Novels by Renee Canter Johnson

Available March 24, 2017 

from Renee Canter Johnson…

Behind The Mask

An international intrigue set in Venice, Italy.

No one knows who the lady pulled from a Venetian canal is.  Even she doesn’t seem to know and the ball gown and period undergarments she was wearing give no clues.  hitting her head and oxygen deprivation have left her with amnesia.

Dr. Luca Viale is determined to find out her identity.  The bruises on her body appear to come from different times, convincing him that her situation was no accident.  Can he restore her memory before another attempt is made on her life?  Time is running out and his growing attraction to her is beginning to cause problems in both his personal and professional life.


Excerpt from Behind The Mask:

“Parli italiano?” he asked his patient as he approached her side.

“I don’t understand,” she replied.

Luca pulled at his white coat, running a hand down its buttoned front, buying time to gather his wits. It had been years since he had heard Lena’s voice or seen her smile, except in dreams. He was almost always taken by surprise when a suggestion of her suddenly appeared.

His patient had spoken in English and he responded likewise. “I am Luca Viale, the doctor in charge of your care.”

Continuing to stare at him, she repeated his name. “Dr. Luca Viale.”

“How are you feeling this morning?”

“I’m not sure. My head hurts.” She lifted a hand to the bandage covering a small part of her skull. Her lips crackled as they squeezed raspy words between them. “I’m sore all over. And it hurts to breathe. What happened to me?”

Shaken, and therefore, easily startled, Luca jumped at the sound of sudden movement behind him. Turning toward it, he realized it was just the nurse returning with ointment for his patient’s dehydrated lips. He had forgotten about her. He had forgotten about many things in the swiftness of the flashback.

Maria stepped between him and the patient, leaning close, applying the salve with a long cotton-tipped swab. She placed the paper cup of ointment onto the rolling tray before disappearing from his line of sight.

He took a breath and continued, keeping his voice as calm as he could manage. “You are in hospital after being fished out of the canal, signora. We feared you had been under too long to survive.” Having sensed emotion might try to creep in, he silently congratulated himself on his ability to keep his tone stoic.

“Canal?” she asked, after taking another long sip of the cool water.

“Do you recall what you were doing out on so dangerous a night?”

“Why was it dangerous?” She pressed her lips together, squishing the ointment into the crevices.

“The fog, signora. It was very thick right before you fell into the canal. Most people do not take risks in Venice during such low visibility.” There was a suggestion of culpability in his words that even he heard as they escaped him. His rawness was affecting his ability to remain objective.

“Venice?” Surprise rose in her voice. “Venice, Italy?”

“Yes, signora, you are in Venice, Italy.”

She looked off to the right, cocked her head to one side, and winced. “What am I doing in Venice?”

He assessed her confused expression, her brows arching upward. “We hoped you would be able to tell us.”

“I’m sorry. I…” She hesitated. “My memory doesn’t seem to be functioning right now.”

“That is to be expected. You were not only oxygen-deprived for quite a while, but it also seems that you hit your head. It may take a few days for all the signals in your brain to reconnect. It is enough for you to have awakened. We will fill in the gaps later.” He motioned for Maria, and they left the room, closing the door behind them.

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Herald Angels is Johnson’s third novel with The Wild Rose Press.


Sara Goode is leading an exciting life in New York until her radio talk show is cancelled. She heeds the advice of a homeless woman–who insists she speaks with angels–and returns to Bland, Virginia for Thanksgiving. But not everyone in the small town is happy to see her.

Sara learns there is more to forgiveness than just receiving, but granting it as well. It doesn’t hurt that she’s falling for the town’s most eligible bachelor, Luke Sterling, the handsome minister of her family’s church. Luke has his own connection to NYC. He also has rejection angst since going from “college football field hero” to “has been” overnight.

Can they face their fears and embrace love? Manhattan’s bright lights still call to Sara, and Luke’s fears of being rebuffed may just be too deep to overcome.

Excerpt from Herald Angels:

Stealing a cursory glance in her direction, the background beyond her mom’s profile was the same as it had been the last time she’d visited. It slid by in flashes of white saltbox houses dotting November’s gray-green landscape. Sara realized little was different in the appropriately named Bland, Virginia.

If duller, less vibrant now, perhaps the only change was in her perspective. Living in the city, energetic colors intersected all views, if just from red-soled heels entering yellow taxis beneath Broadway’s flashing neon signs. Maybe it was her current lackluster attitude or the fact she’d previously returned to Bland only during spring and summer when the alfalfa fields bloomed with emerald brightness and the deciduous trees formed shady canopies beneath the surrounding blue mountain ridges.

Nor had her mother changed much. Her fluffy hairstyle was certainly the same as it had been for years. It had only paled, growing lighter and lighter until now it was nearly white. She had accumulated more wrinkles around the eyes, weakening their sparkle—or was the duress Sara’s presence caused the more likely culprit to their reduced shine? She knew better than to mistake diminishing appearance for waning resilience.

While Sadie Goode might look fragile to the eye, her fortitude was as sturdy as Bland Chapel’s foundation—built on rock, circa 1819.

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The Haunting of William Gray is Renee Johnson’s second novel with The Wild Rose Press.  Her first, Acquisition, was released November 7, 2014, and The Haunting of William Gray launched November 11, 2015.

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Blurb for The Haunting of William Gray 

Can Madeline Waters capture a picture of the ghost William Gray believes is haunting him? Others have caught some shadowy figures on film at the Antebellum house, built in the eighteen hundreds on a privately-owned island, in Winyah Bay, South Carolina. A single photo would result in William granting permission for her to use the private journals of his long-dead ancestor and namesake, Captain William Gray, in her thesis research.

Madeline’s disbelief in the supernatural isn’t helpful and she wonders if the wealthy loner is suffering a mental collapse until she experiences the ghost of the Captain herself. Saving her from drowning, he floods her with the emotions she has longed for, and opens a dimension for her previously thought to be pure fantasy. Is it possible to fall in love with an apparition, or will she be able to aid in setting his spirit free? With help from a local Gullah woman’s knowledge of voodoo, the mystery unravels. In the process, William and Madeline’s hearts also become entwined.

Favorite Passage:

A long, cold finger wrapped around her cheek. Her heart palpitated in an uneven rhythm, drumming an odd cadence in her chest and causing sweat to bead along her forehead. She was frozen to the ground, unable to make her feet move as the strange wisp made chilly contact.

It moved along her arm and touched her hand as she watched it slipping through her flesh and bone, entering on one side and exiting on the other. A scream formed. It built, silently, and remained without sound, her entire vocal system shutting down.

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The links to purchase Acquisition from The Wild Rose Press:

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Blurb for Acquisition:

Amanda Lassiter, divorced and now married to her job, needs her first solo endeavor at managing an acquisition to go smoothly. With a promotion dangling, she heads to North Carolina where she is faced with the choice of doing the right thing or following her boss’s orders. Will the conflict spiral her downward into her previously defeated eating disorder?

The economy, among other issues, has forced Reece Jordan to accept the take-over of his company. For the benefit of his employees, he’s prepared to go toe-to-toe with the mogul behind the acquisition, but not with the beautiful, multi-layered woman sent in his place.

Temptations mount, secrets are revealed, and nothing turns out the way it was planned.

Favorite passage:

He reached toward her with his index finger, letting it caress her brow bone as he slid a single strand of her hair away from her face and around the curve of her eyebrow. He leaned in as though to kiss her cheek and she expected it, breathing heavily and slightly confused.

But his lips didn’t pause at her cheekbone. They continued to her ear where his breath stoked a fire within her as he whispered, “I never make promises I don’t intend to keep.” Each “p” sound brought with it a wisp of superheated air that ran the length of her body and circled inward.

The flesh of his face all but brushed her cheek as he pulled away. She couldn’t resist looking at him, into his prismatic blue eyes, flashing like a spring in the Yellowstone geysers.

Amanda stalled at a precipice of confusion, deeply drawn to him from a sexual perspective while deeply repulsed by the business at hand. How long they stood there she couldn’t say. It could have been seconds, minutes even. But it seemed an eternity. Two opposing rods, they kept each other near and yet far.

She licked her lips, a Freudian slip to be sure, and she knew he would gather its meaning and store it in a cup to be returned to her when she least desired it.

His mouth opened slightly, as though he intended to make the most of the moment, but somehow he managed to pull away and turn for the door.

Amanda didn’t stop him. She wanted him to leave. Another minute and she would have been powerless to prevent him from pursuing her promising mouth.

She remained standing until the door shut behind him. Then she collapsed in the chair, wishing the leather indentations in it were his body, caressing hers. She wondered how in the world a man had managed to get under her skin in this way—especially one she despised as much as he.

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