Lori Ryan is celebrating the release of the second book in her Evers, TX series today and she has some amazing guest authors coming by her Facebook Party all day! But, she’s also sending the guest authors out to blogs to say hey to people all day, too. I’m so excited to have Toni Anderson, a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat kind of author whose heroes will have you panting in a heartbeat! To help Lori celebrate, Toni is highlighting her newest book, Cold Pursuit for us here and she’s giving away a copy of her book, A Cold Dark Place over at the Facebook Party.
Here’s an excerpt from the book to tempt you!
The metallic click of a weapon had her freezing and turning around slowly. The man who’d knocked her over earlier was pointing a matte-black assault rifle at her face. She clutched the baby tighter, put the little boy on the floor, and tried to push him behind her leg.
The gunman was tall, over six feet four; Arabic features, small, hard ebony eyes in a round face that couldn’t have been over thirty. His olive skin was free of sweat. No visible sign of remorse.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked.
His nostrils flared.
She asked him again in Arabic.
His eyes widened and then swept over her uncovered hair. She saw him draw in a deep breath and knew he’d fire on the exhale, so she threw herself to the floor behind the kitchen counter. She tried to shelter the baby who started to cry at the sudden jarring movement and blast of noise as bullets ripped into the wall behind where she’d been standing just seconds ago. The direction of the bullets followed as he started walking toward them and she scrambled and dragged the boy and the baby along the floor by their padded jackets as she tried to escape. Her nylons made her slip on the bloody floor. She sprawled and scrambled, clawing for purchase. The gunman came around the corner of the kitchen bench and she closed her eyes and braced herself for a bullet. Instead she heard a grunt and more deafening gunfire pelting the metal in the kitchen. Then silence punctuated by heavy breathing. She opened her eyes but no one was there.
She held still, unsure what had happened.
“He’s dead. Come on out,” said an oddly familiar voice.
She climbed to her feet and there stood the guy who’d helped her earlier in the mall. A knife in his hand dripped crimson droplets of blood onto the tile floor. The terrorist lay twitching at his feet. Her stomach turned, relief competing with horror. Her rescuer grabbed the bad guy’s rifle, searching through the man’s pockets for more weapons and ammunition which he shoved in his jacket pockets.
“Thank you. Again.” Her voice was rough as crushed gravel. If it hadn’t been for him she and the children would be dead.
He nodded. “FBI Special Agent Jed Brennan at your service, ma’am.”
He wasn’t just handsome; he’d just taken on superhero status.
“Very happy to make your acquaintance, Special Agent Brennan. You saved our lives.” The baby started crying, and she joggled her gently in her arms and kissed her sweet forehead. She walked towards the FBI agent. Now she could go get Michael, and they could get out of here. She handed him the baby. He handed her straight back.
“You don’t understand,” she told him. “I need to go get my son. I left him hiding in the cupboard beneath the cash registers in the toy store.”
He frowned in confusion. “So who’re these guys?” He pointed to the toddler and baby.
“I found them outside. Their mother was shot.” Her voice caught. She tried to hand him the baby again, but he took a step away. OK, less superhero, more federal law enforcement officer—another brand of male she’d dealt with in the past. She dared not raise her voice in case she attracted the attention of more bad guys, but she was desperate. “Please. I need to get my son out of there. Other people too.”
“How many others?”
“At least fifteen, maybe twenty in that store alone, many children.”
The sound of footsteps rushing toward them had the FBI guy pushing her and the children behind him and them both crouching behind the kitchen counters. The middle-aged man who’d caught her eye in the toy store came tearing into the kitchen with a whole swathe of people running behind him. They crashed to a halt when they saw Special Agent Brennan holding a gun.
“He’s OK. He’s with the FBI,” she assured them.
The faces of the scared shoppers relaxed slightly, but the terror at the situation remained. They were far from safe.
She scanned the crowd, then frowned. “Where’s my son?”
The gray-haired man stepped forward. “I tried to get him to come but he wouldn’t budge.”
Her heart sank. Oh, no. She’d made him promise not to move.
“We need to get out of here.” Agent Brennan spoke quietly but made it an order. He eased open the fire exit door and peered down the corridor. “This way. Quickly. Keep your hands in the air in case you meet cops who think you’re part of this terrorist gang. Keep your eyes peeled for shooters.”
Vivi tried to pass the baby to another woman, but the kid wouldn’t let go of her and started crying even louder.
“What are you doing?” the fed asked impatiently. Those chocolate eyes were now as black and cold as obsidian.
“I need to get my son. I promised him I wouldn’t be long.”
“If that baby keeps crying you’re putting all these people’s lives at risk.” The sharp gleam of intelligence in those eyes reminded her of Michael. “Let’s get everyone here out and then we’ll come back and get your son, OK?” He tried to put a little warmth into his voice.
The fed was manipulating her and right now she hated him for it. She didn’t buy it, but the idea one of the bad guys might find them all because the baby was crying wasn’t something she could live with. “You don’t understand, my son won’t go anywhere without me.” She soothed the baby, who quieted. “So if you’re lying to me…”
“I never lie to beautiful women.” The brief flash of smile was not a compliment. It was a move-your-ass-now-before-I-make-you smile.
You can buy Cold Pursuit at:
or head over to Lori Ryan’s Facebook Party at https://www.facebook.com/events/724887500904232/ to enter Toni’s contest and win a digital or signed copy. You can also head over to the party to see excerpts of Lori’s new book and to enter to win a Kindle Fire from Lori!