A Real Estate Romance
By Liz Crowe
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Sawyer Callahan is a former cop turned accounting instructor, part time real estate appraiser and handy man, and single dad to a teenaged girl. He keeps his once-chaotic life now firmly under his strict, somewhat OCD control. Until he decides to sell the house that reminds him too much of his late wife.
Miranda Landon is hot-shot real estate agent with a relationship-sized chip on her shoulder that she exorcises, frequently, with the help of as many men as possible.
These two meet, of course. But what happens may surprise you.
APPRAISED is the first in a series of 100% FREE Liz Crowe novels told in a unique back-and-forth point of view style. Real Estate Romance with humor and spice available to subscribers to Liz’s once-a-month newsletter.
Excerpt #2 (rated R for language/situations):
Sawyer pressed the young man up against the closed side of the double doors, lifting him by his neck. Sawyer knew how to scare without really hurting. And it all came rushing back to him now. “Get out of my house,” he said, keeping his tone conversational. “Don’t ever come near my house again. If I see you here, or smell your muskrat breath anywhere near me or my house or my daughter you will need a doctor, not a lawyer. We clear?” He put a bit more pressure on the kid’s throat, knowing it for effect and nothing more, getting a twinge of regret for giving up his old life for one at a desk, helping prosecutors build cases against fraternity punks like this one before being forced out of that job thanks to…no. Not tonight.
He let go. The kid crumpled the floor, coughing, staring up at Sawyer with the sort of fear that made him feel whole again. Standing, arms crossed, putting the full effect of his six foot five, broad shouldered, ex-cop’s body into his “get the hell out and stay out” message, Sawyer watched as the no-doubt future politician, or perhaps smarmy English professor with a penchant for fucking other men’s wives, scrabbled for the door knob and threw himself out into the dark front lawn.
He sighed and turned. Kelly lingered on the bottom step, tears standing in her eyes. “Are you…hurt?”
She glared at him. “No, Dad. I told you. I’m still pure as the driven fucking snow. Christ.”
“Get a shower,” he barked, unable to stand it another minute. “Then come downstairs. I want to show you some houses we’re gonna go look at together.”
“I don’t give half a rat’s ass where we move.”
He swallowed the ugly retort, horrified that he would even think such mean things about his own daughter. But she was like some kind of possessed evil demon anymore. And it got worse every day. Times like this he hated his dead wife even more for leaving him with this mess. Among other things. He took a long, shuddery breath. “Get a shower. Come back downstairs. I got drumsticks.”
Her eyes flickered. The corner of her chapped, swollen looking lips lifted. He crossed his arms over his chest, thinking, “point to dad.”
“Fine,” she said, flouncing up the steps and giving the bathroom door a solid slam for good measure. He sat, flipping through the options on his computer, his appraiser’s mind already evaluating and tsk-tsking over how grossly overpriced everything was. Figures. He should have made this move last year.
When Kelly appeared, her face scrubbed clean and healthily pink, her dark brown hair scraped back in a ponytail, her eyes bright he felt something loosen in his chest. Still seated, he held out an arm, willing her to come to him, to let him hang onto her a minute or two. She did, lingering nearly fifteen entire seconds before pulling away and rubbing her eyes, hiding her emotion from him. He let himself have the outsized sensation of victory.
“I’ll take a vanilla one,” he said, pointing to the freezer. She pulled out the box of her all time favorite, disgustingly processed frozen desserts. “Sit. Look with me.”
She handed him one and they spent a few minutes thumbing through the listings he’d picked out, smaller houses, smaller lawns, real start-over attempts to let go of the horror of the past few years. When they’d eaten the last bit of chocolate-filled, over-sweet cones, she poured them each a glass of water. He drank his, waiting until she finished to ask The Question.
“So, what did I interrupt earlier?”
She rolled her eyes and got up for a refill. “Nothing. He wanted me to give him a blowjob. I wasn’t about to do that, but then you showed up while he was trying to convince me.” She shrugged, the gorgeous future woman in her shining through so brightly it made Sawyer’s teeth ache. “Gross,” she muttered around the rim of the water glass.
He cleared his throat, trying to find words, or even thoughts that might turn into words for this moment.
“I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done it before. He’s gross. Not giving a blow job.”
“Oh, uh…” He clenched his fist around the drumstick wrapper. “Well…”
She grinned, then kissed his forehead and ruffled his hair. “I’m kidding. God, you should see your face right now, Daddy-o.”
“But he was…uh… had his…um…”
“Yeah. I was giving him a hand job. But it was mutual. It’s what teenagers do. Don’t tell me you didn’t.”
Her extreme bluntness was like someone stabbing him between the eyes and turning the knife. He hesitated. “Okay, well. It’s why we got you on the pill.” His voice was hoarse. He thought he might very well puke beer and ice cream all over the floor.
“Yep. And don’t think I didn’t notice the box of condoms you stashed in my panty drawer, Dad.”
“Yes, well…um…” He wiped a hand down his face. She cupped his lightly bearded cheek. “I…”
“It’s okay. I’m fine. I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do. And when I do want to, I have that Cosco sized supply of rubbers thanks to you.” She yawned and stretched. Sawyer closed his eyes, willing the images of her with some boy’s hand down her pants out of his head. It made him want to put his fist through the wall despite his self-satisfied feelings about buying her rubbers. “’Night,” she said, blowing him a kiss and heading upstairs in her ratty blue robe and thick socks.
Sawyer sat a long time, staring at his tightly clenched fists and cursing his life, before hauling himself up and over to the couch where he’d been sleeping since Helen had died. He pretended he didn’t, always getting up well before Kelly did. It was but one of the many reasons he had to get the hell out of this house for good. Right before passing out, his gut churning with the unwelcome frozen preservatives, he touched his left ring finger with his thumb. Finding the new nothing there, when it had taken him thirteen years to get used to the something, he rolled over and squeezed his eyes shut.
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.