cover image Friction


Sandra Brown. Grand Central, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4555-8116-0

Bestseller Brown's highly recognizable brand of romantic suspense is on full display as the fates of rugged Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt and Judge Holly Spencer collide in the courtroom, in the bedroom, and in a desperate attempt to save reputations and lives. Crawford's hearing before Holly is to seek custody of his five-year-old daughter, Georgia, who's currently living with her late mother's parents, Grace and Joe Gilroy. A gunman interrupts the hearing at the Prentiss County Courthouse in Prentiss, Tex., by firing wildly, killing a bailiff. Crawford shields Holly and turns the attack into a chase that leads to the rooftop, where a sniper kills the gunman. In the aftermath, Joe warns Crawford that his "grandstanding" at the courthouse threatens his chances of winning custody, and Holly fears an enemy of hers will use the courthouse tragedy to discredit her. Things get worse for them both, complicated by their growing attraction to each other. Crawfordtries to protect Holly from those out to ruin her, but he's trapped by Sgt. Neal Lester, a senior detective, and Joe, who files a restraining order against him. Brown (Mean Streak) expertly ratchets up passion and danger as Crawford fights for his life, his daughter, and his new love. Agent: Maria Carvainis, Maria Carvainis Agency. (Aug.)