Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An HEA for my M/F/M

The story of Vegas Miracle is one that many publishers will automatically reject. At its core is a marital infidelity. I know that some publishers are pushing boundaries a little with this but truly, for the most part, the standard formula remains.

If you don't know me, allow me to introduce my self: I'm Liz Crowe. And I write Romance for Real Life.
The kind that offers second chances, forgiveness, bad behavior and good, and characters you might encounter in your every day life.
I've been busily getting some new branding elements down to match my new slogan. This "hop vine tattoo" image I will be using on everything, including book spines from Tri-Destiny, business cards, book marks, websites the whole shooting match.  The vine tattoo itself graces the bicep and shoulder of a couple of dudes I've written about and of course, shows my love for my 'day job' that of owning and marketing my craft microbrewery.

It's incorporated into my new banner too...that will be on my new website and blog soon!

Vegas Miracle is hands-down one of my favorite stories. I like these people so much it's about as close to total HEA as I'm willing to go even.

It will be re-released on May 1 with my new publisher Tri-Destiny and YOU my sweet 'n sexy compatriots are among the FIRST to see the the kick ASS new cover by my ass-kicking new artist who is responsible for my branding banner, and all new covers for the super-hot Realtors series!
Love this gal....now for Vegas Miracle:


Ryan and Grace Sullivan have all the outward indications of a happy life: money, success, an undeniable physical attraction that quickly evolved from whirlwind relationship to marriage. But lately, Ryan's become moody and distant. As their relationship starts to crumble, Ryan discovers something about himself he can't admit just as Grace realizes the young man she encounters at an invitation only party, Henri Christophe, a celebrity chef with the most successful restaurant in Las Vegas, is her husband's lover. But Henri holds a secret himself. He wants to be more to both of them.

Trying to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan's deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone's happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio share, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn't solve. But when it comes to his own heart, he may be too late.

And the excerpts in order of heat, beginning with PG-13 through Holy Hell Can I Read this At Work?:

PG13 Excerpt

            Staring out into the bright, sunlit lake, Grace wasn't a bit surprised to find the fine male specimen who’d just been flirting with her standing at her elbow.  He brushed past, slipped off his deck shoes and walked into the shallows and she gripped the weather beaten railing to keep herself from following him.  She wasn’t quite sure how to approach him but the pure chemical pull of the man was nearly too much to bear.  So she started walking barefoot in the opposite direction.
            "So how does one go about getting a book published?"  Every nerve in Grace’s body zinged in unison as Ryan’s arm grazed hers.  He'd caught up to her and ambled along, hands in pockets, well inside her personal space bubble. 
            "You mean you don’t already have an agent and a nice fat advance to write your memoirs?" Grace held both hands up as if framing a photo.  "How I made millions off stupid tourists and traveling salesmen?"   
            Ryan chuckled.
            "Do you need an agent?"
            He seemed honestly interested so she regaled him with her own personal journey seeking agents, getting rejected, the round robin of query letters, partials, rejections, more query letters.  By the time she finished and had him gasping for air after laughing so hard at her description of the "predator editor" loser who’d actually asked her on a date, they were a good two miles from the party.  The sun was a glowing ball of pink and purple as the evening clouds closed in and Grace’s skin pebbled from the chill.  As if it were the most natural thing in the world, Ryan put an arm around her and pulled her close.  She sighed, molding into his side, still trying to convince herself these last hours hadn't been a dream.   Grace had never felt so completely at ease with a man. When she stopped and turned to face him, going up on her tip toes, their lips met as if they'd been lovers forever.
            The kiss started gently as Grace wasn’t usually the type to instigate, but as the afternoon wore on, she knew in her soul she had to at least taste him...just once.  If he was shocked and pulled away then that would be that.  But he didn’t.  Ryan let her lead, let her part his lips with hers then let her break away first.  Grace knew her flushed skin and glowing eyes betrayed how she felt but she no longer cared. 
            "That was nice," Ryan muttered before pulling her back and slanting his mouth over hers, his kiss very much an alive sort of thing, questioning her without words.  She answered him by wrapping her arms around his neck, nearly off balance by the effort to stay on her toes to reach him.  He tasted of gin, like summer, like a man.  And his subtle cologne suffused her nose, making her dizzy while his soft, urgent lips possessed hers. She moaned as his lips broke free and trailed down her jaw and neck to the tops of her breasts.
            His arms encircled her but his hands started to roam up her sides, brushing against her breasts.  Grace felt her pussy clench in near agony. But when she heard laughter from above them, she pulled away and took a step back.  Ryan stood, and put his hands in his pockets again.  In the waning light, Grace saw clear evidence of his desire as the zipper of his thin cotton shorts bulged.  She tried not to stare.
            "Sorry," he grinned.  "I, um, don’t usually..."
            She laughed at the absurdity of him saying the words that were on the tip of her tongue but a strange panic settled in her gut.  This man was bad news.  Never settling down, always traveling to strange cities and hotels where female staff and clientele were bound to be lying in wait for him.  Yet that wouldn’t matter if they just had a quick fling. Would it?  She had no desire to get married for crying out loud.  And he obviously was commitment averse. So why not?
            Grace’s heart fluttered.  She was falling for a guy she'd just met.  No. That was ridiculous.  She’d had a few boyfriends but had never once jumped into bed with a man after just meeting him like she was poised to do with Ryan. 
            "Something tells me you have more experience with this sort of thing than I do though."  Lame, it was all she could come up with in her lusty haze.
            He sighed and looked up at the darkening sky while Grace bit her lip and waited. 
            "Maybe, but something about you, Miss Almost Famous, has me as nervous as a middle school kid.  It’s sort of pissing me off if you must know."           
            Grace giggled, nervous energy getting the best of her. She covered her mouth with one hand but in the next second she gasped as Ryan crossed the sand between them and began running a finger tip over her lips. 
            "Something about you," with each word he pulled her closer until their lips were millimeters apart.
            "Kiss me again," she whispered.
            "With pleasure," Ryan obliged. 

R Excerpt
Ryan closed his eyes at the sound of the key in the lock and he didn’t move as Henri entered, made a tsk-tsk sound over the mess in the foyer, grabbed a glass and the bourbon decanter and joined him on the balcony.   The sound of liquid splashing into the glass and the hiss of the fabric as Henri eased back into his chair brought no response from Ryan.  He remained standing, staring at the night sky, unable to form words as his lover of nearly two years sat and watched him in silence.
"Just what, exactly were you hoping to accomplish by fucking my wife?"
Henri stood and leaned over the balcony, mirroring Ryan’s stance. 
"I thought it was why you brought her.  But I'll say, you were right.   She's amazing."  Henri sipped his bourbon and looked at the tall blonde beside him. 
Ryan turned to look into Henri’s deep brown eyes, the eyes that held him the moment they met in Cannes two years ago.    That compulsion, the weekend they shared together, led him places he never imagined he’d go and now he couldn’t give it up.   He shook his head and looked back out over the Detroit River, remorse and dread twisting his gut in knots.
He shut his eyes once more as he felt Henri’s hands on his shoulders, kneading, smoothing out the tension in his muscles. 
"You can’t distract me.  I’m hugely pissed off at you."
"I know, but at least you won’t be tense so you can really focus on the anger.  Now sit so I can reach you properly."
Ryan sighed, suppressing a smile at the man’s ability to defuse.  It was a talent he wished Grace had. Her tendency was to ramp up the ante, to find the sore spot and grind her heel into it until Ryan lashed out, making the whole thing much worse than it usually was.  Sitting, pouring himself one final splash of bourbon, he let Henri work on his shoulders and upper back, groaning as the knots untied and his neck lost some of its rigid stress.  A haute cuisine chef trained in Paris, Henri paid for school by using his first degree in physical therapy to massage the stress out of his colleague’s backs and legs after hours spent on concrete floors in kitchens, bent over stoves and ovens wreaked havoc. Henri made a tidy sum of cash loosening everybody up.
"Ow, Jesus," Ryan yelped when Henri’s knuckle dug into his trapezoid. 
"Shut up already," the young man’s voice was airy, relaxed.  "Let me work."
After about twenty solid minutes spent over Ryan’s shoulders and upper back, Henri leaned down to his ear.
"She’ll be okay."  Ryan turned and frowned, wincing as the freshly released nerves in his neck sang out in protest.
"You don’t have to treat her with kid gloves, Ryan.  She’s a grown woman, a successful author. She's used to being on her own.  Just because you swept her off her feet in an admittedly really romantic fashion doesn’t mean she needs to be coddled like some hot house rose."
"I think I know how to handle…"
Henri took his hands off Ryan’s shoulders. 
            "You know what, I don’t think you do.  And that’s part of the problem."
            Henri flopped into his chair and propped his bare feet up as Ryan stared at him. 
            "I hardly think a guy who managed to stay married about thirty minutes is qualified…"
            Henri held a hand up.
            "Don’t be condescending.  I never claimed to know anything about women.  I just think I have a handle on this one—you know, they one we want to share our lives with?"  He raised an eyebrow at Ryan. 
            Ryan pushed Henri's feet off his lap and stalked back inside the condo.   Henri continued to stare out into the dark Michigan night. 
            "How did she get home?"
            "I took her."
            Ryan stuck his head back outside as he unbuttoned his shirt and yanked it off. 
            Henri rose to his feet and took the two steps between them quickly, hands on Ryan’s biceps, pinning the taller man against the French doors, his dark eyes angry and hurt.  Ryan glared at him.
            "Park the attitude all right?  I’m just trying to fucking help you get over yourself long enough to salvage your marriage.  If you stepped out of your God damned pity party for half a second you’d see that, you ass."   
Ryan’s body reacted to his lover’s closeness as it always did.  His scalp prickled and his fair skin flushed but he set his jaw and pushed back on Henri’s strong chest just enough to make him take a step back.    Henri crossed his arms but didn’t move out of Ryan’s space.  Drawing himself up to his full six feet, six inches,  he opened his mouth to retort but watched as his arms reached out and pulled Henri to him.  The young man resisted at first then let himself be drawn closer into the circle of Ryan’s strong embrace.
            "I’m sorry," Ryan muttered into Henri’s hair, reveling in his familiar scent and the feel of his body.

Vegas Miracle
XX Excerpt

            Ryan’s throat was tight as he rode the limo in from the airport, the familiar outlines of the Aria, a second home to him now, rising into view.  The lobby was full as Ryan strode through, not stopping to chat with anyone as staff members scattered out of his way, familiar with the stormy look on his face that signaled ass chewing's if he was interrupted.  His normal penthouse suite was completely dark when the elevator doors parted.  Anger and disappointment surged in Ryan’s gut.  They weren’t even here.
                        The swish of a match being lit to his left and the sizzle of a large candle wick startled him.  He smiled. 
                        "Welcome home, Ryan," Grace’s voice was near his other ear, the sound of her pouring relief over his soul.  He let her take his hand.  "We have something for you."
                        Henri followed and put the candle on the bedside table as Grace put her lips over Ryan’s and he melted into her, moaning at  the simple touch, more relieved than he wanted to admit that they were even talking to him, much less kissing him.  He felt Henri’s lips on his neck, his hands unbuttoning his shirt.  Keeping his lips on Grace's, he let Henri undress him, pulling off his shoes, socks, and unbuckling his belt and slipping his trousers down and off. 
                        Suppressing a small thrill of panic, he muttered against Grace’s lips.
                        "What’s all this?"
                        "Shhh," she whispered.  "No talking."
                        Ryan felt his 'always in control' self balk and he shifted as he sensed Grace settle between his legs.  His cock was painfully stiff.  He’d not gone without sex for nearly three weeks in a long time, having had either Grace or Henri nearby.  But he'd even denied himself masturbation while he was gone this time.  Part of him too exhausted by the end of each sweltering, frustrating day in Brazil to consider it, the other part punishing himself for leaving them so soon after they'd discovered each other that night in Vegas. 
                        He’d resisted his usual impulse to buy things, to shower them both with ridiculous and expensive gifts.  It was time he owned up and got real.  Just like they’d both said.   Open up, let himself feel, really feel, risk getting hurt.   He was at risk of losing them both if he didn’t.  The time he’d spent alone in the Brazilian hotel room staring at the ceiling, drinking beer, trying to come to terms with his shortcomings had brought on a serious bought of self-awareness.  It was, in a word, terrifying.  But he was willing to go there, if the people he loved required it of him.  He was eager to share, but was feeling overwhelmed by their greeting. 
                        He felt himself flex and get even harder as Grace swallowed him.  Then Henri was at his side using his fingers to press against the base of Ryan’s cock.  Someone cradled his balls, sending a coil of desire to his brain.  But wait, this was wrong, he was supposed to be the giver. Ryan mumbled as he felt the tip of his cock touch the back of Grace’s throat again.  Lips lapped at his erect nipple and Ryan fought against the thought that it was all too much.  He shouldn’t be giving in like this.
                        Reaching out to touch Henri’s cock, he gasped when the lips on his nipple bit down. 
                        "Ow, dammit."
                        "We’re doing the touching.  You’re going to give in to us tonight, Ryan.  Just lay back and enjoy it."
                        Grace kept her exquisite suction on his shaft as Henri’s lips sucked and pulled at his nipple and kept pressure against the base of his cock, the circle of thumb and forefinger like a fleshy cock ring. 
                        Ryan gritted his teeth as he felt the familiar sensation of blood pounding in his ears and flushing his skin a deep red that signaled the coming of a monster orgasm. 
                        "No, I can’t," he muttered.
                        Grace released his cock and moved down to pull one his balls into her mouth,  tugging at his core as Henri’s ring of fingers moved up to tease his head.  Encircling it, using just enough pressure as Grace moaned when his balls contracted between her lips, Henri pinched Ryan's swollen erection and silenced him with a slice of exquisite pain. 
                        "Please, I . . .  I just want to,"  Ryan fell back onto his elbows and let his head hang back, his entire body on fire with both a need for release and a desire to maintain control.  The twin monsters of his entire soul fought as bright lights started shooting across his vision.   Ryan wanted to bring the pleasure to each of them.  He didn’t deserve this.  They deserved more from him. "Oh, Shit.”  
                        Henri lowered his lips to the tip of Ryan's cock and sucked hard.  Grace put a fingertip against the flesh between his balls and anus.  Blood boomed in his ears as he fisted a hand in Henri’s hair and fucked his beautiful mouth.  Hips thrusting, he grunted with the effort of not coming.  He wouldn’t do this, he’d hold back, pull them off, and bury his face in Grace’s delicious pussy while she sucked Henri’s cock. He wouldn't be the one to release first.  He just couldn’t.
                        In an instant Grace was beside him, whispering in his ear while licking at his lips in an attempt to comfort him.  
             "Fall, Ryan," she whispered.  Ryan groaned as Henri swallowed him. 
            "Let us catch you.  We love you.  It’s okay.”
She slipped her tongue into Ryan’s mouth in a show of ownership before moving back down to his chest and picking up where Henri left off there.
"Just. Let. Go”   Her teeth tugged at his tender flesh, triggering stars behind his eyes as he desperately tried to control his climax.    

I'll be doing a little mini tour to celebrate the re-release of this book. If you have a blog and are willing to host, let me know in your comments!


Tina Donahue said...

What's really amazing is that cable TV is breaking all kinds of barriers with content and publishing is lagging behind. Remember when it was the other way around?

I like the idea of true-to-life stories. Sure, I want my HEA or HFN; however, it's refreshing to see characters who act and sound real and are redeemed within the plot.

Your series sounds wonderful, Liz.

Anonymous said...

The excerpts are amazing and I'm looking forward to their whole story. Thank you for sharing this and being brave and creative enough to write 'real'.

While I enjoy the fantasy - working to bring about real world lives is important. I know they exist. The menage's people want to pretend aren't possible. Good luck!

Sara Nichols

Harlie Reader said...

This cover fits the story sooo much better. I also like the vine, too. Very pretty.

And yes, you write very real romance and I like that. :)


jean hart stewart said...

Fantastic excerpts...Lots of success and congrtulations...

Fiona McGier said...

I thought the second excerpt was hot, until I read the third! Phew! Gotta get me a cold beer after that one...got any suggestions? Grin...