Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Tour: Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell

Today I will have a Review and Excerpt. First, let's get to know the Author! 

Joanne Brothwell lives in the country on the Canadian 
prairie with her family where her stories are inspired 
by the dead things that appear at her doorstep on a 
daily basis.

Twitter @JoanneBrothwell

Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, Sarah Ross is
searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a
glowing-eyed, transparent creature known to the
Navajo as a Skinwalker. Using mysterious abilities,
Sarah escapes, only to run directly into Evan Valente, a
handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to
safety. But why is Evan out in the forest so early in the
Sarah learns her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child,
an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions
of others; unfortunately, her indigo aura is highly
desirable  to those  who wish to steal her powerful
Soon, Sarah falls deeply in love with Evan and wants
nothing more than to follow her heart, but she can't
ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a
terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger
she faces, forcing her to face the darkest, innermost
parts of her soul.
Stealing Breath  is a darkly romantic tale of  a young
woman’s journey for love within the fearsome realm of
the paranormal. It is a spellbinding read that mines the
inner workings of the human character. Love, loss and
the quest for redemption, these characters will echo in
your mind long after you’ve put the book down.

My Rating: 3.5*'s

My Review:

Joanne Brothwell wastes no time getting right to the action. The story starts off on a camping trip where our main character Sarah hears the voice of a child calling for help. She musters up the courage to follow the voice and try and help whoever is in danger. Unfortunately what she runs into is anything but a child and she barely manages to survive with her life. Upon her hasty retreat, she runs into Evan. Coincidence or not? Sarah then embarks on an journey to find out what exactly makes her different than others and what is responsible from the attack on her and others. 

The relationship between Sarah and Evan is a rocky one. Sarah has so much going on that she doesn't know if she should even give Evan a chance, but she has this undeniable connection to him. Her friends seem to have their doubts about him and she finds herself suspecting something's off as well. I really liked the connection between them. The whole premise of this story seemed unique to the paranormal. While the insta-love thing can sometimes be a bit much, their connection was believable. 

All in all a good start to a series, I look forward to seeing where she takes us! 

“You saw that Evan guy again?” Amber asked. She sucked the last of her frothy pink
drink through a straw. The mischievous look on her face was mirrored in the giddy emotions
she gave off, emotions that were always especially loud when she was drinking. They resonated
within me like a bouncy ball flying around in my stomach.
I downed another shot of “Sex on the Beach”, hoping it would finally be enough to filter
out the emotions of everyone here. Smooth at first, then tart, the booze finally burned its way
down the back of my throat. The buzz-on was almost immediate, and the effect was wonderful,
the way it almost obliterated all of the sex-obsessed feelings that seemed to roll off of nearly ever
patron at the bar like a hot blanket being wound around me. Sick.
We sat at a booth right next to the bar. Amber held her glass up, signaling to the
bartender who nodded and began to pour. He bobbed his head to the blaring country music from
the loudspeaker.
Tables ringed the bar, booths along the wall and stools on the other side. Every few feet
a brightly lit neon beer sign provided a dash of garish décor. Right in the middle was the dance
floor, a little postage-stamp sized circle of parquet flooring that reminded me of an interlocking
puzzle. Alongside it was a raised section with a few pool tables.
“Yeah, I saw him.” I proceeded to explain his land development business to Amber and
Kate, who listened with rapt expressions.
“That’s amazing. Nobody ever comes to Slave Lake. People only leave,” Amber said.
Our waitress, dressed in skin-tight jeans and a too-tight tank-top, brought us another
round. Behind her, the giant flat screen on the wall lit up with random explosions of fuchsia,
neon yellow and acid green, perfectly paced with the lyrics of the canned music.
Kate sat across from me on the bench seating, her copper hair shimmering pink from
the neon “Budweiser” sign and the black light hanging on the wall behind her. Her teeth were
glowing an unnatural white in the light, and every piece of lint on her black shirt stood out like a
3D movie.
“How interesting that you both were out in the bush that morning,” Kate said.
I nodded. “I know. Quite a coincidence.”
Amber sat beside Kate in the bench seat, facing the bar. She leaned forward in one fluid motion,
her black hair sweeping the table. “Sarah. Look who just walked in.” I turned in my seat. “And
he’s coming right over—”
“Mind if I join you?” asked a familiar voice, before I’d even had a chance to look.
I turned and smiled at Evan. “Sure.”
He pulled a stool up to our table, his arms rippling with the movement. His very presence
seemed to heat the air around me, his cologne eclipsing the bar smell of dirty jeans, stale beer
and desperation.
I glanced at Kate and Amber, who both stared at him, bright-eyed. His dark fitted jeans
hugged his legs, the denim slung low across narrow hips. A black t-shirt made of a material I
couldn’t identify hinted of the peaks and valleys of muscle beneath and a single silver chain
with a dog-tag hung at his neck, a crest emblem engraved on it with the name Valente. This guy
would look good in a burlap sack. Or nothing.
“You remember Kate and Amber from the campground?” I asked. They nodded in
acknowledgement and exchanged niceties. Then Amber and Kate excused themselves and hit
the dance floor. They’d been dancing together since we’d become bar age, both of them with the
attitude that they weren’t about to wait around for a guy to ask.

Evan and I watched as they twirled each other around, the only people dancing in the
whole bar. Then they attempted to two-step, each of them fighting to lead. Goofballs.
I turned back to Evan. “How are you?”
He flashed that thousand-watt smile. “I’m great. You?” He inched closer and the
atmosphere around my head seemed charged, like a swelling electrical storm. A shiver traveled
through my body.
“Fine, thanks.” I smiled.
“You look great.” He gestured to my outfit.
I looked down at my jeans and a loose white shirt and glanced back up at him, cocking
my eyebrow. “Thanks?”
“What? Not used to compliments?”
“Not when I’m dressed like a slob, no, not really.”
He rolled his eyes. “You look awesome. Seriously. Want to dance?”
I stared at him, half-expecting he was kidding. But his face showed no trace of a joke.
I glanced at the dance floor where Kate and Amber had begun to dance hip hop to the country
I turned back to him. He held out his hand, across the table. Reluctantly, I took it and he
led me to the dance floor where Amber and Kate made room for us, their expressions barely-
muted surprise. People rarely danced in Slave Lake. Except for Amber and Kate, of course.
Evan placed his palm in my right hand and set his other hand on my waist. I glanced up at a
set of smoldering eyes and immediately looked away, his gaze too intense. Unfortunately, by
looking away, I realized that every single person in the bar was staring at us. Some people, who
should have had their backs to us, had actually turned around on their stool to gawk. I felt like a
fish in a fishbowl.
Evan leaned down, his breath caressing my cheek. I caught a silky coil of his scent, a
rich, musky fragrance of expensive cologne, soap and his own unique smell. It was addictive.
The hand on my waist snaked around to my back, pulling me closer. Heat radiated over my
entire body as we began to move in slow, gentle circles. When the song came to an end, my arm
fell from his shoulder. His hands didn’t move.
“One more?” he asked as the music transitioned to a faster song, modern country with a
dance beat. Kate and Amber were already dancing to it in a way that looked more fitting for a
city club, Amber’s arms reaching up and over her head, hips swinging. Kate had her own little
groove going alongside her.
“Sure,” I said.
He smiled and set his hand back on my waist, and suddenly we were in the fastest two-
step I’d ever danced in my life. We moved around the dance floor at a dizzying pace, spinning
circles around Kate and Amber who were laughing out loud watching us.
He twirled me several times, only to end up back in that break-neck, two-stepping pace
once again. Now I was giggling to the point of breathlessness, my head spinning from the four
shots I’d just downed and my racing pulse. He spun me three more times, and when the song
ended, he lowered me into a long dip.
With his arm around my back, I was gently pulled up, our bodies touching from torso all
the way down, so that even the tips of our shoes connected. I looked into his face, expecting to
see a grin, but was met with a burning look that made my heart stutter and my breath catch. The
whiskey on his breath was all I could think of, the heat of his mouth, so close to mine.

Then a sensation folded over me. A soft lethargy, like I was levitating, weightless. My
eyes closed, and explosions of purple and blue light flashed behind my eyelids. I relaxed into the
“Are you okay?” Evan asked. I opened my eyes. He peered down at me, forehead
wrinkled with concern. His skin was flushed bright pink.
My lungs began to re-inflate as my entire body tingled like I’d just had the best orgasm of
my life.
Had he even kissed me? I licked my lips, but there was no taste of whiskey, no evidence
of his mouth on mine. Obviously I’d had one too many shots. And yet, I felt perfectly lucid, his
gorgeous face crystal clear before me.
“Uh…I’m fine,” I said, my voice breathy. There had to be an explanation. Like maybe
I was losing my mind. Or maybe my fainting spells were starting to happen again, ever since
the stressful Skinwalker incident. Whatever it was, right now I had to make sure this perfect
specimen of a man in front of me did not think I was a raving lunatic. I forced myself to speak,
my mind scrambling for small-talk. “I…I had no idea you could dance like that.”
The concerned look faded, and he flashed his perfect teeth. “Thanks. You’re not too bad,
I dropped my hand from around his shoulder and backed up. He let go of me slowly, as if
with reluctance.
“Come on. I need a drink,” I said, motioning back to the bar where Amber and Kate had
just sat down. We veered toward them.
Evan made eye contact with the bartender who nodded at both of us. “Scotch, on the
rocks, please. What are you drinking?”
“I’ll have a Long Island Iced T—”
“Who’s he?” A guy’s voice said, close enough that I cringed from the volume. I whipped
Jeff Hansen. Town drunk that never seemed to do much of anything, other than sit in the
bar, hit on locals and look pissed off. And boy, did he look pissed off. Emotions rolled off him
like jagged pieces of glass, hurt and anger all twisted up into one gigantic ball of irritation.
“He’s cool, Jeff. He’s with me,” I said. My heart started to pound as I remembered the
last time Jeff had picked a fight. He’d bitten a guy’s ear and torn part of it right off.
Jeff stared at Evan, his teeth exposed like he was snarling.
“Is he treating you right, Sarah?”
“It’s all good, Jeff,” I said.
“You think you’re pretty tough?” Jeff said through gritted teeth. He stepped forward and
poked Evan in the chest. Evan was pushed slightly off-balance, and he took a step backward.
My stomach clenched. “Jeff, I said it’s cool.”
Evan straightened up. He had at least four inches on Jeff and well over thirty pounds. Jeff
stepped back, and the sickly-sweet smell of weed came wafting off of his ratty jean jacket.
Evan looked down his nose at Jeff. “Back off, man.” His jaw muscles popped in and out,
and his hands balled up at his sides. The only thing Jeff had going for him was a bad attitude and
liquid courage.
“Shut up, asshole!” Jeff slurred, a fine mist of spittle burst from his mouth and rained
all over us. Jeff turned his head and flashed a snide grin, probably to impress his buddies who
watched the spectacle along the sidelines of the bar.

“Jeff, stop it!” I said. Jeff ignored me completely, staring at Evan. I reached for Evan’s
hand, wound my fingers through his and tugged. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”
Evan nodded, and we strode toward the exterior door. I glanced back to see Jeff running.
He ran straight into Evan, knocking him forward.
Evan hit the crash bar of the metal door, his body weight forcing it wide open so that
it squeaked when the hinges were pushed to their limit. My heart jumped into my throat as he
stumbled and fell onto the cement outside. Immediately, he righted himself and jumped back to
his feet.
Jeff smiled, eyes flashing. “I bet that hurt, didn’t it, tough guy?”
I ran toward Jeff. “Stop it! Just leave him alone!”
Jeff smiled at me. “Aww, you’re getting your little bi-otch to fight for you.” Then he
turned back to Evan. “Tell you’re ho to shut her pie-hole, or I’ll shut it for her.”
“You’re going to wish you’d never said that,” Evan said, his voice a low, warning growl.
Jeff snorted. “You’re in my town. You’re gonna regret having a mouth.” His arms rose above his
head in some kind of attempt to look intimidating, but to me he looked like a bird about to take
“Stop it, Jeff.”
Stepping forward, Jeff hurtled his fist toward Evan’s face but Evan snatched his clenched
fist mid-air. I lunged toward them, placing one hand on Evan and the other hand on Jeff’s jacket.
Instantly, the atmosphere around my head changed, filling with static.
The lights above the entryway flickered, humming like dying bees before building into
a sizzling pulse. With a bang, the lights exploded in a rainfall of glass shards. I ducked to shield
my face.
I opened my eyes and gasped. Jeff lay crumpled on the ground, his torso folded inward,
his limbs pulled into a fetal position, moaning as he clutched his stomach. Then his face went
slack, and his eyes rolled back into his head. Why was he on the ground? And why did he look
like he’d been knocked out cold?
I glanced around, but all I could hear was the retreating sound of footsteps running
outside, the parking lot no longer lit up by the overhead light.
“Evan?” I called out.

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1 comment:

Joanne Brothwell said...

Thanks for having me, Cami!

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