Wednesday, June 1, 2016

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Debut author Brynn Kelly - Deception Island - Review

You know I LOVE introducing debut authors here on the blog and I'm so happy to present to you my interview with Brynn Kelly and my review of her romantic suspense debut, Deception Island! I jumped at the chance to early review the book for Harlequin.
Harlequin is also sponsoring a giveaway for one print copy, see details below.

ISBN-13: 9780373789641
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: 05/31/2016
Length: 336pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


A stolen boy
A haunted soldier
A cornered con woman…
Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a fiery, daring beauty who's nothing he expects…and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he's made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.
Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan's ticket to freedom. But when she's snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.
Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they're double-crossed, they'll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it's their lives—and hearts—on the line.
The Giveaway is for 1 print copy of
Deception Island US &Canada Only
Please use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Harlequin!
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Read an excerpt courtesy Brynn Kelly:

Chapter 1
Time to get this over with.
Rafe Angelito signaled his two crewmen. They pushed the RIB off the beach and leapt in, the scrape of the hull on pebbles the only sound in the moonlit bay. As he’d predicted, the American had brought her yacht closer to shore than usual for the night, to shelter from the trade winds belting through the Indian Ocean.
Michael pulled in the bowline while his brother Uriel lowered the outboard motor and gunned it. Rafe tested a thin rope, coiled it and stuffed it in his pocket. A pampered heiress wasn’t likely to give them trouble, but with his son’s future at stake he wasn’t taking chances. A kidnap for a kidnap.
He cricked his neck. Time for action, at last. Since dawn they’d followed the yacht through the archipelago, awaiting the right moment to strike. A lightning operation–grab the woman, leave the yacht. Even if she got out a mayday call they’d be gone before anyone responded.
“Faster,” he ordered, the language of his childhood awkward on his tongue.
“Yes, Capitaine.”
Rafe’s jaw tightened at Uriel’s facetious comment. “Call me that again and I’ll rip out your throat.” This week he wasn’t a French Foreign Legionnaire. He was a Lost Boy again, whether he liked it or not.
Michael handed him a phone, nodding at the screen. A text. Rafe clenched his teeth. Gabriel again. ‘What is happening, my brother?’
He yanked off his glove, gripped the railing, and replied one-handed, in his native language. ‘A few minutes and we’ll have her.’
And I’m not your brother, you son of a bitch.
A reply came in seconds. ‘Don’t mess this up, Raphael, or your boy is mine for good.’
Rafe’s gut twisted. His son was sheltered, innocent–everything Rafe never had a chance to be. Right now, Theo was supposed to be home with his grandmother on Corsica, going to school, learning to fish, playing football. But the Lost Boys had come in the night, just as they’d come for Rafe as he’d lain sleeping in the dust of a refugee camp nearly thirty years ago.
Another buzz. He likes his Uncle Gabriel. ‘He’ll make a good lieutenant, when I’ve finished with him.’
Theo’s face filled the phone’s screen, terror lacing his dark eyes. Rafe’s heart kicked. Next to his son, with an arm slung over the boy’s shoulder, a man grinned. Gabriel. Two decades older, but no mistaking the machete scar splitting his nose. Rafe tightened his grip on the phone. What kind of “uncle“ would snatch a nine-year-old to blackmail his father into committing a gutless crime?
Gabriel, that was who. But why kidnap the daughter of an American senator? The Lost Boys’ usual trafficking victims were lost themselves–unwanted girls and women sold into prostitution, or orphaned boys forced to become child soldiers, like Rafe. This heiress was the closest America had to a princess. A stupid risk, but at least Rafe could ensure no harm came to the woman–or his son. Best-case scenario? Within the week her father paid the twenty million, she went home, and Rafe got Theo back. Worst-case?
Crack. A cobweb of splinters spread across the screen, fracturing the image of Theo’s face. Rafe loosened his grip and shoved the piece-of-crap phone in his pocket. The worst-case scenario would not happen. He pulled on his glove. He was an imbécile for thinking a past like his could remain buried.
His gaze swept the yacht, silvery and skeletal with its sails stowed. No movement. With luck she’d be asleep. On signal, Uriel swung the boat around to the northwest, setting up for an approach from the yacht’s leeward side. Rafe yanked down his balaclava and signaled his crew to do the same. Wouldn’t do to have their faces broadcast on the American’s live webcam.
“No mistakes,“ he growled. “Anyone hurts the girl, I hurt him.“
The halyard clinked against the mast as the yacht rocked in the swell. Holly Ryan closed her eyes and stretched out on the deck, soaking up the pleasure of dozing to the current’s ebb and flow.
She inhaled the velvety air and sighed. The sound rolled out into the night, joined by the slap of water against the hull and the strain of a distant motor. Tropical heat seeped into her skin. If only life could stay this way forever–waking at dawn and anchoring at dusk, sun-bleached hair clumped from swimming, freckled skin rough with salt.
She linked her hands behind her head. The boat wasn’t a hell of a lot bigger than her prison cell and only marginally more comfortable, but it was intoxicating just knowing the horizon wasn’t blocked by a concrete wall. Hallelujah. So what if the real Laura Hyland sipped champagne on her father’s superyacht somewhere off Bali while Holly did the hard sailing? Holly could get drunk on the smell of freedom–out here it came salty, with notes of seaweed.
Four more months of sailing and Holly would have fulfilled her end of this screwed-up bargain and earned enough money to wipe clean the disaster that had been her life so far. In the meantime, she’d damn well enjoy it. She’d done worse things for lesser reward.
Closer now, the motor whined as it was pushed faster. Bit late for a fisherman, and no villages lay along this stretch of rainforest. Precisely why she’d chosen the spot for an anchorage–the fewer people she faced as Laura, the better. Even in Indonesia, people had heard of the New York socialite and her solo circumnavigation. Though she did resemble Laura after a hurried makeover, Holly couldn’t risk anyone figuring out the truth.
The motor’s pitch dropped–it was slowing, the water swishing around it. On approach. She bolted upright, the back of her neck prickling. Moonlight glinted off an inflatable with three large figures on it. No lights, closing in. Her breath shuddered. Not one of the local fishing boats. A journalist looking for a scoop–but out here, at this time of night? Hardly. A shark-finning boat? Dozens of large sharks had glided past the yacht in the last few days.
Whoever they were, she had no escape. By the time she weighed anchor they’d be on her. A mayday call or flare wouldn’t do shit, out here in the middle of nowhere.
She skidded into the cabin, snatched up her pocketknife and stuffed it in her shorts pocket. What else could she use for a weapon? Damn the senator for refusing to let her carry a gun. She eyed the radio, biting her lip. No time for a call–if these guys cornered her down here, there’d be no escape. She sprang back up the ladder. The inflatable drew up to starboard, the men silent. Balaclavas. They wore balaclavas. Shit. She spun around. Come on, come on. Her gaze landed on the winch handle. She wrenched it out of its socket, tested its solid weight. Good old-fashioned heavy metal.
As one man tied up and pulled the boats alongside, another stepped onto the yacht’s stern, wobbling as if he straddled a tightrope. He was burly but perhaps not a sailor. That could work in her favor. She moved the winch handle behind her, out of sight.
“What do you want?“ she asked, sounding more confident than she felt.
“We don’t want to hurt you.“ The deep voice came from the bow of the inflatable, in thickly accented but precise English.
Her cheeks iced over. In her experience, people who said that usually did the opposite. The burly man advanced, feeling for his balance. Was that seriously an Angry Birds T-shirt?
“Who are you?“
“We are taking you with us.“ The guy on the inflatable again. He said something to his crew in a language she couldn’t place. His voice was authoritative, but at ease. She chanced a look. He leaned against the console, arms crossed. Confident, but casual with it–like he’d done this a hundred times. He was even bigger than the guy coming for her, but more athletic. Not good.
“You won’t be harmed if you cooperate,“ he continued.
Her blood chilled. “You’re pirates? You’ve got to be kidding me.“ She was almost halfway through this job, halfway to her new law-abiding life. Not even Blackbeard was going to ruin that.
He laughed, deep and calm. “I wish I was joking, Laura.“
Laura. This was no random heist. What was his accent–Russian? Eastern European? Not one of the notorious Indonesian lanun pirates who patrolled the Strait of Malacca. This archipelago was far enough south of the main shipping lanes that thieves weren’t supposed to consider it profitable. So much for sticking to safer waters.
It was a long time since she’d had to fight a man. She had one advantage–they thought she was a helpless socialite. They weren’t expecting trouble, and if they were kidnapping her for a ransom, they wouldn’t want to kill her–yet. She swallowed. She could play the frightened girl, give them false confidence and try to escape. In what–her tender? That thing wouldn’t win a race with a jellyfish.
She could tell them the truth, but why the hell would they believe her? Even if they did, what then–they’d apologize gracefully and be on their way? Fat chance.
“No, please, you can’t do this to me.“ She let her nerves show in her voice. The Angry Birds guy was five feet away. Another few steps… “I’ll scream, I’ll…I’ll… My daddy’s a United States senator, a retired Marine. A webcam is broadcasting your every move. He’ll track you down in minutes.“ She cringed, inwardly. Too much?
“Nothing to be worried about,“ said the man on the inflatable. “We’ll take you somewhere comfortable for a few days, your father will pay a ransom, you will be freed.“
“No. Please…“
Angry Birds jumped down onto the deck. Holly sprang backward, onto the bow. She slid her legs apart for stability, her bare feet compensating for the yacht’s movement. The man on the boat growled something. Angry Birds shouted back. One word was clear: Capitaine. He approached gingerly, his palms up, placating her. She cowered, as if bracing for the moment of contact, her pulse pummeling in her ears.
He inched closer. Patience. She tightened her grip on the winch handle. Her days of being someone’s punching bag were long dead. She waited until he was within a yard of her then pivoted her torso, letting her hand whip with the momentum, and bashed the handle into his face with a dull, meaty crack. He wobbled, forced to prioritize regaining his balance over capturing her. Yelling from deep in her chest, she drove her heel into the side of his knee, buckling it. As he collapsed, she shoved him backward. The boat tilted with his weight and he slid into the water, one hand clutching the grab line. Her leg muscles clenched, finding equilibrium, her soles clinging to the deck like limpets. Gasping for breath, she cracked the handle onto his fingers. He splashed into the inky water with a howl.
The boat rocked, and she jumped backward to avoid following him in. Hands grabbed her biceps, from behind. Damn. When had a second man come aboard? She bent her knee and rammed a heel into his groin. Awkward, but effective–he grunted and eased his grip, just enough for her to swivel out of it. It wasn’t the capitaine, just the other goon, now bent double and panting. Before he could straighten, she clutched his head and rammed her knee into his face. Bones crackled, he yelped. She sprang back.
Instinctively, he brought both hands up to his face. Holy crap, she’d broken his nose? She wasn’t as out of practice as she’d thought. She launched a flying kick into his stomach, but it glanced off. Damn. He flailed but regained his balance, shook himself and fixed his hooded eyes on her. She retreated, panting. What now–the knife? She didn’t want to risk getting close enough to use it–and bloodshed wasn’t her thing. Angry Birds splashed about below, no doubt fighting the pull of his heavy boots.
Stern instructions came from the boat. The capitaine sounded frustrated with his men but bored, like he knew capturing her was just a matter of time.
Not if she could help it. She sprang behind the boom, her free hand fumbling to loosen the mainsheet. The pirate inched forward, a dark stain spreading across his gray balaclava. She swept the boom toward him. He stumbled, and shot out his hands to catch it. Before he could recover she hurled the handle. It clocked his broken nose. Bingo. He roared, and reeled back, but righted himself. He spat indecipherable words, blood and saliva dripping from his mask, his arms spread out for balance, hands clawed.
Damn. She should have thrown the knife–who knew her aim would be that good? She didn’t trust her chances now. She zipped her pocket, spun and plunged into the sea. Once the cool water swallowed her, she jackknifed and propelled herself under the yacht, kicking and pulling against the tug of the swell, feeling her way around the keel’s smooth curve. Her chest ached for air. She surfaced silently on the port side, in the moon’s shadow, and devoured oxygen as quietly as she could.
Urgent voices sounded above her. How long could she tread water and wait for rescue? Could she fool them into thinking she’d drowned? Laura’s website must be getting a million hits with this on the live stream. The woman’s craziest fans watched twenty-four-seven, keeping up a constant social media commentary. When Holly had sunbathed on the deck in Laura’s bikini she’d nearly broken the internet, even though the images were kept low-res to cover for the body switch. Help could already be on its way.
“Laura, you can’t stay down there forever. We will find you.“ The capitaine switched languages and spoke sharply to the other men, his voice ringing out from the deck of the yacht. Two men on the yacht and one in the water equaled none in the inflatable. What were her chances of slipping away in it? Better than her other options.
She filled her lungs, pulled herself underwater and followed the hull out in the direction of the men’s boat, coming up for air in the shelter of the yacht, blinking her stinging eyes clear. The inflatable’s bowline stretched above her head, tied alongside. She retrieved her knife and popped the blade.
Clinging to the yacht’s grab line, she hauled herself up as far as she dared. The yacht shifted with her weight. She froze. Deep voices murmured as the men searched. They’d find her in seconds. She stretched up. Moonlight winked off the blade. The line was inches out of her reach. Shit. Footsteps approached.
She dived, and felt her way under the inflatable. The hull was metal and shaped into a deep V–no ordinary rubber boat. If she could steal it, she could get to the other end of the archipelago, at least. She’d passed a couple of inhabited islands that morning.
She popped up on the far side and clutched a cleat, forcing herself to suck in air as if through a straw. Could she sneak aboard and release the bowline before they got to her? She’d have to get in from the stern–the sides of the hull were too steep, and heaving herself up would draw attention.
Something brushed her bare calf. She gasped, drawing up her legs. Had Angry Birds found her? Nobody surfaced. Her heart thundered. If it wasn’t the man, what was–?
A nudge, then something rough skimmed her leg. Not human. A white-tipped dorsal fin sliced through the black water. Holy crap, a shark. One of the oceanic whitetips she’d seen earlier? It’d be testing her, trying to figure out if she was prey. Oh, God. She gripped the knife with one hand and the cleat with the other, forcing her legs to still. It’d expect prey to thrash, to swim away. Stillness would confuse it, right? She fought the urge to hyperventilate. From the port side of the yacht came splashing. Angry Birds. Doubly bad–he was closing in on her and baiting the shark. Her arm shook with the strain of holding herself steady.
A panicked shout burst from the yacht. Had they spotted the shark, or her? She caught movement to her left. Angry Birds slogged through the water with clumsy strokes. Blood trailed from his nose, where she’d clocked him with the winch. He flinched, and his gaze darted below. Was the whitetip scouting him out, too? Or were there more than one? She fought an urge to order him to be still.
He yelled, suddenly thrashing. Holy shit. Fast footfalls and shouts responded from the yacht. Didn’t they have a gun? The man’s body lurched downwards, his scream splitting the air. Her hand spasmed, her muscles burning. Ah, crap, she couldn’t just watch.
“Get a life preserver,“ she shouted. “If he can grab it you can pull him up.“
“Where is it?“ The capitaine’s tone was urgent, but not panicked, like a shark attack was a minor distraction.
“The stern, starboard side.“
She didn’t stay to watch. With shark and men occupied, she swam as smoothly as she could to the stern of the inflatable, fear clawing her stomach. She pocketed the knife and reached for the ladder, her arm still shaking. The boat swung away. Her fingers slipped off the rung, and she splattered into the water. Crap. Sandpapery skin brushed her sole. Her blood froze. A wave rocked the boat, smashing the outboard into her forehead. She swallowed the flare of pain. Ten yards away, the water churned. A feeding frenzy? The man had stopped screaming. A cry rang out, followed by a splash–too big to be the life preserver. Jesus, had another of the men gone in? Shouts echoed from everywhere–in the water, on the deck.
Another nudge on her leg, harder. She flailed for the ladder, forcing her eyes open against the water slapping her face. How many sharks were there–a whole school? Did they even travel in schools? Did it freaking matter?
A wave dunked her, sweeping her from the boat. She fought her way back, her lungs ready to burst. Her hand hit the rung and she caught it with one finger, lurched forward and clamped the palm over it. Roaring with effort, she anchored her thumb underneath and held on, the bitter burn of salt water in her throat. With the current dragging her away, she had no chance of hauling herself up. Her forearm strained near to snapping. The water swished with the force of something big shooting up underneath her. Her every muscle clenched. She hadn’t survived twenty-nine years of crap to die like this.

Brynn Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy. I so enjoyed your debut Deception Island.
Give my readers a brief teaser please.
Thank you! I jokingly call it Romancing the Stone meets Six Days, Seven Nights meets the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Because a lot of *stuff* happens—it’s by no means a leisurely examination of the human condition! It’s a love story wrapped up in an action-packed thriller, set in the azure seas and steamy jungles of the Indian Ocean. A mysterious Legionnaire and a streetwise American conwoman are forced to unite in an epic battle against modern-day pirates and slave traders. At heart it’s also an intimate story about two broken souls who find each other—and redemption—in the most extreme circumstances.

That’s quite a storyline.
Did the idea come from any one place, a combination of journalistic stories you’ve covered or right out of your fervent imagination?
A bit of both. I decided one day to expand my writing horizons and create something epic and cinematic, so when I was brainstorming I gave my mind permission to open up to any possibilities. Shower thinking.
I guess it was natural that some of those ideas came out of my career. Like, I’d once written a story about a brave Thai woman who escaped from a sex trafficking ring, I’d volunteered at a UN refugee camp in Ethiopia, I’d interviewed former mercenaries and a piracy victim. Those experiences found their way into Deception Island in different guises—and not by design. It was hugely satisfying to explore them in greater depth than I’d been able to in a newspaper article, and weave together fact and fiction to create a tale that’s not so far removed from real life, as dramatic as it is.

It takes quite a leap of faith to try to sell a fiction novel and I have the utmost admiration for you.
Could you please share your road to becoming a novelist with us?
I’ve loved writing since I was a kid, but even as a teenager I knew I’d never be a prodigy who writes a critically acclaimed bestseller by the age of 25. I couldn’t imagine I would have anything to say! I figured I’d become a novelist at 40. I don’t know why I chose 40. It seemed like a confident age.
Meanwhile, I did the next best thing: got a journalism degree and became a print journalist so I could be paid to write, with fiction as a hobby. But my career became all-consuming, and I discovered that the last thing I wanted to do at the end of a word-filled day was to write more words—or even read.
When I hit my early thirties, I thought, “What am I doing? I need to be writing.” So I started seriously playing with fiction. And then (doh!) I had children, while working as a freelance journalist and copywriter, so it became even harder to squeeze out the energy and time for fiction. Somehow I wrote a couple of starter manuscripts, which didn’t get published but caught the attention of my talented editor, Allison Carroll at HQN Books. And I landed an agent, Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill. They encouraged me to expand the first experimental chapters of Deception Island into a full-length novel. It was a long, torturous process but I sold my first novel at 40—just as I’d planned.

What’s the most exhilarating thing about publishing your first novel?
Rereading a paragraph of it here and there (usually only when I’m forced to, and with only one eye open) and deciding it doesn’t suck.

What’s the scariest thing about publishing your first novel?
Doing the above and finding something I want to rewrite. When you’re a perfectionist, there’s always a temptation to do “just one more edit”. But writing is art, not arithmetic. It’s never going to be perfect. At some point you have to let it go. And it’s a valuable growth experience to read your work and see immediately how you could improve it—it means you’re growing as a writer. I hope that every book I write is better than the last, which means I’ll have to accept that I’ll cringe every time I’m forced to read a previous book. I’ve just finished book two—a follow-up to Deception Island—and I hope I’ve achieved that.

Brynn this is your debut in fiction but you’re also an author of non-fiction works.
What are they and are they only available where you reside in New Zealand?
I’ve written four non-fiction books, and contributed to a fifth. Somehow they ended up being travel books and pop histories. My favorite is my most recent, Long Shots: The greatest underdog stories in New Zealand sport, which is available on Amazon. Though it’s about New Zealand athletes, the stories are universal tales of courage and self-belief, and achievement against the odds. A real laugh-and-cry-and-gasp-and-cheer book. Writing it was hugely inspiring. I’d love to write an international version one day, bringing together the biggest underdog stories in international sport. (In all my—guffaw—spare time.)

You’ve had a lot of great early reviews for the book both from editorial and reader sources.
Are you the inquisitive type and have read them all, just a sampling, or are you one of those authors who don’t read any reviews?
By inquisitive you mean obsessive, right? Yes, I am the inquisitive/obsessive type, but I’ve learned over many years as a journalist and author that it’s dangerous to become fixated on external validation. So yes, it’s a thrill to get a great review, and it’s crucial to be open to constructive feedback and to learn from your mistakes, as painful as that can be.
But it’s dangerous to believe your hype (if you’re lucky enough to get any!) because that exposes you to being devastated by a bad review, which can cripple your confidence and your enthusiasm for writing. You can’t have it both ways. You can never please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to. And, sadly, there will always be trolls.
Confidence is a tricky thing for a writer. If you’re overly confident, you won’t to recognize your mistakes, and learn and grow. If you’re not confident enough, you’ll become paralyzed by the fear of criticism and unable to write a word. Your confidence has to come from within, which is hard in an industry where you have zero control over the traditional markers of success—getting contracted, getting good reviews, winning awards, selling copies. The only part you control is the effort you put in before the story goes out into the world, and the effort you put into your next book. As an obsessive type, I have to constantly remind myself not to define my success by external validation.

Deception Island was also a golden heart nominee.
What year and category was your Golden Heart nomination and did you revise the novel in any way for publication?
Deception Island finaled in last year’s Golden Heart. The day the finalists were announced was also the day HQN Books accepted it for publication, so that was among the most thrilling few hours of my life. I was delighted that Allison bought it, because she’d believed in me from my first starter manuscript. And yes, it did go through a revision process with Allison, mostly to deepen the characters’ emotional journeys. It’s always invaluable to get input from someone who is literally invested in your story.

How has your journalist career prepared you for this new fiction author fork in your road?
Sometimes I regret not having made the leap into fiction earlier, but I have to remind myself that I had a twenty-year apprenticeship in writing. I learned how to research efficiently without getting bogged down, how to edit and how to be edited, how to critique and how to cope with criticism, how to proofread, how to deal with the media and the public, how to write tightly and precisely, how to manage deadlines. Not to mention the fundamentals of grammar and style (I’ve also freelanced as a manuscript copy editor, which has been hugely beneficial). I learned from incredibly talented writers and editors. And I met people in many walks of life and had fascinating experiences the everyday person doesn’t get to have.
Studying the craft of fiction has also enlivened my work as a journalist. I’ve learned, for instance, better narrative structure, and how to step away and let the interviewee tell their own story, and I’m more confident with wordplay and taking risks.

Brynn thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Will you be touring in the US at all for your novel and if so are they listed on your website?
Sadly no! I do hope to get over to the US next year, maybe for RWA. Book two should be on the shelves by then.

My review

Kelly’s debut is an impressive emotionally intense, pulse-pounding page-turner. Set in a stunning array of exotic locales, her matter of fact, school of hard knocks dialogue is the perfect choice to bring readers her timely tale of sea pirates and human trafficking. Her characters run the gamut from innocent to irredeemable including her complicated and damaged stars. The climactic finish, the sexy French phrases and her couple’s courage make this an unforgettable premier.

To save his son, who’s been abducted by a former friend turned criminal fiend, Rafe Angelito is forced to go against his French Foreign Legion code and revert back to his dark child-soldier past, kidnap an American heiress and hold her for ransom. The first thing he learns is that this US princess has claws.
After six years in prison Holly Ryan accepts the ruse to pose as a US Senator’s daughter on a Pacific Island solo sailing journey. Just as she’s enjoying the wide-open spaces, she’s grabbed by pirates. Now she’s got to keep the hoax going hoping it will save her life.
Alone on a deserted island Rafe and Holly fight to keep their secrets while fighting each other, their mutual attraction and outside forces too. Relying on well-honed defenses may not be enough to keep them mentally and physically safe.

Connect with Brynn - Website - Facebook - Twitter

MEET Brynn:Brynn has a degree in communications with a journalism major, and has won several prestigious writing awards, including the Valerie Parv Award and the Pacific Hearts Award. She’s the bestselling author of four non-fiction books in her native New Zealand, and the mother of two young boys. In her (guffaw) spare time, she murders Italian arias studies classical singing.
It took award-winning journalist Brynn Kelly only two decades to realize that all those stranger-than-fiction news reports (pirates, mercenaries, murders, conspiracies…) provided the perfect training for a new career: as a writer of larger-than-life novels. 

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  1. This sounds super interesting and I love what she had to say in the interview, especially about giving her mind free reign on the world she created. Great interview!

  2. Romantic suspense is a combination of so much. Excitement, romance, thrilling plots and fascinating characters. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway.

  3. Congrats on the Golden Heart nod!

    Yet another stellar interview, Debbie! I think it's those non fiction books that gave her material for this survivor (of sorts) story

  4. What! I was thinking hmm this sounds like a book I'd like, enjoy that kind of trope, then ... tada... turns out she is a kiwi so thanks for introducing her and the book, it will be a must buy and read now! You are so bad!

    1. Kathryn, you were who I thought of when I saw Brynn was from New Zealand I had to look up why you referred to her as a kiwi. I learned something new!! Thanks for the comment and the NZ education!

    2. You're welcome! I love finding out about NZ authors from my USA blogger friends. It is hard for them to publish here with a population of 4 and half million, just not the audience. Only a very few make it in the publishing world here, they have to go overseas.

  5. Fun interview, Brynn sounds like someone I'd like to sit and have coffee with! I enjoy romantic suspense a lot, because there is a bit of romance. But the suspense needs to be good, if you know what I mean! Thanks!

    1. thanks holdenj, I do know what you mean about the suspense needs to be good and hers is also full of exotic locales too.

  6. That's neat that she met her life goal to publisher her novel at 40 and did it. The story sounds intense stuff and I like when that sort of suspense is paired with a romance. Always interesting to get the enemies to lovers angle.

    1. I think being a former journalist helped her focus too, most journalists turned novelists are the same way.

  7. Fantastic interview Debbie, I love getting to know the author behind the book. Of course you know I love action packed thrillers so this is going on my list!

  8. Very neat to be able to pull in real life experiences. That's awesome on trying to expand her writing abilities, too. I love seeing people passionate and curious about their work.