Deep Tide by Laura Griffin
The Texas Murder Files #4
April 25, 2023 by Berkley
An undercover FBI agent and an independent coffee shop owner must team up when a local barista is found dead and danger circles their coastal Texas town in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.
With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she’s deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.
Sean Moran is on an undercover mission: The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it’s a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he’s immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.
Leyla’s connections in the local community and Sean’s skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean’s carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.
Sean Moran slipped away from the party. The bride and groom had left under a shower of rice, but people were still milling around beneath swags of white lights, drinking the couple’s booze and enjoying the breeze off the water. Sean would have liked another drink, but he needed to get back to his condo. As he crossed the wooden bridge spanning the sand dunes, he spied a woman on the beach with a champagne flute in hand.
Her formfitting dress looked silver in the moonlight, and it shimmered against her body as she strolled toward the surf. Nearing a piece of driftwood, she dropped her shoes to the sand and sat down. She nestled the flute at her feet, then lifted her arms and twisted her dark hair into a knot at the top of her head.
Sean stopped at the end of the bridge. He had about a hundred things left to do tonight, including contacting his boss.
Instead, he walked over to Leyla.
“How’s the champagne?”
She jumped and turned around. Recognition flickered across her face, and her shoulders relaxed.
“It’s good.” She held up her glass. “You didn’t have any?”
“Nope. Can I get you a refill?”
She smiled. “What, are you a waiter now, too?”
He stepped closer. “I’m Sean Moran, by the way.” He held out his hand. “We never actually met.”
“Leyla Breda.” Her handshake was brisk and businesslike, but the warm look in her eyes gave him hope.
“Joel’s little sister,” he said.
He turned toward the water so he wouldn’t be tempted to stare down the front of her dress.
“I didn’t get a chance to thank you earlier,” she said. “Things got really hectic.”
“Looked like you had your hands full.”
“So, are you here for Joel or Miranda?”
He looked at her. “Joel.”
She tipped her head to the side as she gazed up at him. “And you know him from . . . ?”
She frowned. “Here?”
“No. We go way back. We were in the same academy class in Houston, spent some time at HPD together.”
“Oh. That was a while ago.”
“So . . . the vice squad, then?”
“Yeah. Mind if I sit down?”
“Not at all.”
Sean lowered himself onto the other end of the sandy log. He didn’t like the direction the conversation had taken so he steered it back to her.
“So, how long have you been a caterer?” he asked.
“Hmm . . . let’s see. I guess it’s been about three weeks now.” She turned and smiled at him, and he felt a hot jolt of attraction. “Why? Can you tell?”
“Not at all.”
“Well, the timing seemed a little bumpy.”
“Just a little.” She rolled her eyes. “We had several staffers no-show. It happens a lot in this business. People are flaky. Despite all my planning, you could say we were a bit rushed.”
Rushed was right. No woman had ever clapped at him before. He’d discovered it was a turn-on.
Excerpted from Deep Tide by Laura Griffin Copyright © 2023 by Laura Griffin. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.
About the Author:
Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award.