Garrett James was discharged from the army with a prosthetic leg and a Purple Heart. He found a new purpose behind the bar and has big dreams that involve his own restaurant and someone to share it with. Too bad most of the women he dates either balk at the idea of dating an amputee or can’t stand the fact that he works every night.
Lilah McKinney doesn’t have dreams. Her abusive boyfriend has systematically destroyed them, even though he’s never laid a hand on her in anger. A chance meeting with Garrett reminds her what it felt like to want something for herself. When her boyfriend snaps and nearly kills her, Garrett steps in, but he can’t stay. Lilah needs to reclaim her dreams on her own.
Fate brings them back together almost a year later, a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. Will Lilah share her dreams with Garrett? Or will her past come between them once again?
WARNING: Love and Libations contains scenes of domestic violence and abuse that may be disturbing to sensitive readers.
Garrett James himself is here to talk a little bit about his story, his feelings about Lilah, and the kind of man he wants to be.
“Garrett, thanks for stopping by today.”
“You’re welcome, Tami. It’s my day off. Lilah’s at her writin’ group and I’ve just come from the gym.”
“Your hair does look a little…damn. I mean, damp. Damp. That’s it.”
Garrett runs a hand through his tousled dark hair and grins. The left corner of his mouth twitches a little higher and wow. I get a peek of ink at his wrist, the petal of a rose at his open collar.
“So tell me a little bit about yourself. You’re a bartender?”
“I own a bar in Pioneer Square called Libations. Craft cocktails, premium microbrews and local wine, and I’ve got a great chef who designed the menu. It’s done well.”
His chest puffs out a bit and he straightens. “And it’s the reason I found Lilah again.”
“Oh, can you tell me a little bit about that? About her?”
“She’s my everythin’. She had some trouble. Came to a head about a year ago. Her ex was—is—an abusive son of a bitch and tried to kill her.”
“Oh God. She’s okay, though?”
“She’s doin’ well now. I didn’t think she’d come back to me. I lost her after the…incident. Couldn’t find her, call her. Nothin’. It about killed me. But that year we spent apart helped her. We’d only just met when that asswipe beat the crap out of her and shoved her in front of a moving car. I think we were on our way to becomin’ friends. It wasn’t until I found her in my bar a year later that it turned into something’ more.”
“How much more?”
Garrett grins again, heat turning his cheeks bright red over the stubble that darkens his jaw. “That’s between us, darlin’.”
Darlin’. Oh God. That accent. Where is he from? And can I go there?
“Do you have any family?”
“My ma’ and pop live in Hawaii. They retired there after I got my shit together. Been there almost six years now. I’m takin’ Lilah to meet them in a few months. No brothers or sisters.”
So no others like him back home. Shoot. “After you ‘got your shit together.’ What does that mean?”
“Tami, I lost most of my right leg in Iraq. It messed me up for a good bit of time. I’ve got a kick ass prosthetic now,” he raps on his thigh, the sharp sound of resin echoing. “But I refused to even think about gettin’ one for a couple of years after it happened. Lived with my folks, angry all the time. Took a buddy to pull me out of it.”
“How’d that happen?”
Garrett rolls up his sleeve to show me a tattoo. It’s a bolt of lightning. Be Brave. Be Strong. The words are blazed on his skin, branded, and he runs his fingers over them lightly. “That tattoo saved my life.”
“How many do you have?”
“A lot. And no. You can’t see ‘em all. They’re only for me. And Lilah.”
“You have a tattoo for Lilah?”
“Yep.” He smirks, his hand resting lightly over his heart.
Damn. He really isn’t going to show me.
“Last question, then. I promised I wouldn’t keep you long. Why was it important to tell your story—Lilah’s story—to Patricia?”
“There are too many women out there, men too, but mostly women, who are trapped in abusive relationships and they don’t even realize it. Abuse isn’t all physical. Lilah didn’t even know she was bein’ abused until that shitshow had taken everythin’ from her. Her confidence, her spark, everythin’. When she finally understood, it was almost impossible for her to leave. Her story’s the important one here. Mine…well, I want folks to know that you can be loved with scars, with a past that sometimes sneaks up on you. With this.” He rubs his leg again. “But this book is all about Lilah. She survived somethin’ awful and she came out stronger on the other side of it. She’s a miracle. My miracle.”
Swoon. I can see why Patricia wanted to tell his story. And Lilah’s.
“Thank you, Garrett, for your time today. Lilah’s a lucky woman.”
“I’m the lucky one, Tami. Possibly the luckiest man in the world.”
You can find Love and Libations on Amazon. Pick up your copy today! http://www.amazon.com/Love-Libations-Holidays-Heroes-Book-ebook/dp/B00RSDC1RM
Curious about the author of Love and Libations?
She fuels her writing with copious amounts of caffeine-she lives in Seattle, after all-and rewards herself with good Scotch and red wine.
In between writing, editing, and mentoring other authors, she runs around lakes, reads late into the night, and is terribly addicted to Doctor Who and Sherlock. She has a thing for quirky British men and isn’t ashamed to admit it.
Her quirky-but-not-British husband never gives her grief for working long hours or occasionally talking to herself when she has disagreements with her characters, for which she is very thankful.
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