Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.
Ross Hoffman held the potential for a perfect life in his hands—a life with Evelyn, the only woman he’d ever allowed himself to love, their baby and…her husband, Austin Fitzgerald, who also happened to be his best friend. But the challenge of trying to make a threesome into something acceptable—let alone the thought of actually sharing Evelyn with anyone—forces him to bolt. Determined to put all thoughts of their relationship behind him, Ross jumps headfirst into a new brewery job in Colorado, and back into the sort of sexual decadence that he hopes will distract him from his misery.
When he agrees to assist Austin through a spate of brewery mishaps, he lays eyes on his true fate—in the form of the petite, mysterious and exotic Elisa Nagel. Hired as assistant brewer, Elisa is absolutely everything he believes he doesn’t want in a woman. But he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain, and he can’t help but fall hard, fast and deep, which places him square in the middle of her horrific, until now secret backstory.
Ross is determined that his love will conquer and overcome the horrors of Elisa’s past, allowing her to trust him with the only thing he desires—her heart.
Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene with attempted rape and violence, as well as a brief scene alluding to person being drugged and raped.
She’d parked in front of the building where Ross, apparently, had a set of rooms at the top of a single flight of wooden steps. She stared up them, contemplating how drastically she wanted her life to change, and the fact that if she walked up those steps, it most definitely would.
She went up fast, not giving herself a chance to turn and run away. But when she raised her fist to knock, she hesitated. The voice was screaming at her now, blocking out the sound of the rain. She put the bags down and slammed her hands over her ears, crouching for a few seconds, willing it silent. Finally, her mind cleared, and she stood. Taking a deep breath, she raised her fist and banged hard on the door. “Hoffman! Open up!”
By the time he finally did open the door, she was soaked all the way to the skin but she felt energized—reborn. Slick and wet and eager in ways that confused her. Even the line of stubborn between Ross’ eyes didn’t deter her. She smiled, held out her arms and yelled, “Can I come in? It’s a tad damp out here.”
He stood inside the door, arms crossed over his bare chest. She stared at his pecs, at the thick black hop vine tattoo that matched hers, at his visible ab muscles. “Eyes up here, please, ma’am,” he said. “I’m not a piece of meat, you know.”
She held up the bags of food. “Do you have a microwave?”
He nodded, but didn’t move, continuing to block her way in. She dropped her arms, letting the rain pelt her, sensing his gaze taking her in from her dripping hair to her wet shoes. “You are a crazy bitch,” he said, conversationally, as if she weren’t standing right there, getting pelted in the rain while he remained dry less than a foot from her. “I’m not positive I want any part of you.”
She blinked, then forced herself forward and into his arms, dropping the bags as she wrapped herself around him. “That’s okay. I want us enough to make up for your lack of enthusiasm.”
He yelped. “Shit, you’re—”
“Yes, wet to the skin. I know. We seem to be like this a lot, don’t we? Now, shut up and kiss me before I—oh”
He did just that, transporting her to what she’d come to think of as her only happy place—in his arms, with his mouth on hers, his tongue breeching her lips, forcing her to give in to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and let him drag her inside. He picked her up, soaking clothes and all, continuing to kiss her all the way to the bedroom at the back of the mini-apartment.
He was gentle and tender as he undressed her, kissing every inch of skin he revealed, teasing her at the back of her neck and along her bare shoulders with his lips and teeth. He turned her this way and that, taking her all in, running his long fingers down her torso, cupping her breasts, licking each of her nipples, giving extra care to the still deformed one all the while muttering to himself in German.
He seemed especially fascinated with her piercings. He kissed her nose, her eyebrow, sucked the tiny ball in her lip into his mouth for a few seconds, rolled his tongue against the metal she’d placed there.
The line of balls in her ear cartilage got special attention. Each one of them touched with his fingertip, and his tongue.
Elle stood, eyes closed, letting him do what he wanted and loving it, loving him, if she were honest with herself. He ran his hands down her hips, around to her ass, across the evil puckered skin where she’d been burned. He was on knees now, his lips pressed to her stomach, then lower as his hands slid down the outside of both legs. His touch tickled, taunted, made her breathe fast as she tried to relax.
With shaking hands, she untied the leather string holding his hair back and slid her fingers into its silky depths, grazing his scalp with her short fingernails. He looked up at her. His eyes were bright with emotion. “You all right?” he whispered. “This is okay?”
“It’s very much okay. Please…more?”
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.” With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished. Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.