With: Meg Benjamin
When you think of a romantic dinner, beer probably isn’t on the table. I guess it’s the legacy of years of “Budweiser Bros” commercials where beer is linked with man caves and The Big Game. So why did I decide to write a romantic trilogy about a brewery? Well, living in Colorado—aka, Craft Beer Central—has taught me a few things about beer.
First of all, if your idea of beer is a lukewarm can of Bud Light, you’ve got a whole world of delights awaiting you, from the rich decadence of chocolate stout to the crisp citrus of a summer saison. There’s something for every taste. As a beer aficionado once told me, “People who say they don’t like beer just haven’t tasted the right beer yet.”
But more importantly, beer wasn’t always an exclusively male thing. Until beer production was commercialized, women were the primary brewers in most societies. A good housewife could brew beer just like she could bake bread, and the same grain might be used for both. The ancient Sumerians even had a beer goddess, Ninkasi.
In Wild Love, my hero, Colin Brooks, is a former brewer who’s trying to come back to his first love, Antero Brewing. He’s had a few hard knocks along the way and he’s lost the trust of people he cares about—the sister and brother who own the brewery, Bec and Liam Dempsey. (they also happen to be the heroine and hero of the first two books in the trilogy: Love On Tap and Saison For Love, respectively). It turns out Colin’s way back is through brewing some really special beer. Along the way, he takes a part-time job as a janitor and falls in love with a feisty pastry chef named Peaches. Among other things, she teaches him that forgiving other people is almost as important as being forgiven:
Amazing how his life had begun to turn around in the space of a week or so. Of course, the really amazing part was that even though his life was turning around, he still felt shitty.
Get over it, already. Time to move on. That was true. Unfortunately, he’d never learned how to listen to his own advice.
He pulled his cleaning supplies out of the closet, deciding he’d take care of the deli and the restrooms before he fixed himself some supper. The kitchen usually didn’t need much beyond a wipe down of the stove and counters and sometimes a floor mopping. He started to head back into the deli, then paused.
There was a plate of cookies on the table, anchoring a note written on the kitchen notepad. He stepped toward the table, feeling a little as if it might be radioactive.
He picked up the notepad slowly. Peaches’s handwriting.
I never meant to hurt you. I’m so sorry. Peaches
He stared down at the paper, trying to sort through his tangled feelings. Still some anger and resentment, of course. Why should he let her off the hook? He hadn’t done anything wrong, dammit.
An image flashed through his mind. Peaches bending over him in the shed, helping him to his feet so that she could save him. Peaches’s miraculous smile. Peaches lying beside him, sleepy and golden.
Forgiving people can actually make you feel pretty good.
A lot better than resentment, probably.
He folded the note and put it in his pocket, then nibbled on a cookie. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Wild Love is available at the usual places, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo among others. And I’m always available for beer suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.