The Realtors: Life in the House Lane
Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust.
The Realtors 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.
As some of you might know, I'm a big fan of series romances, so I asked Liz to tell us a bit about how she developed The Realtors into a series.
Take it away, Liz!
Hey Roz, thanks for having me!
Yeah, I love a juicy series too. Reading AND writing them!
If a story is well-written I find myself falling so much in love or lust or fascination with characters that I can't stand not knowing more. Luckily, because the characters I write are mine, I have it within my power to keep going--to keep telling their story and the stories of those around them.
I've been "accused" of writing secondary characters in many of my books that are just as compelling as the main ones, and typically I use them to launch a series. My Turkish Delights series with Decadent grew that way.
But The Realtors really is the longer story of the two main characters as opposed of a series of spin off novels from one main one. It began life as a big ass novel, with a sequel. It's the first big project I tried, truly my very first foray into writing fiction about three years ago. It's gone through several bouts of crits, many pretty massive rewrites as I honed my craft thanks to the help of editors with various publishers, and finally formed itself into the 3 novels of fairly equal length that cover about 12 years in the life of Jack Gordon and Sara Thornton, their families, friends, lovers and finally the one thing that brings them together and keeps them that way despite clashing similar personalities and seemingly conflicting life goals.
Yeah, there is a pretty compelling distraction for her along the way and one that some reviewers have latched onto as a "better" option for Sara (see: hot new blond guitar-playing, motorcycle-riding, nice guy named Craig). But ultimately, this story is about how 2 people are simply meant to be together and how, as real human beings with real faults and failings, they are willing to overlook those in each other and embrace the love between them. I don't write sweet romance though so be warned. You will get aggravated at both of them at times, but so far reviewers say they are so compelling, so realistic, you don't want to ever stop reading.
The story developed fairly organically as do most of my books. I typically start with one very hot scene (in this case it's in the hallway of her office and one that most reviewers are still fanning their faces over to my satisfaction) to kick things off. I like to create a couple (they all start this way regardless of how many folks end up together but that's not this story), give them a compelling reason to be together (similar professions, friends, whatever) then a real reason to NOT be and see how they sort it out. With Jack and Sara, that process takes a while, involves some seriously hot scenes that Realtors can relate to (the empty condo showing, the empty sales office, the empty Open House...) adds an element of "the other guy" plus a few reasons for Sara to be intensely jealous of Jack's many (many) former lovers. I also pull in the story of Sara's brother Blake, who she is very close to and nearly ruins his own relationship because of his over-protective nature. Blake and Rob's story is begging to be told. And I will, I promise. There are some pretty steamy moments between them, because, like I said, I like a layered story, with secondary characters you want to care about and know better.
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.
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.
Sara knew she hovered at a precipice. She could make a choice. At that moment, her body craved release but her brain had settled; her nerves no longer jangled as they had been doing for weeks. The rough sound of his voice, the touch of his hand, just the looks he'd been shooting her all night had brought her to that moment. She took a breath and let it take her, let her body fully relax for the first time in months.
As if he sensed her giving way, he held on tight from behind, cupping her breasts, then moving down to tease her clit and pussy again, never staying in one place long. "I think we need one more thing, don't you?" He must have shed his shirt at some point and the delicious sensation of his flesh against her back made her sigh, and arch her hips. He put a foot between hers, shoving his thigh against her pussy. She moved her hips, ground against his leg, needing to climax so badly she wanted to cry. She did cry, could hear herself sobbing; could feel the tears slip out from under the blindfold.
"Arch your back Sara," Jack commanded as he pushed one leg away from the other, forcing her legs apart.
Panic shot through her. The moment she'd been attacked last year came swirling through her brain. She tugged at the restraint over her head.
"No, I can't. I'm scared. My feet are getting numb. I can't—I can't feel my hands. Jack." Her voice sounded breathy, anxious, but her brain kept pouring some kind of calming elixir over her nerves. It had to be the strangest sensation in the world. Abject terror, white-hot fury, and a clean pure jolt of need warred in her. Then nothing. Crystal clear calm made it all the turbulence, all the chaos of her last year fade into nothingness, like it had never happened. She tasted her own tears.
"I know. Give it to me. Let me have it." He bit her neck, ran a hand across her ass. "Give it to me Sara." She winced when his palm met her flesh, the smacking sound echoing around in her ears. "It's mine. All of it. Your fear, hate, anger, love—it's mine. Give it to me." He smacked her again, then once more, harder. "Come. Now." Her body obeyed even as the astonishing tranquility poured through her psyche. Fluid coated her thighs as she moaned, cried his name, but couldn't hear herself. Her words slurred and her vision darkened behind the blindfold. The orgasm plowed her under, made her whole body release energy from the tip of her tingling scalp to her shaking toes. She slumped, letting the leather hold her up, pull at her sore shoulders.
Wow! That was some excerpt!! Let's get to know Liz Crowe.
Microbrewery owner, multi-published author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz brings 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) to her 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.
Otherwise, look for her doing pounds of laundry for her athletic children, watching La Liga on the Fox Soccer Channel, or trying to figure out what to order in for dinner. Liz loves her Foo Fighters Pandora station, and watching reruns of Deadwood, when there isn't any decent sports on the telly (like during “golf season”). 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.
Rebel Ink Press
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-floortime-675855-144.html (FLOOR TIME buy link)
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