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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Honey Red Blog Tour: Spotlight Review + Giveaway

Format: epub (provided by Tri-Destiny publishing)
Release Date: December 30, 2012

Two men suffering from visible and invisible wounds meet by chance circumstance.

Nick Traynor and Ian Donovan spend a lot of time and effort keeping it very hot, only physical, and purely superficial. But when their resolve starts to slip, a woman is tossed into their midst.

Hannah Williams wants nothing more than to do her job until something better comes along, but is forced to own up to her visceral reaction to Ian, her new boss, and later to Nick, his sometimes lover.

Lust has a funny way of turning into companionship, and eventually evolving into a deeper connection. Faced with the internal and external complications of their potential three-way relationship, they begin to heal and trust, to consider that it might work. Then life tosses them a hardball, forcing them back into their respective corners, where each must choose what is most important.

Three people determined not to commit, thrown together by fate and undeniable attraction--their nights heat up and emotions run high in spite of a claimed mutual desire to "keep it simple." In the process of honest self-discovery, can they learn that while love is never simple, it is definitely worth fighting for?

I really hate to say this but Honey Red has dethroned Paradise Hops as my favorite Liz Crowe book. How could it not? There is so much going on in Honey Red that it's difficult to know where to begin.

I've read a handful of menage stories and with each one I hoped that it would be the one to change my mind about menage romances. Needless to say it took Honey Red for me to realize that a menage can work and it can work beautifully. It was erotic AND romantic without being trashy or overbearing. Honey Red is more about the emotional journey of three damaged people than the sexual relationship they share.

Every time I begin a new book I am eager to see which character I will relate to best. With Honey Red, I connected with Ian, Hannah and Nick. All three were lost and knew it. All three met at the most inconvenient time in their lives and of course, as real people are bound to do, jumped into relationships with other people in order to try and fill that void in their lives that seemed to hunt them down no matter where they went.

Hannah is a surprise. She presents herself as a confident, sexy and intimidating woman but at the heart of it all, she's unsure, vulnerable and caring. She may not have all the answers and might be terrified of first, her attraction to Ian and later her attraction to Nick but she's brave enough to stick it out and see where things lead.

Ian Donovan is struggling to catch up to and maintain the pace life has set for him. It seems like over night he goes from a bachelor screw up, to a father of a child, to a steadily employed man. It's a lot to take in for one person and Ian doesn't always handle it well. Adding to the pressure is the constant presence of his twin brother Gavin, who seems to have the perfect life. It's tough for Ian to get out of the shadow of his ever successful sibling.

But Ian's a walk in the park compared to Nick Traynor, a blind ex-marine with more emotional issues than is comfortable. I've read books that featured ex-military servicemen and women but this is the first time I've felt like I've gotten an idea of what they may go through when they come home from a war. While Nick had an overwhelming amount of obstacles to overcome, Liz made sure to create sympathy for him, even when he was lashing out at people. Along with his physical injuries, Nick suffers from survivor's guilt and that makes it almost impossible for anyone to reach him. Giving him a service dog was a great touch as many service men and women can be seen with service animals these days.

What can be difficult in a menage romance is finding a balance between the three people in the relationship. In a "traditional" relationship, there are two people and it's almost natural the way the relationship progresses. In a menage, there's an additional person in the mix and it can be a recipe for jealousy and preferences.

Honey Red balances the multiple relationships realistically and passionately. There are three people involved but there are four relationships that need to be represented equally. In case you're confused, Ian, Hannah and Nick are one relationship, Ian and Nick are the second, Ian and Hannah are the third and Nick and Hannah is the fourth.

Liz Crowe makes each relationship sexy, erotic and interesting. It doesn't matter if it's between Ian and Nick or Nick and Hannah. Take the following scene between Ian and Nick, no clothes are flying off but it still manages to be sexy:

Rated R Excerpt:

Alyssa knelt down beside him, took his hand. “We’re going to a movie. You okay here with Ian?” she whispered. He nodded but was very much not sure that he would be. The dog whimpered.
“Later brother,” Gavin called out. “Talk soon Nick. Good luck next week with the new job.”
Ian walked into the house with the couple, leaving Nick alone with his swirling thoughts and pounding skull. Brutus repositioned to Nick’s left, between him and the chair Ian had just vacated. He put his huge head on Nick’s hand. “Dude,” Nick said softly. “I think I just figured out why you’re upset. And let me just tell you now, it’s okay. I’m okay. I’m … agitated, but it’s normal.” He patted the dog’s nose, then leaned back and stretched his legs out in front of him, relieving the pressure building once more under his jeans.
He heard Ian rummaging around in the kitchen, opening and closing the fridge. Nick took a long, deep breath and made a decision. He smiled when Ian pressed the cold water bottle to his shoulder and took it, but then set it on the table that he knew was to his front right, where it always was. His mind kept roiling but he kept a lid on his urge to suck in a breath when he sensed Ian pulling a chair up on his other side, avoiding the guard dog. “I don’t think he likes me,” the man declared.
Nick put a hand on Ian’s leg.. He heard the other man’s breath hitch, and would swear on a stack of procedure manuals he heard his heartbeat increase. Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t hear a heartbeat. But he smiled, and leaned back, leaving his fingers trailing along the denim covering Ian’s thigh. “Oh he’s fine. But I think I figured out how in tune to me he actually is.”
“Oh?” Ian touched his fingers, brushed the back of Nick’s hand once, then again, making him shiver.
“Yeah, I think he senses how god damned horny I am. Since he has no frame of reference for it, it’s making him nervous, protective.”
“Wow,” Ian leaned over and Nick could feel the other man’s lips near his throat. “Impressive,” He said, putting his hand over Nick’s erection.
“Yeah,” Nick croaked out, suddenly nervous. “So, I’m typically not…”
“Shh…” Ian’s hand left his cock, made its way up his torso, and wound around the back of his neck. “You are pretty amazing.”
“No, not really. Just blind. Without a real job. Living in my sister’s house.”
“But you look damn good doing all that, trust me.”
“You make a point of seducing blind guys you just met?”
“I didn’t just meet you. I remember you from a few months…before.”
Nick shivered again. This whole thing was somehow right and wrong at the same time. He needed a physical connection, bad, but was unsure if it should be with Ian Donovan. This, of course coming from his now humming and thankfully pain-free brain while his body screeched at him to grab the guy and kiss him.
Nick sighed when Ian’s fingers twined in his newly grown hair. He hadn’t had hair this long in over ten years. He’d forgotten what color it was. He sighed, raised his face to the cooling night breeze when Ian’s lips found his jaw and made their slow way down his neck, then up. “You are…very attractive.” Ian’s words made their presence known, curling in and around Nick’s amped up libido and making him grit his teeth.

While not as emotionally raw as say, Paradise Hops, Honey Red does excel at bringing three imperfect people together who, through many obstacles, begin realize that they might just need each other in order to start healing.

Honey Red is one of Liz Crowe's best works in my humble opinion. It is a story that will please her long time fans and hopefully find new ones. If you have not yet read a Liz Crowe book, then you should definitely start with this one.

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Wait, there's more! One lucky winner from the entire tour will win a wonderful prize that includes a copy of Honey Red and the first three books in Liz's Stewart Realty series. So fill out the Rafflecopter form and don't forget to check out the other stops on Liz's Blog Tour for more reviews and interviews with Liz and her characters!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Liz Crowe
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.

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