Category Archives: 5 Stilettos

Author Angels : Dark Water by Toni Anderson Tour


Dark Waters by Toni Anderson
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romance Suspense
Length: 318 pages

Amazon Kindle


It may be summer, but schoolteacher Anna Silver’s trip to the coastal town of Bamfield is anything but a vacation. She’s on the run, desperate to stay one step ahead of her father’s

murderer and determined to track down the one man she’s been told to trust: her father’s old cell mate, Brent Carver. But when she finds him, she discovers not a kind, elderly artist but a dangerously hot alpha male with blood on his hands.

Loyal to the core, Brent would never turn away his friend’s daughter when she comes seeking help. He can’t deny Anna his protection…just as he can’t deny the instantaneous attraction he struggles to keep in check. But as their passion blazes out of control, a sadistic killer is on the hunt to stop Anna from uncovering his dark secrets.

Deb’s Review :

A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys romantic suspense and heroes and heroines with their own issues.Dark Waters is a perfect chemistry of a romance/ mystery story.

Brent is a hero that I went gaga for. Get ready for him ladies. He has many qualities that drew me to him, sexy, loyal, to the people who matter to him. His Feelings for Anna, kept him on course, even though there were many challenges, a royal knight in Anna’s eyes.

Anna to be quite honest took me a chapter two to really bond with her. I mean she and Brent have the same trust issues but she had to stand out more for me to be interested. Let me say when she came to life was the first time with I was sold.

I want to thank Ms. Anderson for giving us a couple, that have had to fight to keep it real. I enjoy watching and reading each stage between Brent and Anna. The bond they share. I had tears for Davis. Brent and Davis shared a special thing.

The plot sets a fast pace, one that you will not want to miss a minute of with all the twist and turns. Heck, I might even go back and reread it to see if there was something else there. I know my DH is a true Toni Anderson fan and is chomping at the bit for me to finish so he can read it tomorrow. LOL!

I had the pleasure of reading Toni Anderson’s book Storm Warning, let me say that I hold Dark Waters in the same light. Dark Waters was brilliantly written. I was with the book from beginning to the end.

If you want a real spine tingler then pick up Dark Waters by Toni Anderson, and get swept away by Brent and Anna.

Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!



Now, how about an Excerpt :


Brent Carver lay in bed listening to the surf outside his open window. The rhythmic pounding pulse helped calm the ragged unset­tled feeling that clawed inside him. Sometimes it even let him sleep. Not tonight.

He shifted restlessly, sweat damp on his skin. The west coast was getting a blistering-hot summer that had him thanking God he wasn’t stuck in that shithole prison, sweating it out with a few hundred of his least best friends. He sat up in bed and swiped irritably at his too long hair.

Gina had liked it long.


He’d spent the past year trying not to think about Gina, or her murder, and yet memories snuck past his guard all the time. Her smile, her giving nature, her unwavering dedication to his undeserving ass. When he’d broken things off with her, he’d hoped she’d finally move on. Find herself a man she could marry and have babies she could spoil. But things hadn’t worked out that way, and no one regretted it more than he did.

He whipped back the covers and padded naked to the open window that faced the Pacific. It took a moment for his heartbeat to stop hammering. A moment for the burn in his chest to ease. At nearly forty years old, he’d spent half his life in prison and would never get enough of breathing in the fresh clean air of freedom.

The dark water before him stretched like a smooth satin sheet all the way to the horizon. But the calm tranquility was an illusion that disguised deceptive currents and gigantic swells, cold depths and wicked storm surges.

That ocean called to him—it always had. This sliver of coast was what he’d missed locked up in his cell for so many years. Not peace. Not serenity. Not pissing in a private bathroom. Huge rollers crashing home. Elements clashing like titans in his backyard. The abandon. The wildness. The energy. Prison had squeezed the need for that energy into a tiny corner of his mind and tortured him with it in his dreams. When he’d gotten out, he’d spent two days just staring at the ocean. This was where he belonged. This was where he needed to be. And no one was ever going to take it from him again. Being caged, being imprisoned, had almost wiped him out of existence, and the worst thing was—it was his own damn fault. He’d taken a life and gotten what he deserved.

He’d been out four years now, but the smells, the memories, the sense of watching his back, was ingrained, tattooed on his brain like most cons wore ink. He’d found his salvation in a tal­ent for painting, enough of a talent that he could afford a kick-ass mansion anywhere in the world. But he’d returned here, to the small remote strip of land on the western edge of Vancouver Island. The scene of the crime and the only home he’d ever known.

Maybe he should buy a yacht, learn to sail. But that sort of aimless wandering didn’t appeal and his parole officer probably wouldn’t approve either. He rubbed his aching neck muscles and headed downstairs for a drink. He’d finish that last piece for the exhibition.


He shook his head in disbelief. Some fancy-schmancy museum in New York was giving him an exhibition. He opened the fridge and pulled out a beer and popped the top. His agent had worked some serious magic, wrangling that mother. Only trouble was the gallery wanted the elusive and mysterious B.C. Wilkinson to turn up in person to the opening. His agent had even taken care of a passport and special visa requirements.

Yeah, right. He snorted. No fucking way. Still, Brent had learned years ago that it was easier to do what he wanted and beg forgiveness later. Not that he dealt much in forgiveness. Gina’s image smiled sweetly inside his head, but she was dead—stabbed to death by a homicidal maniac last year—and thinking about her wouldn’t bring her back.

His fist tightened around the neck of the bottle and he resisted the urge to hurl it at the wall. Prison had taught him iron control—he just hadn’t realized how much he’d need it on the outside. He headed onto his back porch, buck naked and glad of the fresh ocean breeze that cooled his overheated body. His nearest neighbor lived a quarter of a mile away, out of sight, over the bluff. This region was too remote for passersby and anyone with a boat would moor it in a sheltered cove, not at the mercy of Barkley Sound’s treacherous grasp. The moon was cloaked behind restless clouds that billowed like smoke across the sky. He was just about to sit his ass down when he saw a shadow flitter near the woods.

He had visitors?

No fucking way.

In prison he’d received enough death threats to take serious precautions with his safety. When some of the local thugs had been arrested last year, he’d let down his guard and thought the danger was over. He’d obviously thought wrong. What if it was his brother, Finn? Or the cops? He pressed his lips together. Finn knew better than to spook him and the cops had no reason to be sniffing around.

Something was going on.

No one made social calls on Brent Carver—no one without a death wish. He lived on a peninsula that, due to the rugged terrain, was only accessible by boat. There were about thirty locals living on this side of the inlet, but they were more likely to hand-feed rabid wolves than drop in for a beer.

Did his visitor know he was out here?

Leaving the bottle on the deck, he carefully slipped over the side of the porch and melted into the night. It was pitch-black in the woods, but he’d grown up here and knew every tree and hol­low. He made his way along the side of the shed and ducked into the forest. Over the last year, he’d gradually stopped listening to the scanner for signs of trouble, stopped keeping firearms in the house. He’d gotten soft, but not stupid. Silently he dropped to his knees beside a massive Sitka spruce that was technically on his neighbor’s property. If she found out about his little cache, she’d be pissed. He swept dirt and dead needles off the top of a waterproof box he’d sunk into the ground, and removed his SIG Sauer. He replaced the lid and covered it as best he could in the dark. He got his bearings, and found the tree where he’d hidden his ammo. He grabbed a magazine and headed up to the road, circling around. He inched down an old trail and came up behind where the shadow had been.

Darkness cloaked the clearing where his house sat but his night vision was sharp. And damned if the woman—put a man in prison long enough and he could spot a female blindfolded at twenty paces—wasn’t climbing his porch steps shining her flashlight around the place like a laser show. Maybe she was a thief? Maybe someone had figured out Brent Carver was B.C. Wilkinson and sitting on a shedload of very expensive artwork? Then she knocked on his back door.

What the…?

He rubbed his hand over his brow. He was stark naked except for his gun, and now some woman was standing on his deck? He hoped to hell she wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness because she was about to have a come-to-Jesus moment.

But she could still be armed and dangerous. He’d pissed off enough bad guys in the joint to be wary of anyone turning up in the middle of the night. Hell, no one visited here, period.

“Hello?” She pressed her ear to his door. “Mr. Carver?” she said louder. Her shoulders sagged when no one answered.

He didn’t recognize her voice. He moved fast and silent across the clearing, padded up the stairs just as she reached for the doorknob.

“You’re trespassing.”

She jolted, her hand going to her heart as she spun to face him. “Oh, my God. You scared me.”

Never admit fear.

“I don’t like visitors, lady.”

Her flashlight dipped and then shot back to his face, almost blinding him. She swallowed, taking in his lack of clothes and keeping her eyes north of the hot spots. “You’re naked.”

“I was in bed.” He didn’t know why he needed to explain himself.

Her voice came out like gravel. “I’m looking for Brent Carver.”

“I’m looking for peace and quiet. Looks like we’re both screwed.”

“You’re Brent?” Her free hand slipped into her bag and he grabbed her wrist and pinned her against his door before she could get the drop on him. She went ballistic and tried to whack him with the flashlight. He jerked it out of her fingers and threw it behind them. She felt tiny and delicate, crushed between him and that solid piece of oak, although her lungs were in full working order.

Shit, his ears hurt.

“No one will hear you, so you might as well stow it.” She jammed one hand against his chin, squirming like an eel, then went for gold by trying to knee him in the nuts. He deflected the attack and pressed her tighter against the door, wedging her there with his body. She barely came up to his chin but fought like a wild thing. “Want to tell me who you are and why you’re knock­ing on my door in the middle of the night?” He concentrated on making sure he didn’t injure her while he tried to check out what she was going for in her purse.

She scratched sharp fingernails down his arm, drew in a breath to scream even louder. Her breasts pushed against his chest, which would have worked for him in a big way if she wasn’t so goddamn terrified. Sonofa-fucking-bitch.

Why me?

He had nowhere to stick his gun so he removed the pocketbook from her fingers and stepped back, keeping a wary eye on her bloodthirsty knee. She stood there stunned, trembling, and breathing heavily. He didn’t think it had anything to do with his dazzling good looks.

“You bastard.” Her chin snapped up. “You aren’t Brent Carver.”

He cocked a brow. “What makes you say that?” He searched her bag, more by touch than sight in the darkness. A cell phone, wallet, keys, tampons, tissues. No gun or shank.

“He’s a respectable painter. He’s not some nutcase who runs about in the middle of the night, waving around a gun, among other things,” she muttered darkly. “Attacking innocent, defenseless women.”

The scratches on his arm stung enough for him to snort out a laugh at that. Her eyes narrowed. He watched moonlight flow over her features, fine boned and delicate, except for the tight clench of her jaw.

There was no obvious threat in her pocketbook, but it didn’t mean he should let his guard down. He needed clothes. For some crazy reason, he was getting a little turned on by Miss Prim and Proper telling him who and what he was. It was probably being naked and within a hundred yards of anything two legged and female, but he didn’t want to scare her any more than he had already. He wasn’t a hound. Nor was he under any illusion about what she thought might happen when he grabbed her. Someone had jumped him in the shower once and lost their eye for the trouble. Hell, most people thought he was evil incarnate and that was the way he liked it. He reached past her and opened the door. “Inside. Now.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” She tried to dodge aside.

He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her across his threshold. “You want to meet Brent? I’ll take you to him.” Her eyes were so huge with fear she looked like she’d been electrocuted. But she’d come to him, she had to play by his rules.

Now my favorite part, the interview. Please welcome Toni Anderson to HEA Romances!


What makes your novel standout from the crowd?

There are so many good romantic suspense stories out there but mine do tend to be a little different. For a start, DARK WATERS isn’t all set in the US (though some of it is). Bamfield is a tiny isolated corner of the world situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Gorgeous and remote, the location provides its own problems to deal with. Secondly, my plots tend to be—I don’t want to say complex because some people think they are easy to solve—not quite what you expect them to be. There’s generally a twist toward the end that surprises people. And thirdly, I sometimes think my heroes are a little hardboiled. A few of them do bad things. Really bad things. Somehow the heroines manage to forgive them anyway 🙂

What or whom inspired these characters and this story?


The hero, Brent Carver, appeared as a secondary character in my book DANGEROUS WATERS. I never expected him to have his own story. He was an ex-con with a mean reputation. Naturally my editor wanted his story next! He has a pretty tragic history and is so isolated and reclusive it would take a miracle to pry him out of his safe little piece of paradise. That miracle comes in the form of his best friend’s daughter. A man he owes everything. Once Anna Silver is in his life things are never the same for poor old Brent 🙂

What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?


I don’t feel like I write fast enough for today’s market. Everyone is so darn fast 🙂 But I try really hard to make the stories the best they can be.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Books. I could say chocolate but I think I feel more guilt stocking up my ereader or buying research books. I’m addicted, what can I say?

What are the five unique things that you’d like the readers to know about you and your work?


Unique? I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades really, and a mutt. 1) I’ve traveled. A lot. And love to use it in my writing. 2) I’m originally an English catholic, married to a protestant Irishman, which gives me plenty if material when looking at plot/character development and angst. 3) I write every day until I hit my target. 4) I HATE bugs. 5) And I dislike talking about myself 🙂

Thanks so much for having me today!


Ms. Anderson, Thank you! for joining us.

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My Review of: Don’t Let Me Go by Susan Lewis

Don’t Let Me Go by Susan Lewis
Publisher: Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 544 pages

A NetGalley, ARC Review

Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble Nook

Summary :

In this follow-up to the riveting international bestseller No Child of Mine, author Susan Lewis delivers an emotionally complex novel—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult—of reinvention, reconnection, and the deepest love that can bind two people together.
Charlotte Nicholls can hardly believe it, but it seems she’s landed in paradise. Living in a cottage in a shady cove on the beautiful Bay of Islands, surrounded by the splendor of New Zealand, Charlotte revels in her new life. She and her nearly four-year-old daughter, Chloe, have started over, with the help of Charlotte’s birth mother, Anna, who has recently reentered Charlotte’s life after a twenty-six-year absence. Little Chloe is thriving in her new home, and despite lingering effects from a terrible trauma Chloe has suffered, Charlotte is hopeful that love will pull her through. And though their relationship is tentative, Charlotte and Anna are slowly rebuilding their trust after nearly a lifetime apart.

But the horrors of the past—both recent and long buried—are never far from Charlotte’s mind. And then their idyll is suddenly shattered, as a series of events is set in motion that Charlotte can neither control nor comprehend. It will take all of Charlotte’s strength to keep her little family together, in the face of a world that will do everything it can to tear them apart.

Deb’s Review :

Don’t Let Me Go, is a book full of heart, which has a dark side that no parent wishes to see. I have to admit the takeoff was a little shaky, but after chapter three I was clearly hooked and intrigued. Susan Lewis gave us a follow up to the first book “No Child of Mine”. I am excited, that this second book has a chance to be a huge hit. Many say that Don’t Let Me Go could be read as a standalone. Even though I am agreeing to part of that, I think you need to read the first book to get the complexities of the characters and of Ms. Lewis writing style.

Charlotte is a character that pulls you in and refuses to release you until you get her whole story. I was completely shocked as her and Chloe’s nightmare unfolds. After being caught in the courtroom drama I can feel Charlotte’s passion to have them all see what she did is and was for Chloe and nothing else.

Anthony is charming and insightful. I think I would have liked a bit more on his character, but what he adds is brilliant.

Chloe stole my heart as I am sure everyone else’s as well. Her ordeal about ripped me apart. Even writing this review I cannot keep from letting my emotions get the best of me.

Secondary characters were an interesting lot that added to the plot but I have to say I have issues with Katie and Wendy, sweet lord those two gave me fits. ( read the book to find out) the others just added to the richness of the story and helped get a better knowledge to what their role were and their relationship with Charlotte and Chloe were.

The plot picks up from the first book but has some of its own elements to make it a strong emotional read. (Tissue warning) but I think I need to ask Ms. Lewis is there going to be another book in this series? I feel that their story Charlotte’s and Chloe’s was left unfinished. I would love to see a happier time.

I have a quote from Charlotte to Chloe I would like to share.

“All I can hope, is that you forget me, because that will be the easiest thing for you to do my darling-but I know I’ll never, ever forget you.

I would like to say a special thank you to Ms. Susan Lewis for giving us such an amazing book and series. These books and the characters will stay with me forever.

Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!



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HEA Spotlight & Review A Brother’s Honor by Brenda Jackson Give-a-Way!


Brother of Honor by Brenda Jackson
Series Granger’s, book #1
Publisher: Harlequin, Mira
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 221 pages

Releases May 28th, 2013

Amazon Kindle   Barnes and Noble Nook

I received this ARC copy from the Author for my honest review, nothing more.


The Granger brothers left behind their family’s Virginia estate—and the bad memories it holds—years ago. But their dying grandfather’s request brings them home: to a failing business, a legacy of secrets and a deathbed promise to make things right.
As the eldest brother, attorney Jace Granger is determined to take responsibility for Granger Aeronautics, his family’s failing business. But the years of mismanagement seem impossible to untangle. As CEO, he hires a consultant to turn the company around. Smart, sexy Shana Bradford is the right person for the job—and the right woman to turn Jace’s world upside down.
But the passion between them is jeopardized when old secrets begin to emerge. A woman from Jace’s past suddenly reappears. And an explosive discovery changes everything Jace thinks he knows about his mother—and his father, who was convicted of her murder.
Jace Granger tried to leave his family history behind once before. But this time he needs to face the past…or risk losing his future.
Three brothers. One legacy. A lifetime of secrets.

My Review :

Brother of Honor was absolutely wonderful! I could not put this book down. Brenda Jackson is definitely on top of her game with this new series. There is so much to this book; I just don’t know where to begin.

Jace is both smooth and full of charisma in his soft way. I can see him in the role of the older sibling. After a horrific tragedy Jace is trying to honor a promise he made to one of the two men he respected in life, and battling the only thing his father ever asked of him…to let the past go.

Shana is a brilliant and vibrant woman that just captured my attention from the first chapter. Her love for family is what had me liking her more it touched a soft spot in me. Shana is trying to keep her head about herself, but one look at her new client, had her drool the moment their eyes connected, sweet lord could her job get any more challenging?

Jace and Shana fight what’s building between them. I just freaking love that Ms. Jackson added some troublesome siblings to the mix, as well as a crazy ex wife, people trying to still away what belongs to Jace and his brothers.

Secondary characters are fab-u-lous! They added such richness to an already amazing hero and heroine. I just can’t wait till June for Caden’s story. These rascals’ know how to drive the women wild. I enjoyed the way Ms. Jackson was able to tie in different elements in the plot line, and keep it running smoothly. Even though there is a ton of secondary characters you never lose the main plot.

If you are a fan of Brenda Jackson you are in for a delightful spicy, intriguing treat! If you have not tried, the sultry author Brenda Jackson works, what on earth are you waiting for.
Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!



Hoping it wasn’t obvious that he was watching the time, Jace Granger took a sip of his wine and looked straight ahead at the huge clock hanging on the wall, directly above the entrance of the upscale Los Angeles restaurant. He’d been there for exactly one hour and twelve minutes, and was biting at the bit to call it a night.

He appreciated his friend Alan Carter’s concerns about his solitary life, but blind dates had never been Jace’s thing, and he had known after the first ten minutes that he’d made a mistake by letting Alan talk him into one tonight. No doubt Angela Farlow was a looker—he would give her that, but so far it had been one hell of a night. For starters, she talked too damn much. She had a lot to say…a lot about practically nothing.

Jace took another sip of his wine and listened…or at least pretended to do so. The last couple of times he had tried interjecting his own thoughts and views, she had unabashedly cut them down, letting him know what she thought of any opinions other than her own.

Noticing a lull in the conversation, Jace shifted his gaze from the clock back to her and saw the sultry pout that touched her lips.

“Why do I get the feeling that I’m boring you?” she asked in a low tone.

Because you are, he was tempted to say. But being the gentleman that he was, instead he said, “On the contrary, I happen to find you anything but boring,” plastering a smile on his face. “In fact, I find you simply fascinating.” Now, that wasn’t a lie. He doubted there were many women like her. Hell, he hoped not.

“Well,” she said, smiling all over the place at the compliment. “I’ve talked enough about me. Now I want to hear about you. Alan tells me the two of you went to law school together and that, as a government attorney, you’re in charge of making sure the great state of California stays on a straight and narrow path.”

She rested her chin on her hands. “What made you want to work for the government instead of going into private practice? Alan said you graduated from UCLA at the top of your class.”

Jace forced his body not to tense, something that usually happened whenever he was questioned about his decision to work in the public sector instead of the private, where he could have become a millionaire if he’d set his mind to it. Little did she know he had been groomed for just that kind of life and had intentionally walked away a long time ago.

His shoulders mimicked a careless shrug before giving her the same spiel he gave anyone who had the audacity to inquire. Briefly and thoroughly, with a notso-smooth edge, he basically told her that he preferred working for the people instead of kissing asses for any amount of money. He really didn’t expect people to understand and didn’t really give a damn if they didn’t.

He took a sip of his drink and smiled inwardly. The woman was finally at a loss for words, and he understood her dilemma, honestly he did. She thought the same way his ex-wife did. Eve’s belief had been that the more money you had, the happier you were. All he had to say to that theory was bullshit.

It didn’t surprise him when his date suggested they end the evening. That was fine with him, since the last thing he wanted was to become involved with another woman who had the same mindset as his ex-wife.

An hour later, he was entering his condo, grateful the evening with Angela had ended and that his path wouldn’t cross hers anytime soon. He figured she was probably on the phone with Alan at that very moment, giving him a piece of her mind about setting her up on a blind date with a man who evidently hadn’t any plans of making anything of himself.

Jace pulled off his jacket and was about to take it to the closet and hang it up when his cell phone rang. He wondered if it was Alan calling him already. He checked caller ID and saw it wasn’t Alan but his grandfather. It had to be past midnight in Virginia, and he wondered why the old man was calling so late.

“Yes, Granddad?”


He frowned. It was not his grandfather’s deep, authoritarian voice but that of a woman. A woman whose voice he recognized immediately as the family’s housekeeper’s. “Hannah?”

“Yes, it’s me. You need to come home immediately.”

His heart nearly stopped at the thought of returning there, a place he hadn’t thought of as his home for years. “Why? What’s wrong?”

“It’s your grandfather. He’s had a heart attack, and it doesn’t look good. It’s serious, Jace.”

Jace drew in a deep breath. His strong, robust grandfather? Heart attack? But he knew Hannah. She had been housekeeper to the Grangers for years. She wasn’t one for theatrics or drama. If she said it was serious, then it was. He rubbed his hand down his face. “All right, I’m on my way.”

“What about your father, Jace? Can you get word to him?”

“Yes, I’ll contact Warden Smallwood right away.”

“All right. I tried calling Caden, but I couldn’t leave a message. His voice mail box is full, and I have no idea how to reach Dalton. He changes phone numbers probably more than he changes his underwear,” she quipped.

Jace couldn’t help but smile. Hannah was still Hannah. “I’ll get ahold of them, don’t worry.” He pushed to the back of his mind the memory of the heated argument between him and his brothers when they were together last year.

“But I am worried, Jace.”

He knew she was and he could hear it in her voice. The usual no-nonsense tone was diluted with distress. Something that was uncommon for his grandfather’s unflappable housekeeper. “Okay, just take it easy. We don’t need you in the hospital, as well. Granddad’s at St. Francis Memorial, right?”

“Yes, on the Ava Granger wing.”

“Okay,” he said, trying not to think about the fact that his grandfather was in the part of the hospital that had been dedicated to Jace’s grandmother over twenty years ago. Jace could remember that day well, especially the ceremony. They’d all been there. His grandfather, his brothers, his father…and his mother.

He immediately pushed the thought of his parents from his mind. To think about his mother meant remembering how she had died and that the law had decided his father had been the one responsible for ending her life.

“Jace, it will be good seeing you again, although I wish the circumstances of your coming home were different.”

He wished the circumstances were different, too. “I’ll catch the next available flight out, Hannah. Hold down the fort until I get there.” He clicked off the phone and immediately called the airlines. He knew how to reach his brother Caden, but getting in touch with Dalton would be a challenge.

Moments later, after securing a flight, he went into the bedroom to pack.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause for the man who has become one of the greatest saxophone players of all time, Caden Granger.”

Caden emerged on stage amid bright lights and faced the crowd that had packed the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This was a musician’s dream come true and a testimony that he had arrived. It seemed only yesterday when his first gig out of college had been at a small local watering hole in Austin. At the time, he’d been part of a band—The Depots.

The group disbanded a few years ago when most of the members decided to enter the private sector after marrying and starting families. Only Caden and two others continued to pursue their dreams, and now all three had become successful in their own right. Royce Billingslea was lead drummer with Unexpected Truth, a rock group whose last two records hit number one on the pop charts, and Robert Tyndale and his guitar were the opening act for Beyonce.

Caden smiled for his audience before lifting the sax to his mouth to belt out the first soulful number and get them in the groove. Then he would play a string of medleys to loosen them up before ending with several numbers that would have them not only letting their hair down but getting out of their shoes, as well.

He loved this. Performing. Stimulating the crowd while he himself became energized. Being on stage was always invigorating. Never a dull moment. And the ladies who paid top dollar for front-row seats were determined to make it worthwhile. A real kick to the ego…if you were a man who needed it. Luckily, he didn’t. However, that didn’t mean he didn’t appreciate their efforts in getting his attention. Whether it was wearing tops that showed more than an ample amount of cleavage, sitting with their legs wide-open, proudly flashing the fact they’d left their panties at home, or boldly licking their lips and swirling their tongues in a way that gave him more than an idea of what they’d like to do with their mouths if given the chance.

Unfortunately, they would be disappointed to know that when he played his sax, he tuned all of them out since his focus was on his music. Everything else became secondary. His music was and always would be his primary focus.

And it was only at this time that he allowed himself to be overcome with the one emotion he didn’t want to feel until now. The people who crowded the MGM Garden Arena were only listening to the music. However, he knew the unsung lyrics spoke of a pain that wouldn’t go away. It was pain that had been a part of his life for nearly fifteen years.

He would give anything…everything…to feel an ounce of his previous happiness. That was a state that eluded him at every turn, and if the way his life was going was any indication, it wouldn’t be anything he found anytime soon. He knew it and accepted it, but that didn’t make it right.

His life of happiness had ended the day his father had been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. No matter how many others believed differently, he knew Sheppard Granger was an innocent man, but he just couldn’t prove it.

Then there had been his teen years that had been snatched away from him—he and his brothers had been ostracized by people they’d known most all their lives. People hadn’t wanted their children to be friends with the sons of a criminal. And last but not least there was Shiloh, who had caused him the greatest pain of all.

So he played the music that went with his songs of lost love, lost friends and elusive happiness. The music always started out this way for him. Low-key with a melody that he felt all the way in his bones. But then it began stirring his soul, seeping through his bloodstream and becoming a cleanser, ridding his mind of so many painful thoughts. And as he continued to play his music, he found a semblance of peace from a past he couldn’t forget.

“You deliberately egged her on.”

“Excuse me?” Caden asked the woman who’d rounded on him. Chin up, spine straight, Rena Crews’s pupils flared with the look of a woman totally pissed. Caden had seen that look before, and frankly, he was getting tired of it.

He had brought Rena on as a guitarist in his four-piece backup band last year. The ensemble would join him on stage for a couple of songs midset. She was a damn good musician, and he admired her talent. What he didn’t like was her possessiveness.

They were lovers, and as far as he was concerned, that was all they were. She knew that, because he’d told her more than once that he wasn’t married to anyone, nor was he involved in a serious relationship. She claimed she understood, and if that was the case, then why the drama?

She crossed her arms over her chest. “That woman who was sitting in the front row, seat ten. You know the one I’m talking about.”

“Yes. What about her?”

“She had no right to sit there and all but strip in front of you. She unbuttoned her blouse nearly to the waist.”

Caden lifted a brow. “Is that why you were offkey?”

He saw her flinch and knew his observation had been a direct hit. Rena was a perfectionist, good at what she did. Being off-key even for a second wasn’t acceptable to her.

“Anyone would have…considering the circumstances.”

“I disagree. Neither Roscoe, Salem nor I were distracted. Only you.”

She was scowling when she said, “But surely you understand why.”

No, he didn’t, and he was a little confused as to why she thought he would. “If there had been a need, Rena, security would have handled it. The only thing I understand is what I assumed you understood, as well. We were lovers for a while and nothing more.”

She lifted her chin at an angle that more than told him she was pretty pissed. “Were lovers?”

“Yes. Were lovers.” He was letting her know that their affair was officially over, a thing of the past. “I told you in the beginning where I stood when it came to serious involvements or women who were looking for a commitment. You accepted my position.” Or so she’d claimed.

He rubbed his hand down his face, not believing he was having this conversation with her. It wasn’t as if he considered himself a playboy or anything; he just didn’t need or want a steady woman in his life for this very reason. It would take a special woman to put up with the long hours of practice, weeks of touring and groupies that came with those things. And then there was the fact that he didn’t want to share himself with anyone…other than in the bedroom.

She broke eye contact with him to snap closed her guitar case. “So now I know where you stand.”

“You should have known all along, Rena. So things end here and now. We go back to the way things were in the beginning. You stay in your bed, and I stay in mine.”

He paused a second and then added, “And what I do in mine and with whom is none of your business.”

He saw a flash of anger in her eyes, and when she started walking away, he fought back the feeling that he was behaving like an asshole. But he immediately convinced himself there was no reason for him to feel that way, since he’d told her up front how things were between them.

As soon as the door closed shut behind her, a little more forcibly than necessary, his cell phone went off. It was his private number. Few people had it.

Caden quickly pulled the phone from his back pocket and furrowed his brow when he saw it was Jace. It was unusual for his brother to call at this hour. Jace knew the best time to catch him was early in the mornings, before he headed out for the gym.

“Jace?” he said, after clicking on the call. “What’s up?”

“Hannah just called. It’s Granddad. He’s had a heart attack.”

meet the author

Brenda Jackson Author Photo

A New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling and award-winning author of more than seventy-five romance titles, Brenda is a recent retiree who divides her time between family, writing and traveling with her husband. Readers may write Brenda at P.O. Box 28267, Jacksonville, Florida 32226, by email at or visit her website at

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I want to say a Special Thank You, to Brenda Jackson for joining me today. I am truly a fan!

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Filed under 5 Stilettos, Brenda Jackson, Brother of Honor, Contemporary Romance, Harlequin, Recommended Read, Reviews

Author Angels: Down by Contact by Jamie Davenport

Down by Contact by Jamie Davenport
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Erotic Contemporary
Length: Novel

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It’s showtime.

After twelve years in the league, all Zach Murphy wants is a Super Bowl ring. Not exactly Mr. Manners, he’s more about hard hits than soft smiles, and he’s grinned down wickedly at quite a few broken quarterbacks. But now he’s shattered something else. After dumping a tray of drinks on the team owner’s snooty daughter and accidentally feeling up the Governor’s wife, his tenure with the team looks perilously short. And things are getting worse.

Life is looking up for Kelsie Carrington-Richmond. A beauty pageant star and ex-mean girl, she only recently stopped living out of her car. But that time has passed. Her Finishing School for Real Men has a real shot, and the Seattle Lumberjacks have hired her to polish their roughest player. Except…it’s Zach. Long ago she broke his heart. He’s just the beast she remembers—gruff, protective—but she’s nothing like the beauty of his high school dreams.

Yet, getting knocked down happens, getting back up makes a contender. And they both have the hearts of champions.

Deb’s Review:
First off left me say Thank you to Ms. Davenport, I have been waiting for Zach’s story, I give you an A+ on building true, believable characters in your “Lumberjack Series”. Down by Contact is in my top 10 of awesome sport romances, Ms. Davenport ranks right up there along with Jaci Burton, Rachel Gibson and Jill Shalvis.

I have to say that Kelsie’s character did not let me down, that girl has true grit. I had to laugh as she put Zach through the paces, my heart felt for him. Even with their shaky past, I feel there was no other woman for Zach.

His character is what I like call the “real deal”, he makes for an everyday football hero with some emotional dealings, hardships, and yes he even has a vindictive bitch on his heels. Roll all this up in one gorgeous package and you have a hero worth remembering.

Kelsie and Zach’s trouble past, smacks them both in the face when Kelsie returns to town to clear the air and show Zach, he is capable of being more than a hard jock. Zach has never been the same after a one unforgettable day when the “Mean” girl aka Kelsie came gunning for him.

Secondary character’s just added more life to this already brilliantly written book, you have amazing Hero and Heroine, some smoking hot sex, add in a disgruntled team mate, a vindictive prima donna, a crazy mean ex and you have the makings of a true hit.

The plot line flowed effortlessly, Ms. Davenport keeps you connected to all the players. You get to the heart of what makes Zach and Kelsie tick. Now only if they can get on the same page. I have to ask Ms. Davenport who story is going to be next? I have read the first books in this series, “Forth and Goal- book#1, Forward Passes-book#2” I would suggest you read in order, but that is just me.

So in short Jami Davenport is just as hot as her characters. Down by Contact is heartwarming, sexy and real… you’ll fall in love.

Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!



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My Review: True by Erin McCarthy

True by Erin McCarthy
Publisher: Penguin Publishing, Signet Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 240 pages

ARC from NetGalley , for an honest review.

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Awkward girl meets scorching-hot boy…

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

Deb’s Review:

True by Erin McCarthy was an outstanding love story that could have been written as a real life love story. The up and down moments, the build-up, it was all that and so much more… so pull up a chair and watch the “Rory and Tyler” show, damn it was so good.

Tyler was sweet but a true male, yes I said it. He becomes interested, he stumbles, god I wanted to slap him a few times. As you get into the book you see his heart is huge, trying to do the right thing is never easy especially when there is a woman involved.

Rory is as stable as they come; therefore, watching her blossom was so amazing that I cried. Her character development went from shy, to likeable, to sassy… her TRUE self. She believes in Tyler but is it enough? Can he be what she needs?

Rory and Tyler build on a friendship but tragedy, male pride, family, different sides of the tracks it all stands in their way. These two characters are what I call “golden characters”, they will capture your interest, make you feel a ton of emotions in a short time, they leave you with a sense that love will conquer all.

Secondary characters just added more heart to True, I hope Ms. McCarthy continues with all they’re stories they’re all unique. LOL, yes Erin I know that is a lot of books, but their all unique in their own way. I know at the end of True we get to look at the next book, I won’t spoil it, but I will say, “Go Riley!” *grins*

Plot line is laid out as an all American wrong side of the tracks. I think it could actually be made into a movie of the week.

If you enjoy a sweet sizzle romance, then True is a must have book for your reading library. Erin McCarthy’s books are sweetness encompassed with a bit of joy that you’ll want to savor.

Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!



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Filed under 5 Stilettos, Contemporary Romance, Deb, Erin McCarthy, Net Galley, Recommended Read, Reviews, True