The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A True Turkish Delight Served Up Today

Please welcome Liz Crowe. Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fundraising, plus an eight-year stint as an expatriate trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as an 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.
Having spent 2 ½ years in Istanbul, Turkey, she became enamored with the country, its people, and its history. So, when she was working on a concept for Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand series, her mind went straight to Turkey and its many delights.

Set in Istanbul, Las Vegas, and Southern California, Liz’s series Turkish Delights has it all—heat, heart, intrigue and a deep, family connection that transcends all barriers.

A sweeping saga of family, love, loss and recovery, the Turkish Delight series begins with a special sort of magic. Madame Eve works her miracles for the Deniz family, but even she can’t overcome the harsh realities that force this Turkish/American family to deal with tragedy when one of their own is ripped from their close-knit circle. Turkish Delights consists of five books: The Diplomat's Daughter, Turkish Delights, Blue Cruise, Tulip Princess, and Flower Passage. It is now available in a one-volume print anthology and an e-book bundle. You can download the e-book bundle FREE from February 27 through March 1.

Today Liz has given us the first chapter of the first book in the series, the Diplomat’s Daughter to savor. The story, set in 1960s Istanbul, and tells a tale of pre-destiny, passion and the rebellious power of true love.

Here’s the blurb:

When Vivian Kincaid's eyes meet those of a hunky local at the Turkish university her father forces her to attend, it only takes her a split second to recognize her childhood friend. Levent Deniz was the servant boy who taught her to run the streets of Istanbul years before, giving outlet to her wild streak even as a child.

Now face-to-face once again as adults, the only thing standing between them and happiness is her father. The newly appointed Consul General for the United States has other plans for his only daughter, ones that do not include a former servant, now successful entrepreneur and businessman. He will do everything in his power to keep them apart.

The Diplomat’s Daughter by Liz Crowe
Chapter One

Vivian tore her gaze from the large windows, and tried to ignore the tedious professor. She tugged a lock of her dark hair over her eyes. The stupid, frumpy outfit her father made her wear to school chafed every inch of her skin. She glanced around, not finding anyone interesting to stare at in the stuffy economics classroom. Frowning she looked over her shoulder, bored, angry at her circumstances, and itching to get out of the confines of the room. It was stifling hot already. Her thoughts wandered to her plans for the evening with her friends.

They’d discovered an old Roman cistern that had been transformed into an illicit nightclub. Precisely the right amount of danger, served up with imported whiskey, local cigarettes, and attractive Turkish men plus a few daring tourists—the very thought of the place made Viv smile. Sneaking out of the consulate residence was a snap. Her father never paid attention to her anyway. Istanbul in the late 1960s was awash in tourist money and development. Plenty of trouble could be found if a girl knew where to search.

When her gaze met that of some hunky local staring at her like she was a water mirage in the desert, her skin prickled. His eyes were dark, his features sharp and striking. The dark tie and light blue shirt hugged his obviously strong torso. Her eyes narrowed. Two can play the stare down game. When he smiled, she gasped and her heart lurched into her throat. She whipped around and clutched her hands together on the desk.

Oh God. It was Levent Deniz. Her childhood friend. The boy who’d made her early years as the daughter of a busy diplomat in this teeming city bearable. They’d spent countless hours playing in the parks by the Bosporus, daring each other through various mazes of dangerous boat docks, across rickety bridges through neighborhoods and streets where she had no business.

How could it be? She snuck a look back. Noted the unique color of his eyes—a soft, unusual, midnight blue—and that scar at the corner of his mouth, when he’d fallen and gotten injured trying to protect her from the feral dog that had chased them the last day she ever saw him. Yep. It was Levent all right. She turned again to face front, her heart pounding. It was a life-changing split second that she would never, ever forget.

It never failed. Every time Viv felt even a little bit close to her father, that stupid simpleton of a wife would insert herself. She’d made a point to be on time for dinner in the lavish Consulate dining room for the express purpose of asking him about the family that had served their former diplomatic home in Istanbul. But her stepmother was there, too, and their sniveling toddler, which always distracted him. It was as if he had short attention span problems with his kids. Could only focus on one and right now he loved that bratty little boy he’d spawned with his former secretary, the shiny new Mrs. Consulate General.

Vivian stared at the snot-nosed little kid who got all the attention. The spitting image of her father really: nearly hairless, red-faced, and complaining. She sighed and sipped her wine. After about twenty minutes of brainless baby-talk between the three of them she interjected. “Father, do you remember the Deniz family?”

Her father tore his gaze from the kid and frowned at her. “There are a million Deniz families. Which one are you referring to?” He took a bite of rich lamb stew.

“You know, from before. When we lived here.” She shot a significant glance at her father’s wife. “With Mother?”

He cleared his throat. “Oh, yes, right, well….” He made a show of remembering. “Ah, the boy who got cut, when you two were running around like a pack of wild dogs in the streets.”

“Yeah.” Viv let that one go. She needed the information worse than she needed to argue with him. “Him. What happened to them? Do they still…you know.”

“I heard something about the boy. What was his name?” He waved a hand, deeming it unimportant. “He is co-owner of one of the construction companies here now. Don’t know where he got the money.”

“Levent.” Vivian tried to keep the eagerness out of her voice.

“What? Oh yes, Levent. He was quite the trouble maker if I remember correctly.” Her father shot Vivian a withering stare. She returned it in kind. “Why do you ask?”

“I thought I saw him today. In class.”

“Hmm. That’s odd. Perhaps he’s getting an advanced degree.”

“No, he probably never went to university at all and is only now getting one.”

“Yes, one would suppose, wouldn’t one.”

Vivian rolled her eyes as her father returned his attention to his miniature, who’d dumped food on the floor. Vivian sighed. Her audience with the great man was obviously over. She tossed back the last of the one glass of wine allowed with a meal, stood and spoke. “I’m going out.” Her father and his wife looked up as if surprised she was even still in the room.

Levent stared out the window of his car at the massive construction site that would someday be the newest, fanciest hotel in the ancient city. He grabbed his hard hat and safety glasses and strode to the foreman’s temporary offices. His head was not right. There was a disquiet in his gut, something he was wholly unfamiliar with, and he could trace it right back to the moment today when he’d locked eyes with her.
The controlled chaos of the site and especially the office did nothing to dispel his anxiety. As the subcontractor for the larger construction company in charge, Levent and his business partner spent a lot of time sucking up and placating, serving as go-between for the contractor and the actual workmen. He’d spent nearly ten years as a lowly tradesman, learning all he could about building, from the smallest homes to large apartment buildings, office towers, and now resorts. He felt most comfortable amongst the actual workers as opposed to behind some desk. Heaving a huge sigh, he clapped on his hard hat, and headed out to see what fires needed putting out today, his mind still foggy with memory.

Get all five books bundled for Kindle Prime members FREE between February 27 and March 1 here:

All five books are also available in a single-volume print anthology here:

Finished here? Leave a comment, then hop on to the next sites on Liz’s grand tour. Today you can visit her at: and tomorrow, March 1 at and
The final stop: is a contest that consists of 5 questions plus a bonus round. All answers can be found in various posts throughout the tour.

The commenter who gets the most answers correct AND leaves an email address in their comment wins: 1 signed print copy of Turkish Delights and $50 Amazon gift card. And if they answer the BONUS question correctly as well the prize is a Beer Wench tee shirt from Liz' brewery. (Dibs!)

Liz would love to hear from you:


Liz said...

thanks for having me!

M. S. Spencer said...

My pleasure! M. S.

Melissa Keir said...

Liz's work is inspiring! :)

Marianne Stephens said...

I swear you never sleep...your talent is evident...keep sending notices to the Realty Assoc. about the success of your books!
MS - nice intro about Liz...and she deserves all the praise!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks Marianne--Liz is an inspiration--not to mention fun to read! M. S.