Behind the Scenes With Wild Love

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Writing Wild Love, the third of my Brewing Love books, involved research—pleasurable research, but research nonetheless. When I first moved to Colorado a few years ago, I didn’t know much about beer. I mostly drank the big commercial brands like everybody else, and I didn’t drink much of those. But Colorado is craft beer central—we have over 200 breweries in the state—and you can’t live here without learning something about beer and brewing.

Wild Love

With the help of my hubs and my sons, great beer-drinkers all, I started experimenting.

Right off the bat I discovered I’m not much of a hops head. Super bitter IPA’s do nothing for me. But I also discovered the IPAs that are made with Citra hops, which have a lovely citrus taste that sometimes shades off into something slightly piney. I’m now enough of a beer head that I check the menu descriptions for Citra. If it’s there, I’ll order some IPA gladly.

I’ve always loved the really substantial types of beer like stouts and porter. I’m also a sucker for anything with coffee or chocolate (if you’ve never tried a chocolate stout, you’ve got a treat in store). After a while I started checking out wheat beer and red ale; Scotch ale is great too. On the other hand, I’m not crazy about fruit beers like apricot ale or raspberry wheat. They seem a little one-note, and you can get tired of them quickly.

The first two books in the Brewing Love series, Love On Tap and Saison For Love, both center around particular types of beer. In Love On Tap, Bec Dempsey, the heroine, is brewing a very special imperial stout (it shows up in Wild Love, too, just as a reminder). Saison, the beer Liam Dempsey crafts for his lady love in Saison For Love, isn’t as light as, say, a wheat beer, but it’s got a lot of carbonation, which makes it crisp. In Saison for Love, Liam flavors his saison with basil, which is a little unusual but not unheard of.

When it came time to do Wild Love, I needed to come up with another beer that could be special and unique to my hero. It also had to be something that would knock people’s socks off. My hero, Colin Brooks, has been away from Antero Brewing for a while, and he’s lost the trust of two people he cares about: Bec and Liam. He needs to brew a beer that will earn their approval and maybe bring him back into the fold. That’s a heavy duty for any beer, but Colin manages it with the help of the woman he loves, Peaches Guidry, the local pastry chef. The beer he makes is sweetened with honey, and Peaches helps him find just the right strain to give it that extra punch.

It helps that whenever he’s near her, he has honey on his mind.

She stared up at him, blue eyes wide. And then she nodded.

Honey. Cloves. She smelled like all the sweet things in her kitchen, sugar and spice and everything nice. Very, very nice. She tasted sweet, too. His head swam as he moved his hands to her shoulders. He really hoped he was back to his usual strength, because he had a feeling making love to Peaches would take some stamina.

He ran the tip of his tongue gently along her lips and her mouth opened beneath his. More sweetness, a honeycomb, fragrant and delectable.

I’ve enjoyed working with beer while writing the Brewing Love Trilogy, although I’m still trying to convince people that beer and romance can go together as naturally as wine and romance. I’ll miss Antero Brewing and the people there. Here’s hoping in some alternate universe they’re still brewing something tasty.

And I’d invite you to try stopping by your local craft brewery on your own if you get a chance. If you can manage to visit when they’re not super busy, the person who’s pouring is usually happy to steer you to brews you may like. And they’ll tell you everything you want to know, along with some things you wouldn’t think to ask. It’s definitely worth a shot.

And if you can do it in a lovely mountain town with some really tasty brewers on hand, so much the better.

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