If you love romantic suspense or if you’re a Criminal Minds junkie, you have got to get your hands on Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice series! Both incredibly sexy and suspenseful, this series is a must-read. And did you know they’re available to listen to on audiobook?
About COLD FEAR
2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award For Excellence In Mystery/Romantic Suspense finalist and Bookseller’s Best Award finalist.
A relentless FBI profiler hunts a vicious killer.
When old evidence turns up on a fresh corpse, ASAC Lincoln Frazer is determined it won’t delay the execution of a convicted serial killer. But when more young women are brutally slain, it becomes clear—this new killer is intimately familiar with the old murders.
A dedicated emergency physician hides a dark secret.
Former Army Captain Dr. Isadora Campbell helped her mother conceal a terrible crime. After her mother’s death, Izzy resigned her commission and returned to the Outer Banks to raise her rebellious teenage sister. But it doesn’t take long for Izzy to suspect that someone knows exactly what she did, all those years ago.
If they work together, maybe no one else will die.
With pressure mounting to reopen the old case, Frazer will use any means possible to catch the killer. Thrust together during the investigation, he and Izzy find themselves reluctantly attracted to one another, and begin an affair. Meanwhile the killer is much closer than they think. Izzy’s confession of her secret drives Frazer away as he struggles with her deception. By the time he realizes he’s fallen in love with the stubborn woman, the killer has her. Now the race is on to save Izzy, and any chance of a future they might have together.
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Read an excerpt from the first chapter of COLD FEAR:
Helena Cromwell allowed herself to be dragged toward the top of the tallest dune that edged the northern tip of Crane Island.
“Where are we going?” she demanded.
“You’ll see. Come on, scaredy cat.” Jesse Tyson, high school quarterback and her crush of the last six months, had to shout to be heard over the noise of the storm.
“It’s too dark to see anything.” That was a lie. It was pitch black but her eyes had adjusted to the night and the full moon provided short blasts of silvery light that lit up the world whenever the clouds parted for more than a few seconds.
A shadow moved in the periphery of her vision and she whipped her head around, jerking to a stop. “Did you see something?” she yelled.
Jesse tried to pull her forward, but she dug in her heels. Was someone out there? A shiver tip-tapped down her spine. She peered hard into the night, but when the moon reappeared there was only blowing sand and violently lashing grass.
“There’s no one there. Come on, Helena,” Jesse insisted.
Of course there was no one there. It must have been a trick of the light, or the storm making her nerves dance like Mexican jumping beans. She let Jesse drag her another few steps. No one else would be crazy enough to be out here in this weather, especially on New Year’s Eve—she rolled her eyes. This was a stupid idea, and if her dad found out she was here, or that she’d lied about being at Kit’s tonight, he’d kill her.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Jesse taunted.
“Same place yours is gonna be if our parents find out where we are and what we’re doing,” she grumbled.
“We haven’t done anything, yet.” Jesse’s dark eyes glistened in the darkness.
Her heart gave a little flutter and she swallowed hard. Oh, my. And that was why she was out on the dunes even though she knew better.
The fact they’d both been drinking alcohol wouldn’t go over well, either. Not that her dad was ever going to find out. He’d ground her for a year and it wasn’t just because she’d lied about where she was going, or was out with a boy. No one was supposed to be on the dunes at Parson’s Point. Her dad worked for Land Management at the Department of Natural Resources and took this kind of trespassing very seriously. The area was part of a stabilization experiment they were conducting to try and protect the Outer Banks from further erosion.
She knew the spiel by heart. If he found out it wouldn’t matter that she was his daughter, in fact, that would make the punishment worse.
The hand that pulled her along was confident and strong, not allowing her to baulk or change her mind. She started to slip backward in the loose sand, but Jesse grasped her tighter and hauled her with him. She couldn’t help but be impressed by all those gorgeous muscles.
Together they staggered over the top of the beach ridge and slid down the other side, sand flying in every direction. She squealed with fright when they stumbled to their knees in the valley between dunes. Then she started giggling hysterically.
“Idiot.” She shoved his arm. Jesse took both her hands in his and she could feel him staring at her in the darkness. For a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but instead he flashed her a grin—the one that had all the girls in high school swooning—and pulled her to her feet. They climbed up the next, shorter dune and landed near the top, lying side-by-side in the sand. Something dug into her thigh and she shifted away from it, closer to Jesse.
The wind howled and she shivered.
“You cold?” It was now officially January and blowing a frickin’ gale. “A little.”
Jesse shrugged out of his down jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. “What about you?” she asked, even though she was grateful for the body heat still trapped inside the fabric.
“I’m fine.” Wide shoulders brushed hers as he shrugged. Eighteen years old and a star athlete, he wore a red plaid shirt over a bright white t-shirt and jeans. “I dragged you out here. I don’t want you to die of exposure before I even steal a kiss.”
Helena shot him a sideways look. Over the last few months she’d caught him staring at her a few times, but he’d been dating someone from the mainland. The girl had finally broken it off with him on social media—beotch—and just before Christmas, he’d asked Helena to go with him to the New Year’s Eve party his friend was hosting. She’d been both thrilled and nervous the entire Christmas break. Now she was here. Squeezed up tight against him and him talking about kisses. Her cheeks bloomed with heat and she wanted to fan herself, but didn’t dare lest he think she was a total dork.
She was a total dork.
Jesse reached out in front of them and parted the sharp blades of grass that blocked their view, revealing an endless swath of beach, and miles and miles of crashing waves. God, it was beautiful. And so was he.
The ocean merged with the sky in a black abyss. The occasional flash of a lighthouse beacon cut through the otherwise impenetrable gloom. Jesse wrapped his right arm across her back, his hand hooking her waist and pulling her closer. Helena’s mouth went as dry as the sand she lay in. Attraction mixed with the two tequila shots she’d downed at the party before he’d dragged her out here. Her nerves sizzled. All she could think of was his hand on her waist, his hard body pressed snug against hers.
Would he try to kiss her? Would she let him? How far would she let him go? She squeezed her thighs together, a little shocked that she was even thinking about making out with Jesse Tyson.
She’d never had a boyfriend, unless you counted holding hands in third grade. She wasn’t one of the “popular” girls in school. Jesse made her nervous because she liked him and didn’t want to look like an idiot for going out with the best looking guy in school.
Why had he asked her out? Was it a dare? She wasn’t that pretty. Her best friend Kit was way prettier than she was, and smarter. Did Jesse think she was easy? Is that why he’d brought her out here? She frowned.
She pushed the uncertainty away. Kit kept telling her she was beautiful and to relax and enjoy herself, to have a little faith. Maybe she should actually listen to her friend for a change.
Helena’s breath caught as a twenty-foot wave smashed onto the beach, and made the gulls cry out stridently as they fled to safety. Storms made her nervous. She’d grown up with them, but feared the sea was going to wash away her house and drown them all in their sleep. That’s what happened when your dad spouted environmental doom and gloom at every mealtime.
They’d been lucky this time. The storm had skirted the Carolinas and was headed toward Maine and Newfoundland. There was another one on the horizon but it was that time of year. Jesse’s warm hand slipped a little lower on her waist and found the place where her t-shirt met her jeans. His fingers played beneath her waistband as if looking for bare skin.
How had this happened? Her. On a date with the high school quarterback?
“What do you think?” He had to shout to be heard over the howling gale and the fierce roar of the ocean. Hardly romantic, but his laughter was so infectious it took a moment to realize he was talking about the storm, not being with him.
“It’s terrifying,” she admitted with a grin. “But,” she watched another wave pile-drive the shore. “It’s also thrilling—exhilarating. There’s an energy to it…”
“I know, right?” The arm tightened on her waist. “It’s as if there’s electricity sparking through the air. The sea is so rough you know if it caught you you’d never get out alive.”
“And that excites you?” Maybe the guy was nuts. Maybe that’s why he asked her out.
“The power of it.” He looked at her then. Leaned closer so their lips were only an inch apart. “You know what really excites me?”
She raised an unimpressed brow that he probably couldn’t see in the dark. If he gave her a cheesy line she was out of here.
“Kite boarding.” His warm breath brushed against her lips—then he kissed her.
The wind wailed spookily above them but she didn’t notice the weather anymore. Her heart banged her ribs like a hollow drum. Jesse turned her so they were facing one another and took her face gently between his hands. Then he kissed her again, not overly confident, but his lips were firm, warm, not wet or sloppy, feeling their way over her mouth, searching for something.
He tasted very slightly of beer, but also of mint. Curious, tempted, she opened up to him and he took the kiss deeper. Then his tongue touched hers and she jumped.
“Sorry.” She grinned as she pulled back.
A weird huffing noise had her turning. She let out a strangled gasp as a dark figure loomed behind them. Terror squeezed her heart so hard, pain spasmed along her arm.
“What the hell?” Jesse yelled.
Before her frozen limbs could react, the figure lifted something over his head and brought it down with ferocious force. It made a horrific sound as it connected with Jesse’s head.
“Jesse!” she screamed. She grabbed him by the shirt but he lay there, heavy and limp. She tried to shove at the attacker’s legs but he was so much bigger than she was. Run! She scrambled down the dune, trying to scream for aid, but the man swung the object he held sideways, like an axe, and the flat end of it caught her on the side of the head.
A scream rent the air and she realized, almost surreally, that she was the one screaming.
About Toni Anderson
New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.
Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.
If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).