Lightning in a Bottle
by Gina Ardito Genre: Contemporary Romance
After suffering through a humiliating divorce in New York, Bo McKenzie is out of luck, money, and patience. Arriving in Silverton, Texas, she’s bet her last dime on the launch of her craft brewery to get her life back on track. Despite her vow to stay focused solely on the beer business, one man manages to capture her heart. Can she trust him?
Drew Garwood’s one true love has always been serving the legal needs of his neighbors. His greatest trouble is keeping his brother on the right side of the law. When Bo McKenzie sweeps into town, she rouses his passion and provides the spark his life has been missing. Whatever happened before she came to Silverton has left her guarded and suspicious. Can he break down her defenses?
As the two struggle to rein in their wild attraction, secrets and greed could destroy the brewery and force Bo out of town for good – unless Drew can find a way to convince her to stay.
“Did you bring in my bag last night?”
“Oh, good. Where’d you put it? I have an extra toothbrush in it.”
“You do?” What reasons could she possibly have to keep a toothbrush in what he’d discovered was an enormous toolbox? He said a silent prayer she didn’t use it to clean tile grout and then plan to brush her teeth with it.
She shrugged. “I pull a lot of all-nighters at work, and I like to be prepared. Crazy as it sounds, brushing my teeth sometimes revives me faster than an espresso bullet.”
“Ah.” She said the oddest things. Lucky his lawyer skills had taught him long ago how to keep his expression impassive.
“How about some old clothes I can borrow?”
“Probably. What do you need?”
“Well, I can wear these jeans again,” she said, running her hands down her thighs, “but a good sturdy work shirt would be helpful.”
“I can definitely fix you up with one of my chambrays. Will that do?”
“Great. Anything else?”
“Yeah.” She cocked her head, her gaze straying lower. If he didn’t know any better, he’d swear she was studying his crotch. “Boxers or briefs?”
He kicked the dishwasher door closed with the back of his foot and stared at her, agape. “What?”
“Do you wear boxers or briefs?”
“Boxer briefs,” he said.
She seemed to consider this information for a minute then flipped her hair off her shoulder. “Oh, good. Boxers are usually too loose for me.”
“To wear. I can get away with the same jeans from yesterday, and I can even wear my bra for another day, but I need a pair of clean underwear.”
“You want to wear a pair of my underwear?”
“If it’s okay with you.”
“You’re okay with that?”
“Why not? If it bothers you, when you spend the night at my house, I’ll lend you a pair of my underwear, and we’ll be even. Fair’s fair, right?”
I kill houseplants. There. Now you know one of my greatest shames. I'm not boasting. I just figure that if you're reading this, you're looking for more than how wonderful life is as a writer. You get enough of that elsewhere. Ditto for political rants, how to lose thirty pounds in a week, and creating gorgeous crafts with nothing more than twine and soup cans. My goal is to connect with you, dear reader, even if you're not a writer, not a New Yorker, not a mother, not a female. We're human (unless one of us is a spambot), and what we have in common is flaws. So here are a few more of mine:
I sing all the time. I sing songs most people don't know--jingles from television, crazy stuff I used to listen to on Dr. Demento, Broadway and movie soundtracks, and I can even bum-bum-bum through instrumental music. I sing in the car. In the shower. While I'm grocery shopping. And I headbop while I sing. When I'm not singing, I talk to myself. Just ignore me and move on. You get used to it after a while.
I don't eat my vegetables. Seriously. I only started eating salad about ten years ago, but I'd still rather have a cookie.
Given the option, I would live in a mall where I would never have to worry about freezing temperatures or too much sun. I'm extremely fair-skinned and could burn under a 60-watt light bulb.
I can't sleep without background noise so the television's on all night. If it's too dark and too quiet, all I have are my thoughts. And even *I* don't want to be alone with my thoughts.
Don't ask me to Zumba, line dance, or march in the parade. I have absolutely no rhythm.
I color outside the lines. Not because I'm a rebel, but because I suck as an artist. My artistic ability is limited to being able to draw Snoopy sleeping on his doghouse. And I don't even draw that well.
Regrets. I have more than a few.
My favorite activity is sleep, and I'm pretty good at it. I don't clock a lot of hours, but I can powernap like a Persian cat and rejuvenate within ten minutes.
I consider shopping and dining out excellent therapy for anything wrong in my life.
My feet are always cold. Always. My husband of more than a quarter century claims it's because I'm an alien sent to Earth to destroy him. (He might be right about that.)
Coming to my house for a visit? Unless you've given me plenty of advance notice, be prepared. My floor will not be vacuumed, there will be dishes in my sink, and I only make my bed when I change the sheets once a week (I'm climbing back into it ASAP. Why make it?) Housecleaning is not high on my priority list. Okay, to be totally honest, it's not on the list at all.
I can resist anything...except ice cream.
Since this is our first date, I figure I've revealed enough secrets for now. But if you've read this bio and think I might be the author for you, pick up one of my books or stalk my website
When Carolyn Brown invited me to write for her “Blame it on Texas” world one sunny afternoon at a writers’ conference, I was so flattered, so excited, I ordered a glass of champagne at the bar, called my family with the news, and celebrated with friends for the rest of the weekend.
And then, on the ride home, reality set in. What did I know about Texas? Or cowboys? Or ranchers? I’m a New York girl! The only time I’ve ever been around horses was on a high school trip to a dude ranch. That was over thirty years ago.
Okay, no problem. I could do research. Let’s make a list of what had to be researched. Research Texas, research the Palo Duro Canyon, research cowboy/rancher life, research horses and cattle and churches and meals and daily life and… Yeah, my eyes rolled in my head, too. That’s a lot of research. And it isn’t even the fun kind. (Consider my last book dealt with a woman who grew up in a carnival and now designed roller coasters for a living. That was fun research!)
After months of dreading the research and wondering how I could possibly write a Texas story without embarrassing myself or disappointing Carolyn, I sat in my local craft brewery one night and toyed with what ifs. What if my New York girl background could be a help, rather than a hindrance? What if I gave my heroine a similar history? She could be completely out of her element in the Palo Duro Canyon area of Texas, as confused and unfamiliar with the wild and rugged terrain and the local customs as I was.
My muse chimed in, “Oh, God, no. Not another spoiled princess from the big city who goes to the country and can’t hack it because she might break a nail! You’re better than that old cliché.” (My muse is, at times, both supportive and condescending.) Okay then, I retorted. She’s not a spoiled princess. In fact, she’s got a job that would be considered a more masculine line of work. My muse approved – with hesitation. Sounds good. But, what kind of job? Hmmm… As I tipped back my favorite brew, the beer in my hand gave me a brilliant idea. I would make my heroine a brewmaster!
Yes! A bold, no-nonsense New York woman moves to Texas to run a craft brewery. Think of the complications, the conflict, the fun research! Why, this story could write itself. Well, no, not really. I sweated every scene, as I normally do. But the one thing I did get right? I had a lot of fun researching how to make the perfect beer. I took tours in cities all over the country, tasted samples, spoke to owners and brewmasters. It was a lot of hard work (sort of), but it was worth it. In fact, I highly recommend you enjoy a cold one while reading my story to enhance the flavor.