I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lightstruck by Liz Crowe
Series: Brewing Passion #2
Published by Totally Bound on May 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the Author
Amazon | Goodreads
Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.
Ross Hoffman held the potential for a perfect life in his hands—a life with Evelyn, the only woman he’d ever allowed himself to love, their baby and…her husband, Austin Fitzgerald, who also happened to be his best friend. But the challenge of trying to make a threesome into something acceptable—let alone the thought of actually sharing Evelyn with anyone—forces him to bolt. Determined to put all thoughts of their relationship behind him, Ross jumps headfirst into a new brewery job in Colorado, and back into the sort of sexual decadence that he hopes will distract him from his misery.
When he agrees to assist Austin through a spate of brewery mishaps, he lays eyes on his true fate—in the form of the petite, mysterious and exotic Elisa Nagel. Hired as assistant brewer, Elisa is absolutely everything he believes he doesn’t want in a woman. But he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain, and he can’t help but fall hard, fast and deep, which places him square in the middle of her horrific, until now secret backstory.
Ross is determined that his love will conquer and overcome the horrors of Elisa’s past, allowing her to trust him with the only thing he desires—her heart.
Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene with attempted rape and violence, as well as a brief scene alluding to person being drugged and raped.
I said in my review of Tapped that I needed just a little bit more. Well, I got a lot more in this follow up story.
Ross Hoffman walked away from his relationship with Evelyn and Austin after realizing the impossibilities of having it work, especially with Evelyn being pregnant with his child and legally married to Austin. He escapes to a brewery in Boulder but cannot seem to forget Evelyn. When he is suddenly drawn back to Grand Rapids, he’s “lightstruck” by their new brewmaster, Elisa (Elle) Nagel, a fellow German who is completely opposite of his “type.”
Frankly, I loved the three-way relationship between Austin, Evelyn and Ross as Crowe created a fascinating situation between them so I was disappointed when Ross walked away. However, as I learned more about the man, I discovered why he made the right decision. On the surface, Elle doesn’t seem like the kind of woman who’d be interested in Ross and she does indeed pose a formidable challenge. She’s also got a huge trail of baggage following her. But, they’re both extraordinarily passionate about their work and each other. It’s a rocky relationship in both arenas but never, ever dull. I loved how they loved each other and it was nice to see Ross create a new relationship with Evelyn and Austin.
There’s quite a bit of drama in this story but it befit these characters. The ending is quite traumatic, providing a level of suspense and triumph I didn’t foresee. I loved the story and the characters, all of them, and hope we haven’t seen the last of them.
“Thank you. I know getting away from Brad’s operation is no mean feat.”
“Yeah, well, it was easier than you might think.” Ross averted his gaze. He wasn’t ready for that true confessions moment yet. “Down to business—what’re you paying me for this little vacation?”
“Your usual fee,” Austin said. “Plus a bonus if you get us to the export barrelage target. Same as Elle’s.”
“Great.” He hesitated. “We going in there, or what?”
“You should know that Elle is, um, off-limits.”
“Who? Oh, the gun-Frau? No sweat. I’m swearing off chicks. One of them cost me my—”
Austin raised an eyebrow when he hesitated.
“Never mind. Tell ya about it later. Let’s go. I need to get my hands dirty. I have a bonus to earn and a boss-lady to meet.” Unwilling to engage in any more heart-to-heart, he jumped out of the truck, shouldered the bag containing everything he owned in the world, and grinned at the smell coming off the building. He took a big sniff. “Ah, I love the smell of a mash-in in the morning.”
“It’s four o’clock in the afternoon, dumb ass.” Austin walked by him and opened the metal door. The odors of the second shift of a brew day got stronger. “Come on. Let me introduce you to your new boss. She’s eager to get going, too.”
Ross nodded, ducked inside, squinted through the steam rolling from the huge brew kettle and spotted the small figure, above him on the catwalk between the brewing vessels. She was facing away, hands on her hips, yelling something that it took him a half second to register was in German. He was reminded of her petite stature from that hospital horror but now, dressed in her sweat soaked brewery T-shirt, cargo shorts and rubber boots—the usual brewer’s uniform—he saw the strength in her wiry arms and legs.
The steam cleared some, giving him a better view. The noise of the busy brewery faded from his ears as he caught sight of that bizarre mass of blond dreadlocks, currently piled up and tucked under a loose cap. He took a step forward, trying to ignore the strange, tingly sensation in his scalp as he watched and listened to her bark orders in mixed English and German while she marched back and forth on the raised metal path.
Someone shouted her name. She turned and looked down, meeting his eyes. Hers seemed to shine out from the steam—the oddest mix of blue and gray. Ross stumbled backward at the force of her exotic beauty and the realization that he had, indeed, been obsessing since meeting her the first time.
The small-featured, perfectly proportioned face that should have been overwhelmed by that bizarre hair-do was, instead, complemented by it. Her tight, compact body was likely a full foot shorter than his, if not more. She frowned, as if trying to place him, then stood straight, arms crossed. The light caught the small gem in the left side of her nose. When she tilted her head, he caught sight of the barbell in her eyebrow.
A shiver of raw, terrifying, primal lust shot down his spine, making him stumble forward a step or two. He’d bet his first consulting payment from his friend Austin that she was pierced in other places—places on her that he wanted to see, to taste, to feel so badly at that moment he realized he was breathless.
He could make out the tatts on her arms and knuckles—oddly matching his own. As well as a slash of black around her long, porcelain-skinned neck. The sight of that made his chest hot and tight. The full effect of her made him feel so completely weird—somehow dizzy in a way he didn’t like at all.
He heard Austin clearing his throat somewhere to his left and realized he and this creature had been staring at each other for a full minute in silence. He dropped his gaze first.
“Elle,” Austin called up to her. “This is Ross. Ross Hoffman. He’ll be…”
“Your humble assistant,” Ross barked, needing to move or speak or something to shake the way his body had reacted to her. “As of now.” He grinned up at her. Her frown deepened. His dick stirred at the sight of it.
Well, that’s just great. I’m obviously losing my mind. She’s the opposite of everything I like about the female form—short, wiry, angular and hard-looking and that hair…
“Hoffman,” she said, her voice as sharp as she looked. “Welcome to Fitzgerald Brewing Company. It’s about time you got here. Now, move your sorry ass and get to work. We’re behind, in case you haven’t been informed already.”
He blinked up at her like a dolt. She’d spoken clearly enough, but in citified, Berliner-accented German. His smile widened. She smiled back for a brief second, then moved away from the railing. Something about that—her sudden, almost reactionary shift out of his line of vision—caused a strange sort of protectiveness to surge through him.
Yep. I’ve gone ‘round the bend for sure. Or I’m suddenly so homesick for the Fatherland, the sound of some chick speaking German is making me horny.
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