Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Tour for Mutual Release by Liz Crowe (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Liz Crowe has returned to my site today to discuss another installment in her Stewart Realty series, Mutual Release.  This is a steamy read with BDSM elements that is emotionally intense every step of the way. So keep reading to get insight into this book and make sure to comment for your chance to win an amazing selection of prizes........


I have been “accused” of preferring characters who have experienced extreme trauma in their lives. And I am guilty as charged.
I believe that as adults we are truly the sum total of what life has thrown in our path. It’s what we do about those roadblocks that make us who and what we are.  
In Mutual Release I have taken our two protagonists back all the way to their teenage years, so that readers can truly value what both Evan and Julie have been through that makes them so…difficult at times.
When I began the Stewart Realty series, with a trilogy about the series’ Original Couple: Jack and Sara, I jumped right into their lives as grown-ups. Jack was 35 and Sara 27 when they meet and their challenging and stubborn personalities are set in stone by then.  What I have learned since, now that I’ve gone back into their stories a bit in subsequent books (and by telling a few other characters’ stories along the way) is that readers really appreciate them better now that they know why they are the way they are.
Everything from neglectful, or over-protective parents, overt abuse and more subtle things like benign neglect, from parental alcoholism, adulterous behavior, money worries, and high school traumas—all of it forms a young adult. And while I understood that Evan and Julie were destined to be together (You already KNOW they are if you read the first 3 books after all) I also knew that their road to mutual happiness was a very rocky one. I spend a significant part of Mutual Release showing the readers exactly why that is. It’s not all about one specific event but the sum total of all the things that happen in a young person’s life—and both Evan and Julie have had their fair share of them—some typical, some not.
They are both over protective of their emotions. Neither are willing to open themselves up for various reasons. It makes for some pretty funny moments, some extraordinarily hot ones, and many poignant ones as well.  For those readers who are already familiar with the Jack/Sara dynamic (the one that makes many of you throw books and eReaders and curse my name online—and then keep reading, which is truly all I ask of you) know this—Evan and Julie have a different set of issues and motivations. Their relationship takes less time to develop but has a whole separate set of problems and their early BDSM experiences are much more profound.
I so enjoyed digging deep into these characters’ pasts, and bringing them forward and tossing them in the same room then slamming the door shut. I think you will enjoy the journey as well.
Happy reading!

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.
MUTUAL RELEASE
A coming of age novel about trust...on the long road to love.

EXCERPT:

Monday dawned bright, clear, and cold, even for an October morning. Evan ran his usual route around the west side of his newly adopted town, relishing how strong he felt and looking forward to his workday – the one where he had a tight grip on his own destiny for a change. After a long hot shower, two huge cups of coffee, and an apple, he grabbed his presentation thumb drive and laptop and headed out.
One of the things he’d inherited from his father was a love of classic English cars. He had sold two of the three Jags, kept his favorite and bought an MG Spyder, not giving a shit at how much it cost to keep the damn thing running properly. As he sped in his sports car across Interstate 96 on his way to the far-flung Northern Detroit suburbs to sweet talk, finagle, and wow the big-time distributor, he was on top of his own personal mountain. Nothing would spoil the day. He refused to allow it.
He pulled into a visitor’s parking spot, tucked his Ray-Bans over the visor, and smoothed his hair before jumping out and striding to the glass front doors. “Dawson” was etched in the glass, nothing more or less, as if it were a boutique law firm or ad agency. Nothing out front indicated that it was one of the most successful craft beer and domestic wine distribution companies in the Midwest.
Tucking away a shiver of intimidation, he pushed the door open and saw a small shrine to Michigan craft beer. The front receiving area was full of faux six packs, cases, kegs, and displays representing every brand, including some that were nationally known. A single desk sat near another set of doors. Through its clear glass he could see a bustling group of people, men and women, all dressed in top-notch suits, getting ready to go out on their sales day. The place oozed professionalism, even a bit of snootiness that surprised him.
But he shook it off, walked up to the stunningly attractive blond woman at the front desk. She sat frowning at a large computer screen. He stood for a few seconds, thinking she would acknowledge him. Finally he had to clear his throat to make her look away from whatever had her mesmerized.
“Oh, hello. Sorry about that.” Her smile made her already gorgeous face light up and left him slightly breathless. Looking back, he figured he must have looked like a complete ass as he stood there, unable to form coherent words, his brain awash in sensations he had not allowed himself to experience in a damn long time. She arched one perfect eyebrow. He gulped, knowing he should say something.
“Uh, so, I have an appointment?” He winced at the upturning of his sentence as if he were asking her a question. Clearing his throat, he started over, pasted on his best “Evan Adams, Charmer” smile and held out a hand. “Evan Adams, owner of Big House Brewing in Ann Arbor, here to see Mr. Dawson. I’m a little early.”
She tilted her head, then shook his hand matter-of-factly. But he had to stop himself from stumbling backwards at the thoughts coiling up in his lizard brain at her touch. His mouth dried out and an odd yet familiar roaring sound fired up between his ears. She frowned. “You okay, there, Evan?” Her lips caressed his name, making him repress a shiver.
“Yeah, sorry. So, anyway, I’ll just sit… over here… until Mr. Dawson is ready. You know, since I’m, uh, early.” He winced, marveling at the depth of his dorkiness. She put her elbows on the desk, eyeing him closely. He observed that she seemed a little overdressed for a receptionist but figured this place must have a strict dress code.
“Sit here,” she said, patting the seat nearest her desk. “Keep me company for a while.”
“Um, sure,” he said, flushing red to the tips of his ears, then moving closer to her while trying to look cool, casual, not ready to jump up and escape.
She smiled. “So, tell me about your company. You know, while we wait for Mr. Dawson.”
He relaxed and launched into the tale, thankful to have a reason to talk and not sound like the world’s oldest high school geek trying to flirt with the prom queen. She asked a lot of questions, kept him talking. And after about a half hour, he was laughing with her at his tale of trying to empty a brewing vessel full of wet grains and dumping about ten pounds of the stuff all over himself.
At one point she brushed her hair back, and his breath caught in his throat at the glimpse of her long neck and the small indent between her collarbones. He had no idea what that was, that soft spot that seemed to pulse with her heartbeat. But he wanted to put his tongue there very, very badly. Allowing his eyes to flicker over her profile, the striking angles of her face, he gulped, looked away.
Getting a grip, he pulled a business card from his portfolio and handed it to her. “I’d love to talk with you more,” he said, trying to ease his voice down from its high-pitched nervous whine to a sexier, more natural tone. “But since I don’t even know your name…” He looked at the nameplate on the desk. It was blank.
She leaned back, propped her high heels on the desk in a strange move that had him instantly on edge and practically panting with horniness.
“Uh, so,” he glanced at his watch, his nerves dancing up and down his spine once more, “if you are interested, maybe we could, you know, go out. Have a beer? Keep chatting?” He closed his eyes, unable to bear his own flop sweat another minute. “Never mind.” He slumped back in his seat. Where the "Master Dom" Evan Adams had hidden he did not know, but damned if the guy was staying there and leaving this ridiculous, stuttering loser in his place.
The silence spun out about a minute longer than was truly polite. He finally looked up at her. She was staring at him over the tops of her shoes, her head tilted to the side as if wondering why the hell he was even cluttering up her space. Finally, the doors to his left opened and a tall, good-looking guy in a suit stood there, surprise clear on his face. “Julie,” he said. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Your nine o’clock appointment isn’t here yet but…”
The woman held up a hand, silencing the man but keeping her eyes pinned on Evan’s. His heart sped up and that familiar, yet nearly forgotten, roaring sound started up in his ears once more.
Julie Dawson. J. Dawson. The person he’d been communicating with through his… or her… secretary.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
He stood, furious that she’d sat there and let him babble on like a bloody idiot for nearly forty-five minutes. “Well, that was fun,” he said, staring her down, or attempting to. But his skin was both on fire and cold at once. Something about the woman made him have to hang on to his laptop case tight, just to keep from stepping close and kissing those full red lips so hard she would be his in an instant. “Or not. Thanks for your time.”
“No, no, don’t go,” she said, getting to her feet in one fluid, sexy move. She was over six feet tall in her shoes, curvy, womanly, and sending out the sort of signals he had not intercepted in a long time – too long, if the way he was overreacting was any indication. “Really, I want to know why you think my company would be in any way interested in yours.”
He processed her barb, clenched his jaw, and poured out the reasons behind why Dawson would benefit from jumping on his bandwagon now, in the early days, so they could grow the brand in a key market together. She listened, standing behind the stupid receptionist’s desk, her assistant wildly typing notes on his tablet.
Finally, she held up a hand again. “How very… creative.” She walked around to the front of the desk, giving him an eye-popping full view of her. She was like sex on two perfect female legs, the exact body type he craved – full breasts and hips, cinched in but not obnoxiously small waist, long hair, and legs that went on and on… and on. “And, um, Evan?”
He jumped back, hearing his name again.
“Yeah, my eyes are up here. But never mind. I’m used to being ogled, and by way more successful brewery owners than you.” She held his business card between thumb and forefinger, as if it were made of dog shit. “Tell you what, why don’t you let me ponder your… proposal. And assume that your eye-fucking session won’t happen again.”
She turned from him and walked away without a word. Her assistant shrugged and followed her back in, leaving Evan breathless, furious, and never more aware of his neglected libido.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  ARe  |  BN

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

The Stewart Realty series continues in the emotionally intense read featuring BDSM elements, Mutual Release, that brings together two damaged souls as they struggle towards a HEA.  Evan has been a fixture of the last few books, and Julie too made an appearance, and I'm happy his story is finally being told as there's something about him that's always caught my attention.

This book starts telling the story of Evan during his high school years and how early hurts last a lifetime.  Evan's parents are never there for him and his sister and to make matters worse they've invited the very creepy and cruel Damien into their family.  Damien is the one to introduce Evan into the BDSM lifestyle but their reasons for joining are dramatically different.  Evan enjoys having control in a way that his real life doesn't allow him, whereas Damien does it to abuse women. The connection between these men never truly goes away as Damien revisits Evan through the years to bring old hurts back to the surface and my hatred for Damien grew every time I saw him for continually hurting Evan through his mere presence.  I was sympathetic to Evan from the beginning and found him immensely sexy and compelling throughout the story.

Julie's teen years were just as awful as Evan's with a mother who cared more about her next date than her daughter.  The events of these years greatly affected her journey into adulthood as she now distrusts men immensely.  She keeps her heart hidden by an outwardly cold facade where work gives the only satisfaction.  She's a tough woman to like but I felt great sympathy for the girl she once was but didn't always like how she treated Evan.

Evan never gave up on her though.  And through BDSM he sought to prove to her just how far he was willing to go to have her.  If you found his Dom side sexy, you'll be just as drawn to his sub side where he works to prove to Julie that he's willing to let her have all the control. He loves her enough to give her all the power so she can believe he'll never hurt her. Seeing BDSM used this way gave real insight into this erotic world and gave a newfound respect to those who participate.  It also made me fall further in love with Evan! 

The road to a HEA doesn't go smoothly though and the reader is in for one hard won journey full of emotional twists and turns that left this reader exhausted and drained.  Ms. Crowe dug deeply into these character's lives and showed them at their best and worst, which pulled me in completely.  Their sexual journey was hot and kept the story moving at a scorching pace.  And just when you think you have everything figured out Ms. Crowe leaves you with an epilogue that changes everything and has me on edge waiting for the next book in this series.  So those looking for an intense story that doesn't scrimp on character development or sexiness will find themselves drawn to the Stewart Realty series.

My rating for this is an A.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

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.

www.lizcrowe.com
www.brewingpasssion.com
www.a2beerwench.com
www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor
www.twitter.com/beerwencha2
www.facebook.com/groups/romanceforreallife
www.facebook.com/jackgordonrealtor

**********GIVEAWAY**********

Grand Prize:  Paperwhite Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GEKXUO/ref=fs_cl)
1st Prize:  Signed set of first 6 books (Includes all books in the series *except for* Mutual Release)
2nd Prize:  boxed set of first 3 Stewart Realty ebooks  (Floor Time, Sweat Equity, Closing Costs)
3rd Prize:  Zazzle store Stewart swag pack (including canvas tote bag, mug, t-shirt, keychain)

-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-Winners will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 5/3.

27 comments:

  1. thanks for hosting and for the review.

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    1. Thank YOU for being here today and for the opportunity to read this heartbreaking, yet heartwarming too, story!

      The Scarf Princess

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  2. I enjoy all of Liz's books! I enjoy the emotions that each character brings to the story. I hope you contine to take us on the journey with you.

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  3. Wow, Liz, I do think it's true that those hard times really reveal a character's depth and personality, so I appreciate your take on adversity in stories :) Looking forward to catching up with your backlist!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

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  4. I really enjoyed the Stewart Realty books! Love the emotional depth of the characters. Great feature.
    Tracey
    avidreader03 at yahoo dot com

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  5. I agree that we are the sum total of our life experiences. I wouldn't be the person today if my mom hadn't died at an early age. I know to live each day to the fullest.

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  6. Thanks for hosting Liz on your blog today!!

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  7. Oh my goodness... how horrible is it that I didn't know you were a microbrewery owner? I just thought you reallllllly liked beer! LOL

    Mutual Release sounds GREAT! Just one more to add to the ever growing list! :)

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  8. Sounds like a great book! Would love signed copies and a kindle would be even better. Good luck on your tour. careydoucet@yahoo.com

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  9. Mutual Release sounds like a great read. A storyteller needs to mine the depths of a characters personality, and even give away a little of themselves as they write. Just added the book to my wish list. Will be checking in to see what you are brewing next.

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  10. Great writing and reading Liz. Digging deep into lives really make the books come a live and the reader feel they know the characters better. Have fun.
    Mary Keith
    www.keithpublications.com (was hacked and working on getting it back up..grrrrrr)

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  11. Nice post and excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  12. I've read this excerpt somewhere else. Don't ask me where. LOL I follow so many blogs. But even reading it a second time, was great. I cannot wait to read this book. Congratulations on the release! Thank you for the giveaway.

    JessieL62 at comcast dot net

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  13. thanks guys! I hope you get a chance to read Mutual Release soon!

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  14. Great excerpt! I am not familiar with this series and wonder if the books can be read out of order?

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

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  15. Can't wait to read this! So many books, so little time! sherirz@yahoo.com

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  16. cant wait to read this and thank you for the chance....

    angelalove@uwmail.com

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  17. Congratulations on the publication of Mutual Release! Sounds like an exciting book. Enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  18. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BOOK AND THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY!SHELLEY S. calicolady60@hotmail.com

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  19. fantastic excerpt
    meandi09@Yahoo.com

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  20. You are a new author for me and I really enjoyed the excerpt-- really would love to win!! Thanks
    veggieyes@yahoo.com

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  21. Looks amazing!!! celsey.seivert@yahoo.com

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  22. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  23. This book sounds fantastic!!
    lauratroxelatyahoodotcom

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  24. I'm really excited to find this review and author! I was just thinking today I needed to find more books that focus on the "what happens after" :) I'm looking forward to reading this book and the next to come!

    mengelhorn(at)gmail(dot)com

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  25. I love the entire series but Mutual Release is my favorite! I like the depth of the story and EVAN captured my heart in books1-3. I love the Dom he is! TEAM EVAN ALWAYS!!!!
    jenjen363@yahoo.com

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