Free Read: COLD FEAR by Toni Anderson

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! And luckily for you, COLD FEAR is available for free for a limited time!

 

ColdFear_ToniAnderson_FINALAbout 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.

Add COLD FEAR to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on COLD FEAR for free for a limited time:

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Did you know the first book in the Cold Justice series is available for free? Get your hands on A COLD DARK PLACE!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

 

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).

Website Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Pinterest

Laurelin Paige’s DIRTY FILTHY FIX – Review & Excerpt Tour

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Laurelin Paige, comes a sexy novella in her Fixed Trilogy Series…DIRTY FILTHY FIX, a new novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this amazing novella today!

 

 

About DIRTY FILTHY FIX:

I like sex. Kinky sex. The kinkier the better.

Every day, it’s all I think about as I serve coffee and hand out business agendas to men who have no idea I’m not the prim, proper girl they think I am.

With a day job as the secretary to one of New York’s most powerful men, Hudson Pierce, I have to keep my double life quiet. As long as I do, it’s not a problem.

Enter: Nathan Sinclair. Tall, dark and handsome doesn’t come close to describing how hot he is. And that’s with his clothes on. But after a dirty, filthy rendezvous, I accept that if we ever see each other again, he’ll walk right by my desk on his way to see my boss without recognizing me.

Only, that’s not what happens. Not the first time I see him after the party. Or the next time. Or the time after that. And as much as I try to stop it, my two worlds are crashing into each other, putting my job and my reputation at risk.

And all I can think about is Nathan Sinclair.

All I can think about is getting just one more dirty, filthy fix.

 

 

Grab your copy of DIRTY FILTHY FIX today!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon AU

Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laurelin Paige’s DIRTY FILTHY FIX – Review & Excerpt Schedule:

November 22nd

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Booked All Night – Review & Excerpt

Collector of book boyfriends – Review

Discrete Divas – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

I Can’t Help Where My Mind Goes – Excerpt

Kayns Book – Review

Les Chroniques Aléatoires – Review & Excerpt

Once Upon a Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Review

Romance as a first language – Review & Excerpt

Steamy Reads – Excerpt

The Book Boyfriend Addict – Review & Excerpt

November 23rd

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Booklovers For Life – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakes and bookshelves – Excerpt

Devilishly dirty book blog – Review & Excerpt

For the love of romance – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

Kindle Friends Forever – Review

Love & Lavender Book Review – Review & Excerpt

Mom’s Secret Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Read and Share Book Reviews – Review

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

November 24th

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review

Books 2 Blog – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Escape into a Booksite – Review

Feel The Book – Excerpt

ISCREAM BOOKS BLOG – Review

JaymeBooks – Review & Excerpt

Knotty Girl Reviews – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriend’s Couch – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

Sultry Sirens Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Torie’s Book Obsession – Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 25th

A Brit and a Yank – Excerpt

AC Squared Book Blog – Excerpt

Book Loving Fairy – Review & Excerpt

Crazy Daisy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

Francoise’s Reading Corner – Review & Excerpt

K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt

Loves Great Reads Blog – Excerpt

One-Click Chocolate Chick – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Sexy Vixen rEader – Review & Excerpt

November 26th

As You Wish Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Author Groupies – Review

Book Lovers Reviews and Reviews – Review

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Kari’s Book Reviews and Revelations – Review

Mama Likes to Read Book Blog – Review

Naturally Nerdy Books – Excerpt

Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

Smutty Book Friends – Review & Excerpt

Two peas in a pod – Review

November 27th

A British Bookworm’s Blog – Review

A Storybook Romance.net – Review & Excerpt

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

I’m A Book Shark – Excerpt

Jen’s Reading Obsession – Excerpt

Living In Our Own Story – Review & Excerpt

Meleth Bookaddicted – Excerpt

Once upon a romance – Review

Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt

The Heathers’ Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Smutbrarians – Review & Excerpt

November 28th

Alpha Book Club – Review

Blonde & Blue Reviews – Review

Book Breath babe – Review & Excerpt

Crystal’s Book World – Review & Excerpt

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review & Excerpt

Lamplight Review and Promotion – Review

Novel Addiction – Review

OMGReads – Review & Excerpt

Panty Dropping Book Blog – Review

Relentless book chics ramblings and reviews – Review & Excerpt

Star Angels Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Stranded in Books – Review

The Eeny Meanie Neen – Review

This Mom Loves Alphas – Review & Excerpt

November 29th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt

Amo’s Book Corner – Excerpt

Beneath The Covers Blog – Excerpt

Blushing Babes are up all night – Review

Book Lovers Obsession – Review

Bookalicious Babes Blog – Review & Excerpt

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

Kindle Crack Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Literary Gossip – Excerpt

Pervy Ladies Books – Review & Excerpt

Sip Read Love – Review

Sweet Sexy Escape – Review

The Divas Book Lounge – Review & Excerpt

True Story Book Blog – Review

November 30th

AC BOOK BLOG – Review & Excerpt

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

Bloggin With M. Brennan – Review

Jackie’s Book World – Review

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt

My YA NA Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Book Addict’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

V’s Reads – Review & Excerpt

Wrapped Up In Reading – Review & Excerpt

December 1st

Addicted 2 Romance – Review & Excerpt

All Books Obsessed – Review & Excerpt

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

Kick Back & Review – Review & Excerpt

MI Bookshelf – Review

The sweet life – Review

Two Book Pushers – Review & Excerpt

WickedGoodReads – Review

 

 

 

 

About Laurelin Paige:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Laurelin Paige’s DIRTY FILTHY FIX – Release Day Launch

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Laurelin Paige, comes a sexy novella in her Fixed Trilogy Series…DIRTY FILTHY FIX, a new novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this amazing novella today!

 

 

About DIRTY FILTHY FIX:

I like sex. Kinky sex. The kinkier the better.

Every day, it’s all I think about as I serve coffee and hand out business agendas to men who have no idea I’m not the prim, proper girl they think I am.

With a day job as the secretary to one of New York’s most powerful men, Hudson Pierce, I have to keep my double life quiet. As long as I do, it’s not a problem.

Enter: Nathan Sinclair. Tall, dark and handsome doesn’t come close to describing how hot he is. And that’s with his clothes on. But after a dirty, filthy rendezvous, I accept that if we ever see each other again, he’ll walk right by my desk on his way to see my boss without recognizing me.

Only, that’s not what happens. Not the first time I see him after the party. Or the next time. Or the time after that. And as much as I try to stop it, my two worlds are crashing into each other, putting my job and my reputation at risk.

And all I can think about is Nathan Sinclair.

All I can think about is getting just one more dirty, filthy fix.

 

 

Grab your copy of DIRTY FILTHY FIX today!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon AU

Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

 

 
Excerpt :

“I’d like a try.” It was the stranger with the green eyes.

Hot damn.

Of course the night would ramp up right when I announced I was leaving. I looked up at him expectantly, but he didn’t approach. I realized he was waiting for my invitation. He was definitely new. Everyone else knew Miss T was one of the most ready and willing participants in the room—to the point where some tried to take advantage of it. I never needed to issue invitations, but I often needed to reinforce boundaries.

“What are you waiting for, then?” I sat up straighter, ignoring Chuck’s grunt of complaint.

The stranger came forward with slow, swaggering steps. When he reached me, he loosened his bowtie a little before lowering himself to one knee at my side. He placed his arm next to mine on the chair, his fingers barely grazing my skin. Goosebumps sprouted up my forearm all the way to my neck, and he hadn’t even bent in to whisper yet.

And then he did. His breath skated over the shell of my ear, and my heart tripped unexpectedly in my chest.

How long had it been since that had happened from just the feel of someone breathing against me?

“I’m going to kiss you one way or another tonight,” he said, low and with such surety a shiver ran down my spine. “It’s your decision whether it’s now or later.”

So. Not just a voyeur then.

He sat back to study my features. My jaw was slack, and I scanned his expression, searching for a hidden motivation. My body tingled from head to toe. I was used to men—strangers—wanting me. I was used to them approaching me. I was used to them telling me how much they desired me.

Why was this man so different?

Maybe it was because those other men always looked everywhere in the room. When their eyes landed on me, I knew I was just one of many options.

This man…

He’d looked around the room. I’d watched him throughout the night. But nothing had interested him. I could tell by the way he was still wearing his jacket, by the way his eyes were only now beginning to dilate as they stared into mine.

He’d studied the room and decided nothing here had interested him but me.

That was definitely not the kink that usually got me off. That was Cinderella-story kind of kink. The fairytale kink with a happy ending was traditional, but a kink all the same—being chased. Being placed on a gilded pedestal. I never wanted to be somebody’s Only One in the Room. I liked having my own space. I liked being able to disappear when I wanted. I liked not having chains or boundaries. I was turning thirty-five soon. I wasn’t a starry-eyed teenager anymore. I knew what I wanted from life and love and relationships and sex. And it wasn’t a pedestal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Laurelin Paige:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Available Now: DEADLY PREMONITIONS by Kennedy Layne

DEADLY PREMONITIONS by Kennedy Layne is available today! You don’t want to miss getting your hands on this standalone romantic suspense, the last book in the SAFEGUARD SERIES. Shailyn and Townes’ story is NOT to be missed! Check it out below and pick up your copy now!

 

About DEADLY PREMONITIONS

USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne brings the Safeguard Series to a stunning conclusion with your favorite characters that will have you staying wide awake until the very last page is turned…

The ominous knock on the front door in the middle of the night should have given Shailyn Doyle fair warning, but she answered it despite her palpable fear.  Her past had finally come back to haunt her.  It would be nothing more than her worst nightmares come to life.

Townes Calvert had been given a brief glimpse of nirvana before having it ripped from his grasp.  He now has a chance to reclaim what was taken from him, but he must first hunt down the man responsible for murdering eighteen women and risk all that he loves.

Townes and Shailyn have no choice but to play a sadistic serial killer’s twisted game in their search to reclaim the love they had once been forced to sacrifice.  They both have envisioned what could be…but will they end up with nothing more than deadly premonitions?

Add DEADLY PREMONITIONS to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on DEADLY PREMONITIONS now!

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Read a Sneak Peek of DEADLY PREMONITIONS

Why would Townes come for her now?

That question nagged at Shailyn as she walked through the office door and down the long hallway to where the elevator banks were located. The black suit he’d been wearing made him seem to be a part of either the FBI or the U.S. Marshals Service. It was hard to believe that he would have joined the federal government in any enterprise, especially considering his affiliation to the one percent motorcycle clubs. She wondered if he was still a patched member bearing the Nomad rocker.

Why was she even curious?

What Townes did with his life was of no concern to her.

“Shailyn.”

His voice brought her up short, as if a wall had appeared. There was a raspiness to his tone that was discernable only to him. She closed her eyes to ward off the onrushing memories, knowing she could never go back and reclaim her past from the wreckage.

“There’s nothing to say, Gunny,” Shailyn whispered, having no doubt that he heard her use his charter name. It wasn’t coincidental that the nickname for his rank in the Corps and his charter name were the same. He’d gone by that handle for so long that at one point a large number of his associates in the one percent world never knew his given name. She’d had the privilege to know that particular nuance due to the closeness of their relationship at the time.

She was afraid to speak in a normal tone for fear she’d break down, but she didn’t want to appear weak. She cleared her throat and gathered what courage she had left. It was easier to use his familiar nickname as a form of self-defense, letting him know that she was a part of the past he’d left behind. He was a remembrance she would have given anything to have back, but that would never happen.

“You shouldn’t have come here. You’re not welcome.”

Shailyn forced her legs to move forward once again. It was getting harder and harder to breathe the longer she remained in his presence. He had taken all the air out of the building. “Moss didn’t give either of us a choice.”

And there it was. He’d been forced to this conclusion. Townes hadn’t come to Maine for her. He’d come because of Moss. His intention wasn’t to help the U.S. Marshals transfer her to another small town under a different banal name in order to maintain her anonymity. He wanted Shepherd Moss, and the only way to draw him out was through her as bait.

“You always have a choice, Gunny. Moss isn’t in charge of your agenda. Or is he?” Shailyn braced herself as she turned around to face him. Her attempt at composure almost cracked before she managed to slip it in place. His grey eyes saw too much. She wondered if he could still read her like a book. She fought the urge to tug her black turtleneck a little higher to hide the scars. “It doesn’t matter. I still have a choice. And I’m choosing to go back to the life that was created for me. You don’t need me to solve your problems.”

“Moss will eventually find you.” Townes turned the tables a bit, causing her to question his original intention. “It’s only a matter of time.”

Shailyn came very close to asking why he thought she would be better off with him, but she stopped herself before the words could escape. He would take her sentiment the wrong way. It was abundantly clear that he still blamed himself for what had happened to her all those years ago. He couldn’t see past his precious, self-involved guilt to recognize the truth— only one man was responsible for what was done to her. His name was Shepherd Moss.

“Moss has had over four months to find me,” Shailyn pointed out, refusing to be drawn into a debate that neither one of them would win. “Other than you placing me at risk by bringing me here tonight, what makes today any different from yesterday?”

A strand of his long brown hair came loose from the tie at the base of his neck, but it didn’t hide the fact that his scar turned white in response to his clenched jaw. He seemed to think she was purposefully making his job harder than it needed to be in terms of her consent.

“What is it exactly you want from me, Townes?”

“I want you to come back home to Florida with me.”

About Kennedy Layne

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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Available Now: A COLD DARK PROMISE by Toni Anderson

A COLD DARK PROMISE by Toni Anderson is available today! Read a sneak peek below and pick up your copy now!

 

About A COLD DARK PROMISE

A COLD DARK PROMISE takes place during the week leading up to the wedding of former assassin Alex Parker to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, who meet and fall in love in the novel, A COLD DARK PLACE.

In the midst of wedding preparations, a shadowy figure from Alex Parker’s past reappears and threatens the joy he’s found with Mallory Rooney.

Four years ago, Jane Sanders’s rich and powerful ex-husband kidnapped their young daughter and Jane hasn’t seen her since. Now she finally has a lead on her location and she knows just the man to help her get her daughter back. Trouble is, he’s an assassin. And he terrifies her.

Despite his upcoming nuptials, Alex agrees to help, but it doesn’t take long for the routine operation to turn complicated—and deadly. Can the former CIA operative make it home in time to marry the woman he loves, or will his dark past destroy all hope for their future?

Get your hands on A COLD DARK PROMISE now:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play


 

Get a Sneak Peek

Their breathing quieted. Heartbeats slowed and melded.

The dying sun cast long shadows through their bedroom window.

“You have to help her,” Mallory said quietly.

His arm curled over her hip, and he pulled her closer.

“I can take another week off work,” she said.

“No way are you getting involved in this.”

She looked over her shoulder and smiled. “You can’t stop me.”

He kissed her fingers and smiled sadly. “I know I can’t stop you, but if you insist on coming with me, then I won’t go.”

His silver gaze wasn’t angry or demanding. It was calm. Implacable. Mallory blew out a big breath of frustration. It was the first time Alex had refused to let her be involved in something. She knew he hid things from her occasionally. But the two of them had made a promise to one another the day investigators had uncovered her sister’s body.

No more lies.

Ever.

And that was why he was telling her this now, she realized.

Her fingers gripped his, hugging him to her. “I don’t want something bad to happen to you.”

“I can take care of myself.”

She swallowed. “I know you can, but I don’t want you to have to take care of yourself. I want to look after you. I want to be the one watching your back.”

He ran a finger down her spine and followed it with his lips.

She closed her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“I do. I feel it every time you go to work without me.”

But he let her go anyway, because she needed the space to do her job, and he respected that. He respected her.

She rolled onto her back. She didn’t want Alex to go on this job without her, but she knew she wasn’t the only one who needed space to work, even when that work wasn’t clearly defined. She touched his face.

“I can’t go.” Alex insisted, but there was no conviction behind his words. “We have a wedding to prepare for and a dog to look after.”

Rex was in the living room on the couch. He’d fetch a ball from dawn until dusk, but he was generally a couch potato which suited them both perfectly right now. Mallory intended to get a puppy or two after the wedding. She’d convince Alex by reminding him dogs were good security.

“All you have to do for the wedding is turn up— and write those place name cards. The wedding planner,” who Alex had nicknamed the General for good reason, “is doing virtually everything else including arranging transportation for all the guests who are flying in. I can make any last-minute adjustments and double-check on the flowers and still go to work every day next week. Hiring that woman is the best idea you’ve ever had.”

He laid his ear against her belly. “Not the best idea, but pretty inspired.”

She sank her hands into his hair. “When will you be back?”

“I imagine Wednesday at the latest.” He placed one large palm on her stomach and held her gaze. “I won’t take any unnecessary risks, and I won’t do anything stupid. If the child is there I will either figure out a way for the legat to get involved.” The legat was the FBI’s official presence in a foreign country. “Or I’ll sneak them away when no one is looking and bring her, and Jane, back to the States.” Alex kissed her stomach again. She knew he was impatient to meet the newest member of their family. “I’m not sure the daughter— Taylor— will remember her mother after four years.”

Mallory’s heart clenched, and her hand went to where their baby was kicking her low ribs. Alex linked their fingers. She already felt overprotective. The idea of someone stealing her baby… She swallowed hard. This was important. Jane Sanders had always seemed a little aloof, and no wonder. Her child had been stolen and the fact it was by the father made it no less heartbreaking for the mother.

Mallory touched Alex’s lips. “Don’t be late for the wedding. Promise?”

Silver eyes met hers. “I promise.”

 

Did you know the first book in the Cold Justice series is available for free? Get your hands on A COLD DARK PLACE!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

 

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).

Website Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Pinterest

DEFIANT QUEEN by Meghan March – Release Day

 

 

 

The Mount Trilogy continues with

Defiant Queen…

I’m his entertainment. His toy. Payment on a debt.

I tell myself I hate him, but every time he walks into the room, my body betrays me. How can I want him and fear him in the same moment?

They told me he’d mess with my head. Make it go to war with my body.

But I didn’t realize it would be complete anarchy.

I should’ve known better. When Mount’s involved, there are no rules.

I will not surrender. I will not show weakness. I’ll stand my ground and make it out of this bargain with my heart and soul intact.

But he has other plans . . .

 

Defiant Queen is the second book of the Mount Trilogy. Mount and Keira’s story concludes in Sinful Empire.

ADD TO GOODREADS

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | BN | Kobo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get ready for the darker and dirtier side of New Orleans with a brand new alpha romance from USA Today bestselling author Meghan March.

New Orleans belongs to me.
You don’t know my name, but I control everything you see—and all the things you don’t.
My reach knows no bounds, and my demands are always met.
I didn’t need to loan money to a failing family distillery, but it amuses me to have them in my debt.
To have her in my debt.
She doesn’t know she caught my attention.
She should’ve been more careful.
I’m going to own her. Consume her. Maybe even keep her.
It’s time to collect what I’m owed.
Keira Kilgore, you’re now the property of Lachlan Mount.

*Ruthless King is book one of the Mount Trilogy*

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | BN | Kobo

 

 

 

 

meghanmarchpic

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

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Excerpt Reveal: A COLD DARK PROMISE by Toni Anderson

We’re just a few days away from the release of A COLD DARK PROMISE by Toni Anderson! Read a sneak peek below and be sure to preorder your copy today!

 

About A COLD DARK PROMISE

Available November 14th

A COLD DARK PROMISE takes place during the week leading up to the wedding of former assassin Alex Parker to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, who meet and fall in love in the novel, A COLD DARK PLACE.

In the midst of wedding preparations, a shadowy figure from Alex Parker’s past reappears and threatens the joy he’s found with Mallory Rooney.

Four years ago, Jane Sanders’s rich and powerful ex-husband kidnapped their young daughter and Jane hasn’t seen her since. Now she finally has a lead on her location and she knows just the man to help her get her daughter back. Trouble is, he’s an assassin. And he terrifies her.

Despite his upcoming nuptials, Alex agrees to help, but it doesn’t take long for the routine operation to turn complicated—and deadly. Can the former CIA operative make it home in time to marry the woman he loves, or will his dark past destroy all hope for their future?

Preorder your copy of A COLD DARK PROMISE:

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Read a Sneak Peek

Their breathing quieted. Heartbeats slowed and melded.

The dying sun cast long shadows through their bedroom window.

“You have to help her,” Mallory said quietly.

His arm curled over her hip, and he pulled her closer.

“I can take another week off work,” she said.

“No way are you getting involved in this.”

She looked over her shoulder and smiled. “You can’t stop me.”

He kissed her fingers and smiled sadly. “I know I can’t stop you, but if you insist on coming with me, then I won’t go.”

His silver gaze wasn’t angry or demanding. It was calm. Implacable. Mallory blew out a big breath of frustration. It was the first time Alex had refused to let her be involved in something. She knew he hid things from her occasionally. But the two of them had made a promise to one another the day investigators had uncovered her sister’s body.

No more lies.

Ever.

And that was why he was telling her this now, she realized.

Her fingers gripped his, hugging him to her. “I don’t want something bad to happen to you.”

“I can take care of myself.”

She swallowed. “I know you can, but I don’t want you to have to take care of yourself. I want to look after you. I want to be the one watching your back.”

He ran a finger down her spine and followed it with his lips.

She closed her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“I do. I feel it every time you go to work without me.”

But he let her go anyway, because she needed the space to do her job, and he respected that. He respected her.

She rolled onto her back. She didn’t want Alex to go on this job without her, but she knew she wasn’t the only one who needed space to work, even when that work wasn’t clearly defined. She touched his face.

“I can’t go.” Alex insisted, but there was no conviction behind his words. “We have a wedding to prepare for and a dog to look after.”

Rex was in the living room on the couch. He’d fetch a ball from dawn until dusk, but he was generally a couch potato which suited them both perfectly right now. Mallory intended to get a puppy or two after the wedding. She’d convince Alex by reminding him dogs were good security.

“All you have to do for the wedding is turn up— and write those place name cards. The wedding planner,” who Alex had nicknamed the General for good reason, “is doing virtually everything else including arranging transportation for all the guests who are flying in. I can make any last-minute adjustments and double-check on the flowers and still go to work every day next week. Hiring that woman is the best idea you’ve ever had.”

He laid his ear against her belly. “Not the best idea, but pretty inspired.”

She sank her hands into his hair. “When will you be back?”

“I imagine Wednesday at the latest.” He placed one large palm on her stomach and held her gaze. “I won’t take any unnecessary risks, and I won’t do anything stupid. If the child is there I will either figure out a way for the legat to get involved.” The legat was the FBI’s official presence in a foreign country. “Or I’ll sneak them away when no one is looking and bring her, and Jane, back to the States.” Alex kissed her stomach again. She knew he was impatient to meet the newest member of their family. “I’m not sure the daughter— Taylor— will remember her mother after four years.”

Mallory’s heart clenched, and her hand went to where their baby was kicking her low ribs. Alex linked their fingers. She already felt overprotective. The idea of someone stealing her baby… She swallowed hard. This was important. Jane Sanders had always seemed a little aloof, and no wonder. Her child had been stolen and the fact it was by the father made it no less heartbreaking for the mother.

Mallory touched Alex’s lips. “Don’t be late for the wedding. Promise?”

Silver eyes met hers. “I promise.”

 

 

Did you know the first book in the Cold Justice series is available for free? Get your hands on A COLD DARK PLACE!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

 

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).

Website Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Pinterest

CD Reiss’s PRINCE ROMAN – Review & Excerpt Tour

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss, comes the sexy and passionate title…PRINCE ROMAN, a new novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this amazing novella today!

 

 

About PRINCE ROMAN:

Rules for my new job:
1) Do not have sex with a man in the office (again).
2) Do not break Rule #1

I’m playing it cool, clean, and professional…until I meet Roman Bianchi. He’s not an insecure nerd or an ego-hole like the other kings of Silicon Valley. He’s charming and handsome. He’s fun, funny, and smart.

He’s also in the office across the hall.

Two broken rules waiting to happen.
I can’t lose this job over some guy.
But Roman’s not just some guy. Under that suit and cocky smile, he’s a prince.

 

 

Grab your copy of PRINCE ROMAN today!

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon Canada | Amazon AU

Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CD Reiss’s PRINCE ROMAN – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

November 8th

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Booked All Night – Review & Excerpt

Captain Reads A Lot – Excerpt

Jen’s Reading Obsession – Excerpt

Kayns Book – Review

Living In Our Own Story – Review & Excerpt

Musings of the Modern Belle – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Review

Steamy Reads – Excerpt

November 9th

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Confessions of a YA and NA Book Addict – Review & Excerpt

Love & Lavender Book Review – Review & Excerpt

Mom’s Secret Book Blog – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Star Angels Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 10th

As You Wish Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Escape into a Booksite – Review

My Book Filled Life – Review & Excerpt

Novel Addiction – Review

Readers Together – Review & Excerpt

Summer’s Eve Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Kizzle Kay – Review

TrashyBibloBlog – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 11th

A Brit and a Yank – Excerpt

Book Loving Fairy – Review & Excerpt

Crystal’s Book World – Review & Excerpt

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt

Once upon a romance – Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

November 12th

AC Squared Book Blog – Excerpt

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Book Twins Reviews – Review

EDGy Reviews – Review

Francoise’s Reading Corner – Review & Excerpt

Kindle Friends Forever – Review

Lovinghotbooks – Review

Quesarasera Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

November 13th

Author Groupies – Review

Beneath The Covers – Review

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt

Kt’s book blog and review – Review & Excerpt

Mustreadbooksordie – Review

Once Upon A Page – Review & Excerpt

Recommended Reads – Review & Excerpt

Sip Read Love – Review

November 14th

A Book Lover’s Emporium – Review

Bloggin’ With M.Brennan – Review

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Desperately Seeking HEA’s Book Blog – Excerpt

I’m A Book Shark – Excerpt

Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Mile High KINK Book Club – Review

Mistress of Romance – Review

Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt

November 15th

A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars – Review & Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

OMGReads – Review & Excerpt

Read and Share Book Reviews – Review

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

November 16th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt

Blushing Babes Are Up All Night – Review

Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Collector of book boyfriends – Excerpt

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review & Excerpt

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt

Lina’s Reviews: A Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Reading Frenzy Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Book Addict’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 17th

Amo’s Book Corner – Review

Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Review & Excerpt

Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

Books2Blog – Review & Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Jackie’s Book World – Review

One-Click Chocolate Chick – Review & Excerpt

Torie’s Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt

 

 

 

 

 

About CD Reiss:

C.D. Reiss is a USA Today bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

 

Website | Facebook |  Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

CD Reiss’s PRINCE ROMAN – Release Day Launch

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss, comes the sexy and passionate title…PRINCE ROMAN, a new novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this amazing novella today!

 

 

About PRINCE ROMAN:

Rules for my new job:
1) Do not have sex with a man in the office (again).
2) Do not break Rule #1

I’m playing it cool, clean, and professional…until I meet Roman Bianchi. He’s not an insecure nerd or an ego-hole like the other kings of Silicon Valley. He’s charming and handsome. He’s fun, funny, and smart.

He’s also in the office across the hall.

Two broken rules waiting to happen.
I can’t lose this job over some guy.
But Roman’s not just some guy. Under that suit and cocky smile, he’s a prince.

 

 

Grab your copy of PRINCE ROMAN today!

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon Canada | Amazon AU

Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

She hurried down the hall as if she’d just dodged three painful minutes in my company.

I shook it off. What was the difference? What was I trying to do here? Get my ass fired? Get her fired? There were dozens of women I could take to bed and absolutely no reason to focus on the one who could make my life and my job miserable.

But that body. The way she walked. The swing of her black hair across her back.

A female voice came from behind me. “There are rumors about that one.”

It was Marie Siska. Founding partner at Siska + Welton. She was in her early fifties and had her brown hair up in a tidy twist. She was a former litigator who had argued in front of the Ninth and had a way of knowing the intricacies of every case we handled.

“What kind of rumors?”

“The unsubstantiated kind.”

She invited me into my own office and closed the door behind us. I sat in front of my own desk, in one of the two guest chairs.

Marie’s lavender pants suit was custom made and she never sat down. She put her hands on the back of the second guest chair, pulling herself up a little as if she wanted to look taller.

“Barney and I have made a decision about you.”

I tried to look completely calm, but there was a pretty good chance my face froze over in the attempt.

“Let’s hear it.”

“Alexander Burke and Neuronet are your catch. If you go, he goes with you. That’s a plus in the senior partner column.”

I’d played MMPORGs with Burke way back in the day. All the zombie shooting had paid off. He was also a great guy and a badass gamer.

“But we’re a recent contract,” she continued. “And it’s short term. He can cut us loose any time for another outside contractor or to keep it all in-house. It’s fine. It’s part of the business, but a long-term retainer could be big for us. One third of future billing.”

“And my name would be one third of the ones on the letterhead.”

She did something she never did. She sat down in front of me. “I’ve wanted to be a lawyer ever since I saw a Senate debate on C-SPAN. We’re a small, classy operation with a stellar reputation. Classy and stellar were the goal, but small wasn’t. We should be litigating in front of the Supreme Court, and the reason we’re not is because we have to scratch and claw every quarter. We can’t take the chances we need to. I have ten or fifteen more years of active participation in this business before I can’t keep up, and it’s coming at me fast. We’ve tried to grow and it’s never stuck. This is our chance to turn this firm into what I dreamed about when I was ten. You are our chance.”

“No pressure.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

About CD Reiss:

C.D. Reiss is a USA Today bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

 

Website | Facebook |  Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

First Chapter: DEADLY PREMONITIONS by Kennedy Layne

We’re just over a week away from the release of the last book in Kennedy Layne’s Safeguard Series, DEADLY PREMONITIONS! You can get your hands on DEADLY PREMONITIONS on November 14th – and trust us, you don’t want to miss this one! Check out the first chapter below and preorder your copy now!

 

About DEADLY PREMONITIONS

Available November 14th

USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne brings the Safeguard Series to a stunning conclusion with your favorite characters that will have you staying wide awake until the very last page is turned…

The ominous knock on the front door in the middle of the night should have given Shailyn Doyle fair warning, but she answered it despite her palpable fear.  Her past had finally come back to haunt her.  It would be nothing more than her worst nightmares come to life.

Townes Calvert had been given a brief glimpse of nirvana before having it ripped from his grasp.  He now has a chance to reclaim what was taken from him, but he must first hunt down the man responsible for murdering eighteen women and risk all that he loves.

Townes and Shailyn have no choice but to play a sadistic serial killer’s twisted game in their search to reclaim the love they had once been forced to sacrifice.  They both have envisioned what could be…but will they end up with nothing more than deadly premonitions?

Add DEADLY PREMONITIONS to your Goodreads list here!

DEADLY PREMONITIONS releases November 14th, 2017 – preorder your copy now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2iiBZGL
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2iR3Dd4
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2r1CQdX
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2jkms90

Read the First Chapter

Pain unlike anything she’d ever experienced before radiated throughout her body. There were no tears. She couldn’t manage a single teardrop. A deathlike chill had settled into her bones, chasing away all other bodily functions.  

She was paralyzed.

She was unable to move, to scream… or to hide.  

She was at his mercy, of which he had none.

Shailyn Doyle gasped as her upper body came off the bed. She couldn’t suck in enough oxygen. Her vision had become blurry. She would certainly die this time.

Panic took hold as its tentacles slithered around her soul, slowly strangling what life was left within her.

Shailyn wrapped her fingers around her throat in desperation. She struggled to draw air into her lungs to the point that even she could hear the whistling rattle of her frantic attempt at breathing. Seconds ticked by until the terrifying nightmare slowly fragmented into bits and pieces, eventually fading into dust as the terror disappeared.

“Two hours,” Shailyn murmured to herself after glancing at the clock on her bedside table. The green illuminated numbers read three fourteen in the morning. “Progress.”

Shailyn tossed the heavy comforter and sheet to the side in acceptance. She wouldn’t get any more sleep tonight. What was noteworthy was the fact that the top sheet was dry. She hadn’t even broken a sweat in her throes of memories best forgotten. It was hard to be proud of that detail when she recognized her reaction for what it was— tolerance.

She swung her legs over the side of the bed. She recalled as a child always believing something or someone would reach out of the darkness and grab her ankles if she kept them dangling there long enough. She missed the days when the monsters had been nothing but a figment of her imagination.

Certain kinds of monsters were very real.

Shailyn automatically reached for the journal she kept on the bedside table, ignoring the slight tremor of her fingers. It was a byproduct of her time spent as a victim with a psychopath as her tormentor. She’d been left with a lot of daily reminders. That particular one didn’t rate high on the scale of her insecurities.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to write in her diary. It was a rote behavior after so many years of psychoanalysis. She didn’t even think twice about sliding the pen off the soft brown leather cover and setting the black ink to paper. Her psychiatrist had explained that keeping detailed notes of her dreams and reactions could render the next night a little easier and maybe even less intense. That had never been the truth as she knew it, but it did give her purpose.

She wrote down every facet of her nightmare underneath her last entry almost twenty hours earlier. There was no need for her to turn on a light considering she never slept in the dark anymore. As a matter of fact, every lamp and overhead light in this one-bedroom house was currently shining bright to keep the obscure shadows at bay.

It gave her a false sense of security. The dark represented the evil that crept in with the night.

She honestly didn’t care that the reassurance was a fabrication. The presence of the lights allowed her to physically walk through the rooms without hesitation.

Shailyn clipped the pen back onto the smooth jacket of her journal before setting both onto the nightstand. It didn’t take her long to cross the room and carefully draw the heavy curtain aside. Her bedroom was located on the main floor of the house, facing toward the front where a heavily armored, black government-plated SUV had been parked ever since Shepherd Moss had escaped from a federal prison.

Shepherd Moss— her own private monster.

He was a very special demon summoned from the depths of hell itself.

He was out there somewhere, biding his time as he savored her soul. Shailyn didn’t doubt that he was looking for her right this very moment.

After all, she was the only one who had ever gotten away.

Technically, that wasn’t true. She had not been able to work her way out of the restraints Moss had her bound in for three days. An Arthurian hero had found her instead, and her shining knight had refused to let her die. She barely recalled him arriving as dark as the night. His armor had been as rough as sackcloth, moving among the shadows as if they held no sway over him. He was the antithesis of her tormenter.

What did astound her was that the torture she’d undergone had only lasted three days.

A mere seventy-two hours.

How was that even possible when her time spent in that hellhole had seemed like an eternity of several lifetimes? Of course, the same thing could almost be said for the years she’d been in the witness protection program. Now those three hundred and sixty-five day spans seemed endless, consisting of nothingness. Was she actually awaiting Moss’ return with the promise of renewed torture?

She supposed she should be grateful. Eighteen women hadn’t been as lucky as her, but then again, what was so fortunate about living this so-called life she’d been given?

Shailyn let the curtain fall back into place, checking to make sure that not even a sliver of darkness was visible before she crossed the bedroom floor in her bare feet. The coolness of the hardwood didn’t bother her all that much, but wearing any type of shoe made her want to rip them off her feet and burn them. The scars on her ankles always became irritated when material rubbed against them for any period of time. She’d tried slip-ons in the past, as well as flip-flops, but those hadn’t worked either due to the damage done to the heels of her feet.

It didn’t take long for her to enter the living room and walk into the kitchen. The layout was simple, just as she liked it. The walls were devoid of pictures, there were no knick-knacks on the shelves or tabletops, and the few simple sticks of Ikea furniture had been rented with the house. It wasn’t like anyone questioned the way she lived, especially considering she never had any guests. No one was permitted to enter her home, though she did make an exception now and then to the U.S. Marshals who had taken up guarding her night and day since Moss had escaped federal prison. Why make any friendships when she would most likely be relocated sooner rather than later?

Groceries were delivered to a drop box on her front porch from the local store. She had access to the small area from inside the house. She could lock the outside access door to the box before ever opening the inside hatch. The delivery service was a special arrangement the grocery store provided for the elderly and shut-ins.

The Marshals vetted the designated delivery man and all the other employees of the friendly retailer. The grocery store tended to substitute their own brand a lot for other brand names, and they also charged a premium for nearly every item available through their service. Privacy apparently came with a price.

Shailyn hit the brew button, having already prepared the coffee maker three hours ago. She shivered slightly when condensation layered the sides of the glass carafe. Her feet were a little colder on the kitchen tile than they had been on the hardwood floor. The memory of a blue torch flame flashed across her mind’s eye.

She crossed into the living room and looked over at the bay window to ensure the drapes were closed like she’d left them. Her need for solitude had nothing to do with the fact that she was wearing a pair of flannel pajamas.

Everything was as it should be. She didn’t miss a step as she continued directly to the wall where her thermostat was positioned a little lower than eye level.

The digital numbers read seventy-two degrees. She didn’t care what digits were displayed and intentionally pressed the up arrow twice. Heat from the furnace had a tendency to rise from the vents, keeping only the upper half of the room warm while leaving the floors far too cold for her sensitive feet. Winters in Maine tended to get rather brisk, and this house wasn’t insulated properly. She honestly didn’t mind her electricity bill being higher. She always kept to her budget. It wasn’t like she spent her money on anything other than rent, utilities, and groceries.

She turned around to make her way back into the kitchen when the sight of her files on the desk caught her eye. The manila folder with ungraded essays sitting on top of the stack was crooked. She stopped walking, allowing her arms to drop to her sides, anticipating the assault.

Her heart stuttered in fear. Not because of death, but what came before it.

Everything on her desk had been perfect when she’d turned in for the couple hours of sleep she barely managed to obtain. She’d gotten into the habit of positioning items in a manner where only she would recognize if they’d been disturbed. And she was one hundred percent positive that the pile of schoolwork she’d been grading last night had been organized squarely in the left-hand corner. Not a millimeter had been out of place.

Okay. Ninety-nine percent sure, because one of the two U.S. Marshals sitting in the vehicle outside of her house had paid her a visit after noticing one of her two bulbs had burnt out on the porch. He had kindly replaced the lightbulb before rejoining his partner outside in the black sedan.

He could have easily bumped into the edge of her desk, causing the slight misalignment.

How many times had she overreacted over the years? Too many to count, that was for sure.

Shailyn bit her lip as she carefully looked over the living room for any other sign that someone other than the U.S. Marshal had been in her home. She cautiously put one foot in front of the other as she made her way through the entire house, eventually completing her search by returning to her desk after checking every room.

Nothing else was out of place.

“You’re losing your mind, girl.”

It was bound to happen, given the circumstances. She recalled a psychiatrist telling her that the average individual would have been institutionalized after suffering through the ordeal she’d been through. He couldn’t seem to accept that she was nothing extraordinary. She’d switched shrinks after that, going through a long line of men and women who had various opinions on how she should handle her future.

Shailyn gently rested the palm of her right hand underneath her breast on the opposite side. She had been left with a reminder that she would never have a normal life… at least, not the way she’d once envisioned.

The rich aroma of coffee filled the air, prompting her to return to the kitchen. She did stop briefly at the living room window and verify that the ever-present black sedan was still in position. Two silhouettes were easily discernible.

She thought about taking them out a thermos full of coffee, but a couple of things prevented her from doing so. For one, she didn’t go outside of these four walls any more than absolutely necessary. Two, she didn’t even own a thermos.

Shailyn pulled a single brown mug that had seen better days from the cupboard. The eighties-style porcelain dishes came with the rental house, allowing her to travel light when she had to move. Honestly, everything she owned fit in one suitcase and an oversized purse. She was a simple woman, really, even taking her coffee black without any further additions.

She sighed in resignation as she took her steaming coffee into the living room, snatching up the folder of essays that had given her more of a jolt than the caffeine in her coffee could provide. She looked forward to doing some mundane reading from the writing assignments she’d given her students taking the online course she taught to pass the time. It was also a way to make some additional money, though her students knew her as Ms. Rachel Smith.

Her online persona, as detailed in the course curriculum, featured a picture of a random middle-aged spinster freshly returned to the farm after retiring from some teaching position. She sometimes wondered about the identity of the woman in the photograph, considering the lack of a full-fledged backstory. WITSEC wasn’t that original when it came to assigning new identifications to their patrons. Ms. Smith was a retired teacher from Iowa. That was the best they could come up with.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

The essays scattered onto the hardwood floor as the papers fell from her lap, taking the manila folder with them. Each essay was now drenched in coffee as she scrambled to her feet and spilled her hot beverage all over them. Her first thought was that Shepherd Moss wouldn’t knock on her front door to gain entry. He would have just appeared behind her. Her second and most insightful deduction was that trouble had just landed on her front porch.

She quietly stepped over the wet papers and set down her coffee mug on the side table, not stopping until she reached her desk. One of those cheap buy-as-you-go cell phones purchased off the rack at the local drug store was tucked into the top drawer. She always made sure the device was charged and ready to go should she need to leave the property or contact the Marshals. It also came in handy when she needed to call 911… which had never happened in all the years she’d been in WITSEC.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

“Ms. Smith, it’s Deputy U.S. Marshal Sturridge.”

Sturridge was the Marshal who had changed her lightbulb a few hours ago, but she couldn’t fathom why he would need to speak with her at this hour. She quickly opened the top desk drawer and retrieved her phone, pressing in the three numbers without initiating the call. She rested her thumb on the button as she slowly made her way to the door to evaluate the situation further.

“What seems to be the matter, Marshal?” Shailyn asked with concern, but doing her best to keep her fear disguised. She tilted her head so that she could hear Sturridge’s reply through the heavy door. She left off that this wasn’t their usual procedure. Technically, the average WITSEC individual didn’t have two Marshals sitting outside of his or her home on a regular basis. They were all given new identities and then expected to adapt, as if their lives hadn’t been ripped out from underneath them in the most violent way imaginable. “Is everything okay?”

“Ms. Smith, there’s been a development. We need to take you down to the Bureau’s Portland Field Office as soon as possible.”

Shailyn swallowed back the lump of alarm that formed in her throat. Had Moss killed someone else she’d known in her childhood? He’d done that exact thing a couple of months ago, most likely trying to draw her out from under the concealment of her WITSEC identity. The U.S. Marshals Service had been very adamant that she follow their instructions down to the exact letter since Moss had escaped federal custody. She’d complied, but she wasn’t so sure she could continue to do so should he target her friends or family again.

Shailyn rested her forehead against the hard surface of the door and pretended for just a moment that this night was like any other. She’d get close to a couple hours of sleep, work for a couple more on the computer, and then maybe get a half hour rest before her day started with her schedule of online classes. The visual gave her the composure she needed before releasing all three security locks they had installed upon moving her into this house.

“My family?” Shailyn asked hesitantly after opening the door. Sturridge gave her an encouraging smile, though sadness was visible in his soft, brown eyes. He reminded her of those gentle cowboy giants Louis L’Amour had written about when her father had been a young man. She recalled her dad reading her books of the Wild West when she’d been younger, allowing them both to enjoy her bedtime stories. Sometimes she wondered if her father would have preferred a boy. “Are they okay?”

“Yes, ma’am, they’re all fine as far as I’m aware.”

“Then why am I needed at the Portland Field Office in the middle of the night?” Shailyn had once been the spontaneous type, living every second of every day like it was her last when she’d been younger. That day had arrived sooner rather than later, changing her outlook on the simplest of pleasures. “Am I being relocated again?” “

Ms. Smith, you—”

“Please.” The word was just short of a plea. She was only human, and a flawed one at that. “Just tell me.”

“Shepherd Moss killed an agent on the case yesterday.”

Shailyn wasn’t surprised. At least, she shouldn’t have been surprised. Her breathing faltered, though. Moss had targeted someone else, someone unrelated to her. She suspected that it wasn’t with no strings attached. She shouldn’t feel any guilt over the man’s predilection for torturing and killing people, particularly women. She’d done her part by sitting on that witness stand and testifying— no, reliving— every painful cut he’d sliced into her body. That included every burn he branded into her flesh, as well.

“I still don’t understand what that has to do with me, Marshal.”

Shailyn’s mouth had gone dry and she couldn’t even lick her lips to get the words out smoothly. Sturridge was glancing at his watch, as if they should be in a rush to get to the Portland Field Office. Since when had her activities ever been on such a tight timetable?

“Ms. Smith, the agent who was murdered had been assigned to watch over a woman by the name of Brettany Lambert. She was a childhood friend of yours, correct?”

Yes. Brett had been Shailyn’s best friend through elementary and middle school. A memory of them turning up the dial on her old boom box came to mind, along with a made-up game that kept them busy for hours. The first lyric to come through the speaker was what the boy she liked at the time was thinking of her at that very moment. They would each take turns, giggling their weekends away.

“Ms. Smith?”

Shailyn cleared her throat before nodding her agreement. She would go with Sturridge to the Portland Field Office, believing one hundred percent that she would be on a plane by noon. The U.S. Marshals and the FBI had been very cautious. It was their job to ensure her safety from the monster she’d helped put away. There had only ever been one man who’d truly given her that precious sense of security, and she hadn’t seen him once since the day she entered WITSEC.

This was her life now… being alone with only a suitcase to her name. She often wondered when the hand underneath the bed would finally grab her ankles and pull her into the shadows. What if she were to go into that hiding place voluntarily? Was that how she would find her freedom? Was death her only escape?

Or could she slay the monster before he was able to kill her?

*

He closed his eyes, reliving every second he spent in the company of Shailyn Doyle. Her unblemished flesh had been a canvas from which he had created something beautiful. He did design his masterpiece on her body, but only she had the pleasure of seeing his work every single day in the mirror.

 He wanted her back.

He needed to finish the seminal work he’d begun.  

Did the authorities not understand that he was the one in control? Had he not proven his dominance time and time again? His parting gift in Colorado he’d left for Townes Calvert should have gotten his message across.  

Townes Calvert.

 The only adversary who had ever lived up to his most exacting standards. The man’s personal interest in Shailyn Doyle would only make this game that much sweeter in the end. They would meet again soon, but he wasn’t ready to see his entertainment come to an end. He preferred the long game.

He rocked back on the wooden porch and listened to the crickets and frogs communicate in their harmonious languages. Mother Nature could end their conversations with a mere slap of her hand.  

He recalled the enchanting screams that fell from Shailyn’s chapped lips— now that was his favorite melody.

 

 

About Kennedy Layne

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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