• http://lizcrowe.com/about-liz/

    Meet Liz Crowe

  • http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P4GJCL8

    Love Garage - Book 1

  • http://lizcrowe.com/love-brothers-series/

    Coach Love - Book 2

  • http://lizcrowe.com/love-brothers-series/

    Love Brewing - Book 3

  • http://lizcrowe.com/love-brothers-series/

    Family Love - Book 4

  • http://www.amazon.com/Paradise-Hops-Liz-Crowe-ebook/dp/B009QBLIOQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404244590&sr=1-1&keywords=Paradise+Hops

    Paradise Hops

  • http://www.amazon.com/Good-Faith-Stewart-Realty-Crowe-ebook/dp/B00GN6WCHO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1385839229&sr=1-1&keywords=Good+Faith+Liz+Crowe

    Good Faith (Stewart Realty 8)

  • http://lizcrowe.com/love-brothers-series/

    Love Brothers Series

  • http://lizcrowe.com/the-realtors-series/

    Stewart Realty Series

  • http://lizcrowe.com/standalone-books/

    Standalone Titles

Dealing in Disappointment

Saturday, February 21st , 2015

The Big D—–Disappointment.It’s one of the toughest realities around, isn’t it?Our first ones come early in life. We don’t get the toy we’re reaching for. We can’t have the dog’s bone to chew on (why not? HE likes it!). We aren’t able to stay up late…

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Stealing and Sliding With Ella Jade

Friday, February 20th , 2015
Today on the Books, Beer & More Blog we are gonna talk sports. Now that all that National Championship College Football nonsense is over and we are headed into Liz’s 2nd fav. season (that of the roundball) it isn’t too early to start thinking baseball. My guest today, Ella Jade has a few things to say about that.

Tosses one to Ella….

BUY LINKS: AMAZON     Barnes and Noble

If you’re into hot, dirty-talkin’, sexy baseball heroes I may have just the thing to quench that thirst…

Have you met my players? 

Available now for a limited time release price of .99 cents...

Sliding Into Second

Jilted once before, now it’s her turn to level the playing field.

Hotshot sports reporter Sage Millan has been busy making a name for herself in the male dominated world of baseball. She’s just landed her dream job, and her first assignment is covering the newly crowned World Series champions, The Kingston Crushers. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. The only problem…her ex-boyfriend, and the only man she’s ever loved, is the team’s second baseman. Things ended badly between them, and she’s not sure she can put those demons to rest.

Professional baseball player Nicolas Cordova is having the time of his life. His team has just won the World Series, and with the victory comes more fame, women, and exposure than he ever could have imagined. But things are about to change for the sexy, charismatic athlete. He never expected his ex-girlfriend to walk back into his life, much less the locker room.

These days Sage is smarter, more mature, and doesn’t plan on being played a second time. Her appearance stirs old memories for Nic. She’s the one he let get away in the name of his career. He vows he can be the man she needs this time around. Will that be enough to mend her broken heart?

Content Warning: contains explicit sex and adult content

Excerpt…

“I’ll admit I’ve had many women in the past, and I can’t apologize for living. But as the years went by, my feelings for you were always someplace deep in my heart. I know that’s why I can’t settle down. Why I can’t find the peace I’ve been searching for. It doesn’t exist without you.”

“How can you say things like that? You don’t even know the woman I’ve become. I’m not that girl who relied on you, the one who would’ve followed you anywhere. I’m not her anymore, Nic. I can’t ever be her again.”

“Maybe I’m not asking for her.” He leaned closer to her face. “Maybe I want to know the woman you are today. I want another shot at this.”

“No,” she whispered.

“If you remember anything about me, I have a hard time with that word.” He tipped her chin, focusing on her lips. “I am going to kiss you. Right here and right now.”

Her knees buckled as a cool tremor swept through her. She wanted to say no. It was the only logical word to mutter, but her heart didn’t want her to say it. Her body wasn’t on board with turning him down either. The warmth that built in her stomach had moved lower, and now all she could think about was his lips on hers.

“It doesn’t sound like you’re asking,” she breathed out.

“I’m not.”

Before she could say anything else, his mouth was on hers, eager, but slow and soft. His stubble grazed along her chin as he tilted his head and deepened their bond. The sound throughout the crowded lobby seemed to fade into the background, and soon, all she could hear was her heart pumping loud between her ears. Why did he have to be such a freakin’ good kisser?

After the incredibly long connection, he pulled away, but not before stopping to kiss the bottom corner of her mouth like he used to.

“I’ve waited a long time to do that,” he said. “It was worth every lonely minute.”

“I… Nic…” She’d always had the gift of words. It was what she did for a living, but in that moment, all of her thoughts were jumbled and senseless.

“It’s okay.” He grinned as he stroked her cheek. “Let’s get something to eat and maybe figure this out. Whatever this is.”

“No.” She ran her hands along his strong chest, resting them on his shoulders.

“Don’t over analyze this, baby.” He glanced down at her hands on his body. “Let’s just go with it.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you.” She took a breath and continued before she lost her nerve. “Take me upstairs to your room. I know how we can figure this out.”

“What are you asking?” He placed his hand on the small of her back, drawing her closer to him. “You need to be real clear.”

“I want to go upstairs with you.”

“That’s not why I kissed you.”

“Isn’t it?” She smirked. “We’re adults now, Nicky. Let’s settle this like adults.”

“I’m not looking to settle anything. That usually means it’s over, and we’re nowhere near over.” He motioned for Joe. “I’ll take care of the bar tab and then we’ll get dinner.”

“No.” She draped her arms around his neck, intoxicated by the idea of being so close to him again. He may be older now, and may have lost those boyish looks, but the man he had become suited him and drove her wild with need.

“What did I tell you about that word?”

“I can guarantee I won’t be using it once we’re in your bedroom.” She ran her tongue along her top lip. “I’m going to the ladies room. When I come out, if you’re not by the elevators waiting for me, I’ll know that kiss was nothing more than the heat of the moment and we can go on with our lives.”

“Sage?”

“Shh.” She pressed her lips to his. “Now who’s over analyzing?” She reached for her purse and coat hanging on the back of the stool. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.” I hope.

This is book 2 in the Kingston Heat Series but both books stand alone and can be read in either order.

Book One… Stealing His Heart available now.

WARNING… Pax will steal your heart

Will the bad-boy pitcher strike out when it comes to love?

Shy music teacher Sophia Ballis has sworn off men. After a bad experience with a college jock she decided it was better to be alone than to get burned again. She focused on her education and now her new job at a local private school.

Professional baseball pitcher Paxton Hughes is a player both on and off the field. He’s signed to the Kingston Crushers to bring home the coveted championship title. Nothing can get in his way. Serious relationships don’t mix with a life on the road and he never loses focus on the game. One-night stands are his specialty for a reason.

While out jogging one spring morning, the two collide, setting their course in motion. Pax is immediately drawn to the unassuming beauty. Sophia is aware of his reputation and decides one night of meaningless sex with the attractive Texas charmer is just what she needs to get over her self-imposed dry spell. Pax has more than a one-night stand on his mind, but will his bad-boy persona and demanding schedule ruin any chances of a happily ever after?

Content Warning: contains explicit sex and adult content

REVIEWS: 

“Ella Jade always comes through with sexy little romps that are always entertaining” Manic Readers 

“I read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. It has everything I LOVE in a sexy steamy hot book.” My Daily Romance 

“Very fun read.” Musings From An Addicted Reader 

“This is a story that you won’t regret getting into.” Adri at Sassy Moms Say Read Romance 

Ella Jade has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she often had a notebook and pen with her, and now as an adult, the laptop is never far. The plots and dialogue have always played out in her head, but she never knew what to do with them. That all changed when she discovered the eBook industry. She started penning novels at a rapid pace and now she can’t be stopped.

Ella resides in New Jersey with her husband and two boys. When she’s not chasing after her kids, she’s busy creating sexy, domineering men and the strong women who know how to challenge them in and out of the bedroom.  She hopes you’ll get lost in her words.

She loves connecting with readers. You can find her here…

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD

and 

1 of 5 SIGNED SWAG PACKS

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6c6c72bf12/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”6c6c72bf12″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_gbqbpi8g”>a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Free Love? Safe Love!

Sunday, February 15th , 2015
If you had said to me, oh, about six years or so ago “Liz, you are going to write books that people love to read, are willing to pay money for and you are going to offer some of them for free,” I would have choked on my beer. 


There are a lot of folks who consider themselves experts in this crazy brand-new-world-old-world-wilderness we like to call “publishing.” And many of them have claimed in a Loud and Clear Voice: 
Never
Ever
Ever
Ever
Ever
Give “your work” away for free.

Okay, I can see the point of this on one level. I’m getting back into a business I was once pretty damn good at and would never offer my house marketing or buying services for free. 


But…on the other hand…when I was working my tail off getting a brewery off the ground in Ann Arbor one of things I did most to “expose” people to our product was to Give It Away For Free. Whether I was working late into the night at a fundraiser or running my mouth about the product at a tailgate party, I was pouring… free beer. And it worked.

So I’m gonna go with it. One of my publishers already did, actually. By way of introducing new readers to my top selling, 8.5 book Stewart Realty series, the first book, Floor Time, is “perma free” on all ebook platforms. It’s been a pretty damn good way to draw folks into a series that for some, is a hard sell because it won’t adhere to the same old formula and many of the “reviews” state that fairly emphatically. But for many readers, the chance to try a free book has been a great way to latch onto a new author and I’ve garnered my fair share of fans this way.

So, when I concocted my first self published series, The Love Brothers I worked a “free book” into the business plan for it. Yes, I said “business plan,” because as a self published author I am the CEO, the CFO, the marketing VP, the housekeeper and “the creative” all rolled into one somewhat frazzled individual. Treat your self publishing career as anything less than a business at your peril. But I digress.

The Love Brothers story arc by design only hints at the backstory of one of the main couples–Antony and Margot–who are introduced in Love Garage (book 1). While the title of the book implies it will BE “Antony’s story” (he’s the garage proprietor and The Oldest Brother) but I used the novel to tell his youngest brother Aiden’s story from his point of view (and that of Rosalee, Antony’s girlfriend….at first).


So, there was a lot going on behind the scenes, as it were, between Antony and Margot and I knew what it was. But I jumped to Coach Love for the second book and that is Kieran’s tale (brother #2) which lead fairly organically to Love Brewing (book 3, releases March 2) which is Dominic-the-Bad Brother’s novel. 

Which left Antony, the brother who is the backbone of so much of all of these books, a little out in the cold. 

Not any longer!


Introducing SAFE LOVE, The Love Brothers novella.
THE BASICS:

Antony Ian Love has a lot on his ample shoulders. He owns and runs a small business, is estranged from his teenaged daughter AliceLynn, his beloved mother is dying of cancer, and he’s come face to face with his youngest brother Aiden’s sudden reappearance into the Love family circle. Years of sublimating his true self in deep mourning for his long dead wife have hardened the surly, emotional shell he’s nurtured, but one woman seems to have broken through. Rosalee Norris is the young widow of Antony’s best friend Paul and their mutual sorrow and close friendship has slowly morphed into something more.

Family therapist and recent divorcee Margot Hamilton is dropped into the close-knit Love family by necessity but fate has a real design twist in mind. With her heart and mind closed to anything resembling an emotional connection, Margot is shocked to discover something about Antony the very first time they meet–something she tries, and fails, to resist. 

SAFE LOVE, The Love Brothers novella is a tale of love’s realistic complications within the saga of family devotion that runs as wide and deep as the Ohio River–except on Sundays when brothers Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations on the basketball court, Love brother style. 


And your excerpt (suitable for work….there’s another one but you gotta subscribe to my newsletter to read it…)

 From Safe Love

by Liz Crowe

All Rights Reserved

A sharp rap on the door made her jump. “Come in,” she said, pulling her hair into a clip, not looking up at the sound of Antony’s low, growly voice.

“Hi,” he said. “So…I’m here. Now what?”

Margot believed she could hear the ligaments in her neck creak as she looked up at him. She swallowed, smiled and stood, deciding to just go with her gut and see where it took her. She’d never been cautious but getting dumped by the one man she’d allowed herself to love made her hesitate. It would be all right. Antony was engaged and to a lovely woman who did not deserve to be treated this way.

“Sit,” she said, pointing to the chair near her window.

He shrugged and did as she said, slumping down and crossing one ankle over the opposite knee and hooking his hands behind his head, taking a classic male stance of defiance. Confidence surged through her once she realized he was already taking on a role she wanted him to—one she would need to break down in order to help him, whether he realized it or not. Problem was, her sort of “breaking down” would end with sexual intercourse, and she couldn’t allow that. It would be wrong.

She slid one of her desk drawers open and put her hands on something she’d placed there, almost without thinking after his last, awkward visit. The silky fabric slipped through her fingers. Antony frowned at the sight of it in her hand, his posture shifting ever so slightly from defiance into fear. She could almost see it shimmering off him and it made her feel powerful yet sad at the same time.

“I’m going to try a little experiment with you.” She came around the side of the desk and headed to him just as he jumped to his feet. “Sit down, Antony,” she said, using her best take-no-shit voice as she invaded his personal space, the blindfold in one hand. “It will be all right, I promise.”

He shook his head but sat, leaving her standing over him, which gave her a shiver of anticipation that she promptly quelled. His strong arms hung loose at his sides, his jeans-clad legs sprawled out, too long for the chair. She stood behind him and placed the black silk cover over his eyes, noting how he shook. After tying it in such a way she knew would be nearly impossible to release, she placed her palms on his broad shoulders. As she had hoped, his thrumming, nervous energy calmed under her touch.

Too easy, she thought.

Not good, she also thought, tamping down the extreme urge to lean over him and lick her way up his neck.

Instead, she spoke into the air over his head. “Now, tell me one thing you miss about Crystal.”

“Uh…” he said, clenching and unclenching his fingers. “It’s…um… been such a long time and I…”

“One thing Antony, quick, without thinking too hard.”

He took a long, shuddering breath. “Her lips.”

“Okay, now another thing.” She kept her hands pressed on his shoulders, willing him to be calm and to open up to her.

“Her ass,” he growled. She smiled.

“Now we’re getting somewhere. One more thing, please.”

“Her…” he sucked in a breath. “The way she’d be in charge.”

“Hmm…” Margot said, willing herself to stay put, to not place herself in front of him and do what she really wanted. “And what do you mean by that? She balanced the checkbook?”

“No,” he whispered.

“Okay then. Where was she in charge?” She caught herself even as she said it, implying that Antony’s wife had been “in charge” in a specific place. But it cut to the chase, so why not?

“I’m, um…not really comfortable with this.” His leg was jittering up and down. The tension was rising in him again. Margot took a deep breath cursing her body for betraying her. She squared her shoulders.

“I know. That’s why we’re not looking at each other.” Unable to stop herself, she leaned down and put her lips near his ear, sucking in a huge breath of leather, a hint of smoke, cotton and a clean, soapy-ness that made her want to weep. “Relax. It’s all right. I’m in charge in this room so you can just…relax.”

She saw him grit his teeth and knew he was trying hard to do the exact opposite of what she was telling him to do, so she tightened her grip on his shoulders, not an easy feat considering how firm they were. But a point had to be made and she knew her options for making it were limited, considering she’d promised herself that this would be nothing more than a therapy method.

“The bedroom,” he ground out, so low she barely heard him. “Crystal was in charge in our bedroom, in private. It was…something we…liked.” Margot stood up, smiling but shaking at the same time, even more confused about how to proceed. Keeping her hands on him, knowing he required at least that much from her, she got herself under some modicum of control and plowed forward.

“How was she in charge?”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure you know,” he said, surprising her with the strength in his voice. “And I’m also pretty sure I’ve told you enough.” He jumped up, ripped off her un-rip-able blindfold, sending it fluttering to the floor in two strips of black fabric and kicked the chair out of the way. She stumbled, blinking fast, brain spinning and body going into overdrive at the look on his face. He was begging her now, using his unconscious body language, but she could not—she would not—give into the urge to shove him to his knees.



Ok so, back to the “giving books away” bit. For the next 14 days starting right now YOU can get a FREE COPY of this compelling, sexy novella, complete with the should-be-patented Liz style of storytelling–the sort you should never, ever consider predictable.

Enter below. All you gotta do is prove you bought book 1 (Love Garage) in an email to me. Why, you ask? Because honestly, this novella is less “prequel” and more “companion” to that first book. Yes, you could read it first but the stories of the two brothers and their complex and sometimes funny love lives are best read in tandem. Snag Love Garage on Amazon first for just $2.99 and follow the directions in the rafflecopter and you WILL receive a copy of SAFE LOVE for FREE in the ebook format of your choice by return email. 


Safe Love will be available for purchase on Amazon on March 2, the same day Love Brewing (Dominic’s story) is also available. 


Check out the trailer! It was featured on the USA Today book blog!




Want to know more but would rather have a professional narrator read it to you? Both Love Garage and Coach Love are available on audible! 



So…quick, before some expert tells me not to, take advantage of the opportunity to dive into a Liz Crowe series. It’s like $2.99 for 2 books! 



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Romance. Worth The Risk.

Monday, February 9th , 2015
Welcome Monday! It’s a week to Valentine’s Day and I have a few things to say about THAT as you might imagine.


CAVEAT EMPTOR MOMENT: I have a somewhat sick sense of humor. I am also willing and able to laugh at myself and the industries I work in and still take what I do and what others do seriously. But if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you really ought to have a drink and lighten up. P.S. I use the Eff Word a lot.

There is a lot of talk about the “R Word” lately.


Mainstream media is all a-flutter with it, thanks to a targeted, well-funded and carefully thought out campaign around a set of books that contend to be the whole skinny on what “real romance” is about. Said books are about to be a set of movies (see: well funded and carefully thought out campaign). It’s a basic tenant of “promotions” to craft as many messages around your movie release as possible. Hence: We are getting bombarded with messages about 


What it is.

What it should be.

What it might be were we but rich and beautiful…

I have been known to have a few things to say about the GENRE of romance: my work within it, my disinclination for its formula plots and characters, some readers’ vocal displeasure with my disinclination, not to mention how I sure do wish I could dream up something that doesn’t involve a more realistic outlook on it–on “romance.”


I get the need for escape from life. I stand in line at the grocery and the shirt laundry–I pick up the poop off the sidewalk–I stare at the credit card balance and I ponder how many times Anastasia Grey might have to do all that crap. Then I remember that for the most part Genre: Romance is about the fantasy that once the guy gets the girl, overcomes his freakiness/inability to commit/sadness about his mom or whatever and plants a 6 carat rock on her finger…that is, literally, “The End.”


I guess I’m just the sicko that wants to know…who makes the coffee in the mornings? Who takes the dog out in the snow? How do they deal when the kid has an earache and screams through the night? And how does the “romance” remain after all of that, all the years, all the potential hiccups and problematic foibles that make us human?

To that end, I have crafted a bit of a side genre, if you will, populated with people (not vampires or wolf men or aliens) and the books in many cases are VERY STEAMY HOT. But when my characters say “I do,” or even “Sure? Why not?” I don’t let the story end there. To me, the story is intriguing way past the physical/emotional/financial rescues that play such a part in many books (mine included at least a few of them). 


Many fans have caught on/are catching on to this and find a lot of satisfaction in the way I let my characters grow and develop like real people. Marriage is hardly a state of static nothingness. You don’t walk down the aisle and suddenly halt your emotional growth. 

The other thing I let my characters do is to Be Bad…that is to say Be Human. I can’t tell you how many of my most staunch and vocal fans say to me: “I want to smack everyone IN this book upside the head but I can’t put it down and by the end I am cheering for them all.”


What I do is Risky with a capital “R” however, because so many readers of romance are honestly there FOR the escape–the life sans grocery shopping, dog poop scooping and screaming, sick kids. This type of reader thinks a Liz Style Romance is just too close to reality. I get that.

And frankly, attaching the “Genre: Romance” to my books also slices out a whole cross section of readers who think everything within it is a fantastical land full of amazing and hopelessly unrealistic sex in elevators, she cures him with her love/he cures her with his money storylines, but with some kind of cheesy Fabio on the cover. So please, spare me your indignation over me dissing “Genre: Romance.” I get dissed daily about it.

We all know that simply isn’t true–it’s typecasting.  Which is unfair, but unfairness in the book biz abounds at every level.


So what I want you to consider today, potential Liz reader, is that “romance” as a concept is something within us all. There is nearly always a “love story” within every book or movie, from YA on up. (hello? Sally Brown has it BAD for Linus all the way through the Peanuts’s world and you know he IS the original “bad boy of rock.”)


 (insert your imaginary image of Sally and Linus and his piano because I don’t want to deal with a “take down letter.”)


 We like to think that everyone has someone and we all deserve to mate up and be happy. It’s human nature. It’s evolutionary. It’s in the Bible, too.


But if you are one of those who consider “Genre: Romance” for mouth breathing, dissatisfied house wives/ wage slave women desperate for anything to come their way “relationship-wise” you are really doing this amazing group of books a serious disservice. No, I don’t read Harlequins, and I’ll admit that a lot of what is recommended to me within the standard lines of “Genre: Romance” are not my cup of literary tea. But there are some notable exceptions to this AND I would venture a fair number of books considered “Mainstream fiction” that could easily have a different imprint inside their front cover.


Look, I’m a business person/marketing professional and have been for a lot longer than I’ve been an author. I know that what’s “hot” will get copied and copied and copied ad nauseum. It’s happening now. And will continue to happen. “Genre: Romance” is one of the best selling ones, right up there with “Genre: Thriller.” 


But as I’ve stated clearly before on this very platform, I don’t write it in any way you might expect. Check out my reviews and see that I don’t get much “meh,” but I get a lot of LOVE IT vs. HATE IT. 

Romance. Worth the Risk.

Read it any way you like. But take a risk and grab FLOOR TIME, book 1 of my best selling “Genre: Romance / Erotic” and toss all preconceived notions of “bodice rippers” and “he’s the perfect man but for his thing about handcuffs” right out the door. Take a risk on a romance from Liz.


Oh, it’s a “free risk” because FLOOR TIME is $0.00 on ALL ebook retailing platforms right now!

Here is a chapter from Sweat Equity (book 2) that says an awful lot about where I’m going with my “side genre” Romance. Worth the Risk….see what you think:

WARNING THIS IS NSFW AND FOR AND 18+ AUDIENCE (or anyone who’s read 50 Shades…)

Jack woke with a start, and immediately regretted it. The hangover that had been lying in wait pounced hard, landing somewhere between his eyes before spreading down into his gut. Groaning, he rolled over and found himself on the floor, trying not to puke all over his expensive Turkish rug. He sat back against the couch and attempted to get his bearings. When the room cooperated by holding still, he ran a shaking hand over his eyes and stood. Leaving explanations for why in the hell he woke up on the couch, still half-dressed in pants and an unbuttoned blue shirt for a time when he gave a shit, he stumbled into the kitchen. The sun streaming through the large window smacked him upside the head, bringing fresh life to the agony.

“Fuck.” After consuming what amounted to about a gallon of water, he leaned against the cold granite counter top. “No, seriously. Fuck.” He yanked his phone out of his pocket and squinted at the missed calls from nearly an hour before. It was Saturday but he didn’t have any serious work to do until nearly four. A few fumbling minutes later the comforting sounds and aroma of a coffee-fix floated around him. He looked up when the shower noises from the master bathroom stopped.

Oh hell.

It came rushing back in bursts of idiocy and epic drunkenness. He’d been exhausted after a long week. Wanting to “go out” after a week of unbelievable frustration at City Hall like he wanted a root canal. They’d both been irritable but had subjected themselves to a pre-arranged dinner party. Once home she’d started in on the wedding plans again, and he’d lost it. He stared at his blood-red eyes in the downstairs bathroom mirror. In the way of most disagreements fueled by stress and alcohol, he barely remembered how it started. But he had full memory of how it ended.

One fact he knew with crystal clarity: he had been a colossal prick.

Maybe he wasn’t cut out for this total commitment thing. He’d started zoning out every time she brought up any detail of the “classy” event she wanted to pull off in about six months. “Classy” seemed to translate into “horrifically expensive” if his newly minted Wedding Decoder Ring worked right. Not that they weren’t more than capable of paying for all the white lily-strewn tables at the country club and top-of-the-line videographer themselves, but last night she’d informed Jack that her father, the estimable Doctor Matthew Clay Thornton, wanted to pay for his only daughter’s nuptial ceremony. And that he was flying in from Florida with Sara’s mother and had invited them to a nice, intimate dinner to discuss the matter.

After the week Jack had spent in the city planning offices trying to convince a bunch of pinheaded politicians that the massive renovation of a long-abandoned office building on a busy downtown corner would actually be good for their city, he’d not a single ounce of patience left. Those assholes had hemmed and hawed him into nearly fifty grand more in architect’s fees. Yet, he still had no approval. And he’d agreed to walk down the aisle a mere week after the scheduled building opening and gala party he wanted to throw – an opening that now looked jeopardized if not decimated by short-sighted bureaucrats.

Ergo, the “daddy’s coming to dinner and bringing his checkbook” bomb Sara had dropped in his lap had detonated, leaving him furious and unable to watch his stupid mouth.

“Ah, hell.” He pushed himself away from the sink, the need to hurl the three bottles of red wine and two ill-considered bourbons from last night out of his system quelled for the moment. He had to face this. He’d said some colossally stupid things. While he’d managed to avoid the wedding talk like a trooper, saying stupid shit like, “Just tell me when and where and I’ll be there in the dark suit,” he knew that would not cut it much longer. He’d sprung the proposal on her. It had been, no, it was, what he wanted: Sara, in his life, forever and ever, until death, or whatever.

If only she’d agreed to marry him at the resort, these arguments would be a nonissue. They could be here, at home, married, and moving on with their lives together. They’d had such a great time learning their way around the milder elements of BDSM fun while they were there. It had been perfect. Eloping would have kept all this stress out of his life.

But she was being so bloody stubborn on this thing. He knew it had to be tough for her, submitting to him on any level, and he admired her for it. But he sensed his control slipping and that pissed him off in ways he couldn’t express. He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, exert the full force of his naturally dominating nature on her. She wasn’t ready for that—probably never would be. Maybe he wasn’t, either. Maybe…

Jack squinted at himself once more. His face bore lines from lying pressed against the couch arm all night. His jaw was covered in rough stubble, his jet-black hair tousled. He ran a hand over his dry lips and squared his shoulders. Apologies for bullshit behavior ought to come easy. He’d been wrong, and he knew it. Still, something kept him downstairs, unable to form the right words. He made his way back to the kitchen, poured some coffee into a heavy stoneware mug, and sighed.

Sara toweled off, her mind focusing on the long list of houses she had to show a new client in a couple of hours, her heart still pounding in anger. She’d passed out alone in Jack’s huge bed the night before after the argument that she only half remembered thanks to the booze and stress of the previous day.

The sunlight caught the diamond on her left hand, throwing prisms of light around the large bathroom. She’d never put much stock in jewelry, or flowers, or any of the usual shit women seemed to get off on. So when Jack Gordon, the man she’d been literally fucking around with for months, had sprung a marriage proposal on her in front of their entire real estate company last fall she’d been shocked, to say the least. She stared at the four-carat rock on her finger. It was a work of art-deco beauty. The best that money could buy.

Typical Jack.

Her fiancé’s handsome face, strong body, snapping blue eyes, incredible sales skills—and masterful talent with his lips, hands, tongue—everything about him had compelled her for months; driving her, making her work harder, turning into a newer, more mature version of herself. But lately, every day brought more doubt about her decision to marry him. She wrapped her body in the large white towel and brushed her teeth, listening for sounds of life downstairs. He had even made her more organized, tidier. Something about him pushed her to be better.

Which made her completely insane with a combination of frustration and something resembling jealousy. Crazy, really. Which just brought her full circle to the small nugget of “why?” she nurtured more and more when pondering her answer to the “will you marry me Sara?” question.

They had definitely spewed ugly words to each other last night. She shuddered, remembering calling him “no better than a man-shaped dildo” at one point. Accusing him of things just short of the Kennedy assassination and global warming. He’d spent the evening sulky and uncommunicative with their friends. She’d simply exploded when they got home. He had met her halfway, no doubt about it. And what had made her think telling him that her father was coming to town and wanted to pay for “his share” of the wedding was a good idea in the middle of all of that, she had no idea.

He’d made it clear all the “wedding crap” was hers to manage. That he would pay for whatever she wanted. But when it came time to start doing so he’d balked, questioning everything she’d arranged, demanding estimates from florists, photographers, bakeries, generally making her second guess herself. The doubt about her ability to plan a simple wedding had leached over into a lot of worry about the whole situation. She sighed, listening again for noise from downstairs.

When her mother called last week and informed her that they wanted to spend the weekend in Ann Arbor so her father could give her the money for the wedding, she’d been relieved. No more answering to Jack. But at the same time something in her knew that wasn’t right. They were supposed to be husband and wife and learning to communicate about shit like this.

Sara took another sip from her water bottle, wincing at the queasy feeling in her gut from the previous night’s overindulgence and anger. The whole damn thing felt impossible now—the magic date they’d set, November eighth, was one week after Jack’s new downtown renovation opened. The project she’d gotten into as much as he had, with many late nights spent poring over drawings, contemplating possibilities of retail versus residential versus rentals.

Maybe her brother was right. Blake had given a whole new meaning to “vitriol,” specifically as it related to Jack Gordon. Claimed Jack would be nothing but a serial cheater, couldn’t resist women, would never settle for just one. After she’d agreed to marry Jack, Blake had backed off some, but had more than once suggested that two people as alike as the two of them would have nothing but misery ahead. That comment stuck in her psyche for weeks. The very concept seemed ludicrous, even insulting. She was not like Jack. No way. But the more they clashed, the more she wondered.

Tears threatened at the thought of calling it off, but the last week or so she’d been questioning her sanity. The fact that office gossip about Jack had ramped up and even taken on a bitter tone—as all the women who’d hoped to be in her four-carat-diamond-wearing shoes started griping—had not helped one bit. The man obviously had not been able to keep that impressive dick in his pants much; that had become pretty clear.

He’d taught her so much about how relinquishing her tight control to him was a pure turn on, fueling her libido in ways she had no idea were possible. It also terrified her at the same time. Ceding control like that, to a man like Jack, inevitably left her feeling cold, scared, and vulnerable. He’d made a promise to her. She would never, ever be left unsatisfied or made to feel humiliated by anything they did. He’d kept his promise. However, sometimes she’d shut down afterwards, as if that sort of trust was a thing she had no idea how to give, or get.

The niggling words “you two are too much alike to work” kept coming back, tickling her brain.

Damn Blake.

After rubbing her hair with styling gel, she blinked the tears back and tried to focus on the day ahead. Saturdays were notoriously long days for Realtors, and today promised to be a doozy. To top it off, she had the pleasure of dinner with her parents; Blake and his partner, Rob; and her fiancé to look forward to. That was if Jack decided to attend. After last night’s blowout, she wasn’t so sure.

She grabbed the hair dryer and ignored the growing ache in her chest—the spot she’d come to call Jack’s place. He alone had the ability to fill it with joy and ecstasy one moment, fury and frustration the next. He remained a cipher to her. She still knew very little about his family, and he seemed disinclined to share much. He preferred keeping them both “in the here-and-now,” which usually meant in bed, on the floor, or back in his office, with his talented body teasing orgasms out of her at will.

Fortified by caffeine, Jack made his way upstairs. The hair dryer fired up as he entered the bedroom suite. His head still pounded but he knew part of it was dread. Failure threatened large on his horizon. He knew it and didn’t want to subject her to the messiness. The “down the aisle” concept was making him go numb with terror, while the thought of Sara not in his world made him want to lose his lunch. He leaned on the doorjamb, watching her. She’d given him her trust. He’d wanted it—demanded it, even. But did he deserve it? Sometimes he wondered.

Christ, what a mess.

Only he had the power to fix it. That kind of responsibility for another person’s emotional well-being had been easy for him once, and something he thought he knew how to handle—until recently, when he doubted everything about his ability to do that very thing for the woman he loved.

Her dark blonde hair formed a curtain over her face as she worked the hair dryer under its many layers. Jack’s hands clenched into fists, resisting the urge to bury them in it, drag her to the bed and apologize with his body and not his words.

She’d called him on that, too, hadn’t she? Yes. She had.

He suppressed a groan and looked up at the ceiling as he sat on the edge of the large bed, only messed on the side she’d slept in alone.

His base nature had emerged when she’d given him the “dinner-with-the-parents” news after the insufferable dinner they’d attended at her insistence. He had no desire to meet them, but knew it had to be done. He’d sloshed bourbon into a crystal glass and knocked it back before turning to her and accusing her of ambushing him with that little tidbit. He’d reminded her that he was perfectly capable of paying for their wedding, even if she wanted to ship all two-hundred invitees to fucking St. Bart’s on private planes. She had no business involving her father.

But she did, didn’t she?

The man had every right to be involved in his only daughter’s wedding plans. Jack knew damn good and well, thanks to a conversation with Rob over a few beers, that Sara’s father was a class-A prick who had been a shitty role model relationship-wise. That certainly didn’t preclude him from financial participation. He ran a hand over his face again.

Things had quickly devolved from there. Sara had her own shot of brown liquor and accused him of being a man-whore, expressing her unhappiness with the constant stream of gossip about all his escapades from their real estate colleagues. Jack didn’t regret much in life, but at that moment, he had nothing but remorse for all the women he’d pissed off if their animosity caused the kind of pain he’d seen in Sara’s eyes.

Of course, he couldn’t have just said that, could he? Oh no. He’d laughed, like an asshole. Told her to get over it. He was what he was and she damn good and well had partaken of the “Jack fun” herself, hadn’t she?

He looked up in time to see her bend over to give her hair a final heat treatment. The sight of her ass up in the air, barely covered by a thick towel brought his body to strict attention. He shifted, staying out of her line of sight. He narrowed his eyes at the sight of her face as she brushed her hair.

Tears.

Great.

She dropped the towel, making Jack’s skin tingle in anticipation. Lotion came next, smoothed over her long, strong legs, across her luscious ass, around her firm breasts. He sucked in a breath at the sight.

He had to learn to communicate better. His head kept buzzing as he stood, walked into the cavernous bathroom, stood behind her and put his hands on her smooth shoulders. She looked up into his eyes, gaze flat and noncommittal.

The words he’d prepared froze in his throat as he ran both hands down her arms, letting the essence of her infuse his senses. He wanted this, more than he wanted to draw a breath. He wanted her here with him every morning. The concept of screwing it up with his usual bullshit made him almost blind with fury. But right then, he wanted nothing more than to touch, to caress, to soothe and kiss.

She didn’t respond, just stood stock still as he kept his hands moving down to her hips and thighs, then turned her to face him, his hand alongside her cheek. Unshed tears glinted in her deep green eyes. He swallowed but words still refused to form. His lips found hers, desperate, seeking to fix it but unable to as she sighed and molded herself against him, wrapping her arms around his neck as he picked her up and carried her to the bed.

“Jack,” she muttered as he pushed her back against the pillows and made his way down her body with his lips.

“Shh.”  His entire body ached for the now-familiar connection with hers—the one time he felt truly complete. His brain engaged long enough to acknowledge that he’d meet her damn father, suck up properly, and let the guy pay for some of the ceremony. If not doing so meant he would lose this woman then he simply had no choice. He smiled against her flesh as he sucked her flesh into his mouth before sliding two fingers inside her, brushing that magic spot, sending her over the edge. He rode out her loud orgasm, then licked his way back up her torso.

“Look at me,” she whispered. He did, caught off guard by the depth of emotion he found in her gaze. “I love you, Jack. I truly do. But I’m afraid. I’m… oh, God.”

Jack let his body speak for him. He stroked deep and firm, filling her, groaning at the amazing tight glove of her body that enveloped him as he eased in and out. She put her hands to his face. As always, the deeper connection he felt with her roared over him, deafening him with urgency and no small amount of fear. They hadn’t used condoms since the New Year’s trip and the whole barebacked thing was, in a word, glorious, although they were playing with fire, and he knew it.

“Tell me.” Her voice was low, rasping, and sexy. “Tell me, Jack.”

“Ah God, Sara,” he ground out, as her orgasm gripped his cock, tightening and pulling him to the precipice. “I, I love you, oh Christ. Yes!” With a final thrust, he sensed his world burst into a thousand pieces behind his eyes. She held on tight, arms and legs wrapped around his body, bringing him utter and complete happiness.

Sara smiled at the man next to her. He’d taken her world and yanked it into his orbit so hard and fast her head still spun some days. God help her, she did love him. She put a hand on his sweat-slicked chest, draped a leg over his and propped up on her elbow.

“Hmm?” His sleepy voice reminded her how much they both needed more shut-eye, having passed out rather than actually rested last night. He pulled her close. “I’m sorry,” he muttered into her hair. “It’s just…” She nodded into his shoulder. “Shit week, you know. All this wedding talk is not my thing or something. I don’t know. I do know I don’t deserve you.”

“Yeah, that is true. Look, we still have dinner with my parents tonight. My dad is a know-it-all doctor. I dread having the two of you in the same room, frankly, but we have to do it. They’re my family and they want to meet you.”

She felt him tense beneath her before he spoke.

“That’s fine. I’ll be on my best behavior. But I don’t want him paying for any of this.” He swept a hand toward the small table where she’d piled up magazines and spreadsheets of wedding planning paraphernalia. “I’m doing it. You’re grown, not some little girl needing daddy’s money anymore.”

She bit her lip. “If he wants to I’m not going to stop him. It’s his prerogative. Can’t you just go with it?” She sat up and swung her legs to the floor, shocked all over again at the depth of his caveman stubbornness.

He sang the same song, different verse every time. They’d fight, make up by making love. She’d let him get away with it. They wouldn’t talk about whatever it was.

Sighing, she stood, stretching her sated and tingling body, her mind back on the day’s massive to-do list. She allowed herself a long look at the man who would be her husband. His six-foot-five-inch frame firm, strong legs and arms covered with a light dusting of black hair, torso mostly bare but for a line of jet-black hair beneath his navel leading down to the part of his body that he had, apparently, shared with so many. Her eyes trailed up to his firm, square jaw in need of a shave. Her palm itched to reach out, feel the sandpapery rasp of it, keeping him real.

Mine.

How completely unreal that still seemed, even now after he’d given her yet another mind-boggling set of back-to-back orgasms. That should’ve been solid evidence he was there, with her, “hers” even. But he wasn’t. That small voice in her head, the “Old Sara,” with its nagging and worry, poked her psyche once again.

You’re too alike. It will never work.

Jack’s eyes opened at the sound of his own light snore. His sleepy grin made her smile in spite of her heavy heart.

She was no sap. Her own parents’ relationship had made her a cynic in the extreme when it came to men. She knew it. She fully acknowledged her own emotional constipation. Yet she let the man who currently held her heart in his large, talented hands tug her down onto the bed, into the circle of his arms. His skin, smell, and feel eased her as always. She closed her eyes, just for a few more minutes.


Yeah, so “Jack & Sara….frustrating hard core romance readers for the last 3 years” and NOW with new covers!



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Friday, February 6th , 2015

Lonely thoughts on a cold, February night….I had someone say to me recently:”You’re just frustrated because you’re not successful.”Well…..let’s see. Yeah. I guess that’s the truth.This author thing is lonely.It’s not easy.It’s about as far from the…

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