Thanks for having me on the Smexy blog to celebrate the upcoming release of NOBLE HOPS, the final book of the Trouble Brewing series. I’m bringing a sexy excerpt with me today that teases the hot distillery hook-up (over a barrel!) between federal prosecutor and brewer Nic Price and FBI agent Cam Byrne. Enjoy!
They wove through the first room of big silver tanks and into the second cooler one, to the back where he and Eddie had made extra room between the stout tanks.
“You making wine now?” Untangling their hands, Cam circled the four stack of barrels that were racked in the middle of the aisle, over the drainage grate that ran the length of the distillery. He crouched on the far side, running a hand over a barrel head. “Or better yet, whiskey?” He glanced up at Nic. “These are whiskey barrels, from Ireland.”
“Nah, someone else has that whiskey covered.” He winked, and Cam groaned, tapping his head against the steel hoop on the end.
“You just had to go there, didn’t you?”
“Of course I did.” He pointed at the metal workbench and wall-mounted shelves behind Cam. “Hand me the thief?”
Standing, Cam looked back and forth between him and the workbench. “The what now?”
“The big metal baster thing.”
“Why the fuck didn’t you just say that?”
Nic rolled his eyes. “A glass too, please,” he said, then went to work, slowly twisting out the bung. He wanted to do this carefully so as not to waste any. When Cam appeared at his side, thief and glass in hand, Nic held him back with a hip. “It could bubble out, so stay back a little.” Cam’s hand on his ass didn’t help his concentration, but it fell away once Nic got the barrel open and a small bit of foamy head bubbled out, filling the air with yeasty, hoppy aromas.
“It’s beer,” Cam said, voice full of wonder.
Taking the glass and thief, Nic sucked up a sample big enough for two and deposited it in the glass. He balanced the thief on the adjacent barrel, then lifted the glass, examining. It was dark in color, smooth and thick in texture, and by its rich aroma, only a few months from where he wanted it. He took a sip. Full-bodied, roasted hops, a hint of Kona coffee, a dash of wood smoke, char and malt, the brew was still a little sharp but it was well on its way to mellowing out into something smooth and unique. Yes, not too long now.
He held the glass out to Cam. “Tell me what you think.”
“Am I supposed to swirl it, like wine?”
“Only if you want to look like a hipster fool.”
Cam did stick his nose in the glass and take a giant sniff, which anyone who loved beer as much as he did would. “Smells fucking amazing.” Readjusting, he took a small sip at first, then face lighting up, a longer draught. Eyes closed, head titled, he swallowed slowly, savoring it.
It was all Nic could do not to run his tongue up the side of his neck and over his bobbing Adam’s apple.
Cam righted his head and opened his eyes, the darkness swirling with unconcealed appreciation, and pleasure. “Nic, this is the best fucking stout I’ve ever tasted.” That meant a lot, coming from an Irishman. Cam took another longer gulp before handing the glass back to Nic. “The whiskey barrels give it a wicked taste.”
“Finish,” Nic said with a wink. He’d teach Cam the proper terminology, eventually. In that future he was starting to believe in. The one where he closed the case against Vaughn, bottled his special brew, and inked his left hip.
A hand waved in his face. “Finish what? When?”
Nic shook his head, chuckling, as he mentally tallied the years terminology lessons would seemingly take. Years he’d be happy to spend with this man. “It’s not done yet.” He pointed to the barrels, saving the lesson for later. “It still has a little aging to go in the barrels, then in the bottles. I’m hoping to have it ready for St. Patrick’s Day.”
“Which stout is this? It doesn’t taste like the Gravity ones I know.”
“Because it’s yours. Fighting Boston Irish Stout.” When Cam didn’t say anything, Nic filled the silence with more words, carrying on as he returned the glass and thief to the workbench. “Danny had the barrels brought over from the Jameson distillery. I thought it appropriate. It’s your stout, an imperial, but also our family’s, a little of all of us in a way. We all had a—”
Hand on his shoulder, Cam spun him around, cutting off his words with a thief of a kiss—stealing his breath, his heart, his whole world. He could take it all, as long as Nic got to spend the rest of his life tasting his beer on Cam’s lips. He’d never tire of the taste, especially this one. His best beer. Their beer.
“You like?” Nic mumbled between snatched breaths.
“Yes, I fucking like.” Mouth drifting over his jaw, down his neck, Cam forced his head back, exposing his throat to tongue and teeth, while his fingers worked open the rest of Nic’s shirt buttons. “And I’m going to show you how much, right now.” Nic groaned as warm hands glided up his torso, chasing away the chill of the cool distillery. Cam pushed the shirt off his shoulders, pressed a thigh against his erection, and skirted his lips over the shell of his ear. “I love it so much I’m going to bend you over those barrels and fuck you.”
Noble Hops (Trouble Brewing #3) by Layla Reyne releases on Tuesday, February 11.