her there and
hopped off the bed. Randy was now pinned to the floor
by the hulking man kneeling on his chest. He pounded
repeatedly with his right fist, smearing blood across
Randy’s face. Charlie wheeled around looking for a
weapon. He found only shoes and clothes strewn about
before turning back to see Randy’s head lolling with
the blows. He wouldn’t last much longer. Charlie
stepped up and hit the man between the shoulders with
all his strength, jolting him forward, but having
little effect. The man ignored Charlie and continued
Charlie remembered a lesson Randy had given him one day
by the punching bag. He grabbed a handful of hair just
above the man’s forehead, pulled upward, and landed a
second punch to the base of his neck. He wobbled and
dropped forward just like Randy had said he would.
Randy, stunned and bleeding, sluggishly threw the man
off and pulled himself up. He leaned against the
dresser, breathing heavily and glaring down at the
assailant at his feet. Three fingers reflexively
brushed across his cheek, smearing half his face
crimson and making his cheek look as if it had been
torn open. His face turned angry when he saw his own
thick blood on his fingers. He reached down and put on
his sunglasses, which now had a large crack across the
The dazed man struggled to push himself up from the
floor. When he reached his knees, Randy summoned all
his might and slammed his foot into the man’s ribs,
dropping him back down. A whoosh of air escaped his
lungs as he landed. Randy grabbed him by the shirt and
the belt and hoisted him to his feet. He signaled
Charlie to grab onto the other side, likewise. Together
they turned him toward the far side of the room,
dragged his stumbling body four steps forward, and then
heaved him headlong into the wall. His face crashed
through two narrow wallboards. His jaw lodged half-in
and half-out of the wall, suspending his torso three
feet off the floor. Randy rushed to the nightstand,
picked up a full bottle of wine and rushed back toward
the trapped man.
Charlie stood motionless and watched Randy rush by
Deirdre, watched her foot jut out behind her and tangle
with Randy’s ankles, watched Randy fall forward and
skip off the floorboards, lucky not to catch any tender
flesh in one of the crevices.
The intruder moaned at the clatter and struggled to
work his head free.
Deirdre yanked at the bedposts.
Charlie stood empty-handed, naked, and confused.
When Randy scrambled back to his feet, the stubble and
glasses couldn’t hide the intensity of his rage. He
looked as if he’d dismember both of them barehanded. He
slapped Deirdre with an open hand, instantly leaving a
red welt on her behind. The stinging clap on soft bare
flesh renewed the fight in her husband, but Randy
reached him before he could free himself from the wall.
Charlie watched as Randy rushed past with the bottle.
Randy took a stutter step, planted his feet and swung
the bottle with incredible force, pounding the man’s
head further into the wall. Charlie stepped away
horrified. The man neither moved nor breathed and
neither did Deirdre.
Randy grabbed the back of the man’s collar and yanked
him free from the wall. Jagged splinters scraped long
white lines across his face, but the man didn’t flinch.
When Randy let go, he crumpled to the floor in an
The room shook and a small package dropped to the
floor. In the stillness and intense awareness of the
moment, the sound was clear. Another package fell. This
time, each of them saw the green and white packet slip
from the wall and land on the man’s head. Randy leaned
closer and ripped off the cracked section of board. An
avalanche of the little packets followed. They were
hundred dollar bills, the wall was full of them and now
there was a pile of them on the floor, lumped on the
man that lay face-down and motionless..
"...the book was
spellbinding. The plotting is brilliant, and Randy is
an exquisite character, an evil genius for the modern
"C.J. West delivers, from the
highly erotic opening scene to the chilling conclusion.
The Winemaker's Son is a provocative page-turner brimming
with intrigue and heart-pounding suspense."
I picked up a copy of C.J.
West's "Sin and Vengeance", and settled in to read it
after work. Several hours later, I'd had an evening of
twists and turns, vivid characters, and several moments
where I found myself reminding myself to breathe.
"I cannot understand, with all the crap out there
why a major publisher has not jumped all over you with
a big time deal. The story is believable and haunting,
and the writing flows effortlessly with characters that
are so well conceived you can almost reach out and
touch them... Keep writing works like this and you will
be a household name sometime soon."
"Fast, Sexy and Brutal ... This book deserves an A+
for head-spinning plotting and intricate surprises."
Frank Joseph, Author, To Love mercy
"This debut mystery from C.J. West reads like an
action movie ... the action in Sin and Vengeance is
just as thick & fast."
Narayan Radhakrishnan, Associate Reviewer, Rebecca's
"Sin and Vengeance is the first book in the Randy
Black series, written by ingenious storyteller, CJ
West. In this first book, the author skillfully mixes
elements of wine making, seduction, intrigue, spying,
wealth, and murder to drag the thrill-seeking reader
into the masterfully orchestrated revenge of Randy
"This story keeps you on the edge of your seat until
the very last page."
"A truly unpredictable and intriguing thriller.."
Buy The Book
The Winemaker's Son is available as a trade paperback or
an e-book compatible with any e-reader. Personalized trade paperbacks
are now available for purchase via the BUY button at the bottom of this page.
ISBN 10: 0-9767788-0-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-9767788-0-6
Published: 22 West Books, October 2005
Order your personalized trade paperback
signed and shipped by CJ.
$15.00 Plus Shipping
Be the first to know about new books and events!
to CJ's newsletter.
New to CJ's work?
Start with these:
Marking Time Series
The End of Marking Time
The Cat Bagger's
Randy Black Series
The Winemaker's Son