Love Brothers #3
By Liz Crowe
Release Date March 2, 2015
Paperback Release March 14, 2015
Every family has one—the black sheep, the problem child, the prodigal. But Dominic Sean Love could teach all of those guys a lesson or two. Stuck in the middle of a boisterous group of siblings, he’s given “acting out” a new meaning from the day he drew his first breath.
While he’s the one son who follows his strict father’s footsteps into the Love family business, he’s also the one who butts heads with him the hardest. Their epic clashes are the stuff of family legend. But they have made peace and work side by side to take Love Brewing to the next level of success.
Until Dominic does the one thing his father can never forgive.
Diana Brantley has been Dominic’s friend, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend so many times she’s lost count. When he shows up at the farm she’s slowly transforming into a wildly popular farm-to-table resource for restaurants all over the U.S. her first impulse is to shoot first and ask questions later. But she doesn’t. And their lives entwine once more, for good, bad and ugly.
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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.
“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 with 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 blindfold over his eyes. After tying it in 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 ground out. 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. It cut to the chase, so why not?
“I’m, um…not really comfortable with this.” His leg was jittering up and down as tension rose 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, soapiness that made her want to weep. “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, so she tightened her grip on his shoulders, not an easy feat considering how firm they were. A point had to be made and she knew her options for making it were limited, since she’d promised herself that this would be nothing more than a therapy method.
“The bedroom,” he said, so low she barely heard him. “Crystal was in charge in our bedroom, in private. It was…something we…liked.” Margot straightened, 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 sudden 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.
Her butt hit the bookshelf, making her stumble and curse. Antony stopped, looming over her and sending out the sort of obvious vibe she’d spent years coming to terms with and assuming she understood—until recently.
“Step away from me,” she said. “This isn’t what you think.”
He frowned and got even closer, pissing her off and making her inner self rise up and take over. She put her hands on his impossibly firm chest and shoved, forcing him to move out of her personal space so she could breathe and process how quickly she’d lost control of the situation. Typical, she thought with a shudder of disgust. No wonder Gavin left you. You’ve gotten weak.
Antony bent down and picked up the pieces of the blindfold. When he held them in his outstretched hands, his expression did nothing to dispel her dismay. “Sorry about this,” he said.
She grabbed them, her heart pounding way too fast. “Get out,” she whispered. “Just go. I’m sorry. I can’t…do this.”
“You’re the only one I’ve ever told…about Crystal and me and what we…you know, liked.”
She willed away the girlie tears. “I know,” she said. “It’s not something you’d share with your brothers.”
Antony chuckled and ran a hand around the back of his neck, breaking the tension in the room enough for her to breathe again. “I, um, I’m engaged. And I love her, Rosie, and her boy.” He dropped his gaze to the carpet. Without thinking, Margot tilted his face up, ignoring that strange electrical charge that snapped between them. “It took me nearly four years to even kiss her, Rosie. And we only just… um…” A charming blush rose from his neck to his face, making Margot faint with lust. “I don’t know why in the hell I’m telling you this.”
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, mom of three, 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.
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