Synopsis: It takes a wealth of collected experiences, emotions, successes and failures to craft the personality of a true Alpha Male Jack Gordon, real estate broker, licensed builder, Juris Doctorate, has had his fair share of strife. His ability to cope, to fall down and pick himself back up has lead him to a place where he believes he has it all. Friends, money, cars, more women than he can count, and a club in Detroit where he can exorcise his inner demons, fill his days and his nights.
When he walks up to a penthouse door on a hot Ann Arbor summer afternoon, frustrated, exasperated and ready to call it quits after hours of condo shopping with a wealthy couple, the last thing on his mind is meeting his destiny.
House Rules: The Jack Gordon Story. A prequel novella of the Stewart Realty Series.
Excerpt: Chapter One
The young boy was only on the cusp of manhood that day. The day he wandered into his kitchen, hung over, hungry, mad at the girl who’d teased him all night yet wouldn’t let him past second base no matter how hard he begged. Plus as a bonus, he was already late for basketball practice.
It was also the day his mother died. On this day, he stepped into the room lit only by weak sunlight, rubbing his face and wondering if he could squeeze in a shower, or if he should just go straight to the high school gym and beg his coach’s forgiveness.
When his foot met something that was not a chair leg or anything else that made logical sense on the floor he stopped, looked down, and saw her. His brain quickly flipped through events even as it attempted to process what he saw.
He dropped to his knees and rolled her over, his lovely, quiet, smart and creative mother—the first woman he ever loved and would always, as is the way of boys, despite his frustration at her willingness to put up with his father. Her eyes were open, face drained of all color but for the dried vomit on her cheek.
The boy’s hands shook as anger swelled in his chest. He brushed at the crustiness on her face. Raw fury made his vision dim. How dare she? What the hell was she thinking? How could she give up on herself, on him, on their family?
His eyes burned. He felt wetness on his cheeks. His entire body shivered as he picked up the phone and called the ambulance. When they arrived he backed up, fast, then sat on the floor, tears streaming down as he watched the paramedics try to revive her.
They kept asking him how long she’d been like this, as if he knew. As if he could have known, sunk so deep into his own selfish bullshit the night before. No one knew how long she’d lain face down in her own puke.
He swiped at his face, embarrassed, but unable to stop crying. His mother was dead. On her own scrupulously clean kitchen floor she’d lain while he fucked around, got drunk, tried to get in some girl’s panties. He had let her down when she needed him. Not that she would ever ask for help. No, that was not her way. Silence, stoicism, extreme organization, and tidiness—that was her method against the madness that had become her marriage.
His chest hurt so bad it frightened him. He heard a sob, and when one of the paramedics glanced over at him, he realized it had burst from his own lips.
He looked up when the front door flew open, revealing his father’s shocked face. Fresh fury shimmered down the boy’s spine, coalesced in his freezing cold fingertips when he saw it--that horrified look. The asshole had the nerve to actually be surprised by his wife’s condition.
“You did this,” he growled, not even recognizing his own voice. His hands formed fists of their own accord and he leapt across the kitchen, his finely-tuned athlete’s body giving him strength and his rage motivation. He could hear his father’s sharp voice, angry and demanding. Saw the fear in the man’s eyes as he looked down at his already dead wife. He barely registered the sight of his sister, standing slightly behind the man in the doorway.
When the man looked over and met his son’s gaze. The sickeningly familiar sneer was all it took to turn what could have been a simple punch thrown by an unhappy teenaged boy into a beating that it would take John Gordon Senior weeks to fully recover from.
“Jack! Stop it! Daddy!” The young girl jumped onto her brother’s back, yanked at his hair, scratched at his face. “Stop it! Please!”
There was no stopping Jack. The grown man now no longer fought back, but cowered and tried to cover his face with his arms. He made no sounds, didn’t beg for his son to stop, but his hard blue gaze said it all, reminded the young man of all he hated about his father from the time he could remember having feelings about him.
He kept hitting. Finally, one of the paramedics yanked the boy off, threw him halfway across the room to get him to stop.
He sat, chest heaving, staring at the utter fucked-up mess that was his family—dead, puke-covered mother; bloody-faced father groaning in pain in the opposite corner of the room. A small sob caught his ear, making his inner caretaker jump to the surface. Tamping down the anger, he stood and went to his sister who stood gripping the doorframe.
He glared at them all, took her hand, and walked out of the room, soothing her while swearing on all he held holy that he would never speak to his father again.
Meet 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 a successful author.
When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or implementing promotions for her latest publications. Her groundbreaking literary fiction subgenre, “reality fiction,” 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.
For more information on Liz Crowe, please visit her website www.lizcrowe.com or www.brewingpassion.com (her author blog). She enjoys interacting with her fans on her Facebook author page www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor. Information for all of her books, including eBook and print formats (where available), can be found on her Amazon author page.
Guest Post: Of all the things I wish I had more of: money, clean laundry, sex—the greatest of these is time (well, ok, sex but you get my point I think).
As the part owner and marketing manager of a growing craft microbrewery and newly kind-of-successful author of published books my creativity is pulled in multiple directions daily. I get a book idea but have to sublimate it for the greater good of beer events, brewery tours, press releases for beer and other random small-business ownership crises. I have a giant editing project and am forced to spend the wee hours shoving it through the process when I’d rather be able to use normal working hours on it.
But it is the reality for most writers. And I am lucky in that I have a “day job” that I truly enjoy. But I tell you, if we could somehow add, say, 5 or 10 hours to each day, and still be allotted 5 or 6 to sleep I swear I would be among the ranks of the lofty on the best seller lists, with a premium cable deals tucked into my back pocket.
The harsh reality of today’s publishing world is that if you find a bit of success, with a small contingent of fans, like I have managed to do you are nearly constantly working to find ways to keep them engaged. As an author, your only real stock in trade is your work—the words you conjure about established or new characters, new plots and original concepts. So I keep coming up with “deleted scenes” or other products of my imagination so that my little group doesn’t forget about me. I don’t have a giant marketing budget and my “day job” precludes me from gallivanting around from town to town at huge group book signings. So I seek the ever elusive extra 5, 6 or 10 hours in the day to keep up my own personal buzz, to not be lost in the forest of constant bombardment by authors, books, publishers and “best seller lists.”
I’m not complaining about having to write. I’m just asking for more time to do it in, if at all possible. Oh, and throw in some sex for me while you’re at it. That is a proven cure for my writer’s block.
I wrote HOUSE RULES, the free prequel novella of the Stewart Realty series, as part of that near-constant self-driven publicity thing. But along the way, I fell in love all over again with Jack Gordon, the uber hero of the series. I hope you enjoy it.
Giveaway: One (1) bundled eBook set of the "Jack and Sara" Trilogy (first 3 books in the Stewart Realty Series: Floor Time, Sweat Equity, and Closing Costs OROne (1) signed set of paperback copies of the first three books of the series.