Book Title: Paradise Hops
Author: Liz Crowe
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe lives 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.
Lori wrestled open the back brewery door, ears already ringing from the curses that echoed through the brightly lit room. The brewery boys and three second brewers stood in a line, all looking as nervous as mice observed by a very hungry cat. “And, who the fuck,” boomed a voice, “might you be? No one told me there was a girl brewer in this place.” As a reflex, Lori looked around, seeking out the female who’d pissed off the faceless angry voice. She’d been instrumental in convincing her father to hire Eli Buchanan. He was a brewing celebrity, a genius, temperamental, and prone to quit perfectly good breweries if the mood suited him. He was exactly what Brockton needed. They had to get past their staid, complacent attitude in a rapidly changing craft beer environment. “Yeah, I’m talking to you. The one who showed up fifteen minutes late for my morning staff meeting.” She flushed, frowning at the line of men, many of whom had worked for her father for years, as they shuffled their feet and wouldn’t meet her eyes. “Who the hell are you, and why are you on my brewery floor?” She cleared her throat, squared her shoulders, and channeled the anger building in her chest. “I’m Lori. Lori Brockton. This is the first day of my brewery rotation.” She hated how thin her voice sounded. “Your brewery rotation eh?” She stumbled back when he emerged, striding straight towards her from between towering stainless steel fermentation vessels. “What is this? Brewing Day Camp? I’m supposed to babysit the Brockton kids?” He glared at her, making her blink in the glare of his bright, steely blue gaze. Elias Buchanan was the dictionary definition of “larger than life.” At least six foot five, with long blonde hair held back by a small piece of leather. The span of his shoulders and definition of his torso barely concealed under a Brockton Brewing grey T-shirt forced an exhale from Lori’s lips. He kept quiet as her eyes took him in, from rubber boot clad feet to the light red stubble covering his jaw. “See anything you like?” “Uh, no, I mean, it’s not camp. I mean, you are…I’m….” she stuttered, then stopped. The man remained stock still, still holding her gaze as if challenging her. She stood up straighter. “I’m here for the next six months to learn this part of the business. You know, so I can be your boss someday.” He frowned at her. She frowned back. Then he tilted his head back and laughed, stepped into her personal space and smacked her ass so hard she yelped. “I look forward to that day little girl Brockton. Yes, I do.” A couple of the men started forward as if to protect her, but she waved them back. This asshole had another thing coming if he thought she’d be intimidated by the likes of him. As much as she felt she should have been frightened by him, he was as non-threatening as Garrett, but in a different way—a much more spine-tingling way. The following ten hours of back breaking work nearly made her throw in the towel. But, after an hour scraping out the last of a twenty barrel’s worth of wet, heavy spent mash—the leftover grains from a batch of beer made on their smaller system, she was sore as hell, but invigorated. The smells, sounds and sights in this heartbeat of the entire operation—the reason all three hundred of her father’s employees came to work every day—this she loved. “Brockton!” An angry voice echoing around behind her made her jump. Wet, sticky malt grains dripped from her face where she’d accidently splashed some onto herself as she cleaned out the large vessel. She swiped at them, smearing even more across her cheeks. Without warning, Eli wiped her face with a clean white towel, his touch surprisingly tender. But his frown stayed stuck in place. She stepped away from him, confused and aggravated by her automatic response to his brief touch. “Some guy in a tie is looking for you.” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder but didn’t move. Lori had no experience with hypnosis, but she’d swear at that moment he’d done it to her. Then the sound of harder heeled shoes on the concrete floor forced her look past him. Garrett’s bright smile was familiar, yet somehow strange and out of place in this, most definitely now Eli’s space. “I’m actually here to see you, Eli.” Garrett stuck out a hand and the other man looked at it, glancing over to Lori then back over before gripping it without a smile. “Glad to have you on board.” Eli took his hand back, and swiped at it with the towel he’d used on her face. If he noticed the rude gesture, Garrett didn’t indicate it in the slightest. Impressed, Lori moved a step closer to him and glared at the tall, arrogant, blonde man. Eli shot her an unfathomable look, but spoke to Garrett. “Sorry, but no suits in the brewery. Wouldn’t want to get you messy.” He walked away, waving over his shoulder. “Glad to be on board, boss, thanks.” The sarcasm dripped from his words like venom. Garrett turned to her, his handsome face calm, as if the odd exchange with the rude employee had never happened. He stepped close and whispered in her ear. “What’s up his ass?” She shrugged and leaned the trowel she’d been using for the last hours against the wall. Rolling out the stiffness in her upper back, she sighed when Garrett tugged her into his arms, the connection surprising but pleasant all at once. “Mmm…you smell great,” he muttered into her hair. Lori relaxed, realizing this was as far as they’d gotten two nights ago on her front porch before he’d given her an utterly mind blowing kiss and then sauntered back to his car, leaving her open-mouthed and wanting more.
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