Thu
Aug 10 2017 9:30am

First Look: Sandra Brown’s Seeing Red (August 15, 2017)

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown 
Seeing Red  
Grand Central Publishing / August 15, 2017 / $27.00 print, $13.99 digital

It takes real skill to create a story that delivers romance while at the same time keeping the nail biting, hard hitting frantic pace of a good thriller going and if there is one thing you can count on it’s that Sandra Brown has that skill. Her latest mystery/romantic suspense, Seeing Red, combines an old act of terrorism with a present-day crime, reminding us that the past is never really behind us.

Kerra Bailey is a good TV journalist on the brink of greatness. Twenty-five years ago the Phoenix hotel was bombed, killing 197 people and creating a hero of Major Franklin Trapper, the man who led a handful of desperate survivors out of the rubble to safety while carrying a young girl in his arms. Affectionally called The Major, Franklin Trapper’s moment of valor had been immortalized by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph which launched a celebrity career of fêtes, interviews, public speaking engagements and White House dinners.  And then The Major had gone silent, retiring to a small town in the country. Kerra knows she has just the right bait to get him to agree to go back in the limelight, appearing one more time on camera with her. The only problem? She can’t get him to give her the opportunity to offer that bait.

Deciding to use his estranged son as her entrée’, Kierra seeks out disgraced former ATF agent John Trapper. Their first meeting is explosive:

He placed his hands on her shoulders and backed her against the exterior brick wall. Before she recovered from the shock of that, he leaned in, and she forgot all about being cold. But she struggled less against his hold on her than she did against her reaction to it. “What the hell are you doing? Get away from me.”

He lowered his face close to hers. “You listen and learn,” he said in a low thrum. “I’m not him. I’m not noble, not a gentleman, not a hero, understand?”

“That wasn’t so hard to deduce.”

She thought the putdown would anger him, but he retaliated by gently placing his palm against her cold cheek. He brushed his thumb across her beauty mark.

“I noticed this right off, and the whole time you were sitting there in my shabby office, wearing your city get-up, acting all sassy and know-it-all, you want to know what was going on in my mind? “He ceased the stroking motion of his thumb, stopping it right on the small mole. His mouth lowered to within a hair’s-breadth of hers and he whispered,” Figure it out.”

Researching the Phoenix bombing and discovering discrepancies in the original investigation had cost John Trapper a brilliant career with the ATF and destroyed his relationship with his father. He has no desire to revisit that event. Ever. But Kerra’s bait is intriguing and resolves a long running mystery from that tragic day. He reluctantly helps her, convinced this will only result in trouble. He’s right. Moments after the live interview airs, The Major’s house is invaded. He is shot and Kerra escapes through a bathroom window, only to fall into a ravine and get knocked out. John, nicknamed Trapper, is at the hospital when she wakes up.

Gasping, her eyes popped open.

Trapper was standing at the side of the bed.

Her throat seized up so completely she couldn’t make a sound. Not a peep. Not a scream. She wet her lips, or tried. Her mouth and tongue were dry and her breaths were coming hard and fast.

He picked up the water that had been left for her on the nightstand, held it close to her mouth, and pressed the bendable straw between her lips. She sipped, then again, then continued to. They didn’t break eye contact until the cup was empty and he returned it to the nightstand.

Trapper remains close as she recovers, watching over her but the sexual tension between the two continues to grow despite her mild injuries – and the great danger they are probably both in.

He placed his bent index finger beneath her chin and stroked the bruise there, following it up over her jaw until his knuckle rested against the corner of her lips where the delicate skin was abraded. “Does that hurt?”

“A little.”

He lifted his hand to his mouth and kissed the pad of his thumb with slightly parted lips, then brushed it against the injured spot.  The unexpected touch was tender and sweet. Yet the thill it elicited, low and deep, was purely erotic.

Kerra may think Trapper is a “sexy rude jerk” but she finds herself trusting him implicitly when the two are forced to go on the run, searching for answers to a 25-year-old mystery that seems likely to end their present-day lives. And she finds her attraction to him growing with every moment they spend together.

He moved his hand up from her nape to cup the back of her head and held it in place while their mouths opened to each other. During the deep and greedy kiss, he worked his free hand under her top and into the elastic waistband of the baggy pants. He lightly ground the heel of his hand against her hip bone while his fingers curved around the slope below her waist. He drew her hips forward. She gladly went along with his subtle invitation, and their parts fit together perfectly on the first attempted connection.

The feisty independent Kerra and taciturn, heroic Trapper are the perfect dynamic duo in and out of bed. She brings some very needed wit and warmth to his life while he brings heat and adventure into hers. Both have strong survival instincts, a deep sense of honor and the skills needed to solve this decade's old mystery. Fans of Brown will be delighted with this latest edition to her lexicon and new readers are sure to fall in love with this fantastic author.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Seeing Red by Sandra Brown, available August 15, 2017:

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H&H Editor Picks:

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Maggie Boyd, blogger, reviewer, avid reader

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