Teri Anne Stanley has been writing since she learned to hold a crayon. Though her handwriting hasn’t improved, her spelling is a little better now. She spends her days as an evil genius’s sidekick in a research lab, and her nights weaving tales of heroic hunks and sassy, smart women. When she’s not at work, Teri, Mr. Stanley, and the Stanlettes enjoy spending time at their weekend estate, located in the thriving metropolis of Sugartit, between Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.
Most true bourbon aficionados would say that you should only drink Kentucky’s best with a little water, if you have to add anything at all. Some wouldn’t even condone ice. But seriously…how many people can drink straight whiskey without making that face? You know the one. The “HOLY CRAP, MY ENTIRE BODY’S GOING TO CATCH ON FIRE!” face.
And if the bourbon industry turned their nose up at the cocktail mixers of the world, they wouldn’t sell much liquor, would they?
Besides, there are so many awesome cocktails that include bourbon, that it would be very wrong to ignore them.
There’s the Old Fashioned, which is made with whiskey, bitters, simple syrup, a twist of orange and a cherry. The Manhattan, which has bourbon, vermouth (bleh!) and a cherry (I detect a theme!). Don’t forget about the Mint Julep…mint, sugar, bourbon…
And my old family favorite, the Whiskey Sour. I remember getting to have a tiny bit of this on special occasions when I was younger. It was sure better than the beer we’d maybe possibly try to sneak out of the garage refrigerator! The traditional recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, sugar, and whiskey, but here’s the Big Dick version (Big Dick was my dad, Richard. Not a commentary on the character or man parts of anyone):
1 can of frozen lemonade
Dump the contents of the can in to a blender
1 can of bourbon
Use the lemonade can. It will help rinse all the lemonade into the blender.
Add a bunch of ice and grind the heck out of everything, until you have a slurry.
1 can of Sprite
Give it a quick mix.
You gotta do that part last, because 1), if you add the Sprite after the bourbon, you’ll be sure to rinse out any residual liquor that would otherwise go to waste stuck to the inside of the can, which would be wrong, and 2) the fizzy in the Sprite would go whizzy if you added it before you blenderized it.
Pour into glasses, give to guests, and watch Mom start to act silly.
One more will never be enough…Bourbon is in Brandon Morgan’s blood. His family owns the best bourbon brand in the country—or it will be with his marketing genius. And after meeting the fiery daughter of a tequila distillery owner, he’s never been more sure.His barrels, her tequila. It’s a match made in heaven. But only if he can keep his hands off the owner’s daughter…and his secrets to himself.Lesa Ruiz will do anything to keep Little Possum afloat, but one look at Brandon’s gorgeous dimples and Lesa knows two things for sure: forever is not in the cards with this man and he’s way too sexy to resist for long.Well, three things… Brandon is hiding something, and she’ll need to get a lot closer to figure it out and save her family’s legacy.Shots, anyone?
Check out the Bourbon Brothers series:
“Hola!” Lesa called to the crowd of cruise goers who had gathered in front of the distillery for the day’s deluxe tour and tasting.
“Hola!” responded the assortment of people.
Here she went again. Smile and act like you’re thrilled to be here. She glanced at the sky. Mama, I’m here, and I’m “helping.”
She didn’t know if Mama would be pleased with her efforts or not, but one thing was sure—entertaining the few dozen tourists who came to Pequeño Zarigüeya each week was not going to be enough to dig Papa out of the financial hole he was in.
She did want to help the distillery survive—work was the only reason Papa got out of bed anymore. Before she died, Mama told Lesa all about how she had worked there as a girl, when her own father owned the tequileria, and was planning to go away to college until the summer Papa showed up. They had met harvesting agave, and they fell in love and got married. He’d bought Pequeño Zarigüeya from Lesa’s grandfather, and they had been blissfully happy. Now Lesa must carry on. No pressure there. But more than anything, Lesa wanted the place to survive without her. The thought of spending yet another season trapped here made her want to scream. So she was going to sell tequila today with a smile on her face and hope in her heart that somehow, someway, they would find their way into the black.
Shifting her attention back to the crowd, Lesa got her head in the game and prepared to charm the gathered tourists—and get them to buy lots and lots of tequila. She evaluated the players. There were the dedicated drinkers, recognizable by their colorful shirts and goofy hats. Most of them already displayed half-drunken grins—and plastic cups—likely empty of their morning margaritas. These people would be good and thirsty by tasting time and it would be easy to coax them to the gift shop for a bottle or six to take back to the boat. Then there were the older couples, more sedate, but usually also ready for afternoon cocktails. They’d buy the cute little gift baskets to take home to family and friends.
There was usually a liquor snob or two, also. The liquor snob would ask dozens of questions that they already knew the answer to—or worse, jump in and answer questions from other guests before Lesa had a chance to open her mouth. At the tasting, they would swirl and breathe and make faces that said, “Meh,” even though Lesa knew without a doubt that her family’s tequila was the best damn booze in all of Mexico.
As for how helpful she was…Lesa really didn’t think that playing hostess to a bunch of tourists was what Papa needed right now. What he needed was a major overhaul of his business.
But this was what he asked her to do, and her English was better than the rest of the family’s. Be nice to the drunks and liquor snobs alike. Yeesh. She was up to eight know-it-all jerks already this season, and they were only a third of the way through the spring.
Ah. There was today’s know-it-all. She’d bet money on it. Tall guy in khakis and a polo shirt, bent to listen to an elderly lady with purple hair, a sports bra, and—oh, Dios—jeggings. Where the woman would weigh eighty pounds soaking wet, he was more substantial. Lean, but with broad shoulders and nice biceps, which he no doubt paid a personal trainer for. Medium-brown hair, a little short on the sides and longer on the top, but not too trendy. Younger than the usual jerk, but still. The deck shoes were a dead giveaway.
Okay. She knew who her crowd was, and if she was lucky, she’d be able to keep Booze Snob Guy as far away from her as possible.
Then he raised his head and laughed. And made eye contact.
Lesa forgot everything she was supposed to say to her guests.
His blue eyes held her still, and something she didn’t recognize settled in her midsection. It hit him, too, because a brief expression of puzzlement crossed his face before he simply stood there, smiling at her. Her awareness of the calm warmth was quickly supplanted by the intense way her nether regions reacted to him. He was a very fine-looking Americano—as Ralph Lauren handsome as any of the California surfer boys she’d known when she’d visited Los Angeles on a rare vacation during her early college days. Nice, strong face; long, straight nose; and lips…that she’d have to check out when she got closer to him.
Not good. She never, ever messed with the tourists. She rarely even dated since coming home from college to take care of Mama during her last days.
But here she was, standing in the courtyard like a silly girl, staring at a cute boy.
The moment ended when the cougar next to him whacked him on the arm and drew his attention away.
She realized that, while she’d been falling in lust—or whatever—with the hot guy in the group, she’d been standing still, not doing her job. A whole group of guests stood staring at her, their expectation blasting through the late morning heat.
“Okay, amigos, here is the plan! We’re going to make a quick stop in the tasting room for some tequila history, and then we’ll head out to witness the way my family has made tequila for generations.”
“When do we get to sample the merchandise?” one of the partiers asked.
“We’ll circle back to the tasting room a few minutes before you buy everything in our gift shop.” She laughed, and the audience laughed with her. A good sign.
She led the way through the courtyard of the tasting center and gift shop where her aunt held the fort. Tia Rita, Papa’s youngest sister, would expertly cajole the travelers to buy anything and everything tequila, and the guests would take home tequila and memories that would keep Pequeño Zarigüeya afloat just a little longer. The memories that would—hopefully—have them buying her family’s tequila and recommending it to others—if they could afford to keep making it.
Gesturing toward the open-air tasting room, she said, “Please, come in and have a seat.” People filed to the long tables and sat on benches, side by side, facing her. The good-looking man chose a seat at the end of a row, about halfway back. Still not close enough to see his mouth up close.
Stop fantasizing about his lips! It wasn’t like she’d ever kiss him. He’d be in her life for the next two and a half hours, and then he would be gone forever.
He saw her looking at him and smiled, sending that weird feeling to her gut again. His eyes followed her hand as she rubbed it across her tummy, trying to hold on to the sensation and categorize it. But—
“How long have you worked here?” The purple-haired woman stood in front of her, hands on hips.
“Ah…off and on since I was ten years old.”
“On and off? What do you do when you’re off?”
“Well…I went to college”—for almost two whole semesters—“and I like to travel.” At least, she would like to see the world, if she didn’t have to stay here and help Papa.
“Where do you travel? Who goes with you?”
Was she going to ask if she wore boxers or briefs, too? Not relevant, but she did like to personalize the tour, even if she had to stretch the truth about where she’d been into where she wanted to have been. “Everywhere I can. And mostly alone. I want to write a book about my travels on every continent on Earth.”
“Are you married?”
“No.” Okay, maybe not that personal. “Now, ma’am, if you’ll just take your seat, we can get started.”
The old lady stomped off, shaking her head. “She’s a four out of ten on my suitability scale,” she called back to the hot guy.
For his part, the hot guy gave her an embarrassed glance and shook his head before he looked away and helped his friend to sit next to him.
And her afternoon tour was underway.
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