It’s birthday time again. Oh what a difference a year makes…or not, depending on your perspective.
Whatever that is (your perspective) MINE is that while this past year has flown by so fast I honestly can recall exactly how I felt and what I was doing this time last year as if it were still happening (weird) I am feeling much (much) better about the way NEXT year is shaping up.
In lieu of a lame lookback at the year that was because that might be a skosh depressing, I’m looking forward right now and the future looks very bright on many levels.
Mainly the immediate future that involves a certain Episode 7 to a movie cycle I spent many a pre-adolescent and teenager hour obsessing over (OK, I was mostly obsessing over Han Solo, but you get me). I digress.
For now, allow me to toss some confetti, wish myself a Super Star Wars 29+20 birthday and invite you to pick up my latest novel, FireBrew which is releasing today!
Here’s the blurb:
Jane Terrance has her life in perfect order. Great job selling commercial real estate in Detroit—0ne of the hottest markets in the U.S. Cool condo in Midtown with her best friend. Plenty of her own money plus complete control over all aspects of her active love life—Including a sexy, no-strings-attached boss.
When she meets a new client at an abandoned fire station, figuring him for one more greedy investor, she realizes just how tenuous that control truly is.
Trey Lattimer seems a little young to be retired from firefighting, and at first, he's just another guy to conquer. But the harder she tries, the more out of reach he gets until his continued presence does nothing but wreak havoc on her carefully constructed world.
Fate throws them together. But the horrific memory of a fiery disaster could tear them apart.
And here, for your reading pleasure is an entire chapter. Have at it, but PLEASE NOTE, this book comes with a serious warning.
Read that first.
****FireBrew is not a typical romance.****
Liz Crowe writes dark, gritty romance
including characters dealing
with depression and addiction.
This story also contains scenes of
abuse and questionable consent.
And now, Chapter One in its entirety:
“Are you sure this is the right space, Mister…ah…”
“Yeah,” the very tall man in the mirror reflective sunglasses grunted out his reply, ignoring my lapse with his name. Which is forgivable, considering he mumbled it to me on the phone, demanded to see my stale commercial listing, then hung up without giving me a half second’s chance to protest. Dropping everything and showing the old building that had once housed a downtown Detroit fire station, which had now languished for so long on the market it was collecting graffiti and wildlife, had not been my idea of a great way to spend a warm Friday afternoon.
I had a date—a hot date. This jerk was pissing me off the longer we stood shoulder-to-shoulder, staring at the once gleaming fireman’s pole. I glanced at my phone, noting that I now had exactly thirty-five minutes to do about an hour’s worth of personal tidying up in order to make the seven p.m. deadline, for what I was determined would be a very satisfactory evening—at least for me.
I shifted from foot to foot and waited the guy out, figuring him for yet one more porch-pisser—an out-of-towner at that—eager to snap some Instagram pictures and bemoan the death of a Great American City, historical building by historical building. These people loved their ruination porn. And I for one was one hundred percent not in the mood for it.
“Trey,” he said under his breath as he took yet another hike around the perimeter of the empty space. I watched him, admiring the rear view despite my anxiety about being late for the date with my shiny, new, internet-garnered friend whom I had every intention of benefiting from tonight. This guy claimed he’d just gotten off a plane and had driven straight down to the heart of what was once the old Irish neighborhood of Detroit—Corktown—just to see this stupid, echoing, useless and likely about to be condemned building. He looked the part of New York money—deep blue suit, dazzling white shirt and blood red tie. The sort of person that would buy up a pile of shit like this and either raze it for condos or lovingly and expensively restore it—into condos.
He’d made it all the way across what I assumed was a former parking area for fire trucks when he whirled around, whipped off those glasses and pinned me with such a strange look I took a few steps back.
“I want it,” he said clear as day, his voice low, raspy and firm. “But I’m not paying this,” he declared, shaking the feature sheet he’d yanked out of my hands the second I’d met him at the door. His eyes were of the deepest, darkest brown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes like that. They matched his chestnut colored hair, which was thick and wavy in a way that might make a girl jealous if she weren’t inclined to plunge her fingers into it—like I was right then.
I opened my mouth to reply but my throat had closed up. Shaking my head to clear it, berating myself for thinking anything about the guy at all much less entertaining the mild porn loop running through my head starring us both, I tried again.
“All right, Mr. Trey, I’ll have to—”
“No mister. Just Trey.” He remained far across the room from me as if keeping his distance on purpose. “George Lattimer the Third. Trey, you know, for the third.”
“Ah, well,” I said, only barely resisting the urge to wipe the sweat off my upper lip. “Right. So…anyway,” I blathered, pissed off at my nervousness. “Because it’s no longer city owned, I have to take any offers, in writing, to the attorney for the estate that holds the title. I assume you’re—”
“Fifty-seven,” he interrupted me. Again.
“You’re joking,” I blurted out as I moved across the room and shifted into negotiation mode, no longer giving a shit that he was the hottest thing on two male legs I’d encountered in, well, my entire life. He took a few corresponding steps away, looking like he was afraid I’d spray girl cooties on him if I got any closer. Up close, sans mister cool shades, those eyes were of the sort you’d call mesmerizing—if were you the kind of person to think that about some dude’s eyes. “The list price is ninety-nine. I get that the place is a little, um…”
“Shitty?” He leaned against the far wall, arms crossed, smirking at me. “Falling apart as we speak? No better than a rat hole?”
“It has some deferred maintenance issues, yes,” I said as I walked closer to him. He didn’t move this time. “But I assure you that the seller—”
“Give him my offer,” Trey said before turning away and wandering into the area that had once housed the kitchen and living spaces, leaving me standing there, leaning forward and ready to engage—how exactly I wasn’t quite sure—now fuming. I trotted after him, clickety-clacking in my dumb stilettos across the concrete, doing all I could to avoid random clumps of God-knows-what detritus that multiplied every month the dump sat here empty.
I found him in the farthest reaches of the building, near what used to be the storage for extra firemen suits and equipment. He stood at the open door, peering into the gloom. I took a minute to gather my thoughts and words, ignoring the perfect V-shape of his torso in that dark suit coat. I love a man in a suit. It’s a known fact. But this guy was being a rude asshole. I had no room in my life for any more of those.
He seemed frozen in place, looking at something I couldn’t see. I tapped his shoulder, trying to make my touch firm, in command, and take-no-prisoners. He flinched and turned so fast I stumbled backward, catching my stupid heel on a ball of rags that probably served as home to an entire family of rats. The expression on Trey’s face was one of abject panic, as if I’d poked him in the side with a semi-automatic weapon or a tampon. As I scrabbled around, hoping not to land on my ass in the filth, I was unable to tear my eyes off his model-perfect face. He reached out and caught my flailing arm, his movements calm and practiced. In that instant, I acknowledged if he pulled me closer, I wouldn’t protest.
I blew out a breath, settling myself back on top of my too-high heels. When he let go and stepped away, I felt rejected.
Ridiculous, I know. But I did.
“Wow, sorry,” I said, tucking stray strands of hair behind my ears, not looking at him. “I’m usually not such a klutz, but you—”
“Give him my offer. He’ll take it.” The man’s voice had the sort of certainty that seemed natural. But he was smoking meth if he thought the seller would take essentially half his asking price. “Give him this,” Trey said, holding out a business card.
I took it, wishing I could use it as an excuse to touch his fingers or something equally desperate. But he held it by one corner and unless I grabbed the man’s hand, that would not be happening. I took it and glanced down, then without really reading it I looked back up at him. “What do you want the place for anyway? You an investor or a builder?”
“Neither,” he said, stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets. The silence spun out between us. I blew out another breath in frustration.
“Giving the ‘strong and silent type’ thing a real go, aren’t ya?” Without giving the man the satisfaction of my interest, I pulled out my phone and hit my seller’s preprogrammed number, figuring my stupid date was a lost cause now anyway. I just hoped I would have time to contact the guy—oh dear sweet Jesus, what was his name? And give him a heads up that I’d be late, or we’d have to cancel.
Or he could meet me at my place and eliminate the prelims.
Once I left the requisite message with the lawyer’s service, I turned back around. Trey had resumed his perusal of whatever was in the storage area, so I resumed mine of his pleasant rear view. Long legs, no-doubt firm ass, skin bronzed. He must be ex-military or maybe a cop—something had that kept him outdoors for a lot of years—but none of that squared with the suit.
“When will you get a response,” he asked, still facing away from me.
“Tomorrow. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to—”
“Come to dinner with me,” he said, shocking me to my toes. He turned slowly, his chocolate colored eyes intense.
“No, thanks,” I said, drawing myself up and getting huffy at his assumption. “You’re a rude asshole, if you’ll pardon me. Besides, I have a date.”
He tilted his head, giving me the oddest top-to-toe eyeballing, and the corner of his unfairly full lips lifted in what might pass for a smile. “Cancel it,” he said, taking a few steps closer.
“Um, no, I don’t think so,” I said, my voice quaking in an annoying, uncharacteristic manner. I didn’t back up when he stood way up in my personal space bubble, looking down at me as if I were the mouse between his furry cat paws. “You don’t intimidate me, George,” I said.
He chuckled. “Come on. I’m starving. Tell your boyfriend you have to take a big important client out to dinner.” He raised a dark eyebrow, giving me a moment to ponder his possibilities.
“You don’t know what you’re getting into with me,” I said, smiling, willing to play along, my body already reacting and knowing full well where this was going even if I was more than a little surprised by his rapid-fire change of mood.
“I think I just might, Harriet,” he said, his smile widening.
“Jane, please,” I said prissily, using the middle designation I’d insisted on from the moment I realized my parents had saddled me with my great-grandmother’s horrifically old-fashioned name. How the man knew it was anyone’s guess, but I decided not to ask him.
I sent a text to the guy I’d planned to let fuck me that night and then tucked my phone into my purse and accepted Trey’s outstretched elbow. It was a moment I will never, ever forget, although many times I did nothing but regret it.
Intrigued? Snag your $1.99 copy at any ebook retailer right now!
And if signed print books are your thaing, allow me to invite you into the Liz Store. Click here to order your copy of a signed Love Brothers novel, or one of my select, limited edition Stewart Realty novels! Those Love Bros are also now available on all ebook platforms as well!
Happy December 17th. May the Force Be With You.