Thank you, Jan, for inviting me to share my new book with your blog followers today! I’m thrilled to be here.
The First Saturday of May
If you grew up in Kentucky like I did, you know that the First Saturday of May is kind of a holiday. Even if you aren’t a horsey person (I’m not), or rich (definitely not me), Derby Day is still a tradition that brings people together and kicks off spring and summer like no other event.
When I attended the University of Louisville, I went to my first Derby, in the infield which means you’re there for the party. I went again as a student and still didn’t get anywhere near a horse, but I had a ton of fun with my friends. As a grown-up, post-student, I went to the infield yet again, bringing some friends from Michigan. I’m lucky to have attended in my later, even more grown-up years in the grandstand and once, on Oaks Day, in a private box.
All of this background to let you know that I know this event pretty well, including most of the hoopla that surrounds it. Back in the day, “Derby Week” meant each day featured a different event: a parade, a balloon race, a paddleboat race (big boats, mind you, on the Ohio River), and more. Every day you could eat burgoo (a sort of catch-all stew not unlike Irish Mulligan stew) at a temporary outdoor food stand set up in parking lots of malls and car dealerships—very much like modern-day food trucks. These days, it’s more like Derby Month that culminates with Thunder Over Louisville, a fancy, and super loud fireworks and air show. But you can’t blame a city for doing all it can to celebrate such a fun tradition.
I wrote Win Place Show as a bit of a homage to Louisville, my husband’s hometown, the location of our alma mater and where we met, and where many of my friends still live. As a matter of fact, we’re invited this year and may take our friends up on their offer of space in their private box. This means I’d better get started with hat and dress shopping now!
Lucy dropped the phone to her side, wishing she could sleep another three hours to skip the whole still-a-tad-drunk part of the hangover. She had, indeed, made some poor choices the night before. Beginning with thinking she could slide back into an easy, sexy time with Nate. She’d already more or less decided against it before he’d gotten there. But, of course, he’d shown up looking so flipping edible in a pair of dark jeans and a form-fitting purple polo with the Trifecta logo stitched where the little polo guy usually sat. Damn the man. He had no right to go around being so…hot.
He’d always been vain about his hair, something he’d discovered was a featured benefit about the same time he decided she no longer deserved his friendship. It was a wavy strawberry blond, cut just short enough so he didn’t have to use any products while it was full and tempting to female fingers. His eyes were so green, people accused him of wearing contacts to make them that way. Someone had obviously told him the trick about green eyes, that wearing purple made them even more striking.
“Some woman, I’m sure,” she said, lying flat on her back a few more seconds before hauling herself up and limping toward the shower.
Maintaining her anger at Nate was easy. She’d been ready to outright reject him. But when he’d shown up looking like some kind of a male model, turning every damn female head in the place, she’d stumbled. He was such a good dancer, not to mention a top-notch kisser. So she’d gone with it, fueled by too much booze, ready to leap back into bed with him as if no time had passed since they last hooked up.
Thankfully, he’d given her an out by going all talkative. That was the last thing she wanted from him. So she’d walked away. And subsequently had a lot more to drink, hence her current condition, ergo she planned to lay blame for her pounding head and queasy stomach at his feet, too.
So there, Mr. Perfect.
The shower transformed her from being a woman with a hangover into a clean woman with a hangover and many regrets. She glared at her bloodshot eyes in the foggy mirror, hating herself for being here, in her stupid bathroom where she’d spent so many hours as a little girl and later a teenager, second-guessing herself and her relationship with Nate.
She slapped on some rudimentary makeup, dried and styled her hair enough to pass her mother’s scrutiny, then stood in front of the dresses hanging in her closet. A line of matching shoes was on the floor beneath them. Several hatboxes stacked on the shelves to one side. The floral-patterned one made her headache worse, so she chose a light blue option, with a halter neckline, tight-fitting bodice, and skirt. It was a beautiful choice, as they all were. One thing she could never accuse her mother of was shopping poorly.
She slid her feet into a pair of cream-colored high heels, then pondered the hats with a sigh. When they were little, she and Mimi loved this weekend more than any other. The opportunity to put on a pretty new dress, hat, and shoes had been the highlight of their year. The hours spent at the track over the course of Derby weekends were some of her best memories.
Start with a perfect spring weekend full of pretty dresses, high heels, fancy hats, horse races, and bourbon.
Combine with a friends-from-childhood couple whose ongoing misunderstandings have led Lucy Granger to swear she’ll never move back home.
Mix in a splash of combined family pressure for Lucy and Nate Hawthorne to be The Golden Couple.
Pour over crushed ice and garnish with plenty of hot, secret hookups.
Win. Place. Show.
A funny sort of romance chock full of dressing up, mint juleps, an axe-throwing bar, and a huge winning bet at the big race.
About the Author:
Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in South Carolina. She’s spent her time as a three-continent ex-pat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner, and bar manager, and is currently a digital marketing and fundraising consultant, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
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