Review: Cold & Deadly by Toni Anderson

Format: E-Bookcoldanddeadly.jpeg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Dominic Sheridan
Heroine: Ava Kanas
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 12, 2019
Started On: March 25, 2019
Finished On: April 01, 2019

Cold and Deadly is the debut book in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series by Toni Anderson, one of my favorite romantic suspense authors out there. Cold and Deadly begins with a funeral proceeding for FBI retired agent Van Stamos, who had allegedly taken his own life with the service weapon FBI had gifted him after thirty years of service. Special Agent Ava Kanas is the only one who doubts that Van had taken his own life, which brings her under the focus of Supervisory Special Agent Dominic Sheridan, who at first is skeptical of what Ava has to say and suspicious of her motives.

In his mid-thirties, Dominic is an expert in the Crisis Negotiation Unit, and comes from well connected family. Ava is a rookie agent, having being mentored by Van before he left service. Even though Van had all good things to say about Ava when they had crossed paths prior to his death, Dominic is not a man as easily persuaded, which is why he has a hard time at first when Ava comes out with her theory that Van could not have taken his own life. That is until the funeral proceedings is interrupted by a deadly sniper willing to take as many lives as possible with every bullet fired.

Once Dominic discovers that there could be truth to Ava’s hunch, that is when things get interesting in the story, bringing in favorites from the Cold Justice series to complement the team we meet in this book. Ava, acting as Dominic’s bodyguard, comes face to face with a past she would rather forget if she could, and the close quarters in which they both operate breaks down the walls holding the tide of desire between them at bay.

With the hunt fully on in pursuit of a killer who is cunning in the extreme, it is a race against time that Dominic and Ava embark on, to find the truth behind the spate of killings targeting specific FBI agents.

I loved Cold and Deadly to bits. Now here is a story that delivers on both fronts; romance and the suspense, in spades. A hefty dose of sexual heat and romance, with nail biting suspense is what any romantic suspense fan could ask for, and Toni Anderson certainly delivers with this number.

Though Ava started off as a bit defensive in the story, understandable given where she was coming from, I fell in love with her soon after. Her dogged determination to pursue the truth, even at great cost to her own career and reputation is one reason why I loved her. There are no pretenses to be had with Ava, which is how I love my heroines. Any character that acts wily and plays hard to get just because, gets on my nerves big time. But Ava is a perfect balance of independence, vulnerability, and playfulness which came to light during scenes of passion between her and Dominic.

In Dominic (sigh, Dominic), Toni created the perfect male specimen (if ever there is such a thing). I am not kidding. Dominic is off the charts hot in a way that is indescribable. He just walks into the story and practically owns the page he strode on. There is arrogance that comes from multiple years in service, and given that he is a top notch hostage negotiator who got where he is by honest work when he could have taken the easier path to “success” was what earned my admiration for him. Bottom line? I loved Dominic and could definitely read more about heroes like him. A reader can send out hints, can’t she?

What was most intriguing about the story for me was the case that brings about all of the present events, culminating in the deaths of multiple FBI agents. That kind of premise deserves its own book, so that readers like myself can crawl under covers with our Kindles and get startled every time the wind blows a hefty gust, bringing with it thoughts of creepy houses in woodlands and makeshift graveyards that haunt.

Can’t wait to see where Toni takes characters like Charlotte Blood and Dominic’s boss, Chief Negotiator of the FBI, Unit Chief Quentin Savage. I even checked Toni’s website to look up a date of release for the next book to no avail. That is how excited I am!

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Cold & Deadly is wonderful debut striking that perfect balance between romance and suspense. With fascinating new characters and favorites from the Cold Justice series; what more could a reader ask for?

Favorite Quotes

God, she felt good. Tight. Hot. Aroused. He made sure every thrust hit all the good spots, angling her hips to doubly make sure. His injured shoulder was feeling no pain right now.
He wanted to take it slow, but the desire cruising his blood was stoking his body to a boiling point. He counted to one hundred in French to stop himself losing it. Even when Ava spasmed around him he held on until he could breathe again, slowing it down, wanting it to last forever.

As she started to tighten around him for the second time, he locked his arms around her hips and slammed into her so forcefully he was worried he might hurt her. Then she cried out again and they climaxed together, him gripping her tight and holding back a roar that would have brought backup bursting through the door.
Ava shuddered and sank against him, their hearts beating in unison.
Holy shit.

She straddled his thighs and he watched, glad that the light from the adjoining room spilled through the open doorway brightly enough to reveal every detail.
He slid his hands between her legs. Her pupils widened as he sank two fingers inside, driving her up onto her knees in shocked surprise. Her muscles clamped around him as he found her g-spot and made her cry out.
Her post-orgasmic smile made his toes curl. She inched forward and took hold of him, rubbing the head of his cock against her clit until he was the one squirming.
“Dear God, Ava, if I don’t get inside you soon…” he pleaded.

She held herself still long enough for him to catch his breath, and then she started moving. Riding him slowly at first, finding a rhythm and a depth that pleased her. And he hung on for the ride, gripping her thighs like a man dangling off a cliff. If she didn’t have bruises tomorrow it would be a damned miracle. And still he couldn’t let go. Finally, her breath caught, and he drove harder, deeper, pushing for that climax. Wanting and needing nothing except to share that moment with this woman.
It started like an explosion from his balls to his tip, a warm rush that filled him with exquisite joy.

“I guess you’re awake.” Her voice rose sharply as he pinched the tip her breast.
“I’m awake.” His voice was deep and sent a ripple of anticipation through her body.
She heard the rustle of a wrapper, and her mouth went dry with want.
He parted her thighs and didn’t even check that she was ready for him. He knew. He knew how turned on she was and how desperate she was for him to fill her up.
She groaned when he did. Panted and clawed the sheets as sensation rocked her. His thrusts made her want this never to end, never to stop. To lie here forever with that delicious friction gliding through her body, ratcheting the tension higher and higher until her nerves felt like guitar strings about to snap.

“Dom,” she groaned.
He lay flat against her, taking most of his weight on his elbows, but still immobilizing her with his strength, only the tip of him inside her, making her hungry for more, making her want to back into him and take him deeper.
“What?” His breath brushed her ear before his teeth bit gently into her earlobe.
“Please…” It was as close to begging as she’d ever get. As close to telling him how much she wanted him—not just his body—but him, all of him.
What was it about this man that hooked into a woman’s blood stream and made her addicted? No wonder women turned up on his doorstep with offerings.
Fuck me and I’ll bake for you. Fuck me and I’ll do anything…

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Cold Blooded by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldblooded.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #10
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Hunt Kincaid
Heroine: Pippa West
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 12, 2018
Started On: June 23, 2018
Finished On: July 09, 2018

Cold Blooded is the tenth installment in the Cold Justice series by Toni Anderson. I have immensely enjoyed the series since the beginning, with each novel bringing to readers topics that are prominent in the highly globalized world we live in today. Be it biomedical warfare, terrorism, rising sentiments of white supremacy within Europe and America, or human trafficking, Toni’s books portray a wealth of information alongside with the sizzling romance that she delivers.

Cold Blooded delves into the topic of anthrax and bio-terrorism, and is loosely tied to the novella that was released prior to the release of this book. Having thwarted the attempts of an illegal arms broker from selling a weaponized form of anthrax on the black-market, it is the formulation of a Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the threat that lands FBI Special Agent Hunt Kincaid on the team.

Disgraced journalist Pippa West (Pip) is heading to rural Georgia to stay with her best friend Cindy for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life, when she turns up to find her friend’s body floating face down in the lake in front of her property. Pip is utterly shaken by the turn of events which tries to paint her friend in a less than stellar light, and even then Pip knows deep inside that there is more to what had taken place than meets the eye. Butting heads with the altogether too arrogant Agent Hunt is not something Pip is looking forward to in order to prove her friend’s innocence, but that is what needs doing if she is to uncover the truth.

Saying that Hunt is not a fan of journalists would be an understatement. Given the many circumstances under which journalists ruin the intricate work done by investigators on a case just for a story that would make their careers, it is a given that sparks would fly between him and Pip. At first, Hunt is skeptical of Pip’s claims regarding her friend’s innocence. On the other hand, Hunt’s hands are tied when it comes to investigating into what looked like a case of accidental drowning at best. His only interest in the case stems from the fact that Cindy had been a grad student working on a new vaccine against anthrax.

Hunt is ambitious as an agent, having decided long ago that nothing would stand in his way of the ranks that he wanted to climb up the ladder in his career. Love and the softer emotions of life was not for him, that is until he clashes with the altogether too delectable for her own good Pip. Through the course of their individual lines of inquiry which takes both Pip and Hunt towards the same direction, it comes to light that someone is out to silence Pip or stop her from discovering the truth behind the bizarre and untimely death of her friend.

Wading through the various inter-departmental coordination efforts that goes into combating the issue of terrorism, Toni delivers a story that makes for good reading. I admired the grit that Pip showed when it came to standing her ground, especially during a time in her life that she had been vulnerable, not only because of the death of her friend, but the way her career had blown up in her face in a way that she could not even begin to recover from. But for her friend who had been her number one person since she could remember, Pip goes further than that extra mile required, because she knows that if the roles had been reversed, Cindy would have done just the same for her.

Hunt was admirable because of his character; there is integrity and a core of strength in him that is not swayed, no matter what. That in my opinion is a rarefied thing in the world we live in today.

The sizzling attraction that is brought to life between Pip and Hunt was done well, the love that is the ultimate conclusion of a connection that goes beyond physical the icing on the cake. For fans of the Cold Justice series and anyone and everyone who loves a well-researched suspense/thriller novel with a dose of romance in the mix, this is for you.

Final Verdict: Toni Anderson delivers a story that sizzles, suspense that bites, and a romance that stirs you up. Cold Blooded is a testament to Toni’s remarkable talent since the beginning of her rise to fame. She certainly does not disappoint!

Favorite Quotes

He reached up and cupped the back of her head, pulling her toward him so he could kiss her. Electricity and heat flared between them.
He traced the seam of her lips with his tongue and she opened tentatively.
He wanted to take the kiss deeper but waited. Waited for her to hesitantly taste him and explore him. Let her lead.
They’d both almost died today and that basic need to prove that he was very much alive surged through him.
It was a natural reaction. He knew that.
She gripped his jacket and pulled him closer, mouth angling with a hunger that seemed to match his. She tasted rich and sinful, and sweet as sugar.
His hands slid up her sides and he was immediately hard as stone.

She turned off the engine and the sounds of the night pulsed around her. Cars in the distance. People walking their dogs. Laughter. He got out and walked over to where she sat, watching him. Admiring him.
She squeezed the steering wheel, exasperated with herself.
It wasn’t too late. She could still leave.
He opened the door and held out his hand, waiting for her to choose to get out of the SUV or drive away.
When she took his hand and turned toward him he lifted her and very gently placed her on the ground in front of him. His hands stayed were they were and she reached up to pull his mouth to hers, wanting that fire, wanting that burn of desire because she didn’t want to change her mind. She wanted to forget all the bad things that had happened. She wanted him.

Their eyes met when she raised her head to meet his gaze. He lifted her t-shirt off and tossed it on the floor. She dragged off her bra and let it fall. His gaze dropped to her naked breasts and went from hot to combustible in a heartbeat.
He cupped one full breast, ran his thumb over the dusky nipple. “I like your curves.”
She thought her knees might give out.
“You’re beautiful.” Moonlight carved out the solid jaw and wide shoulders. He was ridiculously gorgeous.
She gasped when he scooped her up in his arms and carried her along the hallway. He walked into his bedroom and placed her gently on the bed, coming down to lie next to her. He leaned over her and lowered his mouth to her breast, running his free hand over her waist and back up, honing in on her other nipple. She grabbed a handful of the dark sheets and closed her eyes at the sensation.

Her heels dug into the mattress and she writhed, hips circling, thighs widening, wanting more, wanting all of him. The heat of his arousal pressed against her thigh, but he wouldn’t let her touch him. Her hands roamed his back and his ass, but whenever she tried to touch his rigid cock he shifted away.
She growled in frustration. “I want you, Hunt Kincaid.”
“Soon.” He pressed the palm of his hand against her mound and zeroed in on that knot of flesh that swelled beneath his touch and she sucked in air, unable to exhale, then spasming around his fingers as she crashed over that ledge of pleasure, sobbing his name in the darkness.

“You feel amazing.” He gritted his teeth against the need to rut.
Her nails dug a little harder. “You feel pretty amazing yourself.”
He moved again, trying to keep the movement gentle and smooth, and oh, so good. He kissed her and she relaxed more and more. He took all his weight on one elbow and shifted her hips to get deeper and she tilted her pelvis and suddenly he was fully embedded and a fine sheen of perspiration broke out across his shoulders.
He slowly ground against her, wishing he could make this last forever, hoping it was making her feel even half as good as he felt. Her heels dug hard into his ass and her eyes closed and he could see her expression twist into a parody of pain as she lost herself in another orgasm. But the feel of her squeezing him blew a fuse inside and suddenly he wasn’t thinking about anything anymore. He was driving toward release even as Pip continued to clench and come around him, making him feel better than he’d ever felt in his whole goddamn life. Blood pounding, heart-hammering, his climax finally hit him, slamming into his body with the impact of a meteorite.

He grabbed a new condom and rolled it on, positioning himself against her entrance. She ran her hands down his back and urged him on but he paused, framing her face with his hands even as her hips tilted and took just the tip of him inside. It was torture and paradise combined, but he had something to say first. While he might not want something long term it didn’t mean that this wasn’t important to him. He opened his mouth to speak but she placed her finger over his lips.
“I don’t want words, Kincaid. I don’t want promises or confessions that might mean nothing tomorrow. Just fuck me as hard and as long as you can and make me forget everything except this, except you. Just you. Nothing else matters tonight.”

Purchase Links: Amazon| B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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ARC Review: A Cold Dark Promise by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookacolddarkpromise.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #8.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Alex Parker
Heroine: Mallory Rooney
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: November 15, 2017
Finished On: November 24, 2017

A Cold Dark Promise by Toni Anderson is a novella that fans of the Cold Justice series would adore. One reason being that this novella brings to readers the wedding of Alex Parker and FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, the main protagonists from the debut book of the series.

Alex’s character was one of the main reasons why I fell in love with the Cold Justice series initially. Toni Anderson’s way of putting a story together is another, and there was ruthless edge to the story that made me think of Anne Stuart’s books as well, which I obviously adored. Having come a long way since, A Cold Dark Promise takes place with a 27 week pregnant Mallory, getting ready to tie the knot with Alex, in order to celebrate their love, and make things official before the baby were to arrive.

However, a member from Alex’s dark past comes calling, and even though Alex wants to turn away from the plea put forth by a grieving mother, he finds that he is not as ruthless as he thinks himself to be, which is how Alex finds himself in the south of France, where a mission that he had thought would be simple, turns out to be anything but.

I absolutely adored this novella. I am mostly never a fan of short length novels, because though they rarely serve their purpose, and they usually fail to deliver just enough to satisfy readers. But I had no such complains with this little number and I believe that Toni has done a remarkably impressive job out of delivering a well rounded story that readers can sink their teeth into.

I loved Alex and Mallory’s shared moments as described in the story. There is a normalcy to their whole relationship that makes their love that much more real and relatable. There is no dramatic flair to it, but yet it is deep and as meaningful as they come, which is why I adored the bits of their lives that Toni brought to light in this story.

Moments of truth like Mallory grappling with the fact that she doesn’t particularly like it when Alex might be in the line of danger while she herself wants the independence to put herself on the line when it comes to her work as an FBI agent; those are the things that struck me the most in the story.

I also enjoy how Toni brings together the cast from various other stories in the series. I sometimes have a problem with how some authors seem to have too many cooks spoiling the broth so to say, when too many protagonists from other stories seem to become the centre stage of the story. Toni also does an impressive job of portraying male friendships; rather than making them sappy in a way some authors tend to do, or go overboard trying to generate the whole “bro” vibe, I think Toni’s understated way of handling things works beautifully.

The mini secondary romance tucked into the story was just the icing on the cake – Reilly being a wonderful, wonderful hero that I fell in love with, just as hard and just as fast.

Definitely looking forward to more in the series. Toni sometimes describes her imagination as being dark – but I love just how dark it can get, with the possibility of there always been more.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Warm fuzzies is not what I would normally associate with a Toni Anderson, but this little number does it!

Favorite Quotes

Licks of pleasure spiraled into a cyclone of lust. His fingers dipped between her thighs and she moaned. Finding her ready, he turned her away from him, arranging a pillow beneath her baby bump and another cushioning her head. This was her favorite position now she was pregnant and he knew it. Alex moved behind her and slid deep inside and she came with a deep shudder. He leaned up, squeezed her nipple even as he thrust slowly in and out. She could lie like this for hours, days, it felt so good. She shook with pleasure, and she couldn’t bear for it to change but…
“More, Alex. Deeper.” It was a private joke between them, but the hoarseness of her voice took her by surprise. He got to her every single time.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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ARC Review: Cold Malice by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldmalice.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #8
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Steve McKenzie
Heroine: Theresa Jane Hines
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 12, 2017
Started On: September 07, 2017
Finished On: September 13, 2017

The Cold Justice series is well into its 8th book, with Toni Anderson hitting the mark with each single installment in the series. That is what I call well researched books that keeps the pages turning and the readers coming back for more. And I have definitely been coming back for more.

Cold Malice, just like every other book in this series, takes on a prominent issue in current society. The rise of white supremacist movements in countries like the United States, putting into peril years of painstaking work into building more inclusive societies. Toni’s insight and the way she handles sensitive issues of this nature continues to amaze me in every single one of her books and Cold Malice was no exception.

Theresa Jane (Tess) is the one surviving daughter of the infamous Hines family, notorious for its extremist right wing philosophies that had turned deadly. With her younger brother Cole, Tess had found refuge in the kind woman that had adopted them, and had grown up trying to run from a past that seems to be catching up with her in a way that leaves her cold on the inside.

When Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steve McKenzie (Mac) comes back into Tess’s life, it is as if a ghost from her past has come calling, a ghost that she had clearly thought and believed to be dead in the events that had taken place that fateful night when the lives of the Hines family had met its ultimate deadly conclusion. A string of hate crimes is what brings Mac to the scene, an FBI agent who had slowly risen through the ranks to prove himself capable and beyond the trashy background from which he had emerged. For Mac, his career comes first and foremost, and if Tess still reminds him of that little girl he had failed to protect all those years ago, he would just have to deal with it.

With Mac in charge of the investigating team, it is one harrowing experience after another that pits Tess and Mac together, each having to rely on the other to get through. Trust comes hard for both of them, especially Tess who has always had to isolate herself from the rest of the world lest the truth of her background emerge and harm her prospects for a life of normalcy that she strives so hard for. For Mac, even though he is 99% certain that Tess has not one prejudiced bone in her body, it is that 1% that makes it hard for him to trust her on a level that he should, given the way he reacts to her at every molecular level of his being.

A killer with an agenda that targets the awakening of the slumbering beast, Mac finds himself running a race against time in trying to put everything together. In the midst of it all lies the searing passion that he shares with a woman he may never have forgotten, a woman who stirs his very soul and makes him think of a future other than that of one filled with ambition to further his career.

I loved Cold Malice, just like I have loved reading every other book Toni has written. Toni’s books come bearing interesting tidbits of information about what law enforcement itself is like at its heart, how painstaking it is to go through tons of evidence, especially in light of the world of information exchange that we inhabit today. Furthermore, the concept of “ghost skins” that I came across in this book was one that fascinated me. Extremist movements such as the white supremacists, going through the ranks of government service, embedding themselves deep within the system, until the time comes for them to rise and act on their twisted agendas. It is a concept that makes shivers run up and down my spine, the kind of meticulous and painstaking planning and patience that it would take for a group of people filled with so much hatred for anything that they do not agree with.

The tidbit on child marriages still being allowed in most parts of the US, more so than most people think also gave me a pause. We are all quick to judge when the lesser developed countries have archaic laws that allows these marriages to take place, that violates a girl in so many ways that it does not even bear thinking. Yet, the country that sits at the position of the leader of the free world itself has festering within, the kind of policies and laws that should have been done away with a long time ago, to protect the rights of every child. Perhaps it is a significant fact that even though the US ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995, it failed to implement the terms of CRC at home, owing to contentious politics within.

I loved both Mac and Tess. As a hero, Mac is a specimen worth salivating over. There is a vulnerability to him that he hides, and he hides it well. A failed marriage that has left its mark, a childhood that drives him to be the person he is. Labeled a sex god by Tess, he is very well worthy of the term as he takes the straitlaced Tess and teaches her how fun, and oh so good sex with the right person can be. Tess is a mass of contradictions unto herself. Yearning for the kind of closeness and love that she believes are possible only in Disney fairy tales, she never thinks for a moment that the man from her past that she had fallen in love as a child would be the person who would change it all. I felt every single scar on Tess’s soul deep within. It is amazing how Toni can craft characters that are deep and multifaceted as Tess. I loved her

Cold Malice is a novel done well, delivering a story that would stay with the reader for a long while. The subject matter alone is reason enough.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: There is no running from a past hellbent on playing catch up. Toni delivers an unputdownable read in Cold Malice!

Favorite Quotes

Instead of backing away, he lifted her up until both her legs wrapped around his waist and he positioned himself against her entrance. Then he held both her hands against the door and stared deep into her eyes as he pushed slowly inside. Her head went back as she cried out and her back arched.
She went blind as pleasure rushed through her.
He dropped her hands and grabbed her ass. She gripped his shoulders as he eased farther inside. Sweat beaded on his brow and ran down his temple. She tasted it on her tongue.

After a few seconds, she deliberately clenched her muscles around him again and he growled his approval. He started moving then, pumping in and out of her in long, deep strokes.
Dear Lord. It felt like Heaven. She whimpered at the pleasure that was flooding her senses. Every muscle in her body was trembling with need to race to that sharp edge of completion, but she wanted it to last, too. She wanted to go slow. And fast. And everywhere in-between. Mac changed his stance and she felt him inside her, touching a place that made her insane with want.
“Oh, God.” Her nails raked his shoulders as her body clenched around him. She wanted to be the girl from her fantasies, the one who asked for and got what she wanted. “More.”
“Is this what you wanted?” He drove into her over and over, holding onto her and thrusting deep at the same time.
“Yes.” She gasped. “This is what I want. You inside me. It’s perfect. You’re perfect.”

When her eyes closed he took over, gripping her hips, grinding her against him, gathering a handful of her hair in his fist and rearing up, trying to get even deeper inside. And he was the one in charge, in control, right up to the moment she put a twist into the way she rode him and he was gone. She cried out as his world turned black.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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ARC Review: Cold Secrets by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldsecrets
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #7
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lucas Randall
Heroine: Ashley Chen
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 31, 2017
Started On: January 10, 2017
Finished On: January 27, 2017

The 7th book in the Cold Justice series brings to readers a story that drives home the point that Toni Anderson is an author who delivers on all fronts where the romantic suspense genre is concerned. Every single book in this delectable series has been a hit for me, the subject matter that Ms. Anderson takes on in each of the stories being ones that are often difficult to write about with a measure of objectivity and impartiality. In Cold Secrets, Ms. Anderson delves into the world of sex trafficking, especially that of children who gets the short end of the stick where the fastest growing industry in the criminal world is concerned.

It all begins with the hunt for a little girl, where FBI Agent Lucas Randall finds himself going undercover as a john, the girl who is believed to have been kidnapped by an international ring of sex traffickers. The operation goes horribly wrong, with Lucas barely managing save his own life. Thus begins the hunt for a group of people who always seem to be one step ahead of the team of FBI agents allocated for the task, which is how computer expert and FBI agent Ashley Chen finds herself crossing paths with Lucas.

From the moment these two meet, there is an awareness that is almost palpable in the air. Ashley is someone who holds herself aloof and centers her life around work. She believes that the mistakes that she has made owing to wanting “normalcy” has cost her too much in her life and therefore has no intention of saying yes to the answering heat that flares to life deep inside of herself where Lucas is concerned. At first, Lucas is a bit skeptical of the talent and determination that drives Ashley. While Ashley herself is determined that this would be the case that would prove her worth to the establishment, she finds herself drawn deeper into a case that could hit far too close to the lies that has practically defined her past to a point.

Cold Secrets brings forth a multi-layered story, where as each layer is revealed makes the reader go a-ha!, just like that. I believe that that is part of the ingenuity that makes Ms. Anderson the master she is in weaving stories of the kind. The issue of sex trafficking as well as that of pedophilia is handled, both with the kind of sensitivity that won my wholehearted approval. Neither of these issues are easy to talk about, probe into, dissect and discuss. But I believe that in Cold Secrets, Ms. Anderson has definitely done a praiseworthy job of including the pertinent details without getting bogged down in the unnecessary when it comes to the story.

Being the geek I am, I especially loved the tidbits about the technological aspects that Ms. Anderson included in the story. Well researched is how I would conclude all the facets explored in the novel. Considering the fact that Ashley is someone who works on computers and has dreams of becoming part of the cyber-crime security expert team, there is a bit of jargon that needs to be handled in a way that does not bore the less tech savvy members of the readers community. I loved it all. The statistics, the intricate working mechanisms behind the DarkNet, and the role the Tor browser plays in all of it; all of that were intellectually stimulating to this brain of mine.

Another aspect that is part of the Cold Justice series is the way it delves into issues that relates to how the lines between liberty and privacy and the grey areas that agents often have to work around in order to nab criminals whose nefarious tendencies are protected by the letter of the law that they manipulate by using an army of highly paid lawyers. The fact that this requires painstaking work on the part of law enforcement officials, requiring them to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s is one that is at times frustrating, but then again, that is what the justice system is all about. I love how these stories sheds light onto all these aspects without getting procedural about the whole thing. That is one of the many reasons that I would always keep coming back for more where Toni Anderson is concerned.

Another facet of the story that I adored were Lucas and Ashley, both of whom I loved. Lucas is just so darn sexy and admirable in the way that he knows how to “handle” someone as prickly and difficult as Ashley, and I mean that in the best way possible. Lucas is light where Ashley is darkness in comparison. Lucas is open and frank in his interest when it comes to Ashley, but with her, it is a fact that she is constantly warring with herself to not make the same sort of mistake that could be costly as her past had taught her. Even with all that, the sizzling attraction that at times you could cut through with a knife makes it impossible to turn away from and that is exactly what happens to Ashley when it comes to Lucas. The sexual tension was done perfectly well, the scenes of passion just as much! The ending when it came, I could not have asked for anything better.

A job well done, Ms. Anderson!

Final Verdict: Ms. Anderson wows readers yet again by taking on Chinese organized crime & spinning a tale that hits all the marks!

Favorite Quotes

Yesterday, she’d kissed him. It was only fair to return the favor.
He dipped his head, captured her lips and she opened her mouth with a groan. It was like diving into sin and temptation. Heat and pleasure flared between them and made the frigidity of the night, the damp dirtiness of the alley, and the grim reality of the case, all disappear.
Her body rose to meet his and he dove deeper, tangling his tongue with hers, feeling the fervor of her response. He didn’t let go of her wrists, but his other hand tugged her silky shirt out of her pants so he could reach inside and cup those perfect breasts.
Lace scraped his palm and made him instantly rock hard.

“I like you, Ashley, or haven’t you figured that out yet?”
Fear entered her gaze and she turned her cheek away from his touch. “Please don’t.”
“Please don’t what?” he asked. “Like you? You think I kiss every woman I come across in the street?”
Ashley sent him a disdainful glare. “If either of us had had a condom you’d have gotten your reward for that kiss, and you know it.”
He was so close he could still smell traces of her arousal and it twisted his good sense. “I had my reward, sweetheart. Watching you lose it isn’t something I’m going to forget anytime soon.”

“Don’t be naive, Lucas. You don’t have to like someone to fuck them,” she snapped.
Her attempt to push him away didn’t surprise him, but it did make him angry. “You’re right. I wouldn’t have to like you to fuck you, but God help me, I do.” He leaned closer. “And after feeling you come all over my fingers I really want to fuck you. So keep that in mind next time you follow me down a back alley at midnight.”

His hands urged her on, harder, faster. And even though there were no spaces left to fill she still wanted more of him; she wanted to swallow him whole. He sank his fingers into her long hair, rearing up until he could graze her neck with strong white teeth. Still he demanded more, forcing her to keep chasing that edge again, but with him this time. He nudged her knees wider
apart and she sank even further down his length and cried out. He lay back on the bed and his fingers found her nipple and clit, pinching them both at exactly the same time and making her shatter. Her cries echoed off the walls.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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ARC Review: Cold Hearted by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldhearted
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #6
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Darsh Singh
Heroine: Erin Mairead Donovan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Started On: April 29, 2016
Finished On: May 04, 2016

Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice series has been an amazing ride so far. With each book, Toni manages to bring to the table a diverse cast of characters and stories that tugs at your heartstrings, while at the same time they deliver on themes that makes you sit up and take notice. Cold Hearted, the sixth book in the series checks in all those boxes and then some.

Detective Erin Mairead Donovan is persona non grata when it comes to Forbes Pines, a highbrow college town in St. Lawrence County. Erin earned her way into the town’s list of people to be hated with a vengeance when she had been pivotal in the conviction of one of the star students in the college for a string of rapes that had rocked the town.

When a double homicide turns up one victim with eerily similar methods of restraint used by the serial rapist, it shakes Erin to the core and makes her question everything that had been done during the prior investigation. Things get more heated when FBI Agent Darsh Singh turns up to assist in the investigation, who just happens to be the one explosive “mistake” in Erin’s life that had rocked her to the very soul.

With a killer on the loose, someone who is cunning enough to know the ins and outs of the justice system and able to manipulate everything to suite his needs, it is a ticking time bomb that Darsh and Erin have to diffuse, on top of their wild attraction for one another that just seems to burn hotter and fiercer the more they try to ignore the fact.

When Cold Hearted ended up in my inbox, it had come at an opportune time. As I kept turning the pages deep into the night, I realized that Toni had managed to defeat all my fears that had come to light when I had just stopped finding much joy in the books that I had picked up in the last couple of months. It had reached the point where I had been afraid that maybe the romance genre as a whole had ceased to be exciting for me. But Toni made me sit up and recall why I love reading romances, especially romantic suspense in the first place! So from the bottom of my heart Toni, thank you!

People might judge those who read romances all the time, but that does not change the fact that some of the stories that are crafted under the genre are exceptionally well written and well researched and teaches you a thing or two before you are done. Toni’s stories have a way of doing that for me – without fail. Which is why I will always keep coming back for more; because Toni’s stories work in ways most books fail.

I loved Erin and Darsh. Erin is all modern woman. Strong, resilient and stubborn to a fault – it takes a strong man to take on a woman like her. I fell head over heels in love with Erin the minute I came across the following bit in the book. At that exact moment I thought to myself, Erin is my kind of girl!

It might have been a sin in the eyes of the church, but the part of her that wanted to feel ashamed was quickly buried under a mountain of resilience and hard-won independence.
It was none of his damn business.

Darsh makes for the perfect match in that regard. He has his demons to fight. Neither is he perfect in what he is or does. He is charming, hot as a slice of sinfully good chocolate cake that you just want to consume a whole and wonderfully big hearted. He has his own demons to fight, but then who doesn’t? Neither Erin nor Darsh are picture perfect, nor are they meant to be. They work as a whole because they are human – and that is what makes these stories the emotionally well crafted tales they are.

Darsh’s past makes him susceptible in just the same way as you and I would be when it comes to emotional ground. But he was more ready than Erin to take that leap into the unknown, Erin who was more of a mess than she would let herself acknowledge. I’m glad that she found someone like Darsh who was willing to go that extra mile to believe in both of them, until she caught up, or rather was willing to catch up and be with him. 

As I mentioned earlier, Toni’s stories are great reads not just because of the romance and suspense element and the likable characters that they deliver. They are great reads because they are books that tickles your brain cells and makes you think harder and longer about aspects of society that you might not otherwise. 

We all talk about the justice system, how it most of the time fails society at large and how it’s just a matter of how good your lawyer is in spinning a good tale, which seems to be all that matters in the end. Toni was brilliant in the way she laid the story out. In this aspect, the way the villain is crafted was the masterpiece in my opinion.

Though he was the monster no woman should ever cross, the basis of his monstrosity is one that at least I can agree with. How screwed up society can be, how the system can fail you over and over again – these are things that happens in front of us all the time, things that we don’t take much notice of because it is not happening to us or someone we love.

Toni’s stories are great because they deliver the subtle and the not so subtle messages of failures in law enforcement, the justice system – the system as a whole and how people can actually make a difference, if they are willing to wade into the muck and try. For that alone, I would pick anything that Toni sees fit to write.

I recommend each and every single book in the Cold Justice series that has been written. Oh who am I kidding. I recommend every single story by Toni that I’ve read to-date. Because she is one hell of a writer, and she delivers a significantly different story every single time. 

Final Verdict: Here is a genius who gets each book down to pat every single time! Compels readers to keep the pages turning deep into the night, when we all should know better.

Favorite Quotes

Erin smiled and Darsh stared like a fool. He kept forgetting how incredibly pretty she was when she wasn’t spitting mad at him.
“I’m sure she’d appreciate that.” She stood, leaning a hip against the table, crossing her arms, revealing cleavage, badge and sidearm. His skin got tight. His neck hot. “She also tends to be swayed by pretty faces.”
He stilled. Raised his chin. “You think I have a pretty face?”
“No.” Erin gave him a smirk that told him she knew exactly what he was thinking before she gathered up her notes. “But she does.” With that she left the room with an arrogant swagger to her hips.

He wrenched at the sleeves of her shirt until it fell to the floor. She reached behind her for the clasp on her bra and he dragged it from her body and tossed it to the floor. And there she was, half-naked in his arms.
“We’re taking this very, very slowly.”
“No.” She sank her fingers into his hair and kissed him open-mouthed, before breaking away. “I don’t want slow. I want it hard and fast against the wall. Right.” She nipped his lower lip. “Now.”

He wanted to hold back. Wanted to treat her with reverence, but he was beyond slowing down. Her gaze met his. Urged him on. “Do it.”
Part of him wanted to curse her for reducing him to a rutting animal, but the expression on her face wasn’t sordid or dirty. It was lust and want and desire.
He held her steady and rammed into her, over and over, feeling her arousal build again, hearing her cries of passion as she crashed over the edge and his climax exploded and blew out his brains even as she pulsed and spasmed around him.

“You’re so beautiful,” she told him.
“That’s my line.” He rolled them so she was on top. Ran his hands down her sides and then up over her breasts, cupping their soft weight in his palms. She loved how he made her feel, like she really was beautiful. Slowly he started moving beneath her, small thrusts driving her insane with the need to take more. Stretching her, filling her, making her toes curl with pleasure but not enough to push her over the edge. The callouses on his fingers grazed her skin in a way that made her back arch. So good. She’d forgotten. She’d forgotten the long, winding path that could lead to the perfect climax.

“I can’t wait much longer,” he gritted out.
“What are you waiting for?” she gasped. It felt so good. So good.
His eyes heated. “You.”
He hit the spot that made her cry out again in panicked pleasure. Suddenly she was flooded by sensation, each nerve bursting like a firework through her body as white light exploded behind her eyes. His shout of completion chased her as she catapulted through some alternative dimension before landing right back in his arms.

He didn’t stop moving, just walked into the shower and grabbed the woman who’d filled his head with lust from the moment they’d met. He pressed her against the cool glass.
After a moment’s hesitation she kissed him, open-mouthed and sensual. Then she ran soap-slick hands over his back and shoulders. His body couldn’t get enough of her. His brain was struggling too. He lifted her up and her legs went around him and he slid home.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Requested ARC Review: Cold in the Shadows by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldintheshadows
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Patrick Killion
Heroine: Audrey Lockhart
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 24, 2015
Started On: October 30, 2015
Finished On: November 05, 2015

CIA agent Patrick Killion is on a mission sanctioned by the President himself, well, sanctioned to the extent where the President would have room for plausible deniability if shit were to hit the fan. Killion has been meticulous in his hunt, edging slowly towards the persons responsible for devastation that had rippled through his country when their Vice President had been murdered. All clues point towards the frog scientist Audrey Lockhart, who seems to project all the characteristics of someone well versed in the art of deceiving anyone who might be looking at her too closely. Or so Killion believes until he learns otherwise.

Audrey’s life as she had known it and the work she had been doing at the Amazon Research Institute at the Colombian rainforest comes to a screeching halt when she is attacked, leaving her life hanging by a mere thread. Killion tries to look on objectively at the “criminal” that he nurses back to health in the time period that follows, until he learns that Audrey is innocent by the time which he wants to, no needs to put as much distance between her and himself. Once the realization dawns that someone has been very clever at leaving tantalizing clues that points directly towards an innocent woman, Killion swears that he would do everything that he possibly can to restore whatever semblance of normalcy that he can to Audrey’s life, a woman who seems to have gotten under his skin in between being a patient on sickbed and running for their lives afterwards.

With the sort of humor that I haven’t encountered in any of her books before, Toni delivers a read that bears all the trademarks of a wonderful one. Killion races against whatever forces are working against him, while Audrey herself won’t stay put without willingly painting a target on her back to lure the very people who had gone to such lengths to frame her and do away with her. The plot twists served to be what made the story stand out and I believe that Toni has done an amazing job out of creating Killion’s story.

I immensely enjoyed everything about Cold in the Shadows. The suspense part was well done. I love a novel that can surprise me, all in a good way, and Cold in the Shadows did that and more. I loved this book that much more for delivering the angst factor, something that is missing in most books these days. The reluctance on Killion’s part to be in a relationship together with his strong determination not to make himself vulnerable to his enemies is as much a part of himself as his charm and considerable good looks. But with the very first encounter and onwards, Audrey changes all that, and breaks down the walls that he had perfected in a lifetime, with every moment they spend together.

Killion the name has always held a fascination for me, ever since after reading the legendary Anne Stuart’s novel Ice Storm, a book that I positively adored. The Killion in the Cold Justice series has proved to be as alluring in his own right, a character that has intrigued me ever since I encountered him in the novels prior to this in the series. Killion has always been in the background, biding his time for his own story, and what a story this has proven to be. Sexy, smart, ruthless and protective. The man is THE package even though he infuriates you as much as he makes you want him. And that I believe is the genius behind his creation. Killion’s wicked sense of humor got to me – big time! There is just something about a man who can give as good as he gets verbally, and that was a huge turn-on for me when it came to Killion’s character.

I loved Audrey for her simplicity, the fact she wasn’t one prone to theatrics, that she was brave enough to walk away and leave it up to Killion to decide where their “relationship” was headed towards. That, in my opinion, takes guts of the kind that few of us have. Beautiful, brainy and bold; loved the fact that she was insightful enough to weather the storm that was Killion. No wonder it took someone special like Audrey to penetrate that thick skin of Killion’s. The man in my opinion deserves nothing but the best and I believe Audrey was just that.

If you are a fan of romantic suspense and haven’t been reading Toni Anderson, you haven’t been reading right. Please go rectify that, as soon as possible. Thank you.

Final Verdict: Cold in the Shadows is the best book in the series yet – and I’m hoping, it can only get better. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Hey”—he hung onto the doorframe, clearly reluctant to leave—“what kind of costumes do frogs wear on Halloween?”
“You really think there’s a frog joke I haven’t heard? Jumpsuits. Ha ha.”
His eyes got a wicked gleam in them. “What did one lesbian frog say to the other?”
She shook her head. “Lesbian frog?” The guy was incorrigible. “Fine. I don’t know, what did one lesbian frog say to the other?”
His smile was pure devilry. “They’re right. We do taste like chicken.”
Oh. My. God.

Then something changed.
The air sizzled, the oxygen evaporated and it was suddenly difficult to breathe. What had started slow and languorous, exploded. He angled his mouth over hers, and started kissing her like he was starving, striving to get as close as physically possible. Her blood heated. The needy ache grew until she just wanted him inside her, right now, as fast as humanly possible. No foreplay, no teasing.

“I don’t want you to hate me.” His voice sounded rough in his throat.
“I won’t hate you—not for this anyway.” She gave a half snort, half laugh.
That made him pause for a second. He ran his hand up her body and his thumb found the center of her nipple with unerring accuracy. He scraped his nail over the sensitive flesh and her sex contracted, hard and sharp. “Might spoil you for every other man, Aud.”
God—that ego. “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
His mouth dipped to hers. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

She leaned over to pluck a condom off the side table, ripped it open, and slipped it carefully in place.
“Keep your hands at your sides,” she told him.
He eyed her balefully in the darkness. “But I want to touch you.”
“I want to fuck you first,” she said.
She heard his sharp intake of breath. “Audrey,” he admonished.
“Don’t make this into something it isn’t.”

She increased the pace, and he rose up to meet her, his breathing changing, getting shallower and faster. She added a twist and felt him tense beneath her.
Then his grip on her changed as he gritted out. “You’re not there, yet, Aud.”
“I already came, remember?”
“Fuck that.”

She lost all control of the rhythm she’d established, she just held on as he pounded into her, destroying her from every different angle until her body convulsed and exploded around him.
“Hold on,” he warned.
He turned them so they were on the edge of the mattress and her legs were spread wide and he was driving into her, but she was coming again, over and over in endless waves that crashed through her so hard she screamed as she felt him climax inside her, sending even more waves of pleasure through her body.

He pushed inside her slick heat and wondered how the hell people stopped doing this? Why do anything else? She shifted beneath him, taking him deeper and at an angle that blew his fucking mind. Then she wrapped her legs around him, crying out, and all he could do was drive deeper and deeper until his world went white and the earth shattered and he roared out a sound as a corner of his brain realized that walking away from Audrey Lockhart was going to be the most difficult thing he’d ever done.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

[xrr rating = 4.5/5]

Caliber SEAL: AMAZING READ!