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Chock Full of Drama

Liz Crowe
Liz Crowe Author Interview

Backup Offer follows a restaurant owner who’s abandoned by her contractor in the middle of a renovation and seeks help from an old love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your stirring romance novel?

In an earlier novel, Blair attended culinary school in Paris for a few years, as did her father, and she always was his helper in the kitchen growing up. So when she had to leave her home behind in order to force herself to stay away from Brandis, her dad helped her find a kitchen to work in and get more experience which she used to write her own business plan to open her place. It’s so successful, she’s in the middle of an expansion to the place when the novel opens but the contractor bolts and leaves behind a big mess, she automatically reaches out to the man who can help her, since he owns and runs a construction company back in her home town. The catch is, he is also the reason she left town in the first place.

I’ve worked in restaurants, owned and ran a bar for a few years, and sold beer and wine to restaurants so I’ve seen and worked in all sorts of kitchens and behind many kinds of bars. They are places chock full of drama, but also places where friendships and other relationships are formed based on common passions for food, drinks, and creativity. Owning a restaurant in particular is, in my opinion, always a passion since it is brutally hard work, with long hours and many times small rewards.

This is the 9th book in your Stewart Realty series. Did you know you would take the series this far? What has surprised you the most about the series up to this point?

I started this series in 2008 and the first editions of the first 3 books (Floor Time, Sweat Equity, and Closing Costs) were published in 2010-2011. They’ve since been revised and re-published. I wrote the first 8 books between 2008 and 2014, and thought I was done but something about the way I left Brandis and Blair–the second generation of the saga–bothered me so I wanted to provide them with a happier ending to their love story.

What were some ideas you wanted to explore in Blair and Brandis’s relationship?

The biggest thing they have to cope with is a doozy for any relationship–addiction. Brandis Gordon spent his teenaged years playing football, being the golden boy to all around him, and developing addictions to alcohol, pain pills, and sex. These aren’t always topics you’ll find in romance novels but I set it up this way in the book prior to Backup Offer. Good Faith (book 8) is not a romance but a deep dive into relationships between the first generation and second. The first gen is well-established from books one through seven and by that time, they have kids. These kids then grow up and develop their own personalities and relationships, not all of them good. Blair is an enabler, as many of us are without realizing it. She’s so passionately in love with Brandis from a young age, she believes he can do no wrong, even as he is doing a lot of wrong to her, and the rest of his family.

Backup Offer is his redemption arc, in a way, as he and Blair have spent 10 years apart when the novel opens, working on themselves and their careers, and in Brandis’ case, rebuilding his relationships with this sisters and father. Neither of them have had a romantic relationship during that time so when fate brings Blair back to her hometown when her best friend needs her help and she lays eyes on Brandis for the first time in a decade, she tried to avoid her feelings and hold him at arms length. But he rushes to her side to help after the contractor disaster, bringing his rescue dog–something that I really enjoyed portraying–and ends up staying at her house.

Most real relationships require work and effort, and these two are wary about hurting each other (and themselves) by reconnecting. But they do, and honestly, it has to be one of the most satisfying happily ever afters I’ve written. They put in the work and reap the rewards, but I make it clear that living with alcoholism and other addictions is a daily, hourly battle. But Brandis will fight it, if it means he and Blair can be together.

Do you have more books planned in the Stewart Realty series, or do you have another series idea?

This series is finished. I have several other series published and will be returning to one of my other successful ones soon: The Love Brothers series, which is about a large, boisterous family with 4 brothers and a sister. I have some ideas about expanding it and plan to do so in 2022.

I’m also developing a series about a fictional soccer team set in Detroit that will release in late 2021.

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Backup Offer (Stewart Realty Book 9) by [Liz Crowe]

An ex-boyfriend, his massive dog, her house, and no hotel room in sight. What could go wrong?

After Blair ended things with Brandis, she was determined to get away–and stay away from him for good. She put family, friends, and the life she knew in Michigan in her rear view mirror and started over. As owner and head chef of her own place in Louisville, she stays plenty busy, especially since “Blair’s Kitchen” is the darling of the restaurant scene. She’s managed to avoid Michigan for almost a decade, but when her best friend needs her help, she drops everything and heads home.

Brandis has spent the last ten years coming to terms with addiction, personal tragedy, and the loss of the woman he loved. He’s now the third generation to run his family’s construction business, and he’s managed to reconstruct tattered relationships with his family. He’s even adopted a dog, thanks to some donated renovation time spent at an animal shelter. He’s got everything he needs—except a for one thing.

When the contractor she paid to build her restaurant’s expansion vanishes, leaving her with a giant mess, Blair only hesitates a moment before calling Brandis for help. But when he rushes to her side to evaluate the crisis, there isn’t an available room in a twenty mile radius. So they settle in to a routine—her, her one-time boyfriend, and his giant, slobbering dog in her small house. It doesn’t take long for the temptation of close proximity to give way, and while Blair tries to keep it all physical, Brandis has other ideas.

The end of the Stewart Realty saga brings the second generation full-circle in ways many never expected, and no one regrets.

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Backup Offer

Backup Offer (Stewart Realty Book 9) by [Liz Crowe]

Blair Freitag is the owner and head chef of a farm to table restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. She has plans to expand the restaurant and buy a farm of her own, but everything is put on hold when she returns to Michigan to visit her friend after a medical scare. Blair has not been home in ten years, after a painful breakup. Her ex-boyfriend, Brandis Gordon, a former addict, now runs his family’s construction company. Once Blair is back in Kentucky again, she finds that the contractor she hired to complete the renovation on her restaurant has vanished with the money she paid him and the job only half done. Not knowing where else to turn, she calls Brandis for help. They realize that they still love each other. But can they get past the wounds of their past?

Backup Offer is an emotionally-charged family saga that’s the 9th book in a series, but this book can be read as a standalone story. But for anyone who has read the other books in the series, you’ll see many of the previous characters reappear in Blair and Brandis’s story and have plenty more depth added. I liked that the book had a happy ending, which is great for anyone looking for a feelgood story. After everything Blair and Brandis suffered through while he struggled with the demons of addiction, it was good to see how he was able to turn his life around, and that she was able to forgive him for the mistakes he made in the past. Blair had an interesting occupation as the owner of a farm to table restaurant, and I liked reading the part where Brandis came to Louisville to help her when her former contractor disappeared in the middle of the job.

I felt that Blair and Brandis spent too much time apart throughout the book. Living in two different states, I felt they didn’t have much interaction until almost halfway through the story. And after Brandis helps Blair with her restaurant in Louisville, they are apart again when he returns to Michigan.

There are a few loose ends by the end of the story but, as with any good saga, you are left wanting more and desperate to read the follow up book for answers. Backup Offer is an impassioned contemporary romance novel that feels authentic and keeps things grounded, which makes the drama so much more engrossing.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B096G5DBGL

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