Cheeky Blonde by Liz Crowe
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Length: Short Story (141 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern
Violence, intrigue, and passion are brewing in the craft beer world. When bitter rivals Jennifer Baxter and Sean Garrison meet, the notorious and handsome owner of Garrison Brothers Brewing stays true to form, seducing his rival at a national brewer’s convention.
Sean arrived at the convention expecting to get down to business, including his stated goal of hiring Jen away from Brick Street Brewery. But the beautiful fellow craft beer expert provides more of a distraction than he expected.
When sabotage strikes their fellow breweries, they unite to solve the mysteries. But fate and rumors brew more than beer as love, lust, jealousy, and misunderstanding collide in a way neither could have expected or anticipated.
Can they overcome the malicious chatter long enough to explore the emotion bubbling beneath the surface? Or will lust fall flat and leave them nothing but memories of the moment that slipped away?
Jen Baxter’s brewery has made a new product, Cheeky Blonde, an Imperial pale ale. At the coming out party during the National Beer festival Jen meets Sean Garrison who owns a rival brewery. Even though Jen and Sean initially barely exchange more than a dozen words she’s left with a powerful craving for him she can’t deny. When he searches her out after the party the simmering passion explodes. Their impulsive action sends shockwaves not only through the media – who are covering the conference/festivities – but also through their businesses.
This is a fast paced sexy romp of a book. Revolving around breweries, business competition and the media attention that can surround them, I found the plot different and interesting to read. The chemistry between Jen and Sean is hot and sucks you in immediately. Sean is not your typical alpha-male, though he is determined to have his cake and eat it too. Sean’s character is delightfully complex and not entirely what we’re first led to believe. Jen is more than a match for him in many respects. These two butt heads and still manage to burn up the sheets, not something that is always balanced properly, but it shines in this book.
There’s a strong cast of secondary characters, and a few sub-plots intertwined around this. Most noteworthy is Sean’s bitchy ex-wife who is a bucket load of trouble, Sean’s twin brother, Liam and Jen’s brewery partner and off-again/on-again bed buddy, Dylan. I particularly liked Dylan, who was really well rounded and a truly intriguing character. I’d love to read his story in the future. I really enjoyed reading this book and would certainly read other pieces by Ms. Crowe.