Two men suffering from visible and invisible wounds meet by chance circumstance.
Nick Traynor and Ian Donovan spend a lot of time and effort keeping it very hot, only physical, and purely superficial. But when their resolve starts to slip, a woman is tossed into their midst.
Hannah Williams wants nothing more than to do her job until something better comes along, but is forced to own up to her visceral reaction to Ian, her new boss, and later to Nick, his sometimes lover.
Lust has a funny way of turning into companionship, and eventually evolving into a deeper connection. Faced with the internal and external complications of their potential three-way relationship, they begin to heal and trust, to consider that it might work. Then life tosses them a hardball, forcing them back into their respective corners, where each must choose what is most important.
Three people determined not to commit, thrown together by fate and undeniable attraction–their nights heat up and emotions run high in spite of a claimed mutual desire to “keep it simple.” In the process of honest self-discovery, can they learn that while love is never simple, it is definitely worth fighting for?
He had called the production shots in the brewery from the beginning. Gavin took whatever Ian and his staff of trained brewers made and sold it, not vice versa. It had worked for them. They’d grown from nothing to one of the bigger craft breweries in Michigan inside of six years. Thanks in no small part to the deep pockets the five investors Gavin had recently procured.
Ian respected the hell out of his brother, with his suave manner, his charming patter, clean cut suits and the women who flittered around him like moths to a flame. But damn if Ian didn’t curse the man nearly daily for hiring this fiery red-headed temptress who seemed to think that he would be scheduling his brews around her sales. She shoved a computer tablet under his nose. “Look at this.” Her foot tapped out a familiar rhythm. The “Ian is a stubborn asshole and I’m telling Gavin” one.
He took a step back, trying to get her scent out of his nose. Luckily, she was in full on bitch-mode so he could be pissed, and not horny. Besides, he had his own issues, trying to get Nick to answer his calls, to reconnect. The man was an expert at avoidance so Ian was about to give up, let the one-off be just that. He wiped the sweat off his forehead and took the device. A graph flashed red, indicating that they were running low on their flagship hoppy lager.
“Yeah, Hannah, I know. I updated the damn thing this morning.” He turned away from her, addressed his next comment to the empty fermenter that had fucked up his last batch of that very beer. He had a service call in on it, but believed he’d already identified the problem. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry,” she yanked the computer out of his hand, brushing his arm with hers in the process, making him shudder and need some distance. “You’re sorry?”
“Yeah, you’re deaf?”
“No, you dickhead, I’m not. But ‘sorry’ isn’t gonna cut it this week. I made a huge sale of the Hopped Up Lager and you know it. I put it here,” she tapped the screen, which flipped over to her shiny new sales reporting system that had become the bane of his brewing existence. “You saw it. I know you did because I see you logged into the shared file and…”
“Listen,” he turned away from the stainless steel vessel and glared at her. “I didn’t sabotage this damn thing on purpose. It failed, okay? Broke, blew a gasket, something that I am attempting to diagnose, or would be if I weren’t occupied being reamed out by you.” She blew out a breath, started to speak, but he held up a hand. “Spare me. You’re gonna have to short the order. It happens. Jesus.”
“Unacceptable.” She spit out, tucking the computer under one bare arm. She was parading around the brewery in her sales suit, a tight black skirt, sleeveless silk blouse and the patently obnoxious way-too-high heels. Ian forced himself not to drag his eyeballs up and down her frame as that first moment he saw her, with her legs up in the air on her ass on the brewery floor kept replaying. He would not give the bitch the satisfaction. “I need five pallets filled and ready in a week. Make it happen, brewer.” She spit out the last word, emphasizing his role as opposed to hers he guessed, then started to turn on her stiletto heel. Fury made the edges of his vision redden.
Without realizing he was doing it, he reached out, grabbed her arm, spun her around and ground out, “It won’t happen and you know it. Stop coming down here and acting like such a bossy…” he looked down and bit back the word he wanted to use. Her skin was hot under his palm and his body was reacting to her proximity, which only made him madder. She looked at his hand, then up at him, her crazy blue green eyes snapping with something he thought he recognized. He tightened his grip, dragged her closer. “Tomorrow morning five-thirty a.m. Be here. Wear jeans, a T-shirt and your hair pulled back. I’m sick and fucking tired of trying to make you understand this process. You are gonna brew with me. To appreciate what we do, so you can get exactly how pissed off you make everybody with your ridiculous demands.”
Her eyes flickered down his chest. The distinct sensation of painful erection made him clench his jaw. “I’m busy tomorrow morning.” She whispered.
Ian moved directly into her space, and let their bodies graze each other on purpose. “Yeah, I know. With me.” He leaned over her, keeping his hand on her arm. Dear God he was horny. He hadn’t had sex in nearly two months, refusing to remember that last time for a lot of reasons. He wanted Nick so badly at that moment, issues and all, he could practically taste the man. But of course, he was somehow within a split second of laying a tongue-tangler on the annoying, frustrating, hot woman in front of him. Tempting as it was, he stopped, let go of her, stepped away.
Honey Red is the best ménage story I have ever read. Ms. Crowe crafted a powerful, emotional and heartwarming story of three people who struggle to accept the nature of their feelings for each other.
All three of these characters are really well developed; each coming with their own wounds that are laid out for the reader with a beautifully detailed backstory. Nicholas Traynor is a Marine who has returned home wounded. I will not share all the details of his injury as I think it is more powerful if the reader uncovers them for themselves. I will say Crowe’s vivid and realistic portrayal of Nick’s PTSD broke my heart and then with amazing storytelling rebuilt it again. Ian Donovan is a single Dad, whose journey to the man he is when Nick meets him is engaging. Many of you know first-hand that having a child changes you. Ms. Crowe really illustrated that with Ian and his son. The interactions with Jamie, Ian’s son were wonderful. There is a scene with macaroni and cheese that will make you chuckle out loud!
Jamie’s interactions with Nick and Hannah truly build in the story. They are funny, touching and they were so true to the observations of 4 year old little boy (oh the things kids say).
Hannah Williams is a woman who worked hard to earn her MBA. She put her head down and made her way through school. No men, no partying – just working hard to make something of herself. Upon graduation she finds herself unable to find a “real” job so she accepts a Head of Marketing role with a local brewing company. Her interview will have you laughing out loud. Hannah’s evolution as she opens up to Ian and Nick is endearing, lustful and is a truly enjoyable read.
The secondary characters in the book truly added layers – Alyssa’s concern for her brother, Nick; Gavin’s interactions and banter with his twin brother, Ian; the “characters” involved with Nick’s war wounds all added to the story.
All of this helped create a world you will feel drawn into, one that will make you not want to put your book down. In true Liz fashion, the sex scenes are beyond steamy, you can feel the chemistry between each of the characters. The scenes range from the portrayal of pure lust to tender love making to needing to connect deeply with your lover.
Ms. Crowe keeps each scene unique and will make you want to turn the page. Please note the men in this book do touch each other – and yes it is hot. Keep your eyes out for the dog tags in the book cover; that scene one of the most powerful I have read in some time. It will make your heart pound. You may cry, then smile and in the end it will make you feel; which I think is the sign of a really well written book.
In fitting with her mantra “Romance for Real Life” I truly enjoyed how this story kept it real, whose watching the kid, what will people think; how will this work, she makes the characters address it. I will NOT disclose anything about the catalysts and conflicts in this story. I will simply say that it is masterful. Ms. Crowe uses both the past and hopes for the present and it makes for truly engaging read. I could not put this book down! The range of emotions when reading this book will astound you. You will laugh, you may even shed a tear but in the end it will leave you feeling happy you took the time to curl up with this story and these characters.
The Epilogue to this book was outstanding. It will warm your heart and make you smile from ear to ear. Congratulations to Ms. Crowe, this book should be a benchmark to which all ménage readers are judged.
About the Author
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.
You can find Liz at the following links:
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY! Liz is offering one random winner from all blog stops a chance to win a copy of Honey Red and the Stewart Realty Boxed Set Volume 1 (to include Floor Time, Sweat Equity and Closing Costs). Enter below to win! Random winner will be chosen on January 20th! GOOD LUCK!