The Stewart Realty Series
Genre: Romance / Family Saga
Publisher: Tri Destiny Publishing
Jack Gordon is Ann Arbor's most delectable bachelor. At age thirty-five, he's made millions as a top-selling Ann Arbor real estate broker and has the right connections to close a deal by any means necessary. With his rugged good looks and compelling personality, he has a virtual black book most men would kill for and he uses it often, never settling for one woman for very long.
While his D/s past remains buried, exactly where he wants it, an undercurrent of boredom and dissatisfaction runs through his life now. A disastrous experience years earlier made him swear off the whole scene, but the more Jack suppresses his natural Dom, the more his frustration grows.
Sara Thornton, a rookie in the real estate game, has fast-tracked herself to the top of the Ann Arbor market. Her life reflects a disciplined and focused routine, exactly the way she wants it. However, as her career takes off, the fulfillment she seeks remains inexplicably out of reach. The one thing she knows for sure, she will not join the Jack Gordon groupies in her company, no matter how tempting that might seem.
A chance encounter and a difficult transaction throw Jack and Sara together and the sparks fly high and hot and often. Forced to confront the compulsions that gain momentum with each sizzling hookup, their relationship seems to spiral out of control until Jack finally admits what he needs, and shows Sara what she's been missing.
Floor Time Excerpt:
Two o’clock became two forty-five with no guests. No big surprise. She made it through half of her water and a few chapters of the latest hot vampire novel she’d brought with her to pass the time. Bored, she got up to walk around when she saw a car pull into the long gravel drive.
She watched as Jack unfolded his tall frame out of the Corvette and walked around to reach into the passenger’s seat. It struck her that she had never seen him in anything but a suit, or at least dress pants, shirt, and tie, as she admired his ass in the dark jeans. He looked good enough to eat. But panic replaced her blooming desire.
What was he doing at her open house? Was there a problem with their deal?
She glimpsed a shopping bag from the local organic chain grocery in one hand. He grinned at her, lighting up his arresting eyes. Her breath caught in her throat.
She had made a vow to herself she would not get caught up in the Jack Gordon whirlwind. However, here she was, high and mighty, and yet about to explode with need for his lips on hers.
“I thought you might be lonely all the way out here and we should have a picnic. What do you say?” He made his way to the front door. He wore a plain burgundy t-shirt, jeans that hugged his front as nicely as his rear, and driving shoes. Momentarily blinded by lust, she fought the impulse to pull him into the foyer and make him fuck her until she was spent.
Nice, very nice. The guy brings you a picnic and you want to skip right to the after-play?
Turning on her heel she headed back into the house without even responding to his suggestion, assuming he would follow her. Sara realized she had to get control of herself before talking or her voice would surely betray her. She glanced at her watch. Three p.m. – she had to focus on her job for one more hour. Let him wait.
“Don’t you have an open house of your own?” She sounded a tad more irritable than she intended.
“Nope.” He walked right into her personal space, brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her. His firm lips remained noncommittal. She shivered as he kept his hand on her neck under her hair. He caressed her almost absentmindedly as he looked around at the house.
“Well, the view is great,” he admitted as he strode into the front bedroom suite. Sara watched as he walked out of that room and took in at the high cathedral ceilings made of light ash wood. Then he whistled, picked up his grocery bag, and walked into the kitchen complete with new gleaming stainless steel appliances and white tile floor.
“Nice, but it’s sort of cold in here, isn’t it? Maybe some color, flowers or something, would help?”
“Fuck off, Jack. I don’t need your help. Why are you here, anyway?”
“Easy, tiger, easy.” He leaned on the countertop. “I know you know what to do. I can’t help it. It’s second nature for me to say something about the house first.” Sara caught herself clenching and unclenching her fists, and stopped.
Damn the man, anyway.
She couldn’t even stay mad at him. She slumped against the doorframe.
“It’s a shit listing. I don’t get any showings and hardly any new buyers from these open houses. The sellers couldn’t care less that it sits here and gets stale.” She sighed, then relaxed, only to have her desire for him rush over her like a tidal wave. He attended to his grocery bag and began setting stuff on the counter.
“What the hell am I going to do when a guest shows up, Jack? Put that crap away.”
“It’s okay, babe, we’ll just say we rolled out the red carpet for your potential buyers with these nice strawberries and this cream.” He pulled the last container from the bag with a flourish.
“You are insane, you know that?” She stared at the array of stuff on the counter.
“You won’t think that when I show you this amazing bottle of wine I found. I forgot I had it.” He pulled out a green bottle with a French label of some sort, two wine glasses, and a corkscrew.
“Um, yeah, well, I’m not really comfortable doing this here. I mean, it’s not my kitchen.” Sara gulped as she took another step away from him to get his smell out of her nose.
“Sure it is.” He worked the cork out, allowing her to admire the amazing definition of his arms. “I’ll bet you’ve spent more time in this fucked-up house with its million-dollar view than you have in your own house since you listed it. I mean, you do opens, you refill sales brochures, you check on the lawn – what else? Tell me I’m wrong.” He pulled the cork free, splashed some golden liquid into each glass, and handed one to her. By the time he’d completed the task, Sara had made her way nearly six feet away from him.
“Baby, I don’t bite,” he said, holding out the glass to her.
She surged forward, as if to prove she wasn’t afraid, grabbing the glass as she passed.
“Thanks. Never had a happy hour at an open house.”
The Stewart Realty Series
Genre: Romance / Family Saga
Publisher: Tri Destiny Publishing
Jack Gordon thought he’d finally made it. He had a wildly successful career, money in the bank and even returned to his life as Dom, putting an end to a string of unfulfilling sexual encounters. Now that he's made the ultimate commitment to Sara Thornton, he believes all is right in their world. However, a series of misunderstandings and a dose of self-fulfilling prophesy bring his perfectly crafted house of cards tumbling down around him, forcing him to confront lingering misgivings about marriage and trust. Could those be the only two things he can never achieve?
Sara struggles with her intense need for Jack and her desire for less volatility in her busy life, two goals which appear to be mutually exclusive. Although willing to put in the time and emotional effort to make their relationship work, she finds it futile and frustrating, littered with clashes thanks to near-identical personalities and temperaments. Given Sara’s history, easing back into the comfortable status quo becomes easier than fighting a war with the one person who should be her safe haven. But will the easier choice satisfy her the way only Jack can? Is her "war" one that comes from without or within?
Buffeted by circumstance, temptation and distraction, Jack and Sara’s tenuous relationship crumbles, sparking a continuous quest for the ever elusive: trust, love and acceptance. By the time they rebuild a foundation for renewal, fate has other plans. This leaves them both reeling, once again questioning their destiny.
Sweat Equity Excerpt:
Jack watched his now ex-fiancée screech out onto the quiet street, sipped his bourbon and relished its slow lubrication of the horror at what had just happened. He sank back into the chair and glared at the fucked up still life of the condom and ring together on the table.
“Happiness Thwarted” he could call it, or even better, “In Which Jack Is a Dumb Ass.” The purple foil packets stacked next to the nearly twenty-thousand-dollar hunk of metal and compressed coal he’d put so much faith in just a few months ago.
“Goddamnit.” He swept the whole mess onto the floor. His usual method of instant spin control had abandoned him. He had nothing, remained a hollow shell, scraped clean, raw and pulsing like a six-foot five-inch exposed nerve ending.
The fucking condoms.
He’d left them there from over a year ago. From when he’d taken that crazy-ass blonde bitch of a client away for a weekend. The weekend she tried to convince him to marry her. But he’d already met Sara by then. So, he had fucked the woman six ways to Sunday then dropped her at her house, his mind and heart elsewhere.
Oh, the bitter irony of the situation did not escape him. Vegas had been fun, sure. He’d flirted like crazy and let some ladies buy him drinks but he went to bed alone every single night without a single qualm or regret. He hadn’t talked to Sara that week, but he’d been busy, serving on countless panels and attending dozens of stupid glad-handing receptions. When he wasn’t doing that he’d played Texas Hold ’em and lost his ass with gleeful abandon. He’d had his mind firmly fixed on the future. With Sara. He’d even entertained a pretty out-there fantasy of her beautiful body, swollen and full with their child.
“Oh fuck.” His face and eyes burned. His throat closed up. The room spun. He had to get her back.
How? Was he even worthy?
No, he wasn’t. But he didn’t care.
Jack got up, retrieved the expensive ring from the floor and set it on the front hall table with his other stuff. His heartbeat pounded at the sight of it. Anger followed close on the heels of despair. The house echoed with silence. He knew what he needed. Picking up his smart phone he quick dialed his friend, Suzanne.
“Hey, Jack, what’s up?”
“I need to talk.”
“Where are you?” The noise of her beer bar receded, so he assumed she must have walked into the brewery.
“Home. But I’m coming over. You gonna be there?”
“Well, I wasn’t, but I’ll stick around.” Silence spun out between them before she spoke again. “You did it, didn’t you?”
Jack dragged a hand through his hair. He knew exactly what she meant. “Yeah. I did.”
“Oh hell.” The ensuing silence deafened him. He trusted Suzanne more than he trusted just about anyone, except her business partner, who was currently on the West Coast at some beer conference. “C’mon over, you fucking idiot. I’ll buy you a beer.” Jack slumped against the wall, relieved to have somewhere to go, sick to his stomach and emptier than he’d ever felt in his entire life.
The Stewart Realty Series
Genre: Romance / Family Saga
Publisher: Tri Destiny Publishing
Love conquers all? Not likely, according to Sara Thornton. She's spent eight years coming to terms with the new parameters of her life while resigning herself to the idea that “happily ever afters” are best left to fairytales. Sales manager for her successful real estate office and juggling an added element of responsibility she never thought she'd face, Sara continues to struggle with the men in her life. Love, for her, has only meant hurt, broken trust and anger; all of which she’s completely banished from her life, so she claims.
Jack Gordon has come a long way since his early days of obsession with Sara. As the general manager of Stewart Realty, his own level of responsibility for the well-being of others has ramped up. He’s even honed his caretaking skills, now that he has someone who loves him unconditionally.
Continuing to invest effort and rebuild their relationship, he and Sara grow close as friends. Despite this, his ultimate question remains unanswered; the one he keeps asking, no matter how many times she says no. Sara isn't prepared for the keen focus of his need--to have her back, once and for all. Her stubborn resistance nearly rips both lives apart
The epic conclusion to The Realtors series, Closing Costs brings Jack and Sara truly full circle. Proving that the heat of lust and obsession; the need for control and to be mastered in many areas of life can lead to love —surprising you when you least expect it – if you will only allow it.
Once Jack and Sara had eased back into a wary friendship, the entire Stewart Real Estate Company rejoiced because it meant fewer fraught upper management meetings. Jack Gordon was a hard-ass leader, tough, firm, driven and with high expectations of everyone around him. He had turned the brokerage around. But for almost a year he’d been impossible to work with – antsy, quick tempered, never seeming to leave the office even to sleep or eat except on Tuesdays and Thursdays – the days he had Kate at his house.
Their conversations lasted long into the night nearly three or four times a week and between sorting through work issues and discussing theories of raising a successful future woman, they’d drifted into more personal details.
“So…” she’d asked at one point, needing to know but dreading the answer at the same time. “Have you, um, moved on, like I told you to?”
“Since when do I do what you tell me?”
She’d shivered at the sound of his voice. It had compelled her in so many ways, for good and bad. She needed to hear it, like she needed to drink water.
“And you? Find a new boyfriend yet?”
“Yeah, in all my spare time, I’m out clubbing, picking up guys.”
“Well, there is the internet.”
“That’s sick. You gonna answer me?”
He sighed. “I’ve been down at the club again. Playing.” Sara shut her eyes.
“Why didn’t you ever take me there? I would’ve…”
He cut her off. “You weren’t ready and every time I thought you were, you’d scream at me to get the hell out of your life, if memory serves.”
“Yeah, I guess so. We sure are good at bad timing, aren’t we?”
“Uh huh. You, my dear, are the queen of overreaction. But I still love you.”
Her scalp had tingled and she snuggled down in the covers. “Don’t know why. I’m a real bitch, I hear.”
He chuckled and her thighs tightened at the sound. “You horny, baby? That what this is about?”
She’d bitten her lip. “You psychic?”
“Only as relates to you.”
“Good night Jack. See you tomorrow.”
“Wait – let’s have phone sex. It’ll be fun.”
It had been her turn to chuckle. “You are so…”
“Blue-balled? Seriously Sara. I may be messing around downtown but I don’t…I can’t…oh hell why am I telling you anyway. You’ll just gloat.”
“No, I won’t. Tell me.”
“Another time. When you’re on your knees, begging me.”
“No, you will be.”
She’d shuddered, her whole body on fire now with need for his hands, his lips, his voice. “Stop it.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
She’d sighed, realizing the hopelessness of her whole relationship with him.
About the Author:
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.
“She hated the game he had played with her this morning, hated his easy use of the word ‘baby’ around her, and absolutely despised how much she wanted to hear it again.”
“What I know right now is that there is something about you, Sara Thornton, that has me spinning in circles. It pisses me…”
“I’ve been on my own long enough that I buy myself flowers, make my own pancake breakfasts, and am more than a little emotionally constipated.”
“You should never measure your happiness by what your friends and family think.”
“I love him. I hate him. I can’t live without him. I have a goddamned hole in my chest all day, every day.”
“You are a crucial, functioning part of me, always will be. But I get it. I’m a shit. I won’t deny it. But I’ll never, ever be happy or complete without you.”
“He left, but the word ‘mine’ beat a new pulse in his heart.”
“She laughed, and when she lifted her face to his, kissing her seemed like the most perfect thing to do, ever.”
“So she sat alone, most nights, staring out the window, pondering her squandered opportunities.”
My first Liz Crowe experience, now I see what all the fuss is about. She has mad skills! But she broke my heart with these characters. The protagonists were well matched, but couldn't get it right - both being stubborn, selfish, and immature. They shared undeniable chemistry that scared them in to acting irrationally and thoughtlessly, and while being wildly successful in their careers, both are badly damaged and painfully stupid about relationships. When they argued, it squeezed my heart. When they fought - I was devastated. Both characters are a hot mess yet, likable and fully fleshed out… I felt I knew them as if they are living and breathing entities. The story line and writing are witty, clever, insightful, deliciously steamy, and mesmerizing with a push/pull dynamic. I suffered a book hang-over reading through this series due to the fact that I can’t seem to put my kindle down… there are constant twists and turns and I just can’t wait to see what storm is brewing next. Ms. Crowe keeps things popping.
After so many near misses, misunderstandings, missed opportunities, misconceptions, miscommunication, missteps, mistakes, and misfires; the dramatic and emotional build up to the smash ending of this series had me actually trembling with tension. I enjoyed Closing Costs far more than book two, Sweat Equity, and as much or more than book one, Floor Time. Once the smoke finally cleared, I had the urge to quickly close down my kindle before they found themselves in yet another fight – then smiled at myself once I realized how silly that was. Liz Crowe has major writing chops, the story sucked me in and held me, frustrated me, and kept me hostage in a state of anxious anticipation, yet I was unable to stop as surely resolution was coming soon for this couple who couldn’t get out of their own way. This smart and well written series of complicated and interesting characters, neatly contained with 528 pages, has nearly killed me… while whetting my appetite for more. Although, for my own heart health, I do feel the need to take a breath and read something light and breezy next, in hopes of purging the over-abundance of angst from my system.
ESSENCE OF TIME (Stand alone novel or book 4)
CONDITIONAL OFFER (book 5)
ESCALATION CLAUSE (book 6)
MUTUAL RELEASE (Stand alone novel or book 7)
GOOD FAITH (Stand alone “final” novel or book 8)
HOUSE RULES (The Jack Gordon Prequel)
***BONUS NEW COVER LOVE!***
The Craig & Suzanne Story
It is highly recommended that you read book 4 (Essence of Time) before this one.
Craig Robinson and Suzanne Baxter had no reason to meet, no real excuse to be friends. But when heart calls to heart...blood to blood...should two people who seem destined to be together heed the spin of Fate's wheel?
Craig spent years floating through life on cruise control, using directionless jobs, his rock band, swimming, and a string of older women in his bed to smother feelings of loneliness and loss. He finally thought he had found his true love in one Sara Thornton -- A sexy, beautiful, fellow real estate agent and mentor. But his self-doubt and innate sense of failure is only reinforced when he realizes her heart belongs to another man.
When Sara introduces him to Suzanne, a woman fighting her own demons from an abusive marriage and subsequent feelings of inadequacy and deep unhappiness, that simple, chance moment snaps Craig's hazy existence into crystal-clear focus. A bond of instant physical attraction, nurtured by time and shared experience, and plenty of erotic energy, is born.
As Suzanne's past continues to haunt her, making her push Craig away just as he thinks he’s getting closer, each of them must come to terms with their true selves and face their ultimate realities.
Excerpt Conditional Offer:
"Hey," Suzanne said, looking up from her laptop. "What's up?"
Craig gulped, stuck his hands in his suit trouser pockets. His voice seized up, his throat felt as dry as a bone. He took a look at her, her small frame encased in jeans and a brewery tee shirt, tendrils of dark red hair curled around her neck. He was more consumed with nervousness. She looked up at him again, her gaze neutral and expectant, polite.
"I, uh, thought I'd take you up on the brewery tour offer. You know if you're not busy."
He suppressed an inward groan at how incredibly lame that sounded.
"Never mind." He sank into a bar stool across from where she stood behind the bar.
She shut the computer, leaned on her elbows and smiled at him. His heart skipped a beat. Typically, a hot woman would intrigue him, make him want to flirt, impress and ultimately seduce. Suzanne brought out a completely new feeling in him – one he didn't understand and that scared him practically shitless. But he’d come here again, unable to stop himself.
"Here." She handed him a beer and walked away. He was mesmerized by the sway of her hips but tried to force his usual A-game down under a layer of chivalry. One thing he'd never been around women was tongue-tied. Yet, there he was, smiling, and slamming down half the beer she slid across the bar at him while she talked with the bar manager and put all her stuff away.
She glanced at him once, a puzzled look in her eyes. He shrugged, smiled and forced his eyes up to the television and away from her.
After about fifteen minutes of messing around behind the bar, chatting with other customers and other diversions, she was back in front of him, leaning in, way too close for his comfort. He sat back, sipped and tried to ignore her.
"And so," she said, sipping her own beer. "A tour, huh?"
"Yeah, well, you mentioned it last time and I thought…." He heard his voice trail off, and started to stand and leave—anything to escape the horror of his lame-ass behavior. But he couldn't. Not when she leveled that intense gaze at him. He had to clench his fists to stop himself from touching her hair, from pressing his lips to that sweet spot just near her ear. He blinked.
"Um sorry? What did you say?"
She leaned her head back and laughed, making him tingle all over.
"I said, you adorable thing you, if you want a tour, then follow me."
She lifted the service arm and came out from behind the bar. He sat back, unsure what to do now, but wanting more than anything to follow her wherever she went. Something about her was so compelling, so tempting and so right. He smiled, and grabbed his glass.
She stepped into the brewery, holding up the superficial chain barrier between it and the Tap Room. He ducked under and listened as she launched into what was obviously a well-practiced spiel. He sipped, looked around, and pointed to a glass jar of small candies.
"Hey, are those M&Ms?" He walked over to a tall, makeshift worktable.
She followed him putting her hand over his when he started to take the lid off the giant container.
"No, Reese's Pieces." He looked at her, loving the feel of her palm on his hand. "They're mine. I'm an addict." She shrugged and stepped away.
"So give me the real story here Suzanne. I mean, you guys are successful, rolling in dough, expanding twice inside ten years. All is great?" He lifted the lid and scooped a handful of the peanut butter candies.
She sighed and held out her hand. He put one chocolate covered morsel in it. She glared at him, ate it, and seemed to relax, for the first time since he'd arrived, dropping her façade of business woman in control. He stood close to her, held out his hand and gave her a few more candies.
"It sucks sometimes, but I wouldn't do anything else. I love it."
"It sucks. And you love it," he repeated, crunching down on the chocolate peanut butter morsels. "Damn I haven't had these in years. I forgot how good they are."
"I know," she said, holding her hand. "So, Craig, why are you here, really? You obviously don't give a shit about my standard brewery tour."
He seized up a half a second, then pushed away from the table and grabbed more candy from the jar.
"How do you work here anyway? With these damn things around all the time…Jesus." He popped a few more in his mouth.
She joined him, perched on a backless stool nearly right under his arm. He started to move away from her, but then didn't. She put the lid back on the jar.
"I have to keep it stocked, that's the only rule. Because I eat the most of them, I guess. You gonna answer my question, or what?"
He draped his arm around her shoulder and they munched on candy like little kids.
"I came to see you," he said suddenly, needing her to know.
"I figured," she said, leaning her head on his shoulder. "I'm glad you did."
NET WORTH (Good Faith sequel)
EXCLUSIVE AGENCY (The Sara/Blake Thornton Prequel)
1 $25 Amazon gift card
2 audiobook (Audible) downloads of Floor Time
1 set containing one copy of each of the three books in the series (winner’s choice of formats – mobi, ePub, PDF)