A brew that brings two lovers full circle.
When Ross and Elisa open their new business in Detroit, they believe they’ve embarked on a dream life, complete with their beloved, precocious daughter. But owning and running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart and Elle quickly becomes laser-focused and obsessed, while Ross spends his days consulting, or concocting new beers on his pilot system—and wondering why she won’t agree to set a date for their wedding. When their restaurant—named ‘Komfort’ for its focus on the comfort foods of various cultures—is featured on a nationally televised tour of hot new eateries, its popularity shoots into the stratosphere and Elle’s stress level reaches a breaking point.
Faced with a mutual inability to communicate beyond their robust sex life, Ross issues an ill-considered ultimatum—the restaurant or him. Stunned when she refuses to consider such a ridiculous demand, he’s forced to come to terms with his own selfish tendencies. Hoping to repair the damage he’s done, he concocts a new beer inspired by her, using a recipe for a classic German-style Kölch. He crafts the final product using a special ingredient designed to catch Elle’s attention. It does. But not necessarily the way he’d planned.
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group Ltd|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
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.
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.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Liz Crowe 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
“So help me,” Ross muttered under his breath as Elle stomped away from him, the set of her slight shoulders and the sight of her clenched fists a reminder of why he loved her—but at the same time how she’d made him put his own fist through the drywall of their modest Detroit loft that very morning. His shoulders tensed when he averted his gaze from her retreating back. He forced himself to relax by focusing on the pilot system he’d bought, where he’d been busy and content a few minutes ago, working through a new recipe he hoped Austin would let him try on their larger system the following month.
But his brain was boiling with rage and he gave up after a few minutes spent tinkering with the ingredients. He sat and stared at the three-vessel Brew Magic that he’d treated himself to with his last giant consulting payment. His vision wavered and wobbled then finally settled as his pulse calmed along with his heartbeat. When he reached out to touch one of the stainless steel vessels, it felt cool under his hand. That calmed him further.
The old theater that he and his fiancé had converted to house the restaurant that he’d dreamed up and she’d agreed to, included a bit of warehouse-style space in back for him to call his brewery, where he would utilize this shiny new toy he’d bought and the mini distilling one he’d ordered. Ross loved it back here. It kept him in tune with the restaurant and yet allowed him plenty of space and quiet where he could concoct to his heart’s content. He spent the days he wasn’t running around the country trying to help hapless breweries get their relative shit together for embarrassingly large sums of money, here—so he could be close to Elle and yet on his own at the same time.
But lately, he’d begun to doubt the advisability of this arrangement.
When he checked the time on his phone, still keeping a hand on one of the metal tanks that had been delivered and set up, he heard the sound that never failed to lift his heart and his spirits no matter how shitty his day.
“Papa! Where are you? What is that? Can I touch it?”
A small form raced past him, her wild blonde curls barely contained by a pink hair tie. Even with her Star Wars backpack still strapped to her shoulders, the girl shimmied up to the metal platform and stood with her hands braced on two of the vessels, grinning at him. He grinned back, unable to stop himself as the cool breeze of happiness that never failed to suffuse his entire being at the sight of his almost three-year-old daughter went further toward lifting his mood.
“My sweet,” he said, speaking to her in German, even though she’d begun the conversation in English. “This is Papa’s new pilot brewing system.” He crossed his arms and gave her a fake glare. “Can you tell me what these are for?” He touched each of the three keg-shaped vessels.
She furrowed her brow, her blue eyes getting serious.
“Making Papa’s beer,” she declared in perfect German, batting her long lashes at him.
Ross kept glaring. She sighed and held out her arms to him, tilting her head and giving her best ‘but, Papa’ look.
He sighed, but the feel of her tiny body in his arms made him content—no mean feat, considering. She linked her fingers behind his neck, pressed her nose to his then leaned away.
“Don’t like Frau,” she said in English, in a loud whisper, glancing over Ross’s shoulder at the woman who waited patiently at the back door.
Ross chuckled and studied the girl’s face—a pure blending of his and Elle’s features if ever he’d seen it. And her attitude was alarmingly the same—a mix of smart, funny, proud, and as stubborn as fifty mules. “You just don’t like it that she won’t let you watch television all day.”
The girl stuck her lower lip out—way too far for Ross’s strict, German mind.
“Liesl,” he said, a warning clear in his voice. “You know how I feel about that.”
She treated him to a teenager-worthy eye roll, which made him shudder in anticipation of that horror show of a life stage. “Don’t like her,” the girl said, still in a stage whisper. With one raised eyebrow, she treated him to another foreshadowing glimpse of his future with her. “Vati,” she said, using the German endearment for ‘Papa’.
“Don’t Vati me, young lady. I am on to you.” The strict, gray-haired German woman Elle had claimed ‘perfect’ as a nanny for their child intimidated the living shit out of him but he’d agreed that they should raise their children without all the Americanized looseness they believed caused trouble down the road. He gave the woman a small wave and a smile.
“The child was hungry,” she called across the empty space. “And since it was almost time for me to go I thought I should bring her here, after we spent some time outdoors.”
He sensed Liesl pulling away from him so he tightened his grip on her, irritated but realizing he had to put on his fatherly show of complicity with the tall, scary, imposing woman.
“Stop,” he snapped perhaps a little too sharply.
She frowned and wiggled out of his arms but he snagged her backpack before she could make a break for it. The girl sometimes forgot that, if anything, her mother was even more strict and on the side of the nanny when it came to how she spent her free time. He was the good cop in this equation. But he had to make a point now, to let her know she couldn’t manipulate them. As if Helga, the German Frau-nanny, could be manipulated.
“Yes, thank you, Frau Poller.” He used her formal name, since she did the same to him and Elle, and only allowed Liesl to use her Christian name in private. When he glanced down at her, he saw that she’d dropped the backpack and was scurrying up a pile of wooden pallets under a line of large windows. He sighed, shrugged at the nanny, then walked over to pluck her down before she pulled the whole lot of them onto herself.
“Come and say goodbye to Frau Poller, Liesl,” he insisted, putting her down on the concrete floor and giving her a tiny push forward.
She treated him to a look over her shoulder that only served to remind him how furious he’d been at her mother earlier. He pointed. She trudged across the expanse of floor strewn with packaging material, plastic wrapping and what remained of the wooden crate that had held his new toy.
Liesl stood in front of her nanny and held out her hand. The woman shook it, then crouched so they were on eye level. They spoke too softly for Ross to hear but he was pleased to note that Liesl gave the woman a quick hug. When she rose and left through the back door it was without another word to him.
“If I’m a good girl, we’ll make ice cream.”
“Okay then. You like her now?”
“Yes,” the girl said matter-of-factly, making her way onto the metal platform again so she could peer at the various valves, connections and other fascinating items on the pilot system. She ran her small fingers over each fitting then stood to meet his eyes. “This only makes a little beers, Papa.”
“It will let me make small batches, my sweetling,” he said, standing next to her while she gave everything another touch. “That way, if it’s garbage and I have to throw it away, it doesn’t waste too many ingredients.”
“Garbage?” She put a hand to her chest.
“Stop flattering me, you little…” He grabbed her and tossed her over his shoulder. As he was reaching for her discarded backpack a door creaked open.
“Is that my tiny little muffin girl?” Elle sang out into the room.
The sound of her voice set his pulse racing until he reminded himself of their earlier argument. A sickening combination of embarrassment, fury and frustration made his gut churn. He set his jaw against her and their usual family Friday evening ritual.