“I hope you don’t think I’m gonna hire you because you’re my baby brother. No, wait. My lazy, bookworm, useless baby brother, who’s gone and dropped out of that expensive, fancy writing school he just had to get into, and now shows up here at my business, in this ole backwater, hillbilly town...broke and looking like he’s been dragged through a knothole.”
Aiden flinched in the face of Antony’s fury. His hands curled into fists deep inside his trouser pockets, as a too-familiar rush of anger threatened to consume him. He waited and watched, seeking visual cues from their growing up years. Antony merely leaned against the tallest worktable, slowly wiping off some kind of a wrench with a blue cloth, his dark eyes inscrutable.
The sounds of a busy garage swirled around them, filling the real and virtual space between Aiden and the man who’d been his protector and friend his entire life. That gaping hole he’d placed there, with his casual disregard for his family and seeking escape from this very hillbilly backwater. Those were the words he’d used not that long ago. Flung back at him in Antony’s overblown, exaggerated redneck accent, they stung like ice pellets.
Not for the first time, Aiden deeply regretted the effort he’d made to keep distance between them—from all his brothers—for the last seven-and-a-half years. It had seemed the right thing then, with him in the full flush of his heady personal expectations as the next Great American Novel Author.
He gulped, and forced his voice to remain steady. Heaven knows he’d had plenty of years to practice not rising to Antony’s bait.
“Yes…um, well, kind of. Yeah. That is what I’m thinking.” He ran a hand around the back of his neck while Antony observed him without moving or speaking—barely even blinking.
The bastard isn’t going to make this easy, is he?
Aiden cleared his throat and tried to find the right words. They failed him.
“Never mind.” He turned to shoulder his way through the grease monkeys peopling Antony’s successful auto-repair joint. His head buzzed with exhaustion from his trip “riding the dog,” as he’d learned his trip by Greyhound bus was named, and anxiety over the reason he’d made it.
As he reached for the office door, after making it all the way across the garage, a distinct noise like resignation hit his ears.
Ridiculous, of course. He could barely think amidst all the garage noise, let alone hear his oldest brother heaving his patented sigh from all the way across it. But Aiden turned anyway, knowing, somehow, that he had.
Antony remained propped against the workbench, still clutching the blue rag. Still staring holes into Aiden. “You don’t even know how to change the oil on a late model pickup. You’re about useful as tits on a bull.”
Aiden squared his shoulders and tried to look somewhat more useful than that.
“Maybe, but I can clean up after the guys who do know how, or I can keep your books, update your website, get you active on Facebook and Twitter and—” That sounded desperate. But he might as well own that, too.
“I don’t use any of that shit.” Antony dropped the rag on the bench and scowled as an employee rolled a couple of tires by him. “I don’t need it. I have more work than I can handle now.”
“Yeah? Well, maybe you should think about it. What happens when the work dries up?”
Antony let out a distinctly unpleasant-sounding laugh. “Little bro, you obviously missed class the day they talked about the recession-proof businesses.” He held up three fingers. “Cars always need fixing. People always need to drink beer. Kids always need teaching. By my calculations, the Love family is pretty fuckin’ smart. But for one of us, I guess.”
Aiden bit the inside of his cheek to keep from lashing back in defense then tried a different tactic.
“Mama is sick. You forget that? Ever think maybe I came home to be here for her?” He had to shut his eyes for a split second to dispel the concept of a world without the formidable Lindsay Halloran Love in it.
Antony grunted and headed toward one of the four lifts. Each had a car hoisted on it and a guy underneath, messing around with whatever they did under there. He reached up and fiddled with something beneath what looked like a big black Mercedes sedan, ignoring Aiden. Given that he had no other viable option, Aiden let him.
His sister had broken the news about their mother to him four days earlier, around 5:00 p.m. He’d never forget the moment—since it happened to be the same day he’d discovered he’d failed a poetry-writing seminar, plus made a serious miscalculation by drinking too much and then coming on to a hot professor at a department social event. He’d seen her next day at the panel “discussion” of his final novel.
Lack of clear plot progression, shallow characters and poor dialogue choices, had been the gist of their “advice.”
Jerks. Wouldn’t know a decent, modern plot if it bit them all in the collective ass. So what if I want to actually make money with a book, and not just collect a lot of critical admiration?
Shifting from foot to foot, he calculated how long Antony would make him stand there like a supplicant before he caved. Because cave he would. Aiden understood enough about his eldest sibling to realize that. The strains of the latest Luke Bryan song wafted around, chafing his exposed nerve endings.
As Aiden watched, Antony finished under the Merc and hit the button to lower it back to the garage floor. Then he spent a solid ten minutes consulting beneath the hood of a late model F-150, another five wiping down a set of tools, and ten more fiddling with his phone. But Aiden didn’t say anything, lest he break into the man’s thought pattern. That would only trigger his temper—the last thing Aiden needed at that moment.
Memories of angry explosions past made him sigh, rub the back of his neck, and touch his still-crooked nose. While the Love siblings were fiercely loyal to each other—they maintained zero tolerance for bullshit between them. He took a step backward, regretting his decision to come here first, as opposed to the brewery on the west side of town to beg his father to hire him to pour beer, shift kegs, or hose out brewing equipment, mainly because that would also mean facing Dominic. Between them all, he’d much rather deal with Antony.
He refocused when Antony frowned at him, as if sensing his sudden mental flinch.
Aiden raised an eyebrow in a “well, I’m very busy, and important, and require an answer” sort of way. His stomach churned, reminding him of the disgusting fast food he’d inhaled earlier. He hated being the screw-up little brother. Honest to God, he hated it, almost as much as he despised the country music pounding on his eardrums right then.
Title: Love Garage
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads Link: Goodreads
PRE ORDER: Amazon
Antony Love is the quintessential responsible oldest brother of a boisterous, Italian/Irish family, placed in charge at a young age by his parents who are busy running the family business. He manages his siblings with a fair but iron hand, until his life is shattered by personal tragedy leaving him the shell of the man he once was.
When outspoken matriarch Lindsay Halloran Love becomes ill, the youngest brother Aiden shows up at Antony’s garage, having dropped out of school (again), needing work and a place to crash. Antony provides both, with three caveats: “Don’t smoke in my truck, don’t be late for work, and don’t mess with my girlfriend.”
But Aiden Love, budding novelist, gets one glimpse of Rosalee Norris, young widow of Antony’s lifelong best friend and all bets are off.
Title: Coach Love
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads Link: Goodreads
PRE ORDER: Amazon
The smoldering intensity of first love ~ the forbidden fantasy of temptation ~ the cold hard facts of real life.
When one man’s hopes are dashed apart in a split second after years spent chasing a dream, he returns home to Kentucky furious at the world and everyone around him.
Kieran Francesco is the middle son of the volatile, tight-knit Halloran-Love family. His role as peacemaker and the one true athlete is well established. He now faces life devoid of the sport he adores after a horrific, career-ending accident, which places him in a new and entirely uncomfortable position—that of the brother with no future.
Over the course of a few tumultuous months Kieran is plunged back into life at the center of the Love family, where he must cope with one self-destructive brother, one ill-timed reconnection to an old flame and a series of bad choices that land him in more trouble than he’d ever known existed.
COACH LOVE, book 2 of The Love Brothers, a family saga of sibling loyalty that runs as deep and wide as the Ohio River—at least until Sunday, when Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations at the weekly Love brother pick-up basketball game.
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, mom of three, 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.
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DATES: January 5-28, 2015
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Prize Pack #3:
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