August 21, 2015

Friction Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

http://xpressobooktours.com/2015/06/15/tour-sign-up-friction-by-sandra-brown/
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Friction by Sandra Brown! Today I have a great excerpt from the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.


Friction
Author: Sandra Brown
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Grand Central

Description:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25114548-friction?ac=1
A curtain was pushed aside, and her face appeared in the window. Automatically she reached for the switch plate.

“Don’t turn on the light.” He spoke only loud enough to make himself heard through the windowpane.

“What are you doing here?”

“Open the door.”

“Are you insane?”

“The court appointed shrink didn’t think so. Now unlock the door.”

Crawford waited with diminishing patience while she wrestled with the decision. Finally she slid the bolt, flipped the button on the knob, and opened up. He slipped inside, closed the door behind him, and pulled the curtain back into place. When he turned toward her, she took a cautionary step back.

“Relax, judge.”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Hunt.”

“If I was here to do you bodily harm, would I have knocked?”

Behind her was an open doorway through which he could see into the living room. On the far side of it was a short hallway which he figured led to the bedrooms. A nightlight glowed from the baseboard in the hall. It cast only enough light into the kitchen to keep them from bumping into the furniture.

“Are you here alone?”

“It’s four o’clock in the morning.”

He brought his gaze back to her. “Are you alone?”

She hesitated, then bobbed her head once.

“Who lives in the main house?”

“An eighty-something-year-old widow.”

“By herself?”

“Three cats.”

“No care giver? Nurse?”

“She insists on living alone, but having someone nearby is a comfort to her as well as to her family. She was a friend of Judge Waters. Knowing I needed a place to live, he suggested the arrangement, and it’s worked out well for both of us.”

He couldn’t see a reason for her to lie about the occupant of the stately, southern Greek revival house. A genteel but independent widow living out her days with three cats was too cliched not to be the truth.

He relaxed somewhat and took a closer look at the judge. Gone was the severe pony tail she’d worn in court. Her hair was hanging loose to her collarbone. Under his scrutiny, she self-consciously hooked it behind her ears. “I’ll ask again. What are you doing here?”

“Were you asleep?”

“Yes.”

Knowing she was lying, he just looked at her.

After several seconds, she sighed. “I tried to sleep but couldn’t keep my mind off the shooting.”

“Whose whiskey?”

“What?” Following his line of sight, she looked over at the bottle on the counter. “Mine.”

“I doubt it.”

“All right, a friend left it – ”

“What friend?”

“ – and I’m glad he did – ”

“He?”

“ – because I needed it tonight.” With asperity, she straightened her spine. “I don’t have to explain a damn thing to you, Mr. Hunt, but you’ve got a hell of a lot to explain to me. Like what you’re doing here and how you knew where I live.”

“I’m not a Texas Ranger for nothing.”

“Don’t be cute.”

“Wasn’t trying to be. Took me eight years as a trooper before I could even apply.”

***

Their encounter earlier tonight in the hallway of the police station had been the first time he’d seen her without the black robe she’d worn into court. She’d been dressed in a grey pants suit and a blue blouse, a tailored, no-frills outfit in keeping with her profession, something a sober lady judge would wear under her robe of office.

But for all the severity of her suit, he’d been surprised then by how much smaller she looked without the robe. Now, barefoot, wearing a faded, oversized t-shirt and an unbelted cotton robe, she looked even more diminutive. Without the trappings of judgeship, there wasn’t much to her.

But there was no shortage of authority in her bearing or tone of voice. “You still haven’t told me why you came here, Mr. Hunt.”

His gaze was reluctant to leave the hem of the t-shirt that didn’t quite reach her bare knees, but he forced it to. “I want to ask you some questions, and I don’t trust phones. To say nothing of phone records.”

***

She leaned back against the counter and used both fists to wipe tears off her cheeks. Then she opened her hands and stared down at her palms. “I’m also sorry that I can’t stop shaking, and that I seriously considered sleeping with the light on tonight, showing a cowardly streak I didn’t even know I had.”

Choking up entirely, she paused to swallow several times, taking hard gulps of air. “But the man in the mask was horrifying, and it was awful to see Chet die, and – ” She covered her face with her hands and began to sob.

“Aw shit,” Crawford muttered. He slid his hands into the back pockets of his jeans and left her to wallow in several moments of heavy crying. Finally, he said, “Hey. Don’t do that.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Yeah, you can.”

“No I can’t. I was so afraid. Not just for me, but for. . .for. . .”

“Come on now, stop crying.”

“ – for all of us. He was so – ”

“Scary. I know. I was scared, too.”

“No your weren’t.”

“Hell I wasn’t.”

She continued to cry into her hands.

“Try not to think about it anymore, okay?”

She nodded but she didn’t stop weeping.

Removing his hands from his pockets, he pulled a paper napkin from the holder on the dining table. “Here. Wipe your eyes.” She didn’t see the napkin he extended her, so he walked over and gently nudged her arm. “Use this.”

Blindly she groped for the napkin with one hand then held it against her eyes. But her crying didn’t abate, in fact the wracking sobs increased.

Uncomfortable with the situation, Crawford shifted his weight from one foot to the other. 

“Come on now. This isn’t helping anything. Get it together.”

“I’m trying. I can’t.”

“Everything’s okay.” He moved a step closer and lightly placed his hands on her shoulders. Patting them, he said, “It’s all right.”

“I know, but – ”

“You’re safe. We’re all safe. Hear me? Safe.”

His soothing words must have reached her because a few seconds later, her neck went boneless, and her head dropped forward. She hiccupped into the damp napkin, used it to blot her eyes and wipe her nose, then lowered her hands from her face. “I’m sorry.”

“No problem. Better now?”

She nodded and when she did, her forehead brushed against his chest and then rested there. His hands stilled on her shoulders, then moved to encircle her neck, his fingertips gently kneading the back of it. She set her hands at his waist, and leaned into him. A deep inhale caused her whole body to shudder.

“Shh.” He hugged her closer and sent his fingers up into her hair until he was cupping the back of her head in his hand. His other slid down her back and began stroking her spine. On one downward trip, it slid past the small of her back and settled on the curve of her hip. And stayed there.

Suddenly neither of them was breathing.


Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Giveaway: (10) Coffee cups + a signed (personalized) copy of Friction - Open to US only!







 

5 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fascinating read!

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  2. Looks great! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  3. First, I must say that Sandra, you are very attractive. Next, I can't wait to read your book. The excerpt has drawn me in, and I got to meet you through this blog. Thanks all around.

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  4. Friction sounds great, looking forward to reading your books. Thank you

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  5. Really sounds good. Would love a chance to read it.

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