As promised, here's a snippet from my novel, The Sound of Rain. This portion comes from chapter three. (Details about a giveaway below.)
Evening sunlight cast Hudson’s shadow on Lexie’s porch as he tapped his knuckles on the door. Sawdust bonded by sweat clung to his arms. He could’ve used a shower to wash off the day’s grunge, but Mitch’s threat stalked him like a starving coyote.He knocked again. What was taking Lexie so long to—
Her fingers swept the flimsy white curtains away, and hazel eyes studied him through the door’s glass while a frown marred her pretty lips. Her muffled voice pushed past the barrier. “I don’t need you here.” She raised an arm to expose her dad’s old shotgun clutched in her hand and aimed toward the ceiling.
Hudson half-expected her to point the thing at him. He hadn’t driven over to get chased off by the woman’s temper. “If you won’t let me in the house, I’ll just wait out here on the swing.”
Her right eyebrow jutted. “Perfect.” The curtain dropped into place.
His molars clashed together, and his fingers dove for the doorknob, the metal warm from summer’s heat. The knob jiggled but didn’t turn. “You locked me out?” How ticked off was the woman?
She stayed hidden, but her tight voice singed his ears. “Charlotte ran off because of you.”
His hand froze. “What, you mean, she’s gone?”
Silence stretched like a bungee cord. Somewhere in the woods a woodpecker jabbed tree bark. Hudson backed up and let the storm door glide shut. His boots clunked on the porch as he trudged to the swing he’d built and hung a few springs ago. Didn’t look like Lexie planned on allowing him inside, so he might as well get comfortable. The hearty scent of cooked peppers and onions floated to his nose, and his stomach burned with hunger. The woman knew how to tempt a man, of that much he was certain.
Of course, she’d tempted him since his senior year when she’d dashed into school, best friend Reese at her hip, and hooked him with a generous smile and a shy wave. He’d spent most of his time with his brother, or else he would’ve noticed how she’d…morphed over summer break. Morphed into the most tempting female he’d ever seen.
The rumble of a truck engine pricked his awareness. He clutched the swing handle and stared down the gravel driveway to the road. Overgrown bushes nearly hid the gap, but Hudson preferred the almost-invisible entrance.
A glint of red cut through the trees canopying the road, and a Nissan pickup pulled into the driveway. Almost-invisible didn’t stop Mitch Sutton, apparently.
Hudson stomped to the edge of the porch. Ross’s barking sounded behind the house’s bricks. Lexie ought to let the dog snatch a bite out of Mitch’s thigh.
A steady hand on the wood railing, Hudson used his other to rub his bruised cheek.
Mitch crushed his feet to the ground and directed a scowl toward the house. The slim man wore rugged jeans and an old Cardinals jersey instead of the factory uniform from earlier. Moisture darkened his brown hair as if he’d showered recently. He lumbered over the grass to the porch step and crossed muscled forearms over his chest. His glare melded with Hudson’s. “Where’s my girl?”
“I already told you the law considers her an adult. She doesn’t have to be anywhere near you. Now I’d appreciate it if you’d get out of here. You’re trespassing.”
The stench of beer gone, Mitch smirked and shot a stream of spit inches from Hudson’s boot. “She stole some of my money, and I’d like to get it back before I leave.” His tan skin pulled into a grimace. “And have a talk with my daughter.”
The blood leaked out of Hudson’s fists as he squeezed them. He wouldn’t hand the man a dollar if Mitch dropped to his knees and begged. “We don’t have your daughter or your money. Get out of here.”
Mitch gained the porch step, pitched forward, and nudged Hudson’s chest. “You’re lying.”
Hudson inhaled a slow, steadying breath. Lord help him, he was about to tackle the man for the second time in twenty-four hours.
The front door clicked open seconds before the storm door slapped its frame. Lexie emerged with her gun tucked tightly against her shoulder. Trained on Mitch’s leg. “You need to leave us alone, Mr. Sutton.”
Hudson’s pulse catapulted to his ears, blood throbbing at his temples.
Mitch pulled his finger to his hip. “Watch yourself. That thing’s about bigger than you are.”
“She killed a ten-point buck with it last fall.” Hudson didn’t bother hiding his pride. “I’d take her seriously if I were you.”
The man laughed, though his palms wiped the front of his jeans. “Girl, how ‘bout you get on inside and let the men talk. Get Charlotte while you’re in there.”
No surprise, Lexie didn’t so much as twitch. Hudson would give the man one more chance to leave on his own. “I already told you Charlotte’s not here.”
A muscle in Mitch’s cheek jerked. “She’s done run out on y’all too, huh? Sounds like her. She’s as flighty as they come.”
The words were like a match to Lexie’s fuse. Before Hudson could stop her, she marched up to Mitch and clicked off the gun’s safety…
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