Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.
Ross Hoffman held the potential for a perfect life in his hands—a life with Evelyn, the only woman he’d ever allowed himself to love, their baby and…her husband, Austin Fitzgerald, who also happened to be his best friend. But the challenge of trying to make a threesome into something acceptable—let alone the thought of actually sharing Evelyn with anyone—forces him to bolt. Determined to put all thoughts of their relationship behind him, Ross jumps headfirst into a new brewery job in Colorado, and back into the sort of sexual decadence that he hopes will distract him from his misery.
When he agrees to assist Austin through a spate of brewery mishaps, he lays eyes on his true fate—in the form of the petite, mysterious and exotic Elisa Nagel. Hired as assistant brewer, Elisa is absolutely everything he believes he doesn’t want in a woman. But he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain, and he can’t help but fall hard, fast and deep, which places him square in the middle of her horrific, until now secret backstory.
Ross is determined that his love will conquer and overcome the horrors of Elisa’s past, allowing her to trust him with the only thing he desires—her heart.
Author: Liz Crowe
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Tapped
Published by Totally Bound Source: Publisher
Published: May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
Visit the Goodreads Series Page
Liz Crowe gives us another really good story with Lightstruck. She always excels at writing complex characters with a lot of personal issues. Ross isn’t Prince Charming and Elle is the local prom queen. Ross has things he needs to learn about himself and improve and Elle is haunted by a very dark past. That’s a large part of what I enjoy so much about Crowe’s books. So many romances are formulaic but hers are not.
Though Lightstruck can be read as a standalone, I think readers will benefit from reading Tapped first. The first third of Lighstruck deals more with the dynamic between Austin, Evelyn and Ross begun in the first book in the series. Ross has walked away from the other two at the worst possible time and his first visits back to see his daughter are horribly strained. We also meet Elle in this first section and Crowe really builds the suspense about just what has brought Elle to this point in her life and to Michigan. And if Elle’s past isn’t even drama, she throws in a whopper of a new twist (I’m not going to include that giant spoiler here).
This was all interesting but I was even more engrossed watching the relationship between Ross and Elle develop and watching them each deal with their pasts, feelings and problems.
Crowe remains a favorite of mine in large part because I know I can pick up any of her books and I’m in for a interesting, rock, gut-wrenching ride from the first page to the last. Lightstruck did not disappoint and was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Crowe in all the best ways.
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/book/lightstruck
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.
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.
The next morning, she slunk into the brewery, the dread at having to face him like a noxious smoke filling her chest. Perversely, she craved the sight of him, the sound of his country-Bavarian accent when he spoke to her in their native tongue. All the while knowing that he didn’t deserve to get caught up in her shit. Period.
But that kiss…Dear Lord, if anything were more wonderful in this world, she was hard pressed to know what it might be.
She sighed and hid behind a row of fermenters when she heard him barking orders at some hapless brewery assistant. Her scalp tingled and the tiny hairs on her arms rose as she listened to him.
“Don’t do it, Elisa. Don’t trust him.”
She heard Austin holler for him from upstairs and breathed a sigh of relief when he replied that he’d be right up, leaving the main brewery floor free for her. Ears buzzing, she tried to make herself even smaller than she was—a trick she’d learned well during her time spent as a so-called submissive to The Monster.
A few hours of work calmed her jangling nerves. The smells and sounds of a brewery always did that for her. As she was checking the specific gravity of the IPA, pleased with how it had turned out, she sighed and allowed herself to relax. Whatever Austin had needed him for, Ross had stayed scarce for most of the day, thank the Lord in heaven.
“Hey,” he said from right behind her. She screeched in shock, flinching to violently the hydrometer went flying up into the air. After juggling it a few times, she held it to her chest and turned to face him. “Nice catch.” He smiled. Her heart wanted to melt. But she kept a tight grip on it, refusing to give in to that ever again.
“Persistent? Or perhaps just—”
He held up a hand. “I know, I know. Mouth-breathing idiot.” He leaned against the stainless-steel sinks. She tried not to let it, but her gaze was drawn to his shoulders, his arms, his chest…and lower. Gulping, she focused on the floor. When he cleared his throat, she met his deep blue gaze. “All right. I have a plan.” His tone was light and easy-going.
“Oh?” She set the expensive piece of brewery equipment beside the sink and turned on the water so she could wash out some of the stacked-up containers. Ignoring him, or at least attempting to, at the same time. “Does this plan involve the two of us? Because if so, you can forget it.”
“It does. And I won’t. Because I am persistent.”
Fury nearly blinded her. She turned to face him, hands on her hips. “Do you want to fuck me?”
He blinked fast, and took a small step away from her. “I… I’m…”
“Because I can accommodate that. And then we can stop all this foolish…flirting or whatever. Let’s clear the air.” Her knees were shaking so hard she had to grip the edge of the sink for balance. “What do you say?” She jerked her chin up, trying to look brave. “A quick screw in the locker room, maybe? It’s what you wanted last night, I think.”
It’s also what she wanted, but that was beside the point. He would be the first man to touch her intimately in almost eleven years. Also beside the point, because she was not going to let it happen.
“Stop it,” he said, his brow furrowing into the familiar stubborn lines. “I am here to ask you out on a proper date. Like a nice guy. But if you want to fuck…” He lifted his chin. “I can accommodate that.”
In a heartbeat, he’d pulled her close, his grip around her arms gentle, but firm. He slanted his lips over hers, grazing her cheeks with the roughness of his beard in a way that drove her half mad with lust. His tongue parted her lips and she let him, wrapped her arms around his neck and went way up on her tiptoes. She had never, ever felt this way about any man. Her need to have him, to be with him, to have him all over her, inside her, was so strong it took her breath away.
“That’s right, little whore. That’s what you want to do. You fuck that big Viking and see what happens to you when I find you and get you back where you belong. Just wait.”
She gasped and struggled away from him, slapping hands over her ears. His gaze wasn’t angry, or reproachful. It was soft and sympathetic.
“Okay, now that we have that out of the way, how about that date?” He raised an eyebrow, making her drop her hands to her sides and sigh.
“I am…how do you say…one hot mess. You don’t want any part of me.” She said this in English, something she always reverted to when she was trying like hell to reject him.
He thumped his chest with his fist and his grin widened, filling her with that ill-considered, yet oh-so comforting sensation of hope. “I am a big strong man. I like hot messes, especially yours.” He reached out and touched the corner of her lips with his fingertip. She closed her eyes, turned her face away and grappled with herself a few seconds.