(Stewart Realty, #9)
Publication date: July 13th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
An ex-boyfriend, his massive dog, her house, and no hotel room in sight. What could go wrong?
After Blair ended things with Brandis, she was determined to get away–and stay away from him for good. She put family, friends, and the life she knew in Michigan in her rear view mirror and started over. As owner and head chef of her own place in Louisville, she stays plenty busy, especially since “Blair’s Kitchen” is the darling of the restaurant scene. She’s managed to avoid Michigan for almost a decade, but when her best friend needs her help, she drops everything and heads home.
Brandis has spent the last ten years coming to terms with addiction, personal tragedy, and the loss of the woman he loved. He’s now the third generation to run his family’s construction business, and he’s managed to reconstruct tattered relationships with his family. He’s even adopted a dog, thanks to some donated renovation time spent at an animal shelter. He’s got everything he needs—except a for one thing.
When the contractor she paid to build her restaurant’s expansion vanishes, leaving her with a giant mess, Blair only hesitates a moment before calling Brandis for help. But when he rushes to her side to evaluate the crisis, there isn’t an available room in a twenty mile radius. So they settle in to a routine—her, her one-time boyfriend, and his giant, slobbering dog in her small house. It doesn’t take long for the temptation of close proximity to give way, and while Blair tries to keep it all physical, Brandis has other ideas.
The end of the Stewart Realty saga brings the second generation full-circle in ways many never expected, but no one regrets.
“He’s doing really well, Blair.”
She froze, her jaw locked, her heart pounding in her ears. “Don’t,” she squeaked out.
“Seriously, I think you guys should…”
“Don’t you dare, Gabriel Freitag.” She kept her voice level. “Don’t you even think about daring. I couldn’t bear to keep watching him fail, or for you to have to watch me watching him.” Her voice cracked. She didn’t believe she was having this conversation after all these years. Fury blinded her.
“Listen, hear me out. He’s really great now. His company is gangbusters. He’s added this whole handyman thing, he calls it the Honey Do Crew. And he’s mentoring at-risk kids out of juvi, hiring them for scut work and making sure they get supervision so they can learn a trade. He… he got a dog, Blair.”
She was shocked that there was anything left to of it to break, but the look in her brother’s eyes shattered what remained of her heart. Brandis Gordon. The great mistake of her young life. The thing that had come between her and her family, and her friends. He’d been a golden boy, rising star football player, stellar student, handsome son of attractive, successful parents who were her own parents’ best friends. They’d celebrated every single holiday together, traveled and vacationed as a giant, rowdy group, partied as a unit for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, the works.
Until she and Brandis had gone and fallen for each other the way only teenagers did—fully, and with the sort of gusto and conviction which had, for a time, been the one thing she’d lived for. When he’d come apart on so many levels and in so many ways, it had blasted holes in relationships between the close-knit families. She shuddered and held up both hands as if in surrender.
“I left him, and my family, behind on purpose. Because I had to do it. Brandis and I will never be anything but a memory. Period. I have to get some sleep.” She whirled on her heel and marched into the bathroom. Once inside, she slammed the door, leaned against it, and slid to the floor, grabbing a hand towel on her way down to muffle the stupid, inevitable sobs.
Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She's spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author.
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling 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, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
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