A brutal attack left Lori Brockton convinced she was damaged goods. By the time she emerges from hiding two years later, ready to run her family’s famous brewery, she’s determined to be independent–never rely on anyone ever again. Nearly a year of working in every corner of Brockton Brewing Company, from warehouse to pub, front office to kitchen, teaches her all she needs to know about the business.
Then, she comes face-to-face with masculine perfection in a suit and her world is rocked in more ways than one. Garret Hunter is the new Brockton business manager who takes one look at the beautiful, sad young woman and his entire existence coalesces around winning her heart.
But standing between Garrett and what he believes is his true love, is a six-feet six-inch blond-haired bad boy brewer.
Eli Buchannan is a craft beer rock star, recently hired by Brockton to drag the company into the 21st century. He brings innovation and attitude plus a prima donna ladies man reputation. But he’s sworn off anything resembling commitment, personal or professional, after getting burned at his last job on both fronts.
Garret Hunter is “The Perfect Man” — handsome, successful, stable, eager to settle down. Eli Buchannan… is not. Compelling, smoking hot, creative and elusive, he represents everything Lori Brockton should avoid. But just as she makes a difficult choice, a drastic life-changing shift occurs, and nothing is ever the same again.
BOOK VIDEO LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOcC8FMXOpE
Excerpt rated G:
Lori Brockton walked past her father’s secretary’s empty desk intent on the report she had from the restaurant manager. “Dad, I’m worried about Frank’s side of this.” Tucking a lock of unruly hair behind her ear and pushing her glasses up her nose, she opened the large door, already talking to him. “Honestly, I don’t think he considered…Oh…,” she stopped dead in her tracks. The heavy horn rims slid down her face.
Her father smiled. “Lori, allow me to introduce Garrett Hunter. He’s the business manager I told you about.” Ron Brockton rose from his massive desk and joined her, putting a protective arm around her waist. The man-vision that had her choking on her own spit rose from his chair and stuck out a hand. She looked at it, then started when her dad jabbed her in the ribs.
“Uh, hi.” She wiped a palm on her itchy wool skirt. The vision’s eyes never once faltered from hers. If anything they started to twinkle. Jesus. Eyes actually did that? She surpressed a groan and let him take her hand. The warmth from their touch spread instantly to her scalp then down her spine.
“Pleased to meet you. Your father has been telling me about your experiment here.” Lori stared at their still-joined hands, wondering how long they could stay connected and still be polite. She never wanted him to let go, and she hadn’t felt that way about a member of the opposite sex in a damn long time. His voice was low, gravelly, with a slight southern lilt. “I love the fact that you’re immersing yourself in every aspect of the business, from back of the house food prep to accounting. That’s a great way to learn it all.” He gave her palm one last squeeze, then dropped it, leaving her bereft.
She gulped. “Oh, um, yeah.” Wow. Way to impress Mr. Perfect, Lori. Nicely done. The incredible male specimen smiled at her and Lori’s heart stuttered, really and truly, just like in the romance novels she’d once loved but had abandoned.
“So Garrett, why don’t I let Lori show you around?”
She gaped at her father’s words. She already sensed sweat gathering under her pits. She must reek of desperate, used female. “No, Dad, I…”
“That would be great Ron, thanks.” Lori swallowed hard and stared at Garrett Hunter long and hard. He commanded the room as if he were six foot ten instead of his perfectly average six foot two. Thick chestnut brown hair was cut close, clean, like the smooth line of his square jaw. The words “noble Roman profile” sprung to mind as she pondered his nose and chin and those incredible deep emerald eyes. The expensive-looking gray suit fit him perfectly.
Her father cleared his throat. She jumped, dropped the spread sheet she’d been clutching, bent down to grab it as her elbow hit a coffee cup on the nearby table. Warm, black liquid dripped onto the hardwood floor. “Christ,” she muttered. “Sorry, I’m a klutz.” She glared at both men.
Her father frowned then his face softened. “It’s okay honey. I’ll get this. You show Garrett around.”
“But…” She gave protest one last shot. Garrett kept quiet. Awkward. “Fine. But I only have about twenty minutes.”
“Take your time Lori,” her father waved a hand. “I’ll tell Frank he can wait.”
Ahem, can I have your attention please. My review is my review and my opinion, no one elses. I will NOT tolerate flaming, bad manners, cyber bullying or name calling on the blog. If you don’t agree or like my review, that’s fine. Its your opinion and I RESPECT that. Do I agree with other reviewer’s reviews? No but I don’t cyber bully them either.
I realize that there are some people that don’t “get” Liz and her books. Personally, I do. I’m a true romantic and I crave the HEA more than anything in the world. Do I totally agree with some of the situations in Liz’s books? No, I don’t but that makes for great writing. Liz creates worlds that are real, emotional, upsetting to some, hurtful at times and I may not agree with the story or how it ends and why. To me that’s great writing. Its thought provoking, emotionally engaging and great conversation. I have stopped reading some of the so-called bestseller authors because they tend to write the same thing over and over. I got bored and tired of the whole “let’s just recycle a story and see if anyone notices” rote. Or series that have been around too long. Yawn… On with the review…
This was one of the hardest books of Liz’s for me to read. It brought out emotions and images that I had tucked away for over 20 years. I’ve experienced the horrible situation that happened to Lori and the feeling, at least for me, never goes away. It effects you in ways that I can’t describe. There is shame, nothingness, numbness and rage. Unless you have walked in our shoes, you can’t judge or offer an opinion on what anyone should’ve, could’ve or would’ve done in that situation. Did she make decisions that I don’t agree with? You bet but at the same time, this is Lori’s life, not mine. Again, powerful writing. (At least this time, I didn’t throw my computer) 😉 I related to Lori and her way of thinking.
Picking between two completely different men is a situation that, thank goodness, I’ve never had to do. I could see Lori’s dilemma. What to do and who to pick? Are there situations that aren’t Harlequinisque? You bet but again, that’s a real life decision that Lori made, good or bad depending on how you look at it in context. Personally I couldn’t choose but I choose my guy for Lori. 🙂 You have Mr. Perfect and the Wild Man. Never to go down the easy road, Liz created situations for Lori that made her think, become emotionally attached and then, have the rug pulled from underneath her. Bravo!
The ending was a complete and total shock to me. Didn’t see it coming and then BAM…I read this book when I first got the ARC and the review you are reading is my second and final draft. When I read my original review on Monday (its Tuesday), I realized that I had actually given away spoilers. Horrors, I know. I also thought, why did I write such a normal review for Liz? Liz’s books are not the “norm” so why does this review have to be normal? I talked about how well Liz incorporates the brewery world in this book, the raw and emotional sex that she writes but most people already know that about Liz’s books. What I wanted to talk about today is the way Lori effected me as a woman that had gone through a horrific event in her life and how she dealt with it and the fallout. Trust me, I still have some hangups and emotions that come to the surface from time to time. Books that I will not ever read because of the content, no matter if it is fiction and that people just rave about.
In the end, Paradise Hops is a book about a woman’s struggle to deal with the fallout of events in her life that shapes her, molds her into the woman that she will become and how she deals with it. Its emotional, raw and the characters drew me in and never let me go. I still think about Lori almost a month later and try to put myself in her shoes. Nope, can’t do it. My path and her path were different. And that makes for a great thought provoking book. *sniff*
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.
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