Saturday, March 23, 2013

Angel Falls by Connie Mann

Two pasts collide in a deadly race to save an orphaned baby.
Regina da Silva and Brooks Anderson have both been broken by their violent pasts. But while Regina is determined to keep her orphanage children safe, Brooks, a former Army Ranger, never wants to protect anyone again. When circumstances force them together in Brazil, they find themselves pursued by a killer as they protect an orphaned baby. As the danger heightens around them, so does the attraction between Regina and Brooks. Will their pasts stop them from realizing their true feelings for each other when their pursuer strives to keep them apart forever?

To read the first chapter, go here:

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.

@2013 Connie Mann, used by permission

To buy her book, go here:




Connie Mann loves variety, so she is an author, a blogger and a boat captain. She encourages women to reach their dreams through her blog: and speaks on perseverance, determination and the writing craft. She knows a bit about being stubborn since her new romantic suspense, Angel Falls, took 10 years to get published!

She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and loves romantic suspense. She is also a United States Coast Guard-licensed boat captain and pilots a boat for the Silver River Museum, part of the local school system. What a treat to show curious 5th graders their first alligator or underwater spring!

When she’s not writing, Connie loves to spend time on Central Florida’s waterways, explore nearby towns, and hang out with her fabulous family. Please visit her online at:, or send her a Tweet @CaptConnieMann.

Connect with Connie here:,,

Connie is giving away a copy of Angel Falls. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.  To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Rick Estep said...

Looks great. Thanks for the review.
Librarybooks at religious dot com

Jennifer said...

What a heart stopping read. That little taste wasn't enough and I wanted to keep reading!
The book sounds so good! I'll have to look for Angel Falls and happy writing Connie and Caroline happy reading to you!

Nancee said...

Thanks for a wonderful review of Connie's book. "Angel Falls" sounds like an exciting story. I'd love the opportunity to win a copy!

Marianne Barkman said...

My heart has always been saddened to hear of orphans, and yet I love to read about them! What a great post. Please add my name.


Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a really good read.

Katie J.

squiresj said...

Please enter me. First time I heard of her writing and would love to win, read and review.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

ann said...

This sounds like an interesting book , one that I would enjoy reading . enter me please
amhengst at verizon dot ne

KayM said...

Angel Falls sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for highlighting it.
I am anxious to see what happens next.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Teela said...

Would love to win and read Angel Falls. Thanks for the giveaway!

karenk said...

a wonderful posting/interview...thanks for the chance to read this novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marianne Barkman said...

This sounds amazing. What if? Thanks for the chance to win!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a book I would like to read. When I was 12 or 13 I got to visit an orphanage. Got me all of these sweet children with no parents or real homes. And, some grow up there until having to get out on their own. Most people are looking for babies, so it leaves the others wanting. Sad! Please put my name in. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Connie Mann said...

Hi Everyone! I'm so glad to hear you've been enticed by the intro here about Angel Falls! I'd love to introduce you to Brooks and Regina! Good luck on the drawing...and I do hope you'll let me know what you think of Angel Falls!

Boos Mum said...

Please sign me up. I keep seeing this book popping up. It has definately caught my attention. Thanks for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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