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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Virtual Book Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway: Escalation Clause by. Liz Crowe

Hello My Lovelies,

Today I am hosting the wonderful Liz Crowe, and her new book Escalation Clause. I asked Liz what inspired her Stewart Realty series, and you will get to read what she had to say. I first want to share her fabulous cover, blurb, and a excerpt from Escalation Clause.

Young love burns hot and bright. Soul mates are found, then lost in the blink of an eye. When young widow Maureen Gordon Taylor meets her daughter's sexy soccer coach, her body and heart slowly unthaw.  But will holding tight to the past cost her a future?  
A devastating blow shatters a family's fragile happiness. Rob Freitag and Lila Warren now confront life without the emotional glue that once bound them, but a shared goal brings them back together. Is it enough to make them whole again and become the family they were meant to be?

Mutual trust is hard won for the Gordons.  When tragedy strikes, Jack and Sara’s lives are sent into a tailspin.  To keep her family from falling apart, she must force Jack to admit his deepest fears. After everything they’ve been through, can they revive the spark and move to the next stage of marital fulfillment? 

The sweeping saga of the Stewart Realty series continues as long-time friends learn to rely on each other, and to grab hold of happiness before it's too late. 

“It’s not rocket science. Neither of you guys were cut out to manage a restaurant that’s all. You wanted to manage your kitchen, Blake his brewery. And you kept hiring dumbasses to handle the front of the house for you. I’m organized and know how to deal with the staff. No big deal.” She started to sit but Rob gripped her arm.

“Please, come back home, Lila. I…I miss you, I miss us so much.”

She shivered at his words. “I don’t know, Rob. I mean, maybe you and I aren’t meant to be. Not without—”

Rob’s broad shoulders slumped and he looked so completely bereft it was almost funny, if it weren’t so shitty. She let her gaze travel down his apron-covered torso and her palm itched to untie it, to hold him and kiss him until he couldn’t stand it another minute. A bright pulse of erotic energy hit her core, making her gasp. She watched him clench and unclench his fists, then sit again, running his hand through his hair. She couldn’t resist. She touched it, ran her fingers through its silky yellow softness.

The bartenders called out and she waved to them. The main lights flickered then went off, plunging them into dark. His eyes held hers, their deep brown lit from the street. “I need you,” she whispered. Then she pulled him to his feet, wrapped herself around him. The kiss spoke words she wished she could say, and hoped he heard.

Just when he gripped her hair to hold her closer she tore herself away. “I need this,” she whispered as she untied his apron. He stayed still as it dropped to the floor and she popped the button on his jeans. “Please,” she leaned into his ear as she slid the zipper down and fisted his shaft. He groaned as she pushed him back towards the bar then went down on her knees. He tasted just like she remembered, and the tilt of hips, the sweet sound of his moans as she kept her fist moving and sucked the head of his cock between her lips were like music to her ears.

She slipped her other hand under his balls, stroked the smooth skin there. He gripped her hair. “Lila,” He grunted. “Stop.” But she didn’t.

Suddenly she was on her feet, folded into his arms and he was bending her back over the table, sending all their charts, phones and one empty beer glass to the floor. He ripped her panties off with one flick of his wrist, shoved her skirt up. “Oh, yes. Robert,” she threaded her fingers in his hair, met his lips and they cried out as one. The glorious feel of her man inside her, finally, again, made her want to cry but she didn’t. “Fuck me, hard. Now.”

“God,” He gripped her ass, thrust deep and slow then withdrew, biting down on her lower lip when she tightened herself around him. “Oh hell yes,” He moaned into her neck increasing his rhythm, pounding into her, making the table’s iron base screech against the concrete floor. She wrapped her legs around him, leaned her head back and let the orgasm lift her, take her and spin her around. “Damn, I have missed that,” He said, looking deep into her soul as she pulsed and thrummed from the climax.

She held his face in her hands, kept moving her hips. “Come now, Robert. Give it to me. Give me all of it.” He shuddered, then kissed her and did as he was told. She shivered, held him close. “I love you. But I’m not moving back in. Not yet. We have a long way to go and I want to make sure you’re sure. That you aren’t just doing this because you think you have to. Because of Gabe, or Blake’s memory or whatever.”

He withdrew from her, stood, and zipped his jeans back up. She sat on the edge of the table, terrified but certain.

“That’s fine,” he picked up the apron. “I’ll get the broom.” He started to turn but she grabbed his arm.

“Don’t shut down on me. I mean it. I want us to handle this together. To grieve together. And I want to plan a two-year memorial for him at the lake house.”

Rob shut his eyes. But she kept talking. “Listen to me, please.” He opened them, and the pain there she knew matched what she felt every damn day. “I want you, I want us to be together. I want another baby. I want to sell that house filled with everything that was Blake and buy another one. But I want something else even more. I want you to be certain you really love me.”

He sucked in a breath, let the silence spin out about a half minute too long for her taste. She let go of him. “I’ll clean it up. Go home. Gabe’s at your house this week, and we both know he won’t sleep unless you’re there.”
Rob opened his mouth, but Lila shook her head. Proud of herself but at the same time in misery for what she may still yet lose, she watched as he went out the back door of the kitchen without another word.

The Stewart Realty series was born about 4 years ago when I first got into reading erotic fiction.  I read some really great and some truly dreadful short stories first, then found a few series I enjoyed (Lauren Dane's contemporary books remain among my favorites).  At the time, I was a licensed real estate agent (the word "realtor" is owned by the National Organization of said professionals and after having a small smackdown with them over the series title I gave up).  I had been selling houses for nearly 10 years, with a fair bit of success. But it is a profession fraught with frustration, high stress and potential huge paychecks--if one has the stomach for the bad stuff.  There is also a lot of "down time" involved, between sitting at empty open houses (especially during lean years), at the office on "floor time" as the agent on call waiting for the phone to wring and other situations where it may seem futile and hopeless. In my experience, the truly successful, millionaire agents had a few things in common:

Type A personalities
Good or at least decent looks
Strong work ethic and organization
ability to let go and party as hard as they worked.

There truly is nothing quite like working for 100% commission to motivate you. The payoffs can be huge, but the letdowns deep.

So I came up with a couple, a slightly older, more successful (at the time) man who had reached a bit of a pinnacle, professionally but not personally. And a woman, just starting out but driven to succeed at the cost of anything resembling a personal life.  Add a stressful situation (a very challenging transaction with her buyers and his sellers that goes pear-shaped), a seeming flash-point of attraction they both want to deny, and an empty hallway at her office after hours.  Yeah.  That entire series began with one scene....here is a tiny taste of it (from Floor Time: Stewart Realty book 1)

"Hey gorgeous," he began as he always did on the phone, his voice a low growl that matched his car engine's rumble. "I've got something for ya."
"Ha, I'll just bet you do," she threw back. Lame, she thought as she took in the sight of him in his dark blue suit trousers, striped dress shirt with French cuffs emphasizing what had to be an incredible torso, arms and chest. Jack boasted a classic male shape –wide shoulders tapering to a slim waist and long legs – and he wore a suit better than anyone Sara had ever known. His red and yellow tie, which stopped just short of being loud, flung over his shoulder from the ride. He smelled great too, some combination of spice, cigar and leather.
Damn. I'm screwed.
"No, really. My asshole seller agrees to your asshole buyer's requests post inspection; I've got it all signed up here. Now all we lack is a good appraisal, and we are golden my lovely!"
"You call all the girl agents that, I'm sure." She sighed and reached for the paper he held out, grazing his hand in the process.
His skin was warm. No, not warm, hot, as if he'd been near a fire. She shivered. The tingling in her scalp crawled down her spine and settled nicely between her legs.
She drew back. He moved forward to fill the empty space between them. Their silhouettes darkened the entry foyer. He remained shy of touching her – keeping just out of reach.
"You know, I was looking for an excuse to see you in person," he began. "I'm really gonna miss our little evening chats once this deal is done."
"Yeah, well, you know where I live." Sara waved in the general direction of the office as her breath caught in her throat. "I, um, gotta do some, you know, busy work tonight so. . . "
Don't go...don't go... don't go.... Sara tried not to let her face betray her inner begging. 
"So do I really – but I just can't help thinking that we could come up with something a bit, I don't know. . . more fun to do together," his voice tempted
"Um, yeah, I guess we could go out if you want, but I'm not really dressed for it." Sara's brain fogged over. Was he asking her out on date? Before she could respond, react or even move, his lips covered hers.
Her mind immediately grasped the fact that the entire downtown of Ann Arbor could see them sucking face in the vestibule of her office. Her manager would really not be pleased.
Oh dear Lord.
As he became more insistent, Sara responded, her psyche screaming with happy release. His lips were softer than she would have thought, but became increasingly more demanding that she share and open her mouth to him. She gave in, parted her lips, and placed her hands on his firm chest with her last bit of resistance swirling down the drain.
He licked her lips, nipped at her bottom one, and then swept inside, possessing her with his tongue. She gave way, fully aware that this guy, wanted by so many, held her, right there, and had reached under her hair to tug her closer. Sara had not fully acknowledged her level of own horniness until that moment – when the man who represented everything so wrong for her prepared to blow apart her world with the touch of his hands and mouth. 

The series goes from there, through a sexy, realistic and frustrating decade of push and pull between these two.  And the secondary characters were so compelling they got their own books ( Essence of Time and Conditional Offer books 4 & 5).  

Escalation Clause (book 6) has just been released and is NOT meant to be stand alone. It really should be read in the context of the first 5 books but rest assured they are award winning and best selling in several categories on Amazon (NONE of which are "romance" which works for me).
As my fans have come to say to new people who start the series: Enjoy the ride!

 Liz will be awarding prizes to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour: a signed copy of the new release (either ebook or print); $100 Amazon gift card; and a gift of Stewart Realty (Zazzle) swag of choice.  



Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.

When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.



Escalation Clause (pre-order link – Allromanceebook.com) - http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-escalationclause-923040-148.html



  1. This sounds like a great story, I can't wait to read it.


  2. Sounds like a rewarding series!


  3. What a great excerpt, they have such hot chemistry together but there sounds a lot of really deep emotional turmoil going on. Thanks for sharing

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  4. WELL...There's a LOT going on in that excerpt. Hot passion and deep emotional talk. It seems weird going from one to the other so fast. Very emotional.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for sharing the information. Not a world I know too much about.


  6. What a great read! Excited to see where this series will go next!

  7. Hi Liz. *sigh* Jack...just saying.

    Great post!


  8. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com


I love comments, so feel free to comment all you like :)