FireBrew by Liz Crowe
Fate throws them together. But the horrific memory of a fiery disaster could tear them apart.
The bourbon shot down my windpipe at my surprised inhalation. It burned a path into my lungs, sending tears streaming down my cheeks and causing the wait staff to scurry over with water and Heimlich maneuver offers. I waved them away and got myself under control, despite the pain and embarrassment.
“I have no idea how that’s any of your business,” I managed to say after nearly a full minute. “God.” I flopped back, suddenly wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for hours. This day must have lasted a week already. “You are something else altogether aren’t you, George?”
“Trey,” he muttered, fiddling with his glass.
“Right. You know ‘Trey,’” I hooked my fingers in the air, “just reeks of frat bro. You should probably outgrow that phase, even if they were your peak years.” I took a tentative drink of the bourbon, unwilling to waste it since I figured I’d need to be drunk to get through this farce of a date.
He snorted, giving me yet another once-over with those chocolate brown eyes. “I’m pretty sure being in a fraternity requires attending college. That rules me out.” He lifted his nearly empty glass to me. “Now it’s your turn, Harriet. What’s your major?”
I hesitated. The myriad fake histories I’d bestowed upon the various men I’d seduced and forgotten floated across my brain, each one of them more ridiculous than the last. I was pretty creative, using them as a protective barrier around myself. The less those walking dildos knew about my real life, the better. I wasn’t particularly interested in theirs either. Just what sort of ride they might provide before we went our proverbial separate ways the next morning.
“Well, since we’re playing twenty questions,” I deflected, still unsure why I was actually considering telling this dude, a total stranger to me not twelve hours ago, my real story. “No college for me, either.” I sipped; alarmed when I noticed I’d made pretty short work of the second, healthier, pour of the expensive brown liquor.
“No, you didn’t strike me as the college type,” he quipped, smiling briefly when the wine bottle was presented to him. He sniffed the cork, accepted the tiny pour, swirled it around, and took a sip as I absorbed what would be an insult, except that somehow, I didn’t feel insulted. The waiter filled our wine glasses and whisked away the empty rocks ones. “Let me guess,” George said, staring into the deep burgundy recesses of his wine. “Single mom has too many grabby boyfriends, there’s no money for college, you eek out an associate’s degree, but have no luck finding jobs other than waiting tables. So, you took what little dough you had and hightailed it overseas on a Eurrail pass, slept in hostels and had sex with more strangers than you want to admit. Then one night, you somehow met that douchebag, Tucker, when he was slumming at some Dutch, Eurotrash club, let him get you drunk then fuck you, and lo and behold he ‘finds’ a job for you that you happen to be good at. Double bonus to him, I guess.”
The term ‘jaw-dropping’ had never really held much meaning to me until that moment. I sensed heat rising from my neck up my face. “You…are…I’m…not…” I had to force myself to stop sounding like the village idiot. His wry, crooked smile softened his words a bit.
“All right. My turn.” I cleared my throat too loudly and lifted my glass of expensive wine, unwilling to admit how close he’d come to nailing my actual background. “Rich, upstate New York parents divorce when you’re ten, spoiling you for relationships. You drop out of high school after knocking up the prom queen, hitch your way west, settle in California and make a shit ton of money as a paid escort. When your syphilitic dick falls off, you make a zillion dollars suing the condom company for failing to perform. You move back to New York to open some obscure consulting firm, hide your money in Cancun and start buying up shitty Detroit property because somebody told you it’s the cool thing to do right now. ‘FireBrew’…” I used the finger hook air quotes again. “Is some kind of lame ass euphemism for how your genitals felt as they shriveled up and died from the very venereal disease that made you rich enough to buy a three hundred and seventy-five dollar bottle of fermented grapes.” I sipped my drink again, which went a long way toward calming the rage that threatened to burst out of my chest right then. “Little do you know I’m a pretty fucking cheap date. Oh, wait, you knew that already. Never mind.”
George blinked and burst out laughing so loudly people turned to glare at him. As I attempted not to launch myself across the table and stab him in the eye with a fork, the food arrived. “Whew…damn,” he said, swiping at his eyes and still chuckling. “You are good.” He pointed the giant steak knife at me. “Really, touché, my dear.”
About the Author
Liz Crowe is an Amazon best-selling author of 27 books, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and sports fan. She is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in 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 hybrid, “Unconventional Romance. Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
INTO THE FLAMES: Firefighter Multi-Author Boxed Set Anthology
Release Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
ISBN: 9781626228832 (Seaside Publications)
Seven smoldering stories. One great price. Only .99!
Firefighters. The word ignites bold images of heroes in dust covered helmets and ash stained turnouts who defy the odds and press on in the presence of danger.
Men and Women of Valor. A dedicated brotherhood of first responders whose honor, strength, and courage overcome obstacles to save lives.
Into The Flames. Seven NYT, USA Today, bestselling and award-winning authors offer romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and paranormal tales of tough, iconic heroes who risk it all for their communities—but at the end of the day, seek the tender embrace of the one they love.
JOIN US ON THE ADVENTURE…