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Something sinuous in the water brushed against Paige’s knee. She jerked her leg away. What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand. Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers. Hair? She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out. Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night—and finds herself face to face with...
Something sinuous in the water brushed against Paige’s knee. She jerked her leg away. What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand. Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers. Hair? She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out. Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night—and finds herself face to face with death. Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice. In Violet Dawn, hurtling events and richly drawn characters collide in a breathless story of murder, the need to belong, and faith’s first glimmer. One woman’s secrets unleash an entire town’s pursuit, and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.
Sleep, that nurturing, blessed state of subconsciousness, eluded her again this night. Almost 2:00 a.m., and rather than slumbering bliss, old memories nibbled at her like ragged-toothed wraiths.
With a defeated sigh she rose from bed.
Wrapped in a large towel, she moved through the darkened house, bare feet faintly scuffing across worn wood floors. Out of her room and down a short hall, passing the second bedroom - barren and needing to be filled - and the one bathroom, into the small kitchen.
She unlocked the sliding glass door. Stepped outside onto the back deck. The grating rhythm of cicadas rose to greet her. Scents from the woods - an almost sweet earthiness - wafted on a slight breeze.
The dry Idaho air was still warm.
A large hot tub sunk into the left corner of the deck was her destination - a soothing womb of heat to coddle and comfort. There, looking out over the forested hills and Kanner Lake, Paige could feel sheltered from the world. The closest neighbor on either side was a good quarter mile away.
But first, captivated by the night, she padded to the edge of the deck's top step and gazed up at the heavens.
A sliveredmoon hung askew, feeble and worn. Ice chip stars flung themselves in all directions. The Big Dipper tipped backward, pouring into Kanner Lake, which seemed to brood under the spangled sky. Across the sullen waters a few downtown lights resolutely twinkled.
Intense yearning welled so suddenly within Paige that she nearly staggered in its presence. She clutched the towel tighter around her body, swaddling herself. The universe was so vast, the world so small. A mere speck of dust, Earth churned and groaned in the spheres of infinity. Upon that speck, mothers and fathers, children and friends laughed and cried and celebrated one another. No bigger than dust mites they were, compared with the vastness of space. Their lives, their loves - insignificant.
So why did she long to be one of them?
Paige stared at the downtown lights across the water. In eight hours she would return there, among the families and the lovers. Surrounded by people who belonged. Separated from them by a mere two feet of counter space ... and a chasm. Behind the Simple Pleasures counter on Main Street, she would sell gift items and pretty home accessories to tourists and local residents. Parents with tagging children, couples, and friends. Sometimes from the corner of her eye she would watch them shopping, especially the young women. Pointing out an oil lamp candle to a girlfriend, exclaiming together over a glitz-studded handbag. And something inside her would swell and ache like bruised skin. God knew she wanted a friend like that more than anything else in the world, someone as close as a sister -
Stop it, Paige.
She lowered her chin and gazed at her feet. Slowly she turned away from the lake and town.
God, if You're up there, send me friends. Send me a sister - someone lonely, someone with a childhood as miserable as mine.
Her daily prayer. The one she'd brought with her to Kanner Lake. The one that had kept her going ever since she fled the Williams family hometown in Kansas.
Not that she deserved an answer.
As she edged across the deck, Paige consoled herself that all would be well. She might be parentless and alone, but wouldn't people expect a twenty-five-year-old to be capable of making friends? She'd settled in Kanner Lake only a month ago. She would make a life here, build her own family to love -
Your sister is coming very soon.
The stunning thought filled Paige's mind as forcefully as if the words had been shouted. Paige blinked, drew to a halt. For a moment she couldn't move. Could only tilt her head, listening. She must have imagined it.
But no. The knowledge bloomed within her all the more, as captivating as a vibrant flower in the desert. Her new friend, her sister, would soon enter her life. How Paige knew this, she couldn't begin to fathom. Where had such a strong premonition come from? Was it God's voice she'd heard?
She drew a hand across her forehead, anticipation mixing with perplexity. Whatever it was - God, fate, or some other force in the universe - she shouldn't question it. What if the power took back its promise as quickly as it had been sent?
Paige shivered in the warm night. She crossed to the hot tub, seeking its heat, her mind still singing with The Promise. What would her sister-friend be like? Had she grown up in Kanner Lake, or would she too be a newcomer? What kind of childhood had she experienced? What had happened in her life at age seven? Ten? In her teenage years? All these experiences - and the girl's secrets - Paige would soon share. They would encourage each other, do things together.
She would protect this "sister" with her life.
Paige reached the sunken hot tub, which protruded from the deck about one foot. A heavy vinyl cover, divided down the middle, rested over the tub, protecting its heat. Letting her towel fall, Paige leaned down and used both hands to fold back the cover, revealing half the water. No need to take the cover all the way off. It was heavy, and the tub was large enough that even half of it provided her with plenty room to relax. Inviting steam rose into her face. She would not turn on the jets - she never did. She wanted quiet solace, not roiling waters, as she thought about The Promise.
Paige held on to the smooth side and stepped into the tub. At that end a "couch" seat, formed like a recliner, ran its length. There she lay back, sinking up to her neck in the hot water and pillowing her head against the black vinyl headrest. She closed her eyes. Stretched out her legs and floated her arms in the warmth, her mind still filled with the prophetic words.
Her thigh tickled. Paige flicked her fingers over the spot.
Amid her new hope, persistent ghosts of old memories materialized. Whispering of her days in despair, nights on the run. Even if you do find a sister, Paige, she too will be taken away.
No. Not this time. Paige gazed with rising determination at the silver-studded sky. She would cling to The Promise with every fiber of her being -
Something sinuous brushed against Paige's knee. She jerked her leg away.
What was that?
She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand.
Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers.
She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist.
Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.
Her body hit the deck with a wet thud. She rolled, whipped around to face the tub. Her eyes stabbed the black water. What was in there?
Paige pushed to her knees and cautiously leaned toward the hot tub.
A head surfaced.
Excerpted from Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins Copyright © 2006 by Brandilyn Collins. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 6, 2013
Well written with some good twists and turns. Each chapter changed perspective and most often a place in time (different year) which was actually very confusing at times and made it harder to follow. I think you have a good idea what is going on after ½ way through and can follow it better. Overall a good page turner that kept you guessing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 16, 2013
Posted May 24, 2012
Posted December 29, 2011
The whole kanner lake series is great. I read each book in just a few days. Very hard to put down. If you read this, be prepared to want to go on to the next one. Recommend for sure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2008
Posted December 8, 2007
Paige Williams finds herself in a terrifying situation and faces a horrible decision. She knows that any choice she makes will force worse circumstances upon her, but she has no idea of the danger in which she will entangle herself as her clumsy attempts to influence her future place her on a collision course with death. The newest thriller series by Brandilyn Collins starts with a shock, and Collins deftly weaves a tight plot that takes place within a twenty-four hour timeframe. While her earlier suspense novels evidence good writing and story lines, Violet Dawn showcases the author¿s finely honed skills in suspense writing, especially in the area of characterization. At the moment readers wonder about characters¿ skills or motives, Collins supplies the answers, showing great planning and forethought on her part. With the Kanner Lake Series, Collins launches into the realm of great inspirational suspense writing. I look forward to reading Coral Moon, the second in the Kanner Lake Series, which is already garnering rave reviews.
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Posted May 29, 2007
This book is the first I've read by Brandilynn Collins and she did not disappoint me. This suspenseful story kept me turning pages until late that night. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a good suspense. The hot tub scene in the first of the book gave me goose bumps for a good while.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2007
I have read many of Brandilyn Collins' books and can never get enough. Violet Dawn stars with suspense the very first page! It was absolutely a book you can not put down once you have started it. The characters are rich, the suspense tense and you will never guess the ending until you are there. This is one of Ms. Collins' best!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2007
Brandilyn Collins is an author you can trust for a consistent, strong read, and she doesn't disappoint in this first release in the Kanner Lake series. Violet Dawn blends many difficult techniques and makes them look effortless. The book provides a large cast of characters--as if the town itself is a character--and yet makes us care about the individuals central to the action. Collins is also excellent at weaving in scenes of backstory between current action, deepening the mystery and making us hungry for more. Her point of view shifts are deliberately placed to tighten the screws and the resolution highly satisfying. If you've never read anything by Collins, you're missing a treat.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2006
Violet Dawn lived up to the expectations that Web of Lies planted. Collins¿ work is billed as ¿seatbelt suspense¿ and not only is it a catchy tag-line it¿s a true discription of her body of work. On her web page Collins explores why she choose to write Christian suspense, saying: The question is¿why do I choose to write suspense? Why not romance, or historicals, or contemporaries¿something a little easier on the nerves? My mother wonders this too. She thinks I¿m getting more warped by the minute. She¿s probably right. My stories do tend to be¿intense. But the truth is, I have an amazing, fun freedom in writing Christian suspense. I get to tell all sorts of scary stories¿and inject the hope of God into them. That¿s the best of both worlds, if you ask me. Truth is, we do live in an evil world. But the truth doesn¿t end there, thanks be to God. The truth ends with the fact that God¿s power can help us live, even be victorious, amid this evil. Not to say bad things don¿t happen to good people. They do¿in real life, and in my books. It is to say that followers of Christ have been given the awesome authority to go before His throne and ask for help in times of trouble¿even big, bad trouble. Especially big, bad trouble. blcBang on Brandilyn! She nailed it. And she nailed one of the reasons I love her work so much. We do live in an evil world but with God¿s help we make it. And without sounding like a preacher she shows us how with every word she writes. And speaking of not sounding like a preacher, that¿s one of the things that really impresses me about the way Collins writes. Faith is interwoven throughout the book, subtle and honest, rather than presented in paragraphs of exhortation. Way to go woman!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2006
What a treat! Brandilyn Collins raises the bar with Violet Dawn, first in the Kanner Lake Series. Her characters are warm, quirky and lovable. Very spooky hot tub scene, too! You won't want to miss this book (and probably not the rest of the series, either)!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2006
Brandilyn Collins has done it again! She grabs the reader with a heart-stopping opener and doesn¿t let go until the heartwarming resolution in the final chapter. Paige Williams has run to the small Idaho town of Kanner Lake to escape her past. All she wants is a sister, someone who will be close to her and share her dreams. When a relaxing hot tub turns into horror, her peaceful hiding place is threatened. The choices Paige makes to protect herself cause even more problems. Struggling to guard her fragile new life, and yearning for love and family, Paige¿s courage against impossible odds endears her to the reader. Collins, a prolific novelist, is a master of thriller romances with an inspirational touch. Her characters are fully developed and interesting and her plot twists are always original and exciting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2006
Paige Williams arrives in Kanner Lake looking for all the things she'd always wanted. A family. A friend. The feeling of belonging. Unable to sleep one night, Paige decides to take a long soak in her hot tub only to discover the floating body of the resident movie star. Paige does the unthinkable and the town of Kanner Lake is rocked on its heels. Although I found Brandilyn's 'Violet Dawn' a little more predictable than her Hidden Faces series, this book is every bit as much of a page turner. The characters feel real, with human quirks. The villain every bit as evil. This is definitely a book to read when you have a chunk of time. You won't want to put it down. - Cynthia M. Hickey, authorWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2006
The characters of Violet Dawn (Book 1 of the Kanner Lake series) drew me into their lives immediately. Written by Brandilyn Collins, Violet Dawn plunks us down in the small town of Kanner Lake as we wonder who put the dead body in Paige's hot tub. The dead woman was a former movie star and no one in town seemed to care that she was missing and presumed dead. But justice must be served. Despite dealing with deep personal problems of his own the Chief of Police doesn't leave any stone unturned as he investigates. Who could be responsible? Was it the least likely suspect? Or was it...? The investigation speeds up and as the story comes to an end the twists and turns in this tightly woven and fast-paced suspense will leave you breathless!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 6, 2006
Brandilyn Collins always warns us to remember to breathe, but sometimes it just isn¿t possible¿especially when you¿re right in the middle of her newest thriller, Violet Dawn. From the first scene, when Paige Williams eases into the hot tub on her deck overlooking Kanner Lake in the Idaho woods, only to find that the tub is already occupied by a floating corpse, to her terrifying confrontation with a man who spends his time dreaming up new and more painful ways to commit murder, the suspense is relentless. If you enjoy an edge-of-your-seat page-turner, it doesn¿t get any better than this!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 5, 2006
Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins takes suspense fiction to a new level. From the opening sentence to the last page this book will keep you wondering . . . and looking behind you! . . . Paige Williams moves to Kanner Lake to start a new life and leave a horrid past. In the dark of a sleepless night she seeks solace in the warmth of her hot tub. Instead, she finds terror, death. And in one moment of stark panic makes a decision that will affect her life and the lives of all the residents of Kanner Lake. The quaint tourist town is turned upside down as police search for the missing celebrity, Edna San. Paige trusts no one, not even her fledgling faith in God. When evidence points to her, must she battle the evil alone as she has all her life? . . . Brandilyn has done it again. When she labels it 'seatbelt suspense' she is not joking. Open this book when you have time to read. You won't put it down. The rich characters, mystery and danger will keep you turning pages. I guarantee you will never look at a hot tub the same way. And, as with each of her books, remember to breathe. Chandra Lynn SmithWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2006
As an reader who inhales Brandilyn's suspense, I was excited and a little nervous to pick up a copy of Violet Dawn. It is the first book in the Kanner Lake series, with a different ensemble feel than the Hidden Faces series. Kanner Lake is a idyllic fictional town set in Idaho. A perfect tourist resort, Paige Williams believes it is the place to escape her past. When her past catches her, she throws herself on a crazy ride to try to escape its clutches. Some of her angst is of her own creation, but I found all of her actions believable, even as I wanted to scream at her 'don't do that.' It's a 24 hour roller coaster ride, with flashes to the past with another character Rachel. At first these backward glimpses give you as the reader a chance to catch your breath. But as you near the end, the plots collide increasing the pace of the story. When I read suspense, I race the author to see if I can figure out who's doing it before it's revealed. Violet Dawn was filled with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing even when my gut started leaning in a direction. I highly recommend this book to lovers of tight suspense.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2006
Another hit for Brandilyn Collins. I read the book in four and a half hours. The plot takes you on a ride of danger and suspicion. Characters with depth will have you rallying for them or hating them. Writing which turns the pages for you makes this book a great read. Can't wait for the next one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Kanner Lake, Idaho is a picturesque out of the way resort town ninety minutes to Canada where twenty-five years old Paige Williams settles to disappear from her past. Still in spite of this haven, she does not sleep well as the shadows frighten her. Her insomnia sends Paige to her hot tub for a soothing dip. She enters only to be greeted by her hand touching and pulling the hair of a corpse. Paige debates calling the police, but knows that even if local law enforcement proved trustworthy, which she assumes they are not from her experience with cops, the call would bring the media and her past out into the open. Paige¿s past has most likely found her feeling isolated with no one to turn to, Paige knows she must get her act together, do something with the body of ancient movie legend Edna San, and decide on whether to fight against an overwhelming deadly opponent or flee even though she has nowhere to go if they found her here. Praying for a miracle, Paige begins her first baby steps in her latest life and death struggle. --- The above paragraphs describe the opening action that sets the tone of a terrific suspense thriller as the audience feels the trepidation and apprehension that almost paralyzes the beleaguered heroine. The atmosphere is foreboding as the normally serene locales coax the reader into anticipating horrible occurrences. Paige keeps the first Kanner Lake tale in focus though other well designed subplots including a flashback to a child augment the prime theme of a woman in trouble. Fascinatingly, readers are not sure by whom only that her past, which slowly is provided, has returned with deadly intent. This is one author worth reading if VIOLET DAWN is any indication of her novels as newcomers like this reviewer will seek out her Hidden Faces series. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2006
I am not a reader of suspense. I'm the self-dubbed secretary of The Big Honkin' Chicken Club (Deb Raney and Robin Lee Hatcher are the President and Vice President, although loyal fans of Brandilyn's women's fiction). My mistake came when I auditioned for the Kanner Lake town blog (be watching blogdom for the Scenes and Beans blog). I had to read the book. What a ride! Breathless (yes, I forgot to breathe) as a victim running from her stalker, I sprinted¿literally flying from a scary page to scary page. But Collins is a high-caliber writer. So much so that I couldn't put the book down until I turned the last page. Okay, I'll admit it¿I cheated¿at one point, I had to look ahead to the outcome, before I could go back and read every page. Hey¿I'm in The Big Honkin' Chicken Club¿we're allowed. However scary as it is, Violet Dawn has a great story and colorful characters you can't help but love. Well, all but the killer. Brandilyn Collins spices her seatbelt suspense with a dash of humor and heart-wrenching predicaments. Who knows? When the next book in the Kanner Lake series arrives, I may try again. Oh yeah ¿ don't forget to breathe.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.