Book Title: Floor Time | Sweat Equity | Closing Costs
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Erotic Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Stewart Realty Trilogy
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.
While his D/s past remains buried, exactly where he wants it, an undercurrent of boredom and dissatisfaction runs through his life now. A disastrous experience years earlier made him swear off the whole scene, but the more Jack suppresses his natural Dom, the more his frustration grows.
Sara Thornton, a rookie in the real estate game, has fast-tracked herself to the top of the Ann Arbor market. Her life reflects a disciplined and focused routine, exactly the way she wants it. However, as her career takes off, the fulfillment she seeks remains inexplicably out of reach. The one thing she knows for sure, she will not join the Jack Gordon groupies in her company, no matter how tempting that might seem.
A chance encounter, then a difficult transaction, throw Jack and Sara together and the sparks fly high and hot and often. Forced to confront the compulsions that gain momentum with each sizzling encounter, their relationship seems to spiral out of control until Jack finally admits what he needs, and shows Sara what she's been missing.
Jack Gordon thought he’d finally made it. He had a wildly successful career, money in the bank and even returned to his life as Dom, putting an end to a string of unfulfilling sexual encounters. Now that he's made the ultimate commitment to Sara Thornton, he believes all is right in their world. However, a series of misunderstandings and a dose of self-fulfilling prophesy bring his perfectly crafted house of cards tumbling down around him, forcing him to confront lingering misgivings about marriage and trust. Could those be the only two things he can never achieve?
Sara struggles with her intense need for Jack and her desire for less volatility in her busy life, two goals which appear to be mutually exclusive. Although willing to put in the time and emotional effort to make their relationship work, she finds it futile and frustrating, littered with clashes thanks to near-identical personalities and temperaments. Given Sara’s history, easing back into the comfortable status quo becomes easier than fighting a war with the one person who should be her safe haven. But will the easier choice satisfy her the way only Jack can? Is her "war" one that comes from without or within?
Buffeted by circumstance, temptation and distraction, Jack and Sara’s tenuous relationship crumbles, sparking a continuous quest for the ever elusive: trust, love and acceptance. By the time they rebuild a foundation for renewal, fate has other plans. This leaves them both reeling, once again questioning their destiny.
Love conquers all? Not likely, according to Sara Thornton. She's spent eight years coming to terms with the new parameters of her life while resigning herself to the idea that “happily ever afters” are best left to fairytales. Sales manager for her successful real estate office and juggling an added element of responsibility she never thought she'd face, Sara continues to struggle with the men in her life. Love, for her, has only meant hurt, broken trust and anger; all of which she’s completely banished from her life, so she claims.
Jack Gordon has come a long way since his early days of obsession with Sara. As the general manager of Stewart Realty, his own level of responsibility for the well-being of others has ramped up. He’s even honed his caretaking skills, now that he has someone who loves him unconditionally.
Continuing to invest effort and rebuild their relationship, he and Sara grow close as friends. Despite this, his ultimate question remains unanswered; the one he keeps asking, no matter how many times she says no. Sara isn't prepared for the keen focus of his need--to have her back, once and for all. Her stubborn resistance nearly rips both lives apart
The epic conclusion to The Realtors series, Closing Costs brings Jack and Sara truly full circle. Proving that the heat of lust and obsession; the need for control and to be mastered in many areas of life can lead to love —surprising you when you least expect it – if you will only allow it.
Two o’clock became two forty-five with no guests. No big surprise. She made it through half of her water and a few chapters of the latest hot vampire novel she’d brought with her to pass the time. Bored, she got up to walk around when she saw a car pull into the long gravel drive.
She watched as Jack unfolded his tall frame out of the Corvette and walked around to reach into the passenger’s seat. It struck her that she had never seen him in anything but a suit, or at least dress pants, shirt, and tie, as she admired his ass in the dark jeans. He looked good enough to eat. But panic replaced her blooming desire.
What was he doing at her open house? Was there a problem with their deal?
She glimpsed a shopping bag from the local organic chain grocery in one hand. He grinned at her, lighting up his arresting eyes. Her breath caught in her throat.
She had made a vow to herself she would not get caught up in the Jack Gordon whirlwind. However, here she was, high and mighty, and yet about to explode with need for his lips on hers.
“I thought you might be lonely all the way out here and we should have a picnic. What do you say?” He made his way to the front door. He wore a plain burgundy t-shirt, jeans that hugged his front as nicely as his rear, and driving shoes. Momentarily blinded by lust, she fought the impulse to pull him into the foyer and make him fuck her until she was spent.
Nice, very nice. The guy brings you a picnic and you want to skip right to the after-play?
Turning on her heel she headed back into the house without even responding to his suggestion, assuming he would follow her. Sara realized she had to get control of herself before talking or her voice would surely betray her. She glanced at her watch. Three p.m. – she had to focus on her job for one more hour. Let him wait.
“Don’t you have an open house of your own?” She sounded a tad more irritable than she intended.
“Nope.” He walked right into her personal space, brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her. His firm lips remained noncommittal. She shivered as he kept his hand on her neck under her hair. He caressed her almost absentmindedly as he looked around at the house.
“Well, the view is great,” he admitted as he strode into the front bedroom suite. Sara watched as he walked out of that room and took in at the high cathedral ceilings made of light ash wood. Then he whistled, picked up his grocery bag, and walked into the kitchen complete with new gleaming stainless steel appliances and white tile floor.
“Nice, but it’s sort of cold in here, isn’t it? Maybe some color, flowers or something, would help?”
“Fuck off, Jack. I don’t need your help. Why are you here, anyway?”
“Easy, tiger, easy.” He leaned on the countertop. “I know you know what to do. I can’t help it. It’s second nature for me to say something about the house first.” Sara caught herself clenching and unclenching her fists, and stopped.
Damn the man, anyway.
She couldn’t even stay mad at him. She slumped against the doorframe.
“It’s a shit listing. I don’t get any showings and hardly any new buyers from these open houses. The sellers couldn’t care less that it sits here and gets stale.” She sighed, then relaxed, only to have her desire for him rush over her like a tidal wave. He attended to his grocery bag and began setting stuff on the counter.
“What the hell am I going to do when a guest shows up, Jack? Put that crap away.”
“It’s okay, babe, we’ll just say we rolled out the red carpet for your potential buyers with these nice strawberries and this cream.” He pulled the last container from the bag with a flourish.
“You are insane, you know that?” She stared at the array of stuff on the counter.
“You won’t think that when I show you this amazing bottle of wine I found. I forgot I had it.” He pulled out a green bottle with a French label of some sort, two wine glasses, and a corkscrew.
“Um, yeah, well, I’m not really comfortable doing this here. I mean, it’s not my kitchen.” Sara gulped as she took another step away from him to get his smell out of her nose.
“Sure it is.” He worked the cork out, allowing her to admire the amazing definition of his arms. “I’ll bet you’ve spent more time in this fucked-up house with its million-dollar view than you have in your own house since you listed it. I mean, you do opens, you refill sales brochures, you check on the lawn – what else? Tell me I’m wrong.” He pulled the cork free, splashed some golden liquid into each glass, and handed one to her. By the time he’d completed the task, Sara had made her way nearly six feet away from him.
“Baby, I don’t bite,” he said, holding out the glass to her.
She surged forward, as if to prove she wasn’t afraid, grabbing the glass as she passed.
“Thanks. Never had a happy hour at an open house.”
Jack watched his now ex-fiancée screech out onto the quiet street, sipped his bourbon and relished its slow lubrication of the horror at what had just happened. He sank back into the chair and glared at the fucked up still life of the condom and ring together on the table.
“Happiness Thwarted” he could call it, or even better, “In Which Jack Is a Dumb Ass.” The purple foil packets stacked next to the nearly twenty-thousand-dollar hunk of metal and compressed coal he’d put so much faith in just a few months ago.
“Goddamnit.” He swept the whole mess onto the floor. His usual method of instant spin control had abandoned him. He had nothing, remained a hollow shell, scraped clean, raw and pulsing like a six-foot five-inch exposed nerve ending.
The fucking condoms.
He’d left them there from over a year ago. From when he’d taken that crazy-ass blonde bitch of a client away for a weekend. The weekend she tried to convince him to marry her. But he’d already met Sara by then. So, he had fucked the woman six ways to Sunday then dropped her at her house, his mind and heart elsewhere.
Oh, the bitter irony of the situation did not escape him. Vegas had been fun, sure. He’d flirted like crazy and let some ladies buy him drinks but he went to bed alone every single night without a single qualm or regret. He hadn’t talked to Sara that week, but he’d been busy, serving on countless panels and attending dozens of stupid glad-handing receptions. When he wasn’t doing that he’d played Texas Hold ’em and lost his ass with gleeful abandon. He’d had his mind firmly fixed on the future. With Sara. He’d even entertained a pretty out-there fantasy of her beautiful body, swollen and full with their child.
“Oh fuck.” His face and eyes burned. His throat closed up. The room spun. He had to get her back.
How? Was he even worthy?
No, he wasn’t. But he didn’t care.
Jack got up, retrieved the expensive ring from the floor and set it on the front hall table with his other stuff. His heartbeat pounded at the sight of it. Anger followed close on the heels of despair. The house echoed with silence. He knew what he needed. Picking up his smart phone he quick dialed his friend, Suzanne.
“Hey, Jack, what’s up?”
“I need to talk.”
“Where are you?” The noise of her beer bar receded, so he assumed she must have walked into the brewery.
“Home. But I’m coming over. You gonna be there?”
“Well, I wasn’t, but I’ll stick around.” Silence spun out between them before she spoke again. “You did it, didn’t you?”
Jack dragged a hand through his hair. He knew exactly what she meant. “Yeah. I did.”
“Oh hell.” The ensuing silence deafened him. He trusted Suzanne more than he trusted just about anyone, except her business partner, who was currently on the West Coast at some beer conference. “C’mon over, you fucking idiot. I’ll buy you a beer.” Jack slumped against the wall, relieved to have somewhere to go, sick to his stomach and emptier than he’d ever felt in his entire life.
Once Jack and Sara had eased back into a wary friendship, the entire Stewart Real Estate Company rejoiced because it meant fewer fraught upper management meetings. Jack Gordon was a hard-ass leader, tough, firm, driven and with high expectations of everyone around him. He had turned the brokerage around. But for almost a year he’d been impossible to work with – antsy, quick tempered, never seeming to leave the office even to sleep or eat except on Tuesdays and
Thursdays – the days he had Kate at his house.
Their conversations lasted long into the night nearly three or four times a week and between sorting through work issues and discussing theories of raising a successful future woman, they’d drifted into more personal details.
“So…” she’d asked at one point, needing to know but dreading the answer at the same time. “Have you, um, moved on, like I told you to?”
“Since when do I do what you tell me?”
She’d shivered at the sound of his voice. It had compelled her in so many ways, for good and bad. She needed to hear it, like she needed to drink water.
“And you? Find a new boyfriend yet?”
“Yeah, in all my spare time, I’m out clubbing, picking up guys.”
“Well, there is the internet.”
“That’s sick. You gonna answer me?”
He sighed. “I’ve been down at the club again. Playing.” Sara shut her eyes.
“Why didn’t you ever take me there? I would’ve…”
He cut her off. “You weren’t ready and every time I thought you were, you’d scream at me to get the hell out of your life, if memory serves.”
“Yeah, I guess so. We sure are good at bad timing, aren’t we?”
“Uh huh. You, my dear, are the queen of overreaction. But I still love you.”
Her scalp had tingled and she snuggled down in the covers. “Don’t know why. I’m a real bitch, I hear.”
He chuckled and her thighs tightened at the sound. “You horny, baby? That what this is about?”
She’d bitten her lip. “You psychic?”
“Only as relates to you.”
“Good night Jack. See you tomorrow.”
“Wait – let’s have phone sex. It’ll be fun.”
It had been her turn to chuckle. “You are so…”
“Blue-balled? Seriously Sara. I may be messing around downtown but I don’t…I can’t…oh hell why am I telling you anyway. You’ll just gloat.”
“No, I won’t. Tell me.”
“Another time. When you’re on your knees, begging me.”
“No, you will be.”
She’d shuddered, her whole body on fire now with need for his hands, his lips, his voice. “Stop it.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
She’d sighed, realizing the hopelessness of her whole relationship with him.
“The sizzling power of attraction and the sexiness of a take charge Alpha male attitude is incredibly written by this talented author.”-- Romancing The Book
“The chemistry felt between the characters is nothing short of electrifying. I was struck by a range of emotions while reading this novel, I love a read that can toy with my emotions but not leave me feeling emotionally devastated!”-- Flirty and Dirty Book Blog
“This series, especially Sweat Equity, is emotional, hot and realistic. There are lots of break-ups and A LOT of make-ups. I urge readers to pick this book up, but only after reading the first book, Floor Times, in this amazing series. The cliffhanger in this book will make you want to throw your Kindle or paperback. But you will immediately rush to get the third book in this series.”-- Cocktails and Books
“Once again, kudos to Liz Crowe's writing on CLOSING COSTS for the happily ever after that was long coming for Jack and Sara. I found myself frustrated, anger and also teary-eyed because I just wanted to see them together and start living their life as a happy family. I truly loved this book even with all the complications of the lives of the characters but that is the beauty of it: It is so realistic that you can see it happening, unfolding right in front of your eyes.”-- The Romance Reviews
“Crowe's writing is so realistic and enjoyable, I found myself alternating between extreme frustration, tears and happiness. I literally could not put the book down and read it all in one sitting. This is a book I will read more than once.”— *Most Helpful Amazon Rated Review by Amazon User My Book Addiction and More
“I positively enjoyed this book, especially the characters, which were appealing and well-developed–and the writing which impressed me from the first page.”-- Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Just. About. Everything. That’s not to say life was beautiful all the time, but there wasn’t a single moment where I was upset with this read.”-- All Romance Reviews
“Be prepared to read non-stop as the adventure continues and leaves your jaw dropping for more. I 100% recommend this book that has left me anxiously waiting for the next installment. The characters are so amazing and well developed and the situations they experience evoke so much emotion. I could not stop reading this book because it was that addicting!!!”-- *Most Helpful Amazon Rated Review by Amazon User A_Carve
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.