Friday, August 16, 2013

**Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Dark Waters ~ Toni Anderson**


Happy Friday, y'all, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Toni Anderson's Dark Waters. My stop includes my review, a guest post from Toni, and two giveaways.

There is a tour-wide giveaway which you can enter using the rafflecopter below.

Thanks to Toni, I'm able to offer one lucky commenter ONE ecopy of any of her backlist. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment about this post. The giveaway ends August 20th and is open internationally. The winner will be chosen randomly.

This tour is presented by Author's Angels.


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.

You can also purchase Dark Waters at:



Guest Post

I asked Toni to talk about building passion between characters. Here's what she had to say:

I love it in a book when two people meet and there’s that unwanted but unstoppable attraction between them. That first glance when pupils dilate and nostrils flare, and even though they don’t want to look the other person over because they don’t want to be attracted, it happens anyway. :)

I try to go for a slow build of passion in my books, to the point my editors often make me up the sexual tension earlier in the story. I like the slow build because I think it reflects the type of heroines I write. The serious type. The studious type. Not the simpering airhead. Not the drunk partygoer. I’m not saying they’ve never done that, they’re just not in that place right now. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a place for that intense sexual sizzle when two people meet, a zing that burns away all those carefully erected barricades and rampages over a character’s normal reticence to just go for it. I like writing that too. Having sex early in a relationship can throw up all sorts of other complications.

Building passion in DARK WATERS took a little finesse. Both my hero and protagonist have issues a mile wide. The sexual tension starts with that subtle awareness that they both really like what they are seeing when they look at the other person. That fine electric jolt when skin touches skin, however innocently. But the hero thinks the heroine is way too young for him and the heroine is just not about to get involved with an ex-con. Then they start seeing each other as people. Good people. There’s that first kiss, unplanned, unexpected and probably the sweetest thing either of them has ever tasted. 

Later there’s a shower scene where neither gets wet but the whole thing is hot and steamy and, I hope, fraught with sexual frustration. I think making them want sex and denying them works well to increase the sexual tension that hopefully translates into increased passion when the relationship is finally consummated. 

Writing passion is tricky. Characters are all different and their experiences are all different. As an author I strive to make it work but that’s really up to the reader as to whether or not I succeed. Here’s hoping :)

Thanks so much for having me today!


My Review

I'm gonna go ahead and admit that I don't read many romantic suspense novels. I don't know why because I always seem to enjoy them when I do, but there you have it. Dark Waters was everything I could want in a romantic suspense story ~ even if I didn't know what I wanted. :)

Brent Carver spent half his life in prison and the only good things to come out of that experience were his art and his friendship with Davis Silver. Brent carries around an enormous amount of guilt. He also believes he is undeserving of happiness...things like family and love. He keeps to himself with only his art as an outlet and an escape.

Anna Silver's life has been difficult to say the least. Her father, Davis, went to prison for stealing money and her life has never been the same. After her father went to prison, she suffered social isolation which is hard on any teenage. Then, after enduring a traumatic event she never told anyone about, she basically cut herself off from the world. She teaches elementary school, has a few friends and does date. But she doesn't let anyone in.

Then, a knock on her door one night changes her life, once again, and leads to her knocking on Brent's door. It seems her father got mixed up in something he shouldn't have and now Anna's on the run. Before Davis' untimely demise, he told her to go to the only person he trusted...Brent. And Brent is at her side to fulfill a promise to Davis, a promise to keep her safe.

The romantic element was sweet, which sounds funny to say considering the action taking place in the book. Both Anna and Brent avoid people, as a whole. But when they meet, they feel a connection. They seem to instinctively know they can trust one another although it doesn't happen immediately. They are both very stubborn. They have both built thick walls around their hearts that have to be torn down. It was wonderful watching as these walls were removed, brick by brick, until they each realized they deserved so much more out of life than what they are living.

The bad guys in Dark Waters...they're really bad. One in particular really made my skin crawl. Ms. Anderson did a great job of creating these characters who basically had no moral compass and were completely self-serving. And scary bad-ass. 

This story is filled with intrigue and fraught with danger. Ms. Anderson tells the story through multiple POVs, weaving layers upon layers and carefully twisting the plot through them all. Although Anna and Brent are the main characters, the entire supporting cast are well developed and play integral roles within the plot. The result is a taut, suspenseful, and action-packed drama. I had moments where I was gasping, moments where I was thinking "Oh my god!", moments when I was completely creeped out, and moments where I just sighed. And I relished every one of those moments.


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.



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  1. Thanks for sharing the guest post and excerpt. Dark Waters sounds like a really intense, well-done story!

  2. When I was five I was madly in love with one of my mom's friends. He drove a shiny red sports car, which I'm sure was his entire appeal. The Dark Waters' blurb is so good! So is the teaser. I'm with you, Brandee, I don't read this genre much and who knows why. Great post!!

    1. Thanks, Robyn. I'll have to try to seek out more in this genre. ;)

      I have to say I always dated guys that were older than me - at least by a year or two. I grew up early (long story) so I gravitated towards more mature guys. NOT an illegal age difference though. :) LOL Anyway, age differences have never much mattered to me. Especially when a great car was involved. LOL

  3. Oh LOL, no, I never crushed on any of my dad's or my uncle's friends, and I don't have a brother... I did however crush on one of my cousin's friends... does that count?

    I need to read more about Brent! Thanks so much for sharing, Brandee.

    1. I'm getting a better idea of that rafflecopter question now... LOL

      I'll let your cousin's friend count, Lexxie. :) Yeah, Brent is awesome! You'll like him. Thanks for stopping over, Lexxie!

  4. Congrats to Toni on the new release. I've never had a crush on a relative's friend.

  5. Gosh, Toni, each one of these blog tour stops has something different in it that interests me about your writing style. I, too, prefer the slow buildup of passion in stories that makes for more sexual tension. It gets the old juices flowing. It's much, much better than going hog wild in a sex scene right off the bat. It's kinda like the difference between watching a romantic love story on the screen versus an X rated porno flick. I much prefer the former. :-) I REALLY want to read this book!

    1. I really liked this guest post too, Janice! I much prefer the slow burn passion myself. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  6. I like the romance to be built gradually as well. The baddies being really bad sounds great. Loved the excerpt as well! I never personally liked one of my dad's friends or uncle's friends, etc - if a guy is more than 5 years older than me it becomes a little on the icky side personally. Great post :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. Me too, Jaclyn...a slow burn is always good. :) These baddies are along the lines of The Silence of the Lambs kinda bad and creepy. (have you read that?) Specifically one of the baddies...he was fantastic in a making my skin crawl kind of way.

      I don't have an issue with age difference, I have to say. You can't help who you fall in love with. ;) Thanks, Jaclyn!


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??