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MUTUAL RELEASE is a coming of age novel about trust…on the long road to love.
Title: Mutual Release
Author: Liz Crowe
Guest Reviewer: Stephanie Biedlingmaier
Genre: Contemporary Erotica Romance/BDSM
Publish Date: April 4, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
~ Synopsis ~
Can two dark souls ever make a light?
As president of her own distribution company, Julie Dawson has all she ever wanted — money, power, and respect. But her carefully crafted façade conceals a torment of abuse and helplessness. After years remaining emotionally aloof, she is finally independent, but alone. Because she refuses to rely on anyone but herself ever again.
Evan Adams is no stranger to success, or personal demons. The horrific trauma that destroyed his twin sister, and tore his family apart, forced him to craft a new life from the ashes of the old. He’s content enough, focusing ahead and not dwelling on his murky past. But something important is missing. He knows what that thing is but refuses to acknowledge it.
When a chance encounter brings these two strong-willed but damaged people together , what seems like a long, erotic journey through hell could lead them to a match made in heaven.
~ Review ~
This was my first experience reading any of Liz Crowe’s books, even though I have several on my Kindle. After reading Mutual Release, I seriously wondered why I hadn’t yet read the ones I bought. This was an amazing story, and Liz has an incredibly beautiful and descriptive writing style.
This story starts out with high school senior Evan Adams whose family life is anything but pretty. His father isn’t around much and his mother seems to care about everything more than her children, especially his twin sister Olivia. On top of that, his family has agreed to take in Damien, someone who, it seems, has stepped directly out of hell and into their family life. I despised Damien immediately. I was feeling Evan’s frustrations, his anger, and his concern for his sister Olivia. We follow Evan’s story until his mid-twenties. He experiments with BDSM, and we see his darker side through this discovery and transformation of himself.
Then, we meet Julie….to be honest, when I got to that section of the book and realized that I was starting over with Julie’s life as a high school senior as well, I was frustrated. It’s like starting a new book again, when I was already so invested in Evan’s life. But once I started reading about Julie, it was apparent that we needed to see Julie’s life from that point forward to understand who she has become and why. Her life is equally as bad as Evan’s. Her mother is more interested in marrying a rich man than caring for Julie. My heart broke for her at some of the horrific events that occurred after her mother remarried Bart, a scum of the earth kind of man who is way too interested in Julie. After reading this and seeing Julie as a twenty-something business woman who is cold and heartless, it makes you better understand why.
Then Julie and Evan meet and the sparks fly! Both are damaged, independent, stubborn, and huge control freaks, so there are all sorts of problems from the start.
“But just to clear the air, I want you to know I am not married. I have no girlfriend nor am I in any way attached to anyone, unless you consider the ten or so people who count on me for paychecks every month as dependents. So you can stop cursing me under your breath, like you are right now, for being a cheating, typical man-whore.”
Evan is persistent, Julie is a continual bitch to him, and at times I wanted to strangle her for her behavior toward Evan.
“What makes you think I’ll drop everything and spend half a day having overpriced coffee in an annoying hippie college town with a cold, boring brewery tour after? “
I loved Evan’s personality, his calmness towards Julie’s snarky attitude made me laugh.
“I mean, really, Julie, we are having a picnic just friends sharing some great beer and snacks, and you’re sitting there like there’s a flagpole up your ass. Relax, Boss Lady, for real.”
The rest of the book is a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs for Evan and Julie. Every challenge has you wondering how these two people will end up. Just when they are able to resolve one big problem, something else crops up. Damien continues to make Evan’s life a living hell, and Evan has trouble getting over the guilt and regret he harbors over Olivia. Damien’s reappearance only messes with Evan’s feelings even more.
The characters were so alive on these pages, and I laughed, I cried, and held my breath at times. This is an emotionally charged, well developed story that had me never wanting to put it down! Mutual Release is a definite must-read!!!!
Disclaimer: While Stephanie is now working with Tri-Destiny Publishing, she was hired after Mutual Release was given to LLL to review and before she was hired by Tri-Destiny. However, the review was posted after her hire date.
A young American woman comes face to face with her destiny in Istanbul in the 1960′s and an epic dynasty is born.
When Vivian Kinkaid turns around in her college classroom and makes eye contact with a man who was once her forbidden childhood friend, her life is changed forever.
A sweeping saga of family, love, loss and recovery—The Turkish Delight series begins with a special sort of magic. Then Madame Eve works her miracles for the Deniz family, but even she can’t overcome the harsh realities that force this Turkish/American family all to deal with tragedy when one of their own is ripped from their close-knit circle.
“The Turks” opens with best-selling classic romance for the ages. Then ends with a thrilling novella that brings all the players back together. Set in Istanbul, Las Vegas, and Southern California, The Turkish Delights series has it all—heat, heart, intrigue and a deep, family connection that transcends all barriers.
The Turkish Delights E-Book Bundle (containing 5 books) is FREE until March 1.
The Diplomat’s Daughter
When Vivian Kincaid’s eyes meet those of a hunky local at the Turkish university her father forces her to attend, it only takes her a split second to recognize her childhood friend. Levent Deniz was the servant boy who taught her to run the streets of Istanbul years before, giving outlet to her wild streak even as a child. Now face-to-face once again as adults, the only thing standing between them and happiness is her father. The newly appointed Consul General for the United States has other plans for his only daughter. Ones that do not include a former servant, now successful entrepreneur and businessman. He will do everything in his power to keep them apart. The Diplomat’s Daughter is set in 1960s Istanbul and tells the story of pre-destiny, passion and the rebellious power of true love.
Turkish Delights (1NightStand)
The fifteen year age difference between Elle Kensington, expatriate American executive and Emre Demir, son of Istanbul’s most successful businessmen, has not kept them from becoming fast friends as they toured Istanbul together. But the time has come for him to return to the U.S. to finish his master’s degree, and she has just been named CEO of the pharmaceutical company that brought her to Turkey in the first place. Elle adores her adopted country, and is alarmed to find herself falling in love with the young man who’s been her impromptu guide for the last few months. She knows they can never be. She will return home to California within a month, leaving behind all she loves about the ancient city. In a rare fit of spontaneity, Elle has contracted with Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand dating service, hoping to find a way to forget the dark, handsome young man who has captured her heart. Little does she know what awaits her in the ancient recesses of the Ottoman palace turned luxury hotel under the hands of her one-night stand masseur.
Blue Cruise (1NightStand, m/m)
Caleb and Tarkan were an odd couple—men from two different cultures—so in love, they were determined to overcome any obstacles. But fate had different plans for Tarkan. Shattered and unable to function a full two years after tragedy strikes, Caleb faces the hollow shell that is his life. Adem Broussard is happy enough, as owner and chef of his restaurant on the Turkish southern coast. But a tall, American Adonis he saw once, years ago on a Turkish Blue Cruise haunts his most erotic dreams, and he hopes contracting Madame Eve’s 1NightStand service for an unconventional date will help him forget. When Caleb caves in to his friend Elle’s insistence that he return to Turkey and exorcise some of the demons that haunt him, he reluctantly climbs on board a private yacht for a special 1Night Stand Blue Cruise. There he comes face to face with the man who remembers him well…and helps him heal.
Tulip Princess (1NightStand, BDSM)
Lale Deniz was always prone to wildness. But when her family is ripped apart at the seams, she becomes more reckless than ever. Desperate to stop her self-destructive slide, her parents step in and send her to America to live with her brother, Emre. Just the chance, she thinks, to escape the tragedy suffusing her Istanbul home. Andreas Michos, Greek former NFL star, the recently divorced athletic director at UNLV, floats through life seeking fulfillment. He has reason to doubt his own abilities as a natural Dom and has given up finding his perfect mate. Until he agrees to a 1Night Stand. Set against a backdrop of ancient cultural clashes and Mediterranean family dynamics, Lale and Andreas meet in Las Vegas at the Castillo resort for their date. But it seems Madame Eve and destiny will both fail this time, unless Lale and Andreas are willing to relinquish enough control to discover what happiness can be found inside the soul of the other. Will stubbornness keep them from connecting, or can they let go long enough to heal?
Flower Passage (final novella, m/m/m)
What would you do if the lover, brother, son, and friend you thought you’d lost forever was returned to you? Brutally battered, emotionally and physically for the past two years, Tarkan Deniz has escaped his captors. When the Deniz family discovers the shocking truth they rally and do everything in their power to bring him back safely. But all have been affected by the tragedy of his loss and must come to terms with the new reality, each in their own way. When Happily Ever After seems like a nightmare…one man can bring healing to all, but will he ever be the same man again? Flower Passage is a story of love lost and regained, even if it takes a slightly different form than before.
The final stop: http://www.decadentpublishing.blogspot.com is a CONTEST that consists of 5 questions plus a bonus round. All answers can be found in various posts throughout the tour. The commenter who gets the most answers correct AND leaves an email in their comment WINS:
1 signed print copy of Turkish Delights
$50 Amazon gift card
and if they get the BONUS question too: a Beer Wench tee shirt from Liz’ brewery.
Title: Healing Hearts (Challenge Series #1)
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: December 30, 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Jay Longmire had it all–a successful business, a beautiful wife, two loving children. But one normal Sunday evening in Ann Arbor everything was ripped from his arms at knifepoint. He has retreated to Traverse City to hide from the world, nursing his physical and emotional wounds and trying to cope with mind-numbing guilt over his inability to protect his family.
Abby Powers serves him coffee he never drinks and has become obsessed with the movie-star handsome but melancholy man. And the anticipation of his appearance every day takes her mind off her own messy life.
What begins as a near desperate physical connection out of the blue develops into a friendship that has the potential to heal two damaged hearts. But Jay is terrified to love again. While Abby’s fierce independence forces them both to acknowledge the deeper relationship they both desire, but that remains just out of reach.
Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end.
As a personal preference, I have never been a big fan of novellas. Many times I feel the story is just getting started and then it ends leaving me speechless and wanting more. However, since I am a huge Liz Crowe fan and she personally asked me to read her new novella, Healing Hearts, I made an exception. Healing Hearts is the first novella from the Challenge Series, which consists of stories where the “challenge” must take a central role in the characters’ romance.
The main hero of Healing Hearts is Jay Longmire. And the title “hero” doesn’t even come close to describing his character. The man watched helplessly as his wife was brutally raped and killed as well as his son. His daughter survived the attacks but remained on life support in a coma. Words cannot even describe the hurt and sorrow that I felt for Jay, which is all a reflection on the incredible writing of Liz Crowe. I could feel Jay’s pain. I could feel his sorrow. And I could understand why he didn’t want to live anymore. A central theme ran through Jay’s mind throughout most of the book—that he had somehow failed to protect his family. And isn’t that the goal of most men? To protect and provide for their family.
Jay spends his days in a coffee shop where Abigail Powers works as a barista. He goes into the coffee shop every single day just so he can see Abby’s smile. He always orders the double skim latte, but he never talks to anyone. He just stares out the window. Abby has her own family issues causing her a different kind of pain. But she takes on extra shifts just so she can see the blue-eyed, model gorgeous Jay. Abby has one goal in life and that is to attend the University of Michigan nursing program.
A chance encounter eventually brings Jay and Abigail together outside the coffee shop where they are physically attracted to one another but both have so many baggage. At this point in their lives, they just want and need the physical release of sex. No commitments. No expectations. Just to be there for each other as friends…at least that’s what they thought.
Her innate soothing nature worked its magic even without words. She reached out and took both his hands. Her skin felt warm against his and every inch of him ached to hold her, to fold her into his arms and never let her go. But the baggage, he couldn’t share it. It was too much to ask of anyone.
There are scenes in this book which ripped my heart out. I couldn’t help but think about the people who have experienced this type of tragedy in their life. To be that numb to society. I know that I have my faith, but I don’t know what Jay’s religious background is so I’m not sure what kept him going day after day except for the fact that he still had his daughter on life support. This story is incredible, powerful, and emotional, and it will leave you with hope that love does conquer all and that grief and tragedy are only for a time.
I would also like to go on record saying that besides the fact that I don’t typically read novellas, I also don’t normally read drama-intense/sad books. I like the traditional books filled with hearts and flowers and romance—not murders and sadness. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I truly enjoyed the storyline in this novella but definitely was not surprised by the talented writing of Liz Crowe. She has definitely raised the bar! Great job Liz. I look forward to the next novella in the Challenge Series! (Yes, that means I will read it!)
“Stop flirting with me. That’s a personal bubble violation,” he whispered, letting his lips graze her earlobe, loving how her whole body shivered against him.
“Fine, then stop pressing against me so hard I can feel how much money is in your pocket.”
“Touché.” But he gripped her closer. The candlelight flickered, the music embraced them, and she nearly brought him to his knees with her next words.
“I can’t be what you want me to be, Jay. I have goals. I need my independence. I want to make it on my own.”
He sucked in a breath, slid the hand he had on her hip around to the small of her back. He didn’t need this. But he wanted it so much he was about to explode. “I’m never going to be what you want me to be, either. Let’s just be…what we are…tonight.”
She laid her head against his chest, and he shut his eyes, trying not to let the moment overwhelm him, send him screaming into the night. Christy’s face at their wedding, at the birth of their children, and that last moment when her eyes clouded over after she told him not to blame himself while he watched her die—they all rose, clear and bright. He swallowed, leaned down into Abigail’s thick riot of dark curls, sucked in a deep breath. “What do you want me to be for you…tonight?” he asked.
She put her hand to his face, went up on her tiptoes, and met his lips, urgent and needy. He kissed her, listening to the crowd clap and catcall. Then broke away. “Well?” he asked, his body zinging.
“I want you to be the guy who takes me to bed again.” The simplicity of her words taking his breath away. “I don’t want to be made love to, not now. I need you, Jay. With me, inside me, all over me. And you need it, too. No strings, no emotion. Only physical urges met. I’m willing. Are you?”
He stepped away from her, a little shocked and a lot horny. “Give me two minutes.” Grateful the room had dimmed for the music and dancing, he dropped three hundred in cash on the table, more than enough to cover the meal, wine, and a healthy tip, and took her hand.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said, giggling when he pushed her up against the side of his SUV and dove into her mouth, sweeping into it with his tongue, his hands cradling her face then buried in her hair. She molded into him, making that damn noise, the one that made him insane, down in her throat.
He broke from her, stared into her eyes. “Yes.”
Enter our giveaway to win an ebook copy of Healing Hearts!
Title: Paradise Hops
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Grade/Rating: 4 out of 5
To begin, I will admit that although I had heard good things about Ms. Crowe’s books and even had a couple on my list to read, I had not read a single one until now. Sometimes a book just comes along in unexpected ways and you go into it thinking “Why not? I’m up for something new and fresh.” I had skimmed the synopsis, and it appeared to be a typical angst-like romance with the potential to stimulate more than my ability to have hot flashes on command so I dove right in. As of now, I have read it twice in less than two weeks…
Ms. Crowe has developed a cast of characters that come alive on the pages flaunting their flaws and all. To start we are given a shattered woman who’s lost in a fog that is slowly suffocating her ability to return to the lively and spunky woman she once was. Lori Brockton is a frustrating character that you want to shake to death one minute and then smother her in a hug the next. To see someone compartmentalize her feelings and push away any real social contact was hard; but in the same sense, I’m not sure if I personally would not do the same having gone through what she has. Everyone deals with things differently, and it was refreshing to see real trauma and emotions dealt with in an unfavorable manner and being forced to accept it.
Of course, you can’t have a romance novel without a handsome man or two, and Ms. Crowe did not skimp in this department either. First, there is Garrett Hunter, the man we all want to see opening doors for us and treating us like the princess we all believe we are. He is undeniably handsome with a crisp and clean feeling that hangs a suit like few others but also has the education, drive and dependable qualities we all crave beyond the eye candy. His first interaction with Lori alone made my heart go pity-pat, and I was immediately cheering for him to be that changing force I knew Lori needed from page one. Even from the very first few pages, he made me feel safe; and his compassion and need to care for Lori was evident from the get go, which was exactly what she needed. Now that we have established which team I started on, I will admit that when Eli Buchanan was introduced you could almost hear the “Boos” coming from my own inner monologue. Of course, you can’t have a good romance plot without some angst driven-lust and Eli provided more than enough lust and anger for me and Lori and probably a whole slew of others as well. He’s the bad boy with a temper that has a flash point of zero. But what makes him appealing is his passion for brewing that makes even me want to be on his payroll and even in his warpath just to watch the creativity take over. To say he demanded attention is an understatement…he commanded it and got it. When Eli was in the room, everyone knew it and felt it long before he opened his mouth. And who doesn’t find that kind of man addictive or attractive?
Turkish Delights Series
- Turkish Delights
- Blue Cruise
- Tulip Princess
- Diplomat’s Daughter (Prequel to Turkish Delights)
- Flower Passage
- Caught Offsides
- Vegas Miracle
- Cheeky Blonde
- Lust on Tap
- Paradise Hops: October 15, 2012
UPCOMING BOOKS and RELEASE DATES
The Suite (BDSM side series)
- Mutual Release: April 2013
- Due Diligence: June 2013
- **In His Shadow will release tentatively winter of 2013 ostensibly as an offshoot of this series. This is the book I mentioned earlier—a dark study of how some guys are NOT “Doms” but merely controlling abusers. It will be a first person point of view, memoir style, which is new for me. I’m excited about it.
Black Jack Gentlemen (soccer side series)
- Man On: January 2013
- Free Agent: (the coach’s story): February 2013
- Penalty Kick: March 2013
- Tactical Foul: May 2013
Brewing Passion (revised):
- Brewing Passion: August 2013
- The Tap Room: October 2013
- Specific Gravity: December 2013
All of these series will have various excerpts and breaking news on my Liz’s , website, and Facebook “romance for real life” group.
Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust.
The Stewart Realty series is a sweeping epic, encompassing over ten years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled. When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need however, their strong personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they continue to disappoint one another emotionally.
Jack Gordon has it all–money, success, a string of women—but sustains a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again. Sara releases his natural Dom, a side of him he’d thought buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara learns a true submissive must trust implicitly, something she cannot associate with him, no matter how many times she tries, and he fails.
With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack’s intensity, and who falls hard for Sara; the Stewart Realty series is a romantic saga with an emphasis on contemporary life and love, with a healthy dose of white-hot eroticism. Modern, busy, driven characters living lives of purpose and real-time stress, seek the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination –a friend, lover and trusted advisor who will be there for the long haul.
Jack Gordon is Ann Arbor’s most delectable bachelor. At age thirty-five, he’s made millions as a top-selling Ann Arbor real estate broker and has the right connections to close a deal by any means necessary. With his rugged good looks and compelling personality, he has a virtual black book most men would kill for and he uses it often, never settling for one woman for very long. Read More…