Title BACKUP OFFER
Author LIZ CROWE
Genre CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Publisher BUONI AMICI PRESS
An ex-boyfriend, his massive dog, her house, and no hotel room in sight. What could go wrong?
After Blair ended things with Brandis, she was determined to get away--and stay away from him for good. She put family, friends, and the life she knew in Michigan in her rear view mirror and started over. As owner and head chef of her own place in Louisville, she stays plenty busy, especially since “Blair’s Kitchen” is the darling of the restaurant scene. She’s managed to avoid Michigan for almost a decade, but when her best friend needs her help, she drops everything and heads home.
Brandis has spent the last ten years coming to terms with addiction, personal tragedy, and the loss of the woman he loved. He’s now the third generation to run his family’s construction business, and he’s managed to reconstruct tattered relationships with his family. He’s even adopted a dog, thanks to some donated renovation time spent at an animal shelter. He’s got everything he needs—except a for one thing.
When the contractor she paid to build her restaurant’s expansion vanishes, leaving her with a giant mess, Blair only hesitates a moment before calling Brandis for help. But when he rushes to her side to evaluate the crisis, there isn’t an available room in a twenty mile radius. So they settle in to a routine—her, her one-time boyfriend, and his giant, slobbering dog in her small house. It doesn’t take long for the temptation of close proximity to give way, and while Blair tries to keep it all physical, Brandis has other ideas.
The end of the Stewart Realty series saga brings the second generation full-circle in ways many never expected, but no one regrets.
This book is the end of a long series but can easily be read as a stand-alone, second chance, contemporary romance. NOTE that book 1 of the series: FLOOR TIME is free on every platform (not just KU).
That link is here: https://books2read.com/u/31l5pM
Brandis put his phone down on the counter. “I’ll find somewhere else for us to stay. We’ll only need to be here one night, I swear.”
“It’s fine,” she said, making her way to the kitchen table and dropping into a seat. “When are you going to tell me how much it’s going to cost for all the work you’re about to do?”
“I haven’t had time to calculate it all. I need to find a few local subs first.” He kept his distance despite every nerve in his body’s effort to propel him forward. Tiny wandered over and sat next to Blair. She scratched her ears.
“You go. I’ll take care of Tiny while you go to your meeting,” Blair said. “Does she need to eat or anything?”
“What?” He’d been momentarily mesmerized by the sight of her hand on the dog’s head. “Oh, that’s okay. She can go with me.”
“Don’t be silly. She wants to stay with me, don’t you girl?”
Tiny looked over at him with a clear “of course I want to stay here, dude,” expression. He shrugged. “I’m going to get a quick shower.”
“The shower head hasn’t been working so great lately,” she said.
“What’s wrong with it?” He moved forward, thrilled to have a purpose other than the one yammering at him to grab her and kiss her until they were both dizzy.
“I don’t know. I think I need to get a new one.”
“I can fix it,” he said, grabbing his duffle bag.
“Don’t be late to your meeting.” She got up and stretched, revealing a tantalizing line of exposed flesh between her jeans waistband and sweatshirt hem. “I’ll make us something for dinner.”
He stopped in the doorway, gazing at her, surprised she sounded so calm, so normal in the face of this odd circumstance. Maybe she was over him, he thought as she hummed and poked around in the fridge. He stared at the pleasant hug of the well-worn jeans on her ass, then cursed under his breath and headed for the bathroom.
After fiddling with the shower head and the lines from the old-fashioned faucets, he knew he had some work to do on the thing needed to buy her a whole new set up. He managed a quick rinse off in the tub, dried, and redressed in jeans and a travel-wrinkled button down shirt. Taking some pride in tidying up after himself, he repacked his bag and carried it and his shoes down the hall to the kitchen, walking softly as if it might help quiet the clamor in his brain.
He stopped in the doorway, frozen in place yet again by the sight of her. She was standing at the kitchen sink, and must have released the ponytail because the deep black cascade of her hair was halfway down her back. He could only see her in profile, but it was obvious she was upset. A tear slid down the cheek he could see. Her hands were clenched into fists, pressed onto the edge of the sink. Her shoulders were slumped. Everything about her screamed misery. But he realized with a shock she wasn’t miserable because of him. He could fix her problem this time. He had the skills, the contacts, the wherewithal to do it.
He squared his shoulders, walked to the back door to put his shoes outside, then over to her before he talked himself out of it. He stood behind her, his hands raised in the air, unsure of himself a split second.
This was the moment. It was time, he told himself. It was up to him to breech the chasm she’d dug between them all those years ago. He had to do it. It was now or never.
He put his trembling palms on her shoulders. Tiny raised her head from the rug she was lying on near where they stood, then put it back down as if reassured by something . His ears were ringing . His heart beat so hard it was a drumbeat against his chest. He slid his hands slowly down her arms.
She stiffened, then leaned back until she was pressed against him in a way that forced a low noise from his throat. He closed his eyes when she took his arms and guided them around her. They stood like this a few minutes, their breathing in sync, the clock on the wall nearby the only sound other than the whooshing noise replacing the ringing in his ears.
She leaned her head back against his chest. The aroma of her shampoo, mixed with the odors of the cleaning products she’d been using all day, shot up his nose into his brain. It triggered a tangle of memories. Heeding his therapist’s advice, he let them come, didn’t fight them or try to justify anything he’d done before. Since there was nothing he could do about it anyway, other than maybe, fix things going forward.
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Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She's spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling 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, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
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