The Divine Heart by Danielle R Mant Book Blitz

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Cover Reveal: Fault Lines by @BeccaSheaAuthor

From USA Today bestselling author, Rebecca Shea, comes a new, heartbreakingly beautiful standalone romance, FAULT LINES. Don’t miss the amazing cover below, and pre-order your copy today!

 

Cover designed by Letitia Hasser of RBA Designs

At eleven he was my first crush. At sixteen he became mine. At nineteen he broke my heart and destroyed me. That was ten years ago and the last time I saw Cole Ryan.

They say you never get over your first love…I beg to differ. I left my shattered heart buried in a town I never expected to return to. I erased every thought of him and buried the memories never to be found.

I moved on…now ten years later I have the perfect life, the perfect fiancé, the perfect career. Everything I ever wanted until I’m forced to go back and face my past and the man that destroyed me.

He won’t stop until I know the truth no matter how hard I fight it. In the end, lies will be uncovered, hearts will be broken, and my life as I’ve come to know it destroyed.

FAULT LINES is coming October 30, 2017! Pre-order your copy today!

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Can’t wait for a taste of FAULT LINES? Check out this sneak peek below!

 

Pushing through the doors to Manny’s, I see everyone assembled near the bar. Friends and colleagues that I have worked with throughout the years have been waiting on me to arrive to celebrate today’s verdict.

“Congratulations!” Everyone cheers as Ted and I approach the bar. I toss my purse on a bar stool and reach for the glass of white wine that Eduardo, my co-counsel, is holding out for me.

Pressing the cool glass to my lips, I let the smooth wine settle on my tongue before swallowing.

“I’m so damn proud of you.” He leans in and whispers, wrapping one arm around my shoulders.

“I couldn’t have done it without you. I mean that.” I smile at him and squeeze his arm in a gesture of gratitude. Eduardo took me under his wing when I joined the county attorney’s office a little over four years ago. I was an experienced trial lawyer, having learned the ins and outs of trial law with Ted’s firm, but this is new. I’m on the prosecuting end now. This is where I always dreamed to be. Ted’s firm helped me get here and Eduardo has been my mentor and basically my best friend since I arrived.

“I’d be surprised if they even try to appeal,” he says, taking a sip of his vodka tonic. “You were that good. There were no holes in your closing arguments. You presented solid evidence and left nothing for them to come back at us with.”

“She learned from the best,” Ted says, leaning over my shoulder.

Eduardo’s eyes glance away from mine and up to Ted’s. “Mr. Winters,” Eduardo says, reaching out to shake Ted’s. “Nice to see you again.” It’s hard to miss Eduardo’s visible disdain for Ted. His jaw ticks and he swallows hard, but as always, he is the epitome of professional and is always gracious.

“I’ve learned a great deal from both of you.” I smile and wish for the pissing contest to end. “Let’s enjoy our victory.” I hold up my glass of wine to toast, raising my eyebrows, a silent plea to Ted to be nice and he obliges.

“To guilty verdicts,” Eduardo cheers, raising his glass.

Ted gives his head a little shake but reiterates Eduardo’s sentiments.

“To guilty verdicts,” we all repeat and take a drink.

I notice Ted step away to take a phone call and I turn my attention back to Eduardo.

“First and only time I think I’ll ever hear him say that,” Eduardo jokes.

“I think that’s the first and only time I’ll ever hear him say that, too.” I laugh.

My fiancé, Ted Winters, is partner in Winters and Seldon, one of the smallest yet most prestigious law firms in Los Angeles County. Ted is known for representing some of the most high profile, and even dangerous, criminals in California. What cases he doesn’t win, he prides himself on reduced charges, jail time, and fines.

Not guilty—those two words drive him to be the greatest. He’s the best of the best, and he hired me right out of law school. He taught me the way around a courtroom, the best oral arguments, and the tricks to dissect evidence and to look for what everyone else is missing. I took what I learned from Ted and am finally putting it to use as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. I always wanted to be on this end of the law, finding justice and doing right by the law.

To avoid any conflict of interest, I avoid all cases where Winters and Seldon is concerned. There are plenty of other prosecutors to try those, and it’s best, both professionally and personally, if I avoid any cases Ted or his firm are involved in.

As I look around the bar at my friends and colleagues, I can’t help but smile proudly at how far I’ve come—and for the people who’ve been with me on this journey.

As my smile fades, I feel the exhaustion hit me like a freight train and, with a few glasses of wine on top of that, I find the need for fresh air. I weave through a sea of bodies in the bar area and push through the large glass door, which leads out onto the rooftop patio. Los Angeles has far from quality air, but pulling the mild summer breeze into my lungs feels good. A sense of calm falls over me as the adrenaline from the day wears off. Carrying the stress of this trial on my shoulders for weeks has wreaked havoc on my sleep, my diet, and exercise, and I can feel the toll it’s taken on my body.

I watch the cars below, crawling along the busy Los Angeles streets, and the hustle and bustle of the city just fifty stories below me. It’s windy up here on the patio, and the soft afternoon breeze whips my hair around. I tilt my face to the sky and let the setting sun cast its warm rays on me when my phone buzzes in my hand. I hesitate, wanting to indulge in a few more moments of silence, but I think better of it.

Glancing down, I see my mom’s home number flashing on the sleek screen of my oversized mobile phone.

“Hi, Mama.” I take a deep breath, excited to hear her voice.

“Frankie?”

My heart sinks when I hear a man’s voice. A voice I could never forget. A voice so familiar that it still haunts me to this day.

Cole. The only person to ever call me Frankie. My heart stills as I wait for him to say more.

“You need to come home,” he says gruffly.

My stomach drops as his voice takes my breath away. The pull it still has on me shakes me to my core. Before he says anything else, I close my eyes and find myself lost in time, back to when I was eleven years old, spending my afternoons down at the fault line, soaking up the last of the days sunlight with Cole by my side.

Crescent Ridge, Nevada resides right on top of a fault line, a town with less than eight hundred people, and sits on the California/Nevada border. A town I left ten years ago and haven’t returned to—because of Cole.

 

Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

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COVER REVEAL for Unmasked by Magan Vernon

Today we have the gorgeous cover reveal for Unmasked by Magan Vernon! We’re very excited about this fantastic new release. Be sure to preorder your copy now!

Title: Unmasked

Genre: New Adult

Author: Magan Vernon

Cover Designer: Kassi Snider of Kassi Jean Formatting

Release Date: November 6th

 

About Unmasked:

Can a hotshot snowboarder de-ice the ice queen?

At twenty-six, Blake Tremblay is one of the oldest snowboarders in the game. His sights are set on the gold medal, and he knows it’s now or never.

Kelly Johnson has spent her entire life skating and winning. She’s had no time for friends or an active social life, earning her the nickname “Ice Queen” – in and out of the rink.

Blake makes a bet without knowing all the terms. His ego won’t let him back out, even though his target is none other than the American Ice Queen herself.

What are the odds the dreadlocked playboy can warm the frosty figure skater when the real games are unmasked?

Let The Games Begin.

Preorder Your Copy Today!

Exclusive Excerpt:

I wasn’t a big drinker. Ever. And I had no idea how many bottles of alcohol Blake, and I had gone through. Or when he got so funny.

Maybe it was the accent. It was a mixture of sort-of-kind-of-french and northern Minnesotan, which I guess was basically Canada. But when he spoke he rolled his Rs like a French man, and I couldn’t help but stare at his mouth. And I should have stopped staring or stopped talking after the first glass. Then he just kept filling mine up, and I kept staring, and there we were, me laughing and staring at his beautiful mouth.

“You really had a Mohawk for Sochi trials?” I asked, almost spitting out my Soju that was a sugary vodka and supposed to be a very popular drink in Korea.

Blake laughed and filled my cup again. “Yeah. I wanted to stand out. You Americans can’t have all the flair with your blue-haired swimmers.”

I pointed at him and leaned on my elbow. “Hey! Those summer guys aren’t the same, and you know it!”

He grabbed my hand, and a smirk crossed his face that brought out one small dimple on his cheek. I don’t know if it was the large amounts of alcohol we consumed or that dimpled smile, but all of my body felt flushed, and I was sure my face had to be redder than the Canadian flag. “It’s not nice to point, Miss Johnson. Even an American knows that.”

I tried not to focus on how warm and rough his hands were on mine. His whole palm covered my fists, and I briefly wondered how big other things were before quickly shooting that thought out of my head, and pulling my hand away. I didn’t need to think about sex, no matter how long it had been. This was The Games. Not a time for romance or lust. “I wanna see a Mohawk picture. Come on; I know you’ve got one on your phone.”

“Only if you show me one of yours pictures. I’m sure you have some from your early days of skating. The American costumes in the nineties weren’t exactly some of your proudest moments. Or at least that’s what your movies showed me.” He raised an eyebrow before taking a sip of his drink, which was more like a giant gulp.

Gathering some courage, I poured the rest of the bottle in his glass. “I don’t even know what I have on my phone. Nothing exciting. No 1980s scrunchies or poofy sleeved leotards.”

He laughed. “I’m sure you’ve got something. Now show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

 

 

About Magan Vernon:

Magan Vernon has been living off of reader tears since she wrote her first short story in 2004. She now spends her time killing off fictional characters, pretending to plot while she really just watches Netflix, and she tries to do this all while her two young children run amok around her Texas ranch.

 

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Book Review: Cold Malice by Toni Anderson


About COLD MALICE

ASAC Steve (Mac) McKenzie is out to prove himself by leading a task force investigating a series of murders in the heart of Washington, DC. His undercover work in an antigovernment compound twenty years earlier is related—as is the sweet, innocent girl he befriended back then. Now that girl is a beautiful woman, and she has something to hide.

Tess Fallon spent a lifetime trying to outrun her family’s brand of bigotry, but someone is threatening her anonymity by using the anniversary of her father’s death to carry out evil crimes and she’s terrified her younger brother is involved. She sets out to find the truth and comes face-to-face with a man she once idolized, a man she thought long dead. As the crimes escalate it becomes obvious the killer has an agenda, and Tess and Mac are running out of time to stop him.

Will the perpetrator use a decades-old dream of revolution to attack the federal government? And will the fact that Tess and Mac have fallen hard for each other give a cold-hearted killer the power to destroy them both?

Add COLD MALICE to your Goodreads list here!

My Review:

Holy hell!! This book was so damn good. From chapter One there was so much drama and craziness, I didn’t even know how to handle it. The suspense had me on the edge of my seat (bed) the entire time. The chemistry between Mac and Tess was the one thing that could make me smile or laugh when all I wanted to do was scream and throw up at the disgusting/disturbing events that occurred. 

Tess grew up in a hostile white supremacist family getting ready to start a revolution. At the age of 10, her family was all but wiped out and tried to take her down with them but she had somewhat of a guardian angel who helped her and her baby brother survive. Mac was a young undercover cop trying to bust the Pioneers and save the children from the destruction that was in the works.

After 20 years and a new identity, she thought her past and her disgusting family were finally behind her. Murders throughout the DC area start occurring with the targets as race, religion or sexuality. Everything started to play out exactly how the Pioneers had planned so many years ago. Mac gets put in charge of the case because of his history with the Pioneers. The first suspect they turn to is Tess who wants to be an open book and she has her own worries to hide.

The last thing Mac wants is to have this group reemerge but everything keeps pointing back to them. Tess and Mac bump into each other as they both check to see if Tess’s older brother (disgusting bastard) had anything to do with it. The last thing they expected was to be running for their lives and dodging bullets. 

One of the things that really set this book apart was when a new chapter started, it was in a different point of view. You never knew who exactly was talking until you got a little way in but it worked because you got to get in the head of the murdering but her identity wasn’t revealed. It then made you question who was involved and now. As you would tie pieces together, more things would happen and you would get new suspicions. All in all this book was incredible. 

Get your hands on COLD MALICE now:

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See the COLD MALICE trailer:

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

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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).

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Chapter Reveal: Honest Intentions by Kennedy Layne

We’re just over a week away from the release of HONEST INTENTIONS by Kennedy Layne – but we couldn’t wait that long! Read the first chapter below and preorder your copy today!

 

 About HONEST INTENTIONS

USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne continues the Safeguard Series with this fast-paced romantic suspense novel that leads the SSI team on the trail of a serial killer who continually seems to be one step ahead…

Coen Flynn has always done the right thing, even it meant siding against his own family. His sense of justice was what led him to take a job in law enforcement, though his choice of agency was a bit unorthodox. His current assignment was believed to be a simple protection detail. He was never supposed to be identified by his charge, but a murder took priority and changed the course of his mission.

Brettany Lambert’s life is suddenly rocked when she finds the body of a dead friend on the eve of what was supposed to be a special wedding. Now Brettany and Coen are trapped in the middle of a blizzard and their attraction will fuel the heat of temptation. Good intentions always have a way of backfiring, but his desired intent won’t matter if a notorious serial killer can finish what he started.

Add HONEST INTENTIONS to your Goodreads list here!

 

HONEST INTENTIONS releases September 19th – preorder your copy now!

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Read the first chapter of HONEST INTENTIONS now:

One week ago…

The shrieking howl of the bitter cold wind pierced through the walls of the tiny log cabin as it endeavored to find a way inside. The flames of the blazing fire reflected a thousand tiny flickers on the river rock hearth as it rose through the rafters and beyond. The view was mesmerizing as the dancing columns of blue and yellow fluttered briefly in their efforts to consume enough oxygen.

The crisp night air finally succeeded in finding an otherwise tiny gap in the roughhewn pine logs that nevertheless continued their valiant fight to keep Old Man Winter at bay. The tail ends of each curling spark were like desperate souls trying to fight for their survival.

The irony of that useless battle wasn’t lost on her as the fire consumed its fuel.

Brettany Lambert slowly ran her hands up her arms and over the soft fabric of her chain-knit sweater in a vain attempt to absorb the warmth emanating only a few feet from the fire. The electricity had gone out hours ago, the backup generator had failed to start, and the wind chill had already dipped well below zero. The night proved to be long, but she didn’t have to spend it alone.

She shot a glance toward the window that usually offered her a charming view of Mount Evans, but all she could see were large, distorted snowflakes battering the windowpane that Jack Frost had decorated with a whimsical etching of the winter winds.

Beyond that?

Nothing but darkness.

The Colorado mountain range was picturesque in the middle of winter, but it certainly wasn’t her idea of an idyllic place to host a romantic wedding. Who wanted to say their vows against a backdrop of a wind chill that was in the double digits? Add on to that the fact that each of the guests had to use snowmobiles or an arctic cat to reach their destination. That should have clued in the future bride and groom that a classic Aruba beach wedding would have been much more appropriate—in addition to being a lot warmer, even during the latter part of the season. Eighty-two degrees sounded pretty good right now.

Brett sighed in resignation as she reached for the scarf she’d strung up over the coatrack earlier. She personally would have preferred any Caribbean location, but her proposal had been tossed aside like a bad penny the moment the wedding planning had begun over a year ago. She usually tried not to dwell over where she stood on the friendship scale, but at that moment she had been shoved aside given that certain souls born in the West Elk Mountains of west-central Colorado were strange breeds anyway. It was as if exposure to all those dark winter months affected their perception of what was obvious to everyone else.

The bride had listened to her maid of honor, despite all the other opposing views. Heidi had thought Louise and Chad marrying where they met would be romantic, but it turned out to be a total disaster. The wedding journey had started off with the incredibly difficult task of finding a heavy winter coat that would cover a traditional wedding dress. Unfortunately, the beautifully added layer wasn’t needed by the end of the rocky passage to wedded bliss.

Chad had decided the day before the ceremony was the perfect time to bring up old wounds, unearthing some deep-seated bitterness that had never been completely wiped clean. Louise had been all but blindsided as the groom had heatedly declared that the wedding was off, although most of the still sober guests suspected an alcohol-soaked bachelor party was to blame. It instantly caused their family and friends to take sides.

“Complete idiots,” Brett muttered in fondness, wrapping the cashmere scarf around her neck before lightly binding the ends together. “Any Caribbean island would have sufficed. But no, we had to come to a place that resembles Antarctica.”

She loved them both dearly and didn’t want either of them to throw away a life together over a past mistake that had been rehashed over and over again until there was nothing but ashes. Louise and Chad thrived on drama, though. It followed them no matter where they went—even on their wedding getaway to the great white north.

Luckily for them, all the guests were now stranded on this isolated mountain range until the storm lifted and permitted everyone to take what snowmobiles and conveyances there were across the pass to safety. Until then, it gave Chad and Louise’s family and friends time to try to talk sense into the two of them…at least those who weren’t in favor of a total and complete separation.

Had that been Heidi’s plan all along? She never did like some of Chad’s friends.

Brett shrugged into the horribly expensive parka she’d specifically bought for this trip, ignoring the path her thoughts had taken. She wasn’t one to judge, and that certainly wouldn’t help the situation now that everything had blown over, so to speak. The bottom line was that she could either stay out here in this tiny, frosty cabin she’d been assigned to for the whole weekend and go stir crazy, or she could join the others up at the lodge and see if the massive hoard of proffered nuptial booze was still available.

It wasn’t that the main inn was some kind of colossal log structure that could fit hundreds of guests. It was much more of a larger cabin…maybe triple in size as the one she was currently staying in with a large kitchen to host the twelve or so guests occupying the camp. It also helped that the lodge had a larger generator that worked even at these temperatures.

Brett checked herself over one more time, taking in her winter jacket, scarf, gloves, and waterproofed Ugg boots. She had somehow drawn the shortest straw without even realizing it when she’d been assigned the cabin farthest from the lodge.

Suddenly, the scene from Jurassic Park popped into her head when the actors drew lots to see who would race those velociraptors through the utility tunnels to turn the power back on to the contaminated pens.

She honestly hadn’t minded the distance in the least, until the storm had hit. Watching the groundskeeper string rope from each cabin had put the dangers of such extreme weather into serious perspective.

Brett finally gathered the courage to crack open the hatch.

The wind was stronger than she had expected. She barely maintained her hold on the side of the door as a strong gust tried to rip the wood from her fingers. The snowfall didn’t feel like the normal white fluffy flakes collecting on the ground, but instead like pelting ice crystals trying to penetrate her cheeks similar to little needles. She pushed down her gathering irritation that they could all be lying on the beach somewhere enjoying the trade winds with those umbrella drinks to drown their disappointment with the cancelled ceremony.

Brett turned away as she pulled the door closed behind her, not bothering to lock the latch. One, she trusted everyone here not to snoop. Two, no other sane person not stupid enough to attend this debacle could possibly be this high up on the mountain range in this crappy weather. Three, there was nothing of value that she’d brought with her other than her laptop anyway. It wasn’t like her computer was even of any use, considering there wasn’t Wi-Fi or any other type of cellular service that could be activated to reach the Internet.

This area was as primitive as it got, which was why a shiver ran up the back of her neck that had nothing to do with the bitter cold. God help them should anything happen that would be considered a real emergency. They were a very long way from medical rescue help. There would be no life flight helicopter with this storm, just a whole lot of pain for a very long time.

Another shriek of wind jarringly howled as the strong gusts of frigid air traveled through the ancient pines surrounding the campground. Had she not been listening to that exact same eerie sound all evening, she would have thought it was a screaming banshee somewhere off in the distance. It was downright terrifying. Mother Nature at her worst. Brett breathed a little easier as the screeching wail slowly faded.

She had no choice but to expose her face to the harsh elements as she looked for the knotted rope that would guide her toward the lodge. It occurred to her that the knots were evenly spaced at ten foot intervals. She reached into her right pocket and pulled out a small black lithium battery flashlight they had all been given by the groundskeeper. That vital contribution alone should have clued her in as to how severe these conditions could develop from a simple prediction of two to four inches into something truly monstrous as the system stalled swirling over the top of the range like a miniature hurricane made up of icy winds.

The meteorologist had certainly gotten this one wrong. His ass should be fired.

Brett focused the beam in the direction of where the rope had been tied off to a small stake in the ground ahead of her. She had no trouble locating the line tied to her post on the front porch, though it was rather difficult to walk against the wind out in the open. At least seven inches of heavy snow had already dropped with many more expected according to the last radio transmission she’d heard this morning before the power and the wedding failed.

Now one of the children’s songs from Frosty the Snowman got stuck in her head.

Put one foot in front of the other…

Each step Brett managed to undertake took effort, but it wasn’t quite so hard with the joyful melody in her head. She mentally kept track of her pace, figuring she wasn’t even halfway to the next cabin and even farther from her intended destination. That was okay. Her daily runs kept her in fairly good shape. It was getting a little hard to breathe, but she chalked it up to the altitude and the temperature.

“Ahh!”

Brett tried to catch herself as her boot caught on something solid buried in the snow. Not even her tight grip on the rope could keep her upright. The cushion of the thick white blanket did nothing to stop the blunt force of her body hitting the ground with a muted thud. She landed on her hands and knees abruptly. The impact instantly sent her good spirits and the merry little melody packing. It didn’t help that she’d lost her hold on the tiny flashlight. The item in question had landed about four feet in front of her.

“Damn it,” Brett muttered in frustration, instantly lifting both hands in the air as she sat back on her legs. She tried to shake out the snow that had stuck itself into the sleeves of her jacket, but it was too late. “Ugh.”

The cold slush had already melted against her wrists and was instantly soaked up by the material of her sweater sleeves. It didn’t help that the thin denim of her jeans became saturated by the cold moisture around her knees in spite of her long johns underneath, though her boots were well insulated and protected her ankles and feet.

There was always a silver lining, right?

Well, she couldn’t stay outside in these unforgiving temperatures forever. She quickly reached for the rope that was now shoulder height above her. She finally caught onto the coarse twine, but she didn’t stand. Instead, she scooted forward on her knees and reached out toward the bright light illuminating the snow like a brilliant beam driving up into the night’s sky.

Wait.

What was on top of the snow?

Blood?

Brett instinctively closed her gloved fingers into the palm of her hand. Her mind immediately rejected the grisly word it had formed, her heart breaking for whatever poor animal had been hurt in such a harsh winter storm. She couldn’t stand to think of such an innocent creature suffering in pain.

She tried to look around, but it was a futile effort.

Had the critter found shelter, food, and water?

Brett maintained her hold on the rope as she reached over the splatters of red dots for the flashlight. She followed the trail with the beam, easily making out the darker circle that had already melted the snow underneath.

That was a lot of blood for an animal.

“Shit,” Brett muttered, left with a decision that could very well be detrimental to her own health. She wanted to help whatever animal was bleeding so profusely, but she didn’t want to put herself in any danger of getting lost in the winter landscape. It could be a bunny rabbit or a doe some hunter had wounded that simply needed a bandage and some shelter in order to recover. Or it could very well be a very large black bear, in which case she would immediately regret her choice of not leaving well enough alone. “This is the kind of crap that gets me into trouble. Nothing like this would have happened in Aruba.”

Brett’s parents had to deal with more strays than any other mother and father in their old neighborhood. She really should have become a veterinarian, but teaching kids had seemed less daunting than Taming the Shrew, her ode to her favorite classic author. How wrong she’d been, but she could ruminate about her life’s choices another time. A wounded animal was somewhere close by, and she couldn’t leave them to fend for themselves in this crap.

She made a rash decision to quickly check out how far the trail of blood went with every intention of turning back once she reached the outer edge of the camp. She wouldn’t venture any farther than the back clearing the cabins were in. Taking in how far she’d already walked, Heidi or Martin’s cabin had to be to the right of her current location. Her search should be safe enough, if she discounted the fact that she was starting to shake from exposure to the cold.

The pool of blood that had soaked into the ground happened to be right underneath one of the other ropes, so Brett grabbed ahold of the thick twine and cautiously proceeded to follow the trail. She didn’t want to inadvertently stumble upon a wounded animal, so she slowed her steps. The critter would almost certainly react in defense of itself, most likely striking out at her. It wouldn’t do to have them both hurt and bleeding.

Brett couldn’t stop her teeth from chattering as the cold moisture from her denim and the wetness from the sleeves of her sweater started to soak into her skin. It didn’t help that the wind had once again picked up to a howl, propelling the little needles directly into her face. She blinked several times, unable to stop her eyes from watering as the forceful gusts refused to relent.

After halting her progress a couple of times to wipe the tears from her cheeks with the back of her gloves, she finally managed to find the end of the blood trail. Surprisingly, it was on the doorstep to one of the cabins. Had someone already taken whatever it was inside?

She lifted the flashlight and shined the beam on the assigned number.

Four.

That was Heidi’s cabin.

Brett surmised that the animal must have curled up underneath the small awning, but a slow swipe of the artificial light revealed nothing of interest.

Well, that wasn’t exactly true.

A splatter of blood was literally at the threshold of the door.

Had Heidi heard the injured animal and brought it inside?

“Heidi!” Brett called out after a couple of knocks on the door. “Heidi, open up!”

No answer.

As a matter of fact, the wind had died down and the snow appeared to be falling at a slower pace as the flakes leisurely found their home with the others on the ground. It had become eerily quiet as the echo of her voice faded in the clearing.

The smell of firewood burning drifted through the air from every direction, reminding Brett that everyone was trying to ride out the storm and stay warm. Had Heidi brought the wounded animal inside to keep it warm or had she taken it up to the main lodge?

Brett looked over her shoulder, shifting her hood after she’d released her hold on the rope. She swiped the beam of the flashlight over the area, though she found no one else around. That wasn’t surprising. All the other guests were probably enjoying a late dinner and trying to patch up Chris and Louise’s relationship so that tomorrow’s ceremony could continue without further delay.

Brett would knock one more time, just in case Heidi was still inside. She might need help bringing the little critter up to the central cabin.

“Heidi?” Brett called out with a bang of her fist to the frozen wood, certainly not expecting the door to unlatch and swing open from the simple force of her knock. She instinctively used her shoulder to push open the entrance upon sensing the heat from inside…only there was no fire. There was only darkness…and the distinct smell of copper. “Hello?”

Heidi must have already left to join the others, leaving her fire to burn itself out. Brett was well aware that leaving a roaring fire burning in the hearth when no one was present wasn’t the brightest of ideas, but this campground had no electricity at the moment. The only structure she knew of with a working generator was the main lodge, but that didn’t help the individual cabins once the main power to the camp had failed.

It also didn’t help to extinguish the strong odor of what could only be blood.

Had Heidi been unable to save the animal, or had she sought help from the others? Brett’s curiosity always got the better of her, and now was no exception to that rule. She quickly swiped her arm in one long motion, only wanting to confirm that the animal hadn’t been left behind. It took more than a few seconds for the sight before her to penetrate the deep-seated denial that her mind instantly created.

The gruesome image trying to form in her mind was of Heidi’s sightless, cloudy, dilated eyes staring directly into the beam of Brett’s flashlight, but that couldn’t be right.

Her friend couldn’t dead.

That wasn’t right.

“Heidi?” Brett took a step closer because the name falling from her lips came out as nothing but a whisper as her breath billowed in the air. Heidi wouldn’t be able to hear her. She hadn’t been loud enough to be heard properly. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Heidi?”

Brett’s boot slipped out from under her. She tried to catch her balance, but there was nothing for her to grab ahold of as she swung her arms wildly and caught nothing but air. She landed hard on her side where her hip took the brunt of her body weight. Unfortunately, her flashlight once again slipped away from her grip and rolled a couple feet away.

Panic had already started to infuse itself, because there was no way she could accept the scene which was painted in front of her. This had to be a horrible joke—a very sick and cruel joke. That didn’t stop the horror of what could possibly be reality bubble into a scream that never released. Brett was too busy scrambling for the flashlight and crawling toward the beam that was now directed toward herself.

“What—”

Brett stared in revulsion at the red, thick coagulating liquid coating her hand. She’d first thought her palms had landed in the melting snow she’d brought in with her boots, but this…this was all blood.

Heidi’s blood.

“No, no, no,” Brett chanted over and over as she finally picked up the flashlight and swung the light back toward Heidi.

Was this real?

Oh, my God!

Heidi’s lips were parted as if she were silently screaming, while her eyes were trained on something no one on this earth could possibly see. Her normally ivory white skin had lost its vibrancy, reminding Brett of the glue her class used to make arts and crafts. She’d never be able to glue glitter on construction paper again without recalling this grisly image.

Blue. The color of Heidi’s lips and her discernable veins were blue.

Her friend was almost certainly dead.

And the blood.

There was so much blood.

Brett swallowed against the bile in her throat as she attempted to stand without falling. She recognized the need to call for help, but she couldn’t get her body to agree to move. No one would hear her anyway.

All she could manage to do was stare in horror at…death.

Death had come knocking without a wedding invitation.

Heidi was too young to have her life cut so short.

Terror unlike anything Brett had ever experienced settled over her like a cold blanket at the thought that someone had done this to Heidi. There had been no wounded animal. The blood outside had been Heidi’s and someone had brought her inside to bleed out.

Icy spindles wrapped themselves around Brett as she finally grasped the understanding that this hadn’t been an accident.

Someone had done this to her friend.

Someone had committed murder so far away from the rest of the world.

And that someone had to still be here in the campground, trapped by the storm…trapped here with her.

* * * *

He hadn’t had time to finish what he’d started.

Anger morphed into rage, but he had no outlet.

Not now that the body had been discovered.

That had been taken from him the moment Brettany Lambert had walked into Heidi’s cabin. He’d been trying to cover the tread of the boot marks he’d left in the snow when he’d heard a muffled cry, alerting him to the fact that he hadn’t been alone anymore.

Brettany had walked right by him, not even realizing she had been arm’s length away from the sharp blade of his knife. He should have stabbed her then and there, dropping her in the snow.

Now, he had to watch from afar as the beam from her flashlight finally faded from his sight as she entered Heidi’s cabin. He waited in the darkness for the satisfying scream to carry through the air.

It took longer than he thought it would.

 

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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Cold Malice by Toni Anderson Release Day Blitz

COLD MALICE by Toni Anderson is available today! Romantic suspense lovers won’t want to miss this next riveting installment in her Cold Justice series. Find out more about COLD MALICE, read an excerpt below, and pick up your copy today!

 


About COLD MALICE

ASAC Steve (Mac) McKenzie is out to prove himself by leading a task force investigating a series of murders in the heart of Washington, DC. His undercover work in an antigovernment compound twenty years earlier is related—as is the sweet, innocent girl he befriended back then. Now that girl is a beautiful woman, and she has something to hide.

Tess Fallon spent a lifetime trying to outrun her family’s brand of bigotry, but someone is threatening her anonymity by using the anniversary of her father’s death to carry out evil crimes and she’s terrified her younger brother is involved. She sets out to find the truth and comes face-to-face with a man she once idolized, a man she thought long dead. As the crimes escalate it becomes obvious the killer has an agenda, and Tess and Mac are running out of time to stop him.

Will the perpetrator use a decades-old dream of revolution to attack the federal government? And will the fact that Tess and Mac have fallen hard for each other give a cold-hearted killer the power to destroy them both?

Add COLD MALICE to your Goodreads list here!

 

 

Get your hands on COLD MALICE now:

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

 

 

Read an excerpt from COLD MALICE:

He sat in his car, staring at the house, knowing she was inside watching him right back.

The unexpected attraction had caught him off guard. He’d forgotten what it felt like to actually want someone. But he couldn’t afford to start something with the daughter of one of the most notorious white supremacist leaders in history. That would not look great on his résumé.

That stupid hug had knocked him off balance and made him sit here like a damn stalker. He’d hoped to neutralize some of the antagonism his turning up out of the blue had created and keep her onside should he need her help in the future. But now the fresh scent of her shampoo invaded his nostrils, and the feel of her soft skin tantalized his senses. The sight of her in that damp robe— knowing that she was naked underneath— had distracted the hell out of him. And damned if that embrace hadn’t felt like coming home.

Chances were she wasn’t involved in the current murders. It didn’t seem likely that an accountant, raised by a woman of color, would turn around and start killing people based on her daddy’s evil doctrine. But who knew? He’d seen crazier things in his career. Tomorrow he’d check out her alibi and cross her off his to-do list.

More’s the pity.

And so what if his mind turned dirty. It wasn’t going to lead anywhere. She was off limits. And he was in control of his wants and needs.

 

 

See the COLD MALICE trailer:

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).

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Cold Malice Teaser Reveal!!

We’re excited to share another teaser from the upcoming COLD MALICE by Toni Anderson! And if you didn’t catch the excerpt reveal earlier this week, you should definitely check it out here!

 


About COLD MALICE

Available September 12th

ASAC Steve (Mac) McKenzie is out to prove himself by leading a task force investigating a series of murders in the heart of Washington, DC. His undercover work in an antigovernment compound twenty years earlier is related—as is the sweet, innocent girl he befriended back then. Now that girl is a beautiful woman, and she has something to hide.

Tess Fallon spent a lifetime trying to outrun her family’s brand of bigotry, but someone is threatening her anonymity by using the anniversary of her father’s death to carry out evil crimes and she’s terrified her younger brother is involved. She sets out to find the truth and comes face-to-face with a man she once idolized, a man she thought long dead. As the crimes escalate it becomes obvious the killer has an agenda, and Tess and Mac are running out of time to stop him.

Will the perpetrator use a decades-old dream of revolution to attack the federal government? And will the fact that Tess and Mac have fallen hard for each other give a cold-hearted killer the power to destroy them both?

Add COLD MALICE to your Goodreads list here!

Preorder your copy of COLD MALICE:

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

 

See the COLD MALICE trailer

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Books