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 thaw. 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. Then tragedy strikes, sending Jack and Sara’s lives 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.
I asked Liz if she would take just a second and tell us what inspired the Stewart Reality series for her.
The Stewart Realty series was born of a moment when I looked up from my computer at the East Reinhart Realtors office and gazed at a couple arguing in the hallway near the front door. They were buyers, or maybe sellers, I'm not sure but their argument was heated, if quiet, and brief. But the look they exchanged when it was over (I assume) was one of passion, understanding and compromise.
At the time, I had just started reading in the "erotic romance" genre. This was about 4 years ago now, and while I'm still mostly a mainstream fiction reader I got turned on to (pun intended) this sort of story by my spouse. He had done some research and ordered a couple of boxes worth of books that arrived at my door, completely surprising me one afternoon. As I pulled them out of the boxes and read the blurbs I remember thinking "Oh please." But cracked one open and was lost in a new reading experience for me. Mind you I have a degree in English Lit and have always been a voracious and fast reader. But the first two writers I encountered out of that Amazon.com box made me see fiction in a new light. Granted they were and remain among my top five for this genre (Shayla Black and Lauren Dane) and since reading them I've read many, many other books that are sorry attempts at crafting a story around a bunch of egregiously annoying sex scenes.
So I sat and watched that couple argue and sort of make up out in the hall of my office and a fictional couple was born in my head. "What if" moments abound in my world and I have learned not to ever ignore them. What if.....that were a couple of realtors fighting over a deal gone bad---it happens a lot. What if there were already a certain level of pure physical attraction between them, something established but not acted on for a while, perhaps as long as a year or more? And what if....one of them finally just acts on it...
Viola: my personal favorite scene in the entire series of pretty darn good scenes: The Hallway at Sara's Office....if you have read it you know what I'm talking about. If not well...best grab a copy and see what I'm talking about.
Now, how this entire series grew from that one "what if" moment is probably a longer discussion about "process" that you want to hear, however, I will tell you that this series started life as a novel with a sequel, got many rejections, had multiple revisions and moments of pure "oh just FORGET it" on my part. Until I put it away to focus on some of the other stuff that got published first, and on opening my brewery. Then, I met a publisher who was interested...finally...in taking a chance on a series of characters who were NOT your usual "Hot 'n heavy and happy ending" sort. And here we are now.
As with all of the Stewart Reality books, Escalation Clause focuses on the relationship of one couple, in this case Maureen (Mo) Jack's sister and Rafe Inez the sexy soccer coach we saw briefly in book 3, however the story is also filling you in on all the background characters from previous books.
We go back to when Maureen and Brandis first fall in love and see his death through her eyes. We then follow Maureen on the heart wrenching journey of recovering and moving forward after losing a spouse. We are there when she meets Rafe and the ups and downs that happen while she is trying to accept her survivors guilt.
However as much of the book is devoted to filling in areas of previous books that may have been sort of time traveled across in order to tell the story of the primary characters.
We are there while Jack and Sara work out the problems that arise in their marriage, we also see the rocky road by Rob and Lila travel to become a couple. We are shown a glimpse at Sara and Blake's parents early marriage and even a peek into the future with the children of the characters.
This is the latest in the Stewart Reality series and I loved it as much as the others in the series I am also torn, I wish that more time had been spent on Maureen and Rafe and their relationship. I almost feel like this could have been two books one telling the story of Maureen and Rafe and another entire book just filling in the blanks from previous books. So while this is another fantastic book from Liz Crowe the story of Maureen and Rafe is one of the weakest so far. Still with all that being the case I loved it and will be looking forward to book 7.
5 out of 5 flowers
About the 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.