About the Book:
Her best friend’s been murdered and Brazilian orphanage director Regina da Silva will do whatever it takes to protect her friend’s baby. Even if it means dealing with an intimidating man she’s not sure she can trust.
Former Army Ranger Brooks Anderson refuses to protect anyone ever again. The last time he did, the woman and child both died. He’s just here to transport an orphan for adoption, as promised, and then he’s outta there.
But when bullets fly, Brooks and Regina risk everything and dive headlong into danger to protect one defenseless child.
As the killer closes in and long-buried secrets come to light, they’ll have to trust each other to stay alive.
Will that be enough to save their little angel--and themselves—from plunging to their deaths over the Falls?
My Thoughts: I loved that this was set in Brazil, as my husband has travel led there twice for work and I was able to see photos and hear a bit about the culture. If I can't travel there, the next best thing is to read a suspenseful novel about it! This book was unique in it's setting and characters and I love when an author can do something just a little bit different to keep my interest.
This book kept my interest, the characters were dynamic, and it was an excellent read!
About the Author:
Connie Mann loves stories that combine suspense, adventure and second chances. She offers encouragement to busy women on her blog: www.BusyWomenBigDreams.com and is an active member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a USCG-licensed boat captain, so when she’s not writing, she’s usually on Central Florida’s waterways with local school children or her fabulous family.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction, Angel Falls.
Please visit her online at: www.conniemann.com.
CONNECT WITH CONNIE:
Purchase Angel Falls
Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, Present Day
Regina da Silva tied the laces on her cracked leather boots and yanked the hand-knitted wool stockings Olga made her last Christmas up past her knees. Outside, an icy wind fought to get in through the wooden shutters guarding House of Angels’ orphanage. She straightened the layers of skirts swirling around her ankles, knowing she’d give away all but one before the night ended.
She didn’t want to go out tonight, and that made her feel small and selfish. And guilty. So she hefted the wicker basket filled with meat pastries and opened the door—before she changed her mind. On nights like tonight, she didn’t know which she hated most—the cold, or the memories.
“You are still going out tonight, Regina?” Irene demanded quietly from behind her, voice heavy with accusation. And disappointment.
“Just this one night, Regina, stay home. We’ll talk. Laugh, maybe even shed a few tears. Minha amiga, even Jesus took time off for his friends.”
Regina swallowed hard and glanced over her shoulder at the sagging sofa, where Irene sat with her feet curled under her, cuddling her three-month-old son. The pleading tone almost demolished the fence guarding Regina’s mouth.
A gust of wind snatched the door from her grasp and slammed it against the wall, the crash a call to arms. “If I don’t go, who will?” Regina asked. She didn’t add, “since you aren’t anymore,” but it echoed in the room nonetheless. Regina tried to keep the hurt out of her voice. She still couldn’t believe Irene and little Eduardo were moving to the United States in the morning and leaving her behind. She was thrilled for Irene. She was furious, too, and mad at herself for feeling that way. But she couldn’t find words for any of it. So she simply pointed to the basket and said, “Olga has the meat pastries ready and Jorge packed extra blankets.” Regina pulled on a pair of handmade mittens, carefully pulling together the hole in one thumb.
Irene sent her a piercing sad-eyed look. “You can’t save them all, you know.”
At the familiar argument, Regina met her gaze, eyes hot, and repeated what she always said in response. “Maybe not. But I can save some.”
Irene sighed. “I’ll pick you up in the morning, then. Be safe, my friend.”
Regina kissed her friend on both cheeks, did the same for Eduardo, and then headed out before she caved in to Irene’s pleading. The wind hacked through the slums, and Regina hunched farther into her threadbare coat, determined to ignore everything but the task at hand. Especially the memories.
She shifted her grasp on the heavy basket and kept her eyes fixed on the barrel of burning trash ahead. Automatically avoiding open sewers and billowing newspapers, she followed the dancing flames like a ship to a lighthouse. Odd that both lights warned of danger, yet promised safety.
Regina tightened her scarf and snorted. Here on the streets, safety was an illusion, a wish unfulfilled. How many nights had she and Irene spent just like these street children, huddled around a barrel, protecting their right to be there by clutching a switchblade in a shaking fist? They would probably be dead if not for Noah Anderson, who had done exactly what Regina would do tonight. What she and Irene had done together for years.
But everything had changed. Irene planned to take Eduardo to Florida and leave Regina to run the orphanage alone. Her throat tightened, so she stepped up her pace, shoving self-pity roughly away. She had a job to do tonight. The children were cold and hungry and she could help—at least a little. Keep them safe, God, please.
Regina knew the exact moment the children caught the scent of meat pastry, for suddenly a swarm of children surrounded her, shouting, “Senhorita Anjo, um pastel, um pastel.”
Regina smiled warmly, though she still couldn’t get used to being called Miss Angel, even after four years as co-director of House of Angels.
The crowd surged, pressing close, but Regina’s willowy height worked to her advantage. “Hello, children. Fernando, Stephan, back up and let the little ones closer.” Regina gently pulled the smaller children toward her, trying not to think about just how young they really were. Could Christiane be more than five? Already her beautiful brown eyes held dull acceptance, the understanding that life would never get any better than this—that hopes and dreams were for other, richer children.
Suddenly, the skin on the back of Regina’s neck prickled, and she stopped dead on the cracked sidewalk. Someone was watching her. Again. She hugged one of the children as she scanned the street, but saw nothing out of place, no one who didn’t belong. Yet there was someone there, someone with evil in mind. Every street child knew what that meant. If you were smart, you ran and hid.
Even fifteen years later, Regina’s flight instincts screamed just that. But she wouldn’t. Couldn’t. The children needed her. She fingered her switchblade and looked back, relieved to see old Jorge in the beat-up orphanage van, lumbering slowly up the cobbled street behind her. The groundskeeper had packed an extra box of blankets, in case the thermometer dropped sharply tonight. And he carried his own knife—just in case. Jorge clambered down from the van and opened the back doors.
“Go get a blanket, children. Fernando, where is the one I gave you yesterday?”
The instant the words left her mouth, Regina wanted to call them back. The twelve-year-old hung his head in shame and shrugged, telling her without words that someone had taken it from him and he hadn’t been able to stop them. “Go get another. It is all right,” she said gently, trying to spare his pride.
“Thank you, Senhorita Angel,” he said, but instead of heading toward the line forming behind the van, he disappeared into the shadows.
Regina tried to call him back, but snapped her attention to the basket when one of the newer boys tried to make off with two pastries. “One,” she said firmly, holding his thin wrist until he let go.
Within moments, the meat pastries were gone, the blankets dispersed, and she’d sent at least ten children to the van for a ride to the orphanage. If she could have fit more pallets into the dining hall, Regina would have scooped up more children. And still, the crowd grew bigger than it had been before.
“Senhorita Angel,” a voice shouted.
Whirling around, Regina saw Fernando running toward her. Panting, he skidded to a stop. “You must come, now. Please.”
Regina didn’t hesitate. Before she reached the van, Jorge had started the engine and handed her medical bag through the window. He motioned her forward and prepared to follow.
“Let’s go,” she said, and smiled when Fernando grabbed her bag before galloping off. She couldn’t be sure if this was his attempt at gallantry, or a way to make sure she kept up with his punishing pace. As she ran down narrow alleys and grim little streets, Regina prepared to put the nurse’s training she’d received in the US to instant use. She prayed it would be enough. Too often, though, what little she could offer came years too late.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.