When Ross and Elisa open their new business in Detroit, they believe they’ve embarked on a dream life, complete with their beloved, precocious daughter. But owning and running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, and Elle quickly becomes laser-focused and obsessed, while Ross spends his days consulting, or concocting new beers on his pilot system—and wondering why she won’t agree to set a date for their wedding. When their restaurant—named “Komfort” for its focus on the comfort foods of various cultures—is featured on a nationally televised tour of hot new eateries, its popularity shoots into the stratosphere, and Elle’s stress level reaches a breaking point.
Faced with a mutual inability to communicate beyond their robust sex life, Ross issues an ill-considered ultimatum: the restaurant or him. Stunned when she refuses to consider such a ridiculous demand, he’s forced to come to terms with his own selfish tendencies. Hoping to repair the damage he’s done, he concocts a new beer inspired by her, using a recipe for a classic German-style Kölch. He crafts the final product using a special ingredient designed to catch Elle’s attention. It does. But not necessarily the way he’d planned.
“Adjunct Lovers” fills in the story begun in LIGHTSTRUCK, and provides a closer look at Ross’s and Elle’s complex personalities as they make their sexy way toward happily ever after—with the help of a very special brew.
He looked around his space, pleased with its level of tidiness. A glance up at the clock he’d placed on the old metal desk made him blink. He’d been here for over three hours, and he could barely remember an hour of it. It was as if he’d been moving in some kind of a dream-state or a weird, limbo fog. It sucked. His phone buzzed with a text from Austin, his oldest friend from brewing school and owner of Fitzgerald Brewing in Grand Rapids, where he and Elisa had met.
You need to come out, his friend had sent. Tomorrow. We’re going up for a guys’ weekend at Trent’s house. Make it happen.
I don’t know, he replied. I’m sort of afraid to go away that long right now.
I know. But she’ll be fine without you a few days. It will do you both some good.
Ross lowered himself into his favorite new furniture find—an old Eames-style chair he and Liesl had procured from the back of somebody’s garage sale in the past month and pondered the concept that his friend was referring to Elisa, while he meant Liesl.
Maybe, he typed, then waited to see if Austin replied. When the other man didn’t Ross admitted, It’s kind of shitty right now. I don’t know if I should go. I don’t know if I want to go.
That’s all the more reason TO go. Stop at my house. We’ll head up together from there.
He tossed the device onto his desk with a curse. He was always letting Austin railroad him into shit—most of which was pleasant but some of which got him into more trouble than he wanted. He leaned back and propped his booted feet up on the matching, somewhat rickety ottoman, hands laced behind his head. Maybe he could use some guy time, escape the nest of women he inhabited for a while.
Maybe he needed to talk to the woman who still wore his engagement ring, but who hadn’t exchanged more than five words in a row with him since their daughter had been released from the hospital. He groaned and swiveled the chair, putting his feet on the floor and leaning forward, relieving some of the pain in his lower body. He missed her so much it hurt him all over, but he’d dug this hole and had zero experience in how to pull himself out of it. The longer they went incommunicado, the worse it got. And the worse it got, the more he worried that it would never be good again. He was willing to own his part, but didn’t know how to explain that to her.
“Fuck,” he said, as he got to his feet. “Fuck. Fucking mother-humping shit-kicking ass wipe.”
“Poetic,” Elisa called from somewhere in the increasing gloom. He flinched, then winced when his body tingled at the sight of her shadow emerging from the door that connected his space with the restaurant’s storage room. The distinct sensation of a burgeoning erection under his cargo shorts made him curse again.
“Can I help you with something?” He turned to the desk and pressed his fists on it, hoping to distract himself with pain. It didn’t work.
“Did Austin get hold of you?” She was keeping her distance, which pleased and infuriated him in equal measure.
“Okay. So, are you going?”
“Well, so I can make arrangements here, for Liesl.”
“I don’t know yet.” He stomped over to the cooler and walked in, willing his dick soft. After he’d gotten himself under a bit of control, he turned to exist through the flapping plastic barrier but found his way blocked. “Excuse me,” he said, not meeting her gaze but wanting to so badly he had to bite the inside of his cheek not to do it.
“Ross, look at me.” Her voice lacked its vague, ghostly quality. It held an edge he recognized. And one that his poor, neglected cock reacted to so fast he grunted and gripped the door frame. “God damn you, man. Fucking look at me.” She got a grip on his beard, something he’d let get a tad too scraggly lately, and pulled his chin down. Her ice-gray-blue eyes blazed. Her color was high and she practically oozed something he understood, something he wanted, something he had to handle, for them both.
“We need to—”
He yanked her to him, cradled her face between his hands and kissed her, gently at first, relishing it and her so much he got dizzy. She responded in turn, going up on her tiptoes and wrapping her arms around his neck. He got serious with the kiss as the sweet press of her body against his drove him, parting her lips, tasting the corners of her mouth, groaning when she met him halfway.
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?”).
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.