Skip to main content

Excerpt - THICKER THAN BLOOD by C.J. Darlington

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.18.2010

Thicker Than Blood
by
C.J. Darlington


Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late? A stunning debut from the latest Christian Writers Guild winner.

Excerpt of chapter one:

Thicker than Blood
Chapter 1
Christy Williams didn’t see the cop until his red lights flashed in her rearview mirror. By then it was too late. He was tailing her, and she had no choice but to ease her Honda Accord onto the snowy shoulder of the freeway and let the cruiser slide in behind.

Jerking up the emergency brake, she threw herself back into her seat with a curse. She hadn’t been speeding. She was sure of it. Christy forced herself to focus on the cruiser, squinting to see past its blinding headlights. She could barely make out the cop’s silhouette behind the wheel. What was he doing?

At last the burly officer emerged from the patrol car, approaching slowly, his hand resting on his holster.

Christy put down her window, and a blast of frigid night air hit her face and rolled across her lap.

“Turn the car off, ma’am.”

She did.

“I need your license, registration, and proof of insurance.”

“What’d I do?” She fumbled for the items, then handed them to the cop. His name tag read T. Jones in black lettering across from his badge.

Jones glanced at them with a smirk. He gave one back. “License. Not grocery card.”

Christy flushed as she flipped through her wallet again. Real smooth. She finally found her license and passed it to the cop. He took it with the other cards to his patrol car. What was this was all about? Had she been swerving? She quickly crunched down on two fresh squares of peppermint Dentyne Ice. Deep breath now. Chew. It’s just a routine stop. My taillight’s probably out. No need to panic. He doesn’t know.

Without the engine on the car turned cold fast. Christy zipped up her fleece jacket and checked the cop again. After a minute his door opened, and her pulse kicked up a notch. Please. Let this be nothing. She couldn’t face any more disappointment tonight.

Jones returned to her window. “Miss Williams, where you going?”

“Home.”

“From where?”

“Just a late movie with some friends, Officer.” She forced a smile, wishing it wasn’t a lie. To celebrate with friends and family who loved her was the way it should be. But instead she’d spent her birthday alone as usual, longing for what could have been.

“How many drinks have you had?”

Adrenaline splashed across her chest, and she tried to relax her arms. Don’t look nervous. Don’t look guilty. “None.”

“Know why I stopped you?”

“I wasn’t speeding.”

“You were doing 40 in a 65 zone.”

“Just being careful. I don’t like driving at night.”

Jones rested a thick hand on her door. He looked at her with a slight grin like he’d heard it all before. “Please step out of the car.”

Christy resisted the urge to glance at the passenger seat. Underneath it she’d carefully hidden her half-empty bottle of sherry. Knowing it would be useless to protest, she obeyed.

Outside, she shielded her eyes from the cruiser’s spotlight. “Sir, I’m tired. It’s my birthday. I just wanna get home.”

“I need you to do some standard roadside maneuvers for me.” Jones gripped her left bicep, his fingers closing almost entirely around it, and led her to stand between the two cars.

She’d seen sobriety tests on COPS enough times. This was her chance to prove herself. Christy concentrated hard on the officer’s instructions. She was gonna show this guy.

“You’ll stand with your heels together and your arms at your sides,” he said. “Then when I tell you, lift one foot about six inches off the ground and hold it there. Don’t use your arms. And no hopping or swaying. You understand?”

“Yeah.”

“Now at the same time, count aloud like this: one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three. For thirty seconds, looking down at your foot.”

Christy crossed her shaky arms, nodding. As much as she hated the embarrassment of being on display, she had to do it. If she refused, he’d arrest her for sure.

“I’ll tell you when to put your foot down.” Jones looked her right in the eyes, his breaths condensing and swirling around his head. “Understand exactly what I want here?”

“I got it.”

He repeated the instructions, demonstrating the moves himself, and Christy assured him she knew what to do. If she passed this thing, would he let her go?

Jones stepped away from her. “You can start now.”

She filled her lungs, then slowly let her breath out, willing herself to calm down. Uncrossing her arms, she squeezed them against her rib cage and lifted her right foot. Was that six inches? She raised it a little more. That seemed right. Her heart pounding, she made herself breathe, determined not to take her eyes off her foot. Focus. Don’t sway. Then she remembered to count. She hadn’t been counting. She risked a glance at the stoic cop. Had he noticed?

“One thousand and one. One thousand and two.” Christy felt herself sway slightly. For a split second she tapped her toe to the ground just to right herself, but it was quick and then she was back to counting. “One thousand and three.”

Half a minute. That’s all we’re talking about. Just to thirty.

“One thousand and four. One thousand and five.”

I can do this.

“One thousand and six.”

Keep my balance. Keep my cool.

“One thousand and seven.”

Christy got to thirteen before she realized her arms had somehow lifted away from her body, like a trapeze artist walking the wire. She smacked them back down and kept counting. “One thousand and fourteen. One thousand and fifteen.”

Her leg was made of lead. Lift it up. A little higher.

“One thousand and sixteen.”

Quit shaking.

“One thousand seventeen.”

Focus!

“One thousand eighteen.”

“Okay, you can put your leg down.”

She let out a burst of air. She must’ve been holding her breath. “How’d I do?”

Jones didn’t answer, his face a mask of professionalism.

It was downhill from there. He put her through two more sobriety tests. She messed up four times walking that stupid line, and she had no idea what he was after when she followed his pen back and forth with her eyes.

Then the cop started grilling her again. “Honesty would go a long way here. Sure you didn’t drink anything?”

That’s when reality sunk in. Christy knew better than to get behind the wheel, yet she’d risked innocent lives and drove anyway. The last thing she’d ever want to do is cause an accident, especially tonight.

“I . . . ” She blinked back the tears that sprung to her eyes, desperate to keep from bawling in front of this cop who was only doing his job. After a late day at work she’d spent the evening in her car parked by Union Reservoir, sipping sherry and reading Hercule Poirot mysteries by the dome light. All she’d wanted was to forget it was her birthday. Revel in the buzz that would abandon her by morning.

Christy let out a long breath. “There’s a bottle of sherry under my seat.”

Jones nodded, producing handcuffs from his belt. He pointed at the car. “Hands on the hood, please.”

Christy rested her palms on the gritty, salt-stained metal, the front bumper jamming into her knees. She deserved to be locked up.

“Carryin’ anything I should know about?”

“No.”

After frisking her, he pulled each of her arms behind her back, clicking icy cuffs around her wrists. A semi zoomed past them, spraying cinder-filled slush against the cruiser door, and she imagined the trucker craning to see who the loser was this time.

Jones led her to the back door of the patrol car, opened it, and guided her head inside. She barely had time to glimpse a second cruiser pulling up behind them before the door slammed shut behind her, as much like a cell door clanging as the one she knew waited for her at the police station.

Her shoulders went limp. Another truck sailed past, shaking the patrol car. The cop’s garbled voice came from outside. She didn’t try to comprehend what he was saying. No doubt he was reporting to his buddy about the drunk he’d caught.

Christy hung her head as the cuffs dug into her flesh. Thirty-three years old.

Happy birthday.

Buy from Christianbook.com
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Books a Million

Popular Posts

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com 日本語訳は下をご覧ください。 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, taking time to be still and remember God’s grace. My IBS has gotten a little better, but I’m still not entirely in control of my symptoms. There are simply too many things I don’t know if I can eat or not, and when I try things, if they affect my IBS, then I’m out for about a week at a time. My writing has slowed down more than I’d like. Please pray for God to heal my IBS, and for me to learn what God wants me to learn by allowing these struggles. Just as I’m struggling, if you are too, remember that God is with us and has a reason for everything that happens to us. Lord, thank You that You are always with us and have control over everything that happens to us. Help us to surrender to You and do Your will, no matter what is going on in our lives. Amen How can I pray for you today? Please leave me your prayer requests! Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Camy Tang's November newsletter

My Camy Tang (Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out this week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, there’s an update on my personal life and publishing schedule, and I also linked to a blog post about what the TV show Supernatural has to do with GONE MISSING, the 6th book in my Sonoma series Click here to read my Camy Tang newsletter for November. I also forgot to post the link for the October newsletter, so you can click here to read it.

ひとり寿司第25章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ビーナスはベンの視界をさえぎった。「ここは大丈夫だから、もう帰っていいわよ」 「でも——」 ビーナスは、また彼の目の前でドアを閉めた。 「何——」 ビーナスはレックスの言葉をさえぎり、ドアの隣の窓から外をのぞいた。「よかったわ、レックス、エイデンが来てくれて。あなたの巻き爪を全部切ってくれるわよ」ビーナスの声が小さい部屋に響き渡った。 どうやって礼儀正しく答えようかと決めかねているように、エイデンの表情は少し硬くなった。多分、(そうなの?)とか(それはおもしろいね)とでも言う

Join Camy's Patreon!

At the moment, I’m releasing all my books in Kindle Unlimited, which requires my books to be exclusive to Amazon. However, I wanted to accommodate readers who prefer other ebook distributors and also reward my fans who might like my books a little ahead of schedule. ​So I started a Patreon where patrons will get BookFunnel links to download my latest ebooks about 2-3 weeks ahead of the release date. The ebook files are DRM-free and BookFunnel is great about helping you to load it onto your ebook reader or phone/tablet or computer. My Patreon is “per creation,” which means you won’t be charged every month. You will only be charged when I’ve posted a new book. For example, if I post a book on April 15th, you’ll be charged on May 1st. But if I don’t post a book in May, you won’t be charged on June 1st at all. This is because with my health problems, and since some of my books are over 100,000 words each, I’m not able to write a book a month, and I certainly don’t want to charge my

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 6

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

One-Skein Pyrenees Scarf knitting pattern

I got into using antique patterns when I was making the scarf my hero wears in my Regency romance, The Spinster’s Christmas . I wanted to do another pattern which I think was in use in the Regency period, the Pyrenees Knit Scarf on pages 36-38 of The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, published in 1840. She is thought to be the first person to use knitting abbreviations, at least in a published book, although they are not the same abbreviations used today (our modern abbreviations were standardized by Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1906). Since the book is out of copyright, you can download a free PDF copy of the book at Archive.org. I found this to be a fascinating look at knitting around the time of Jane Austen’s later years. Although the book was published in 1840, many of the patterns were in use and passed down by word of mouth many years before that, so it’s possible these are p