- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- Release Date: August 16, 2016
- ISBN-13: 9781455581207
- Available Languages: English
- Available Formats: Audio, e-Book, Print
#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown jolts the reader from the first page of this heart-pounding story of corruption, treachery, and ceaseless deception . . . where nothing is what it seems and every truth brought to light exposes a darker lie.
When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.
As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.
Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.
With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.
“…Brown is an excellent and almost effortless writer… The chemistry is undeniable, and much heat ensues.” — Kirkus
“This exceptional romantic thriller…pairs Shaw Kinnard, a handsome hired killer, and his beautiful target, Jordie Bennett, in a spirited contest of wills and wiles.” —Publishers’ Weekly, Starred Review
“STING is Sandra Brown running on all cylinders.” — Ft Worth Start Telegram
“Sandra Brown knows how to create unbearable tension, and STING has it in spades! — Fresh Fiction
A Note From Sandra
One bullet. Two million. Three days.
The opening scene of STING was written almost a year before I started the book in earnest. I was at my keyboard working on another manuscript when it was as if I’d been pushed from behind a curtain out onto a stage where a live-action play was in progress.
The setting was a honky tonk, a dive with a disreputable clientele where misdeeds and mischief were kept in check by a bearded bartender and the two sawed-off shotguns he kept within reach under the bar. Jukebox. Pool tables. Neon. Wife cheaters. Parole violators. You know the kind of place.
There I was in the midst of it, an unnoticed voyeur. First to catch my eye was Mickey Bolden, noteworthy because of his porcine features and shifty eyes. He shoved a handful of popcorn into his mouth and said to his buddy seated on the barstool next to his, “A woman walks into a bar.”
I didn’t have a clue who Mickey was, who his buddy was, or what, if anything, the pair had to do with the referred-to woman who’d just come in. In fact, all I had was an impossible-to-ignore gut feeling that Mickey’s statement wasn’t simply a lead-in for a corny joke. There was a meaningful subtext to it that caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end. Something was about to happen. But what? And to whom? And why? Was finding out worth abandoning my current project for a few minutes to watch and listen in?
After some rationalization, I determined that it was. After all, Voyeurism is an integral part of my job. It’s listed between Viewpoint and Woolgathering. Having decided to stick around, I turned to take a gander at Mickey’s buddy.
Whoa! To say that he got my attention would be an understatement. The truth is, he took my breath. He was drinking tequila neat and had just as well have had “Don’t mess with me” tattooed on his forehead. Sharp cheekbones. Scarred chin. Glacial gaze. Wary and watchful. Hello, Shaw Kinnard. Funny, how I immediately knew his name. He said to Mickey, “She’s here?”
Here again, the words resonated with significance. Shaw knew better than to turn his head and look toward the woman, although I don’t know how I already knew that about him. But I could turn and look at her, and when I did, I was as surprised to see her there as Shaw and Mickey were. Because immediately obvious to me was that Jordie Bennett, the epitome of class, didn’t belong in a honky tonk “…built of rusty corrugated metal, unstably situated on the muddy banks of a sluggish bayou.” So what was Jordie doing there on that particular night? And why did her unexpected appearance rattle these two armed men? Wait! Mickey and Shaw are armed? Funny, how I also knew that.
In under a minute, a hundred questions had raced through my mind, and I was compelled to discover the answers to them. So I began typing, and, before coming up for air, I had a finished prologue. What happened in the last sentence of it blew my socks off. I didn’t have a story yet, but I had a heck of a beginning.
The plot for STING was conceived that afternoon. Because another book was in the works, I had to leave Mickey, Shaw, and Jordie in suspended animation for six months or so. Every once in a while, I would check in on them to make certain they were as interesting as I had originally thought. Each time I revisited that opening scene, I learned a little bit more about who these characters were and why they crossed paths in that Louisiana backwoods beer joint. Suffice to say, it turned out to be no ordinary Friday night at the local watering hole. Within minutes of Jordie’s walking into the bar, all hell broke loose. It took the next 400 plus pages to clean up the gumbo of trouble created that night. (Well, actually the gumbo had already been created. That night the cauldron boiled over.)
As a fiction writer of suspense, it’s my job to pull the rug out from under you now and then. But in STING truly nothing is as it appears, and I can’t take credit or assume blame for all the twists. Many times, as the story unfolded for me, characters both good and evil looked at me and, with a wink, said, “Gotcha!” I love when that happens.
STING is a tale of deceit, but, until the bitter end, it’s unclear as to who is the deceived and who is the deceiver. Lying serves as truth serum. Manipulation is de rigueur. Shaw’s deadly mission turns even more high-stakes when faced with his target – Jordie. She’s forced to choose between legality and loyalty – but first she must survive Shaw. And soon each of them realizes that passion should come with a warning: Can be hazardous to your health. Read the story, feel the STING.