Toni stops by our blog for a guest below and gives us her dream cast – check it out!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for having me here today as I celebrate the release of DARK WATERS.
DARK WATERS is one of those books I never planned to write. I’m in the middle of writing DANGEROUS WATERS and the hero’s brother starts talking to me. He’s reclusive and difficult, an ex-con and an artist to boot. Hardly hero material. But the more I get to know his character, the more tortured he is, and I just had to give him a chance of redemption. (I knew exactly who’d play him in the movie. Josh Holloway—who is just so wonderfully sexy, sun-bleached and BIG 🙂 Everything about Josh Holloway appealed to how I imagined Brent Carver would look.)
Brent spent twenty years in prison for killing his father. That seems like a non-starter in itself until we delve deeper into the family history. Brent’s father was a mean drunk who regularly beat Brent’s little brother, Finn, (the hero of DANGEROUS WATERS). Brent saved Finn’s life but the justice system charged the sixteen-year-old as an adult and put him away for life.
This goes to the heart of Brent’s character. He is by nature protective of those he loves, but because it cost him so much in the past he pushes people away rather than opening himself up to the possibility of more pain.
Brent’s salvation in prison came in the form of Davis Silver, his cellmate for the last five years of his sentence, and art, which made his rich and influential. This is where Anna Silver, Davis’s daughter comes in. If it had been anyone else, Brent would have turned them away, but because of Anna’s father he’s already committed to helping her as soon as she shows up at his door.
Anna Silver is a totally different character to Brent. She’s you and me. Pretty enough but no supermodel. A hard working teacher who is looking forward to her summer break; living modestly while looking for a relationship that suits her needs. Dig a little deeper and you have a woman with some serious issues dating back to when her father was arrested and convicted of stealing $1 million from his work. Issues about things she’s never told anyone. The last person she expects to confide in is Brent Carver, ex-con and everything dangerous that she’s tried so hard to avoid all her life.
Anna Belknap seemed to embody all that sweetness wrapped around a strong backbone.
During the course of DARK WATERS, Brent and Anna travel all over Vancouver Island and the Mid-West United States, running from the bad guys and searching for clues about what her father discovered before he died. Hopefully there’s enough excitement and plot twists to keep readers guessing and involved. I think the love story is sweet and sexy—I hope readers agree!
If you want to see more of my inspiration check out my Pinterest board! http://pinterest.com/toniannanderson/dark-waters-coming-june-2013/
Thanks so much for having me today!
This was my first book from author Toni Anderson and will not be my last. Dark Waters came at a time when I needed something new and different to read and I was not disappointed. This was a full complete read and if you are looking for something fast paced with mystery, suspense and romance, then Dark Waters is the book for you!
Anna Silver is a broken girl with a past. Her father is an ex-con who was in jail for stealing money, she hasn’t had a good relationship with her mother since she remarried and she has trust issues because of something that happened to her at a young age. Despite all of this, she has a tough exterior and I liked her immediately.
Anna receives a frantic call from her dad one day saying that people are after him and suddenly her life has turned for the worse as her dad dies unexpectedly leaving Anna to run from the ones chasing him because of a secret he has found out. The only person she can run to and trust is Brent Carver, her father’s cellmate and good friend from prison.
When we meet Brent, he is naked and HOT as hell!!! He is rough and tough on the outside because prison life has made him who he is today but also because Brent also has a past and something that he is a constant reminder to him that he doesn’t deserve any happiness or anything good to happen to his life. Inside he too is a broken man, protective and kind at heart and I LOVE him too! 🙂
The attraction between Brent and Anna is pretty intense as there is something special between them happening. Brent immediately helps Anna though he is usually so reclusive because there is something in her that draws his protective nature out.
With the bad guys hot on their tail, and Brent and Anna not only running from them but from what is happening between them, will they survive or perish as her father did? And will they allow this attraction between them grow into something more or will they continue to run away from any happiness?
You will have to read this book to find out!
I found Dark Waters to be extremely entertaining and suspenseful. I enjoyed the scenes between Brent and Anna as their friendship/relationship started slowly and they began to trust each other more, talk more and let their hearts open more. A lot of interesting twists and truths were learned throughout this book and shocked me and at the end of the day with all the suspense and drama, I do enjoy a good love story that puts a smile on my face.
I look forward to reading more from Toni Anderson – job well done!
About the Author
Toni Anderson is a bestselling author of Romantic Suspense. A former marine biologist, Anderson traveled the world with her work. After living in five different countries, she finally settled down in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children. Combining her love of travel with her love of romantic suspense, Anderson writes stories based in some of the places she has been fortunate enough to visit.
Toni donates 15% of her royalties from Edge of Survival to diabetes research–to find out why, read the book!
She is the author of several novels including Dangerous Waters, Storm Warning, and The Killing Game. Her next release is Dark Waters, August 2013.