Riverside Excerpt and Giveaway


Brett Burlison

Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Action Romance
Publisher: Barton Creek Press
Date of Publication: January 4, 2016
Number of Pages: 348

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It’s summer 1993 in Austin. Two young lovers decide to move in together and open a cafe only to be hindered by their own pasts, drugs, and bad guys from New Orleans. Set in Austin, Texas in the early nineties.

 Bobby Patrick, abandoned by his mother as a child and by his alcoholic father during high school, wants a better life for himself and his true love, Katie. The couple decides to open a café and chase their dreams under the radiant Austin sunsets. There, the long, hot days of summer in inspire their passion–but complications arise when Katie’s former love interest returns, bringing with him a whirlwind of trouble.

 As Katie’s dark past reveals itself, Bobby fears it could threaten all they have been striving for. Along with Katie’s best friend, Sara, with whom Bobby has his own secret history, the couple becomes tangled up in a drug deal and falls under close watch by Austin police and New Orleans mobsters. 

Bobby must find a way to protect Katie, help Sara, and help himself to thousands of dollars from the ill-fated deal. If he can’t, his future with Katie could be shattered forever.

 Part romance and part suspense story, Riverside is a tell-your-friends-about-it, good old-fashioned crime novel about a young couple struggling for the American dream, and the lengths to which they will go to protect it.

“A steamy tale and beguiling thriller, with plenty of local color and some provocative twists.”Kirkus Reviews


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Excerpt Chapter 1, Part 1
From Riverside


Katherine Ann Smith loved me; I never doubted it. And I loved her. She was it for me. The first time we were together, I was home. Katie was funny—a smart-ass. She also had an adventurous side. Well, she wasn’t scared of me anyway. Back then, that actually meant something.

Back then, I hardly ever wore a shirt and not at all in the summer.

It was summer. Full-on. Heat rose from the pavement. I loved Austin during this time of year. Austin was meant to be hot. Summer was when she was most in her own.

It would be light out past nine, but the night approaching felt good. I parked in the apartment complex lot. Thelma’s seats were ablaze, so I was happy to get out of the car. Two guys passed me walking toward the parking lot, and I nodded. The area was sloped downward, so I looked up the hill toward the buildings, and there was Katie.

She stood at the end of a path leading into the complex. Katie was cute—sandy-blond hair, bright-blue eyes, with a small frame and a genuine smile. She wore “a red T-shirt with a hole in one sleeve and a pair of blue-jean shorts that were frayed and rolled over at the waist because they were too big. A bikini string peeked out from the top of her shirt and wrapped around her neck. She was barefoot.

The two guys retrieved a blue-and-white cooler from their truck and carried it back toward the apartment. When they walked by Katie, she said, “Y’all put that one on the balcony.” She smiled at me. “Hey, you.”

“Hey, you, yourself.”

“I s’pose Thelma is functionin’?”

“Tip-top. Want to go for a ride?”

“Nope. But I’d bet you want a beer.”

“And you’d win.”

Katie put her arm around me and squeezed. “I usually do.”

“Not always.” I kissed her on the side of her head.

She ran her hand over the back of mine. “You cut your hair too short.”

“I wasn’t the one that did the cuttin’.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I do.”

We walked up the path and then up the first stairway on our right and into her apartment. The apartment was a three-bedroom unit with light-brown carpet and wood paneling painted white; a sliding-glass door opened to a large balcony. It looked like a thousand other apartments down Riverside in south Austin. The bedrooms were down a hall, two on the left and one on the right. Katie and Sara shared the first bedroom on the left and the bathroom straight across the hall.

Sara had been Katie’s best friend since childhood. Though the two had gone to different high schools in Houston—Katie at Lamar and Sara at Kinkaid—they had remained close. Sara was what the boys called “fucking beautiful.” She had dark hair and brown eyes and was tall and wicked smart. She’d scored high enough on the SAT to go to school anywhere in the country. But Sara went where Katie went. So when Katie got into UT, Sara decided to tag along.

Lake and Danny, whom Katie and only Katie called Daniel, occupied the two other bedrooms. The four had all worked at the same diner for a short time and were fast friends. The boys found other jobs; Danny moved furniture, and Lake tended bar at a coffee shop that served beer where he could play guitar in the evenings.

At first, I worried a little about a guy with such a cool name who played guitar living with my girlfriend. I played about four chords. I’m told that was as much as the Beatles knew, but it didn’t have the same effect for me. Once, when Lake impressed everyone by playing “I Feel Fine” pitch-perfect, I looked across the room to find Katie staring right at me. After that, I wasn’t worried.

Katie walked into the kitchen where a keg had already been tapped. She picked up the hose and handed it to me along with a clear plastic cup and pumped three or four times while I worked the nozzle.

“Where’d y’all get all this?” I asked.

“Daniel got it. He moved that bar into a bigger place, and I s’pose they’re generous.”

“Whether they know it or not.”

“Bobby, don’t be a smart-ass. It’s cold. It’s Shiner. I’m the one that’s handin’ it to ya. At this moment there is nothin’ for you to be but grateful and happy.”

“Okay, I am. Where is your Daniel, anyway?”

Katie leaned on one hip and pushed a strand of blond hair from her face while looking at me with a raised eyebrow. “He went to the store. You want to come with me?”

To continue reading Chapter 1, check in with My Book Fix Blog on the 9/19/16 post of the Lone Star Book Blog Tour!

about the author


Brett Burlison is a writer, lawyer, and Texan living in Northern California. He grew up in the piney woods of East Texas and went to school in Austin.

He practices law in San Francisco, and writes romantic suspense stories about young couples up against difficult odds.

author links

Twitter | Website | Amazon Author Page




September 13 – September 22, 2016 


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Excerpt 1




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Excerpt 2




Author Interview 2



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