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Ms. Jackson will be giving away two copies of A Brother’s Honor today. The contest will run for a week. All you have to do is leave a comment and your email address. Easy peasy! Good luck!
A Brother’s Honor
by Brenda Jackson
Miniseries: The Grangers
Category: Contemporary Romance
Back of the Book
The Granger brothers left behind their family’s Virginia estate—and the bad memories it holds—years ago. But their dying grandfather’s request brings them home: to a failing business, a legacy of secrets and a deathbed promise to make things right.
As the eldest brother, attorney Jace Granger is determined to take responsibility for Granger Aeronautics, his family’s failing business. But the years of mismanagement seem impossible to untangle. As CEO, he hires a consultant to turn the company around. Smart, sexy Shana Bradford is the right person for the job—and the right woman to turn Jace’s world upside down.
But the passion between them is jeopardized when old secrets begin to emerge. A woman from Jace’s past suddenly reappears. And an explosive discovery changes everything Jace thinks he knows about his mother—and his father, who was convicted of her murder.
Jace Granger tried to leave his family history behind once before. But this time he needs to face the past…or risk losing his future.
Three brothers. One legacy. A lifetime of secrets.
A Brother’s Honor
by Brenda Jackson
Hoping it wasn’t obvious that he was watching the time, Jace Granger took a sip of his wine and looked straight ahead at the huge clock hanging on the wall, directly above the entrance of the upscale Los Angeles restaurant. He’d been there for exactly one hour and twelve minutes, and was biting at the bit to call it a night.
He appreciated his friend Alan Carter’s concerns about his solitary life, but blind dates had never been Jace’s thing, and he had known after the first ten minutes that he’d made a mistake by letting Alan talk him into one tonight. No doubt Angela Farlow was a looker—he would give her that, but so far it had been one hell of a night. For starters, she talked too damn much. She had a lot to say…a lot about practically nothing.
Jace took another sip of his wine and listened…or at least pretended to do so. The last couple of times he had tried interjecting his own thoughts and views, she had unabashedly cut them down, letting him know what she thought of any opinions other than her own.
Noticing a lull in the conversation, Jace shifted his gaze from the clock back to her and saw the sultry pout that touched her lips.
“Why do I get the feeling that I’m boring you?” she asked in a low tone.
Because you are, he was tempted to say. But being the gentleman that he was, instead he said, “On the contrary, I happen to find you anything but boring,” plastering a smile on his face. “In fact, I find you simply fascinating.” Now, that wasn’t a lie. He doubted there were many women like her. Hell, he hoped not.
“Well,” she said, smiling all over the place at the compliment. “I’ve talked enough about me. Now I want to hear about you. Alan tells me the two of you went to law school together and that, as a government attorney, you’re in charge of making sure the great state of California stays on a straight and narrow path.”
She rested her chin on her hands. “What made you want to work for the government instead of going into private practice? Alan said you graduated from UCLA at the top of your class.”
Jace forced his body not to tense, something that usually happened whenever he was questioned about his decision to work in the public sector instead of the private, where he could have become a millionaire if he’d set his mind to it. Little did she know he had been groomed for just that kind of life and had intentionally walked away a long time ago.
His shoulders mimicked a careless shrug before giving her the same spiel he gave anyone who had the audacity to inquire. Briefly and thoroughly, with a notso-smooth edge, he basically told her that he preferred working for the people instead of kissing asses for any amount of money. He really didn’t expect people to understand and didn’t really give a damn if they didn’t.
He took a sip of his drink and smiled inwardly. The woman was finally at a loss for words, and he understood her dilemma, honestly he did. She thought the same way his ex-wife did. Eve’s belief had been that the more money you had, the happier you were. All he had to say to that theory was bullshit.
It didn’t surprise him when his date suggested they end the evening. That was fine with him, since the last thing he wanted was to become involved with another woman who had the same mindset as his ex-wife.
An hour later, he was entering his condo, grateful the evening with Angela had ended and that his path wouldn’t cross hers anytime soon. He figured she was probably on the phone with Alan at that very moment, giving him a piece of her mind about setting her up on a blind date with a man who evidently hadn’t any plans of making anything of himself.
Jace pulled off his jacket and was about to take it to the closet and hang it up when his cell phone rang. He wondered if it was Alan calling him already. He checked caller ID and saw it wasn’t Alan but his grandfather. It had to be past midnight in Virginia, and he wondered why the old man was calling so late.
He frowned. It was not his grandfather’s deep, authoritarian voice but that of a woman. A woman whose voice he recognized immediately as the family’s housekeeper’s. “Hannah?”
“Yes, it’s me. You need to come home immediately.”
His heart nearly stopped at the thought of returning there, a place he hadn’t thought of as his home for years. “Why? What’s wrong?”
“It’s your grandfather. He’s had a heart attack, and it doesn’t look good. It’s serious, Jace.”
Jace drew in a deep breath. His strong, robust grandfather? Heart attack? But he knew Hannah. She had been housekeeper to the Grangers for years. She wasn’t one for theatrics or drama. If she said it was serious, then it was. He rubbed his hand down his face. “All right, I’m on my way.”
“What about your father, Jace? Can you get word to him?”
“Yes, I’ll contact Warden Smallwood right away.”
“All right. I tried calling Caden, but I couldn’t leave a message. His voice mail box is full, and I have no idea how to reach Dalton. He changes phone numbers probably more than he changes his underwear,” she quipped.
Jace couldn’t help but smile. Hannah was still Hannah. “I’ll get ahold of them, don’t worry.” He pushed to the back of his mind the memory of the heated argument between him and his brothers when they were together last year.
“But I am worried, Jace.”
He knew she was and he could hear it in her voice. The usual no-nonsense tone was diluted with distress. Something that was uncommon for his grandfather’s unflappable housekeeper. “Okay, just take it easy. We don’t need you in the hospital, as well. Granddad’s at St. Francis Memorial, right?”
“Yes, on the Ava Granger wing.”
“Okay,” he said, trying not to think about the fact that his grandfather was in the part of the hospital that had been dedicated to Jace’s grandmother over twenty years ago. Jace could remember that day well, especially the ceremony. They’d all been there. His grandfather, his brothers, his father…and his mother.
He immediately pushed the thought of his parents from his mind. To think about his mother meant remembering how she had died and that the law had decided his father had been the one responsible for ending her life.
“Jace, it will be good seeing you again, although I wish the circumstances of your coming home were different.”
He wished the circumstances were different, too. “I’ll catch the next available flight out, Hannah. Hold down the fort until I get there.” He clicked off the phone and immediately called the airlines. He knew how to reach his brother Caden, but getting in touch with Dalton would be a challenge.
Moments later, after securing a flight, he went into the bedroom to pack.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause for the man who has become one of the greatest saxophone players of all time, Caden Granger.”
Caden emerged on stage amid bright lights and faced the crowd that had packed the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This was a musician’s dream come true and a testimony that he had arrived. It seemed only yesterday when his first gig out of college had been at a small local watering hole in Austin. At the time, he’d been part of a band—The Depots.
The group disbanded a few years ago when most of the members decided to enter the private sector after marrying and starting families. Only Caden and two others continued to pursue their dreams, and now all three had become successful in their own right. Royce Billingslea was lead drummer with Unexpected Truth, a rock group whose last two records hit number one on the pop charts, and Robert Tyndale and his guitar were the opening act for Beyonce.
Caden smiled for his audience before lifting the sax to his mouth to belt out the first soulful number and get them in the groove. Then he would play a string of medleys to loosen them up before ending with several numbers that would have them not only letting their hair down but getting out of their shoes, as well.
He loved this. Performing. Stimulating the crowd while he himself became energized. Being on stage was always invigorating. Never a dull moment. And the ladies who paid top dollar for front-row seats were determined to make it worthwhile. A real kick to the ego…if you were a man who needed it. Luckily, he didn’t. However, that didn’t mean he didn’t appreciate their efforts in getting his attention. Whether it was wearing tops that showed more than an ample amount of cleavage, sitting with their legs wide-open, proudly flashing the fact they’d left their panties at home, or boldly licking their lips and swirling their tongues in a way that gave him more than an idea of what they’d like to do with their mouths if given the chance.
Unfortunately, they would be disappointed to know that when he played his sax, he tuned all of them out since his focus was on his music. Everything else became secondary. His music was and always would be his primary focus.
And it was only at this time that he allowed himself to be overcome with the one emotion he didn’t want to feel until now. The people who crowded the MGM Garden Arena were only listening to the music. However, he knew the unsung lyrics spoke of a pain that wouldn’t go away. It was pain that had been a part of his life for nearly fifteen years.
He would give anything…everything…to feel an ounce of his previous happiness. That was a state that eluded him at every turn, and if the way his life was going was any indication, it wouldn’t be anything he found anytime soon. He knew it and accepted it, but that didn’t make it right.
His life of happiness had ended the day his father had been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. No matter how many others believed differently, he knew Sheppard Granger was an innocent man, but he just couldn’t prove it.
Then there had been his teen years that had been snatched away from him—he and his brothers had been ostracized by people they’d known most all their lives. People hadn’t wanted their children to be friends with the sons of a criminal. And last but not least there was Shiloh, who had caused him the greatest pain of all.
So he played the music that went with his songs of lost love, lost friends and elusive happiness. The music always started out this way for him. Low-key with a melody that he felt all the way in his bones. But then it began stirring his soul, seeping through his bloodstream and becoming a cleanser, ridding his mind of so many painful thoughts. And as he continued to play his music, he found a semblance of peace from a past he couldn’t forget.
“You deliberately egged her on.”
“Excuse me?” Caden asked the woman who’d rounded on him. Chin up, spine straight, Rena Crews’s pupils flared with the look of a woman totally pissed. Caden had seen that look before, and frankly, he was getting tired of it.
He had brought Rena on as a guitarist in his four-piece backup band last year. The ensemble would join him on stage for a couple of songs midset. She was a damn good musician, and he admired her talent. What he didn’t like was her possessiveness.
They were lovers, and as far as he was concerned, that was all they were. She knew that, because he’d told her more than once that he wasn’t married to anyone, nor was he involved in a serious relationship. She claimed she understood, and if that was the case, then why the drama?
She crossed her arms over her chest. “That woman who was sitting in the front row, seat ten. You know the one I’m talking about.”
“Yes. What about her?”
“She had no right to sit there and all but strip in front of you. She unbuttoned her blouse nearly to the waist.”
Caden lifted a brow. “Is that why you were offkey?”
He saw her flinch and knew his observation had been a direct hit. Rena was a perfectionist, good at what she did. Being off-key even for a second wasn’t acceptable to her.
“Anyone would have…considering the circumstances.”
“I disagree. Neither Roscoe, Salem nor I were distracted. Only you.”
She was scowling when she said, “But surely you understand why.”
No, he didn’t, and he was a little confused as to why she thought he would. “If there had been a need, Rena, security would have handled it. The only thing I understand is what I assumed you understood, as well. We were lovers for a while and nothing more.”
She lifted her chin at an angle that more than told him she was pretty pissed. “Were lovers?”
“Yes. Were lovers.” He was letting her know that their affair was officially over, a thing of the past. “I told you in the beginning where I stood when it came to serious involvements or women who were looking for a commitment. You accepted my position.” Or so she’d claimed.
He rubbed his hand down his face, not believing he was having this conversation with her. It wasn’t as if he considered himself a playboy or anything; he just didn’t need or want a steady woman in his life for this very reason. It would take a special woman to put up with the long hours of practice, weeks of touring and groupies that came with those things. And then there was the fact that he didn’t want to share himself with anyone…other than in the bedroom.
She broke eye contact with him to snap closed her guitar case. “So now I know where you stand.”
“You should have known all along, Rena. So things end here and now. We go back to the way things were in the beginning. You stay in your bed, and I stay in mine.”
He paused a second and then added, “And what I do in mine and with whom is none of your business.”
He saw a flash of anger in her eyes, and when she started walking away, he fought back the feeling that he was behaving like an asshole. But he immediately convinced himself there was no reason for him to feel that way, since he’d told her up front how things were between them.
As soon as the door closed shut behind her, a little more forcibly than necessary, his cell phone went off. It was his private number. Few people had it.
Caden quickly pulled the phone from his back pocket and furrowed his brow when he saw it was Jace. It was unusual for his brother to call at this hour. Jace knew the best time to catch him was early in the mornings, before he headed out for the gym.
“Jace?” he said, after clicking on the call. “What’s up?”
“Hannah just called. It’s Granddad. He’s had a heart attack.”
*sigh* Have you read an author that makes you feel like you have come home? Brenda Jackson is that author for me. I will admit that I haven’t picked up a Brenda Jackson book in a while. Reading her latest made me realize that her books are my comfort food. And I missed my comfort food.
As most people know, I devour Harlequin books every month. I have my favorite lines to read and authors, too. Ms. Jackson took hold of me when I first read one of her Westmorelands (can’t remember if it was a Desire or Blaze) and then when I read her Steele series (one of the best series of books EVER), I knew that I could never get enough of her writing, characters and settings.
A Brother’s Honor brings me home again. Home to characters that I instantly care about, love and cheer for in romance. The Grangers are no exception. Jace, Caden and Dalton are brothers that have been dealt a lot when they were teenagers. Their dad was tried and convict of killing their mother. Raised by their grandfather and further ostracized by their friends growing up, coming home when their grandfather lays dying isn’t the homecoming that they had expected.
I will caution you dear readers, there are a lot of subplots going on with this book. We are introduced to the brothers, their potential love interests, the family secrets, the family business, the mystery of their dad’s denial to finding the real killer and most importantly the bond that the brothers have with each other. The suspense plot regarding the company plays out in a big way and I loved how it ended. I wasn’t prepared for it and I had that OMG moment when I read it. Didn’t see it coming and I loved it.
Jace and Shana are that couple that you read and from their first sentence together you know that there is nothing that can pull them apart. Not even a nasty ex-wife. Their chemistry from the start was HAWT but also very sweet. He sang to her when she slept. Yes, will he hummed but it was still sweet. They didn’t pull any punches with each other either. Their dialogue was honest and real. At times, forceful but also tender, raw and sweet.
I don’t want to give a lot away in my review because like I said there is a lot going on but Ms. Jackson never made me feel lost. It flowed and came together in the end. The secondary characters in the book aren’t window dressing either. They are well drawn out and essential to the story. Trust me, most of them we will see again and I can’t wait. Hannah in particular has her hands full. Plus, I want to see more of Shana’s dad and his lady love. Trust me, Ben and Mona are sweet together.
I can’t wait for Caden’s book next month. Plus, the mystery behind Shiloh and the photograph are really bugging me.
If you are looking for a good family driven contemporary look no further than Brenda Jackson. I have a new family to follow now and I finally found my way home again.
Brenda is a die-“heart” romantic who married her childhood sweetheart and still proudly wears the “going steady” ring he gave her when she was 15. Because she began believing very early in the power of love and romance, she can’t help but write stories with happy endings. She is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 70 romance novels and looks forward to increasing that number. She and her husband live in the city where they were born, Jacksonville, Florida, and have two sons. She has a B.S. in business administration and retired from a management position with a major insurance company.
She loves to weave love stories and it is the highlight of her day. She and her husband spend time together traveling and discovering romantic places she could use as settings in her books.
Brenda would love to hear from her readers. Write her at P.O. Box 28267, Jacksonville, FL 32226. You can also contact her through her e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.