Thursday, June 12, 2014

Name Before The Masses Tour: Essence of Time by Liz Crowe




Essence of Time

by Liz Crowe







A “take life by the throat” philosophy has always served Rob well. It keeps him focused, forcing emotions and potential relationships to take a back seat to his aspirations. But once every obstacle has been conquered and he’s achieved his goal—executive chef at a famous Chicago restaurant—he must acknowledge that he has reached his mid-thirties very much alone.


Blake has just jettisoned his dream job—head of a fast-growing craft microbrewery—to escape from the woman who shattered his soul. Arriving at a Chicago beer festival prepared to drown his sorrows before moving on he is miserable and numb.


Fate throws the men together altering their respective worlds forever.


Once Rob reveals the personal demon that has haunted him for years, Blake allows himself to fully trust again, and admits he wants a child. But a mutual attraction evolves out of a business arrangement with the woman hired as their surrogate, which has the potential to destroy an already delicate status quo.


But time is of the essence, and becomes the one luxury they don't have.


An honest depiction of a modern relationship mosaic reminding us to treasure every single moment we are allowed to love and be loved.








Rated PG 13 for language and implied ménage relationship


Rob interrupted him, keeping his distance, his voice low and calm. “I don’t want to do anything that will make you unhappy. It’s all I do anymore it seems. I know, I know, me being sick doesn’t make you unhappy it makes you mad. Whatever. Listen,” Rob said, taking the few steps between them and pulling Blake to his feet. “You look like you’re about to walk in front of a firing squad. Fuck it. Let’s call it off.”


“No.” Blake let himself be held a moment, listened to the sound of his lover’s beating heart, his arms wrapped around the man’s too-thin waist. “It’s okay. She’s…I mean, I think it will be fine.”


Rob tilted his chin up. Blake studied Rob’s face, stared into his brown eyes, memorized it, for later. They both smiled. Blake pressed a quick kiss to Rob’s lips, then began to disentangle himself. They needed to get on with it. Lila would be sitting and waiting by now. It would be rude to…But Rob held onto him, his grip strong. The lips he pressed to Blake’s, parting them with his tongue were firm and had a familiar urgency.


Blake broke the kiss first, held onto Rob’s face. “Keep that up and the poor girl will have to pay her own expensive dinner bill. Come on, let’s go. I’m tired of waiting on you.” He brushed a hand across Rob’s chest, and lower, grinning. “Save this. I’ll take some later.”


The ride downtown shimmered with anxious energy. Rob hummed, a clear sign of his nervousness. Blake tapped his fingers on the armrest, fiddled with the window, the HVAC, the radio.


“God damn it.” Rob smacked his hand away from the controls. “Cut it out. You aren’t making either of us feel any better.”


Blake blew out a long breath. “It’s not like I know how to act here. I mean, what the hell are we supposed talk about? The bank transfer of the money? The process? Who gets her first? If she wants it in both…”


“Stop it.” Rob’s voice was strained, his jaw clenched. “I don’t know either but I damn sure am not gonna ask her if she wants a DP. At least not on the first date.”


Blake laughed so loud he snorted. Rob shot him a sideways look as he pulled the F-150 into a parking spot behind the restaurant and put it into park. They both sat, frozen with indecision and anxiety.


“Do you remember Paris?” Blake put a hand on Rob’s thigh. The other man’s muscles twitched under his palm. “That girl, from the nightclub? Our first vacation?”


“Yeah.” Rob kept his hands on the steering wheel, eyes trained straight ahead. “What about it?”


Blake sighed. Rob’s body language, his clenched teeth and white knuckled grip only ramped up his own stress. But he needed them to get past this. They had to go into the restaurant, meet with Lila, eat, drink some wine then…possibly…go home and…He shook his head. He ran fingers through Rob’s hair, the silkiness of the new growth brought a smile to his face. “That was pretty easy. I mean, you know, my first time as three.”


Rob turned to him, anguish suffusing every pore of his handsome face and filling his eyes. He gripped Blake’s hand, yanked him across the console and kissed him hard. When he broke away, Blake touched his face. “You’re the expert here. Not me. The ladies love your tall, blond, Germanic hotness. I’m along for the ride. I’ll…watch and learn.”


“Don’t be an idiot.” Rob leaned his head back, hand over his eyes. “Jesus, this is…about as fucked up as it gets.”


“No, it’s not. Even if you weren’t sick we would be doing it. You know that. We wanted a baby.”


“You wanted a baby. I’m perfectly fine without…”


“You told me a thousand times you weren’t doing this to humor me. Were you lying then, or are you lying now?” Blake’s ears got hot and his chest tightened but he clamped down on the anger. “All we have to do is figure out how to share. That is one thing we know we both need to….practice. I don’t want her to think we’re a couple of barely evolved Neanderthals.”


Rob turned to him, his eyes still bright with unshed tears. “Even though we sort of are?”


Blake shrugged, unable to resist a smile. Rob sighed and climbed out, meeting Blake at the back bumper. He grabbed his arm. “I love you Blake Thornton. God knows I do. So, let’s get on with this, shall we? Not quite the impromptu heat of a Paris nightclub but…we’ll make do with the Chop House.”


The men walked around the corner and up to the restaurant in silence each deep in the mire of his own misery. They spotted her, seated at a table in the front window, before she saw them. Blake took a breath and leaned into his lover’s ear. “Don’t stand there and tell me that she is not beautiful. That she doesn’t do anything for you.”


He put a hand on Rob’s back, as they walked towards her. She looked up and smiled. Blake felt Rob shiver under his palm. “The mother of our child, Rob. The child we both want,” he whispered, then stepped aside so Rob could give Lila a quick hug before he did the same.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:  


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.





Liz will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

For even better chances at winning, visit the other host sites and leave comments. Find them here:

Interview with Liz:

1) Is there a story behind this book or any of the characters you'd like to share with us?

This is a story about some strong secondary characters in the first 3 books a series. But it is NOT necessary to read the first 3 books to “get” this book. It is intended as either a STAND ALONE novel or as part of the Stewart Realty series and is a fan favorite from this series as well.

2) What was the inspiration for this book?

The stories of Rob and Blake always interested me (as I was writing and editing books 1-3). They are pretty inspirational guys as you will see, having weathered some storms in their lives to find themselves together as adults. I have had lots of readers claim they would never had considered a book about “men in love with each other” but after reading this book they tell me it was less about the “mechanics” or the “ick factor” or whatever and completely about the realistic relationship I created between them.

3) If you used a real setting, how intimate are you with it? Have you been there just to visit or have you lived there? Or did you do a lot of research about it?

Ann Arbor is where I live and these men own a brew pub, which I also do so it’s all me!

4) Did you fall in love with you hero(es)? Why?

No, mainly because I don’t consider them “heroes.”  My stories are not terribly formulaic and so my male characters don’t always act heroically—just realistically. Don’t get me wrong—they are good looking, but not perfect and sometimes you wanna shove them off a bridge, but then you want to hug them tight. Sort of like the men in our own lives.

5) How long did it take to write this book and how long before you found a publisher?

I wrote this book in about 2 months (I’m a marathon writer—get an idea, start writing and disappear until it’s done. The editing takes much longer).  I already had a publisher for it.

6) What was the toughest part about writing this book? Did any characters misbehave and if so, how?

My characters always misbehave but the toughest part was the ending.  You’ll see what I mean but as I said, this book is a fan favorite among all 20 plus of my books despite its “tissue box warning.”

7) If this book became a movie, who would you cast to play the parts?

Cam Giganet would play Rob Frietag and Taylor Kitch would play Blake. Lila Warren the woman they hire to be their surrogate mother would be played by Rooney Mara.

8) What do you like to do when you need a break from writing? Well, this summer I’m selling my house so by necessity it’s “Pack or unpack!” but I also enjoy walking my 2 standard poodles, practicing Bikram yoga or, you know, drinking craft beer.

9) Where do you usually write? Do you write in silence or with music or other background sounds? I can write pretty much anywhere the mood strikes me. I can shut out noises or add them as needed. About half of ESSENCE OF TIME was written on airplanes or in airport terminals.

10) Tell us a little more about what makes you tick.

Alcohol. Family. Chaos. Caffeine. More or less in that order.

11) Is this book part of a series and if so, tell us about the series please.

It is technically book 4 of the STEWART REALTY SERIES (8.5 books).  BUT it is 100% a stand alone novel and can be fully appreciated by itself. Thanks for having me! I can’t wait for your fans and followers to read about Rob and Blake!



Mary Preston said...

Such an interesting excerpt.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Liz said...

thanks for hosting me. And all my books are fairly interesting! I hope you get a chance to read one soon.

Rita Wray said...

Great excerpt, thank you.

Melissa Keir said...

I love Liz's books! I am a part of Team Rob and Blake! <3

bn100 said...

Interesting inspiration

orelukjp0 said...

I love your interview and excerpt. One day I hope to visit your brewery. Beer is my husbands favorite food :)
Thank you also for the great contest.

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