Although this isn’t a Christmas story, I have been waiting for this book, the final book of the Brazilians. Thank you to Carmen Falcone for the ARC, it’s always a privilege to read a book before release.
What’s a girl to do when she finds herself receiving threatening letters? Well in Camila’s case she could turn to her brothers but her whole reason for leaving Brazil was to prove she could be on her own. Besides the publicity that would arise from her going to them or the police could jeopardize her future career as a therapist.
When Jaeger’s Aunt Gesa calls and tells him he has to take Camilla on as a client, he knew he couldn’t say no without incurring the woman’s wrath.
Threatening letters were one thing, but then Camilla comes home from work and finds her dog dead.
This is a favorite scene when Jaeger takes her to his home for the extra security.
A tiny brown Chihuahua ran to him, yapping and wagging its tail. He carried the dog to another area of the apartment, with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry.”
She blinked back more tears. Her heart raced at the memory of how happily Torto greeted her whenever she arrived at home, even if she’d been gone for a few minutes to get the mail. “It’s okay,” she lied, but her restrained voice betrayed her.
“This should have crossed my mind.” To the dog he said, “Sit down.”
She slid off her oversize bag, letting it fall on the floor, and then sat on one of the sofas. What a strange feeling. She’d lost both her parents, so she’d had firsthand experience on dealing with grief. Yet knowing about it did nothing to help her accept the loss of Torto.
“Some people say it’s just a dog, but he was my companion ever since I lived in Brazil. Having him here meant having a little piece of my family and homeland with me.”
“I…” He scratched his head. Would he offer his condolences again? He reached to his cabinet, grabbed a bottle of tequila and two shot glasses from another, and filled them up. “Here.” He walked to her, holding the glasses.
She accepted one, trying for her fingers to not brush his. She glanced at the clear liquid and realized that was the best he could offer her. Didn’t take a shrink to know Jaeger Bauer didn’t enjoy sentimental conversations, and maybe the alcohol would help numb the pain. Taking a deep breath, she lifted the glass to her lips and drank it all at once. A burning tightened her throat for a few seconds, and when she sat the glass on the coffee table her limbs loosened a notch.
“Better?” he asked, and she noticed he’d emptied his glass, too.
“Is that what you do not to feel?” she asked him, her brain barely catching up to the words escaping her mouth. He sat across from her.
“Not often. I train and work and deal with each day one at a time.”
“Whom did you lose?” she asked, composing herself on the sofa and crossing her legs. The way he talked about things had to mean he knew a thing or two about losing people.
He drummed his fingers on the glass. He shook his head. “Working for you will be easier if we don’t try to be friends.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem. Something tells me you’re not exactly an expert at making friends.”
He smiled. “You got that right.”
Why didn’t he smile more often? Okay, so it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky chuckle or anything. He curved his lips and slowly showed his straight white teeth, the grin sneaking up on him before he could dictate himself not to, she imagined.
“Okay, nonfriend…what’s up with the tiny dog? I’d picture you with a Rottweiler not with something that can fit in doll’s clothes.”
“He belonged to an old neighbor who passed away. I offered to walk the dog when she was sick, and after she died I thought she’d want me to keep it.”
“That’s sweet of you.”
“It’s not like I’m curing cancer. Pork Chop’s just a dog,” he said then, maybe realizing his words, sighed. “I’m sorry.”
She waved him off. “It’s okay. I understand what you mean. It’s still nice of you to care for him. And you can bring him to the living room. I promise I’ve run out of tears. Some warm interaction with another being would be good,” she said, then immediately regretted her moxie.
She avoided glancing at him and massaged her temples. Droga. What a crappy, crappy day. The night didn’t look much better either. She closed her eyes. Maybe she’d lied to him about the tears, she realized as a hot sting pricked her eyelids. No. She clamped her lips shut and tensed up her whole face, willing sadness away.
She felt something move around her, the weight in the sofa shift a bit. When she opened her eyes, she found him sitting next to her.
He put his hand on hers, and a sizzle traveled up her arm. “We’ll find who did this to your dog, Camila. I promise you.”
Carmen Falcone. Brazilian Surrender ARC (Kindle Locations 387-428). Kindle Edition.
Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband–living proof that opposites attract.
She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she’s not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.
She loves to procrastinate, so please indulge her and drop her a line. For more info, visit her website.