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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chance Collision (Crossing Forces) #Excerpt by @CASzarek on #Romance #Suspense

“Hell no.” Nikki crossed her arms over her breasts, glaring at her boss and Pete. “Absolutely not. I’m leaving here today like normal, going to see my grandmother, and then home.
“No. You. Are. Not.” Chief Paul Martin glared right back. His hazel eyes flashed and his greying brown moustache twitched, like it did only when he was very irritated.
Nikki didn’t give a shit.
“Listen, Detective Lucas knows what he’s talking about.” Pete’s hands were spread wide, imploring. The detective’s green eyes were concerned, handsome face drawn, serious. The usual smile he wore was nowhere in sight.
At least Pete wasn’t trying to order her around like her misguided boss. Who did Chief think he was, her father?
Pete sat on the edge of the chair, his gaze intense.
Nikki’s stomach fluttered and she remembered his mouth on her own. Warm lips moving, his tongue twined with hers. Desire claiming, spreading…arousing them both.
What are you, a hormone? These men are ordering you around. Make choices for you. You have no say in what they want you to do.
No. She was independent. Grown. Strong like Gram had raised her to be. Capable of making her own decisions. She knew what was best for her, and for her grandmother.
“I’ll be fine at home. I have a gun. I know how to use it,” Nikki said.
Chief frowned.
Pete shook his head and spoke before their boss could. “These guys aren’t your average thugs. This is more serious than you think—”
“They didn’t pay any attention to me or Gram.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Chief barked.
“I agree.” At least Pete had the decency to look as if he felt bad.
“What about Gram?”
“Rodriguez is already at the rehab centre. Crowley will switch out with him at nineteen hundred hours, and Monroe at oh-seven. She’ll have twenty-four-hour protection,” Chief said.
Nikki’s heart went into overdrive.
This is real. We’re both in danger.
She swallowed hard. Tears were born and the two men blurred. She and Gram were witnesses. Pete and Chief were worried they’d be victims.
No. She refused to end up like her parents.
Pete grabbed her hand and squeezed. “I—Chief and I—need you safe.”
“You’re family,” their boss said, his voice about as gentle as she’d ever heard it.
She blinked. Do not cry in the chief’s office. “Where am I going to go?” Her voice wavered, and she allowed the detective to entwine their fingers instead of pulling away from him. Nikki fought the urge to leap forward and wrap her arms around Pete. She wanted to feel safe, and the last place she had was in his arms the night before. Trembling started, rattling her teeth and moving down her spine.
Stop this. Right now. Get yourself together, Nikki Harper.
“It’s gonna be okay,” Pete whispered, holding her hand even tighter, but he wasn’t hurting her. His thumb started slow soothing circles along her knuckles and Nikki sucked in a breath, then another.
Her body stilled, her breathing evened. She wanted to thank him, because Pete—his touch—somehow grounded her, but her voice was nowhere to be found.
Chief exchanged a look with her detective then met her eyes. “The city owns a few houses in town. Unassuming places. You’ll stay in one until this blows over. Crane will get this guy.”
“Guys,” Nikki corrected, but neither answered her. She wiped her face with her free hand. “I don’t want to tell Gram. She’ll just worry. It’s bad enough she’ll see a cop all hours of the day.”
Pete nodded. “Whatever you want to do.”
Nikki met his eyes and couldn’t look away. The feel of his arms around her, his solid muscles against her, teased her mind. His woodsy cologne tickled her nose. She wanted to slip into him like she had last night. She wanted his lips against hers again. Wanted more than just his kiss. He wanted her. She’d felt it last night. Saw it in his gaze right now.
Attraction sizzled between them. Her body warmed. Nikki didn’t need to talk to Pete, she needed to touch him, caress his face, kiss him—
Chief cleared his throat and Nikki jumped. But so did Pete.
“Can I go home to get some clothes?” Her voice cracked and she fought a cringe, pulling her hand out of the detective’s.
What happened?
More than just the memory of a little kissNot that she’d ever describe it as little. The kiss in the hallway of the rehab centre had been the kind to curl toes and suck a girl into oblivion. Detective Pete Crane knew what he was doing.
“I don’t see why not, if you make it quick,” Chief said.
What? Oh…yeah, home. Her apartment. Pack a bag. She made herself meet her boss’s hazel eyes. Forced a smile and nodded thanks.
“I’ll take her.” Pete was still looking at her.
“Good,” their boss said, but his voice was lost as Nikki tried not to stare at Pete.
“Nikki, I need a moment with Crane.”
Pete’s head shot around to Chief. “Boss?”
The chief’s gaze was glued to her detective. His jaw was locked and he looked less than pleased. Was something wrong? His tone was hard. Irritated. Shouldn’t he have calmed? She’d pretty much agreed to go to a safe house.
Nikki took her time standing, pressing her knees together to keep them from wobbling. Chief Martin appraised her and she almost shifted on her feet. What’d she missed?
“Out,” Chief barked. “Close the door.”

Crossing Forces series:

Small Town Texas doesn’t always mean small time crime.
Welcome to Antioch, population fifty thousand.
With a police department full of detectives and officers who are good at what they do, throw in the occasional FBI agent, and the bad guy doesn’t have a shot, no matter how big the crime.
They work together and fight together. Relationships will be forged and changed along the twists and turns.
When fate intervenes, love and happiness can be found in unlikely places.

Crossing Forces by C.A. Szarek

This is book two in the Crossing Forces series
Vowing to protect her had nothing to do with feelings.
Detective Pete Crane catches a new shooting case and considers it business-as-usual. But when the lead witness is the Chief of Police’s fiery assistant, he never anticipated she’d challenge him—personally and professionally. Especially while under his protection.
Little do they know, the shooting she and her grandmother witnessed was anything but random.
Thrown together, their attraction sizzles, even though she’s squarely in the no-fly zone. She makes him break every rule in his little black book.
Nikki Harper has been attracted to Pete since they met two years ago. Witnessing a brutal shooting throws her into a stigma that’s always been her greatest fear—a victim. She has no choice but to accept his protective custody and let him help save her and her beloved grandmother.
Can Pete protect his witness and solve the case, while fighting the intense heat with Nikki?
Buy Now @ Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Totally Bound | ARe | Sony | Kobo | Barnes&Noble
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with C.A. Szarek on Facebook & Twitter


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