Hi there! I’m delighted to be part of The Book Nympho!’s Hot & Deadly romantic suspense month.
My name is Toni Anderson and I write Romantic Suspense. It is also my favorite genre to read. The challenge is always to find a way to make the romance angle and the suspense aspect weave together in such a way that you can’t have one without the other. To me, a good RS book is not simply bookended by dead bodies and things that go *BANG*! The danger is intensified because of the romance between two specific people and the romance tends to be accelerated because of the deadly situations the hero and heroine find themselves in.
In my latest release (COLD PURSUIT), although my heroine, Vivi Vincent, and the hero, Jed Brennan, meet and feel that ping of attraction, under normal circumstances that would have been the end of it. They’d have each gone their separate ways. But a few minutes after they first meet, a terrorist attack is launched that throws them together and other things happen (no spoilers here!) that force them to depend on one another for survival. So for me a good Romantic Suspense is not driven by either the Suspense or the Romance–it’s driven by both. This is why I get so much enjoyment out of reading a well-written RS novel. I’ve included a short excerpt of Jed and Vivi’s initial meet–can you imagine they’ll ever get together? See what you think.
Michael spotted the intricate green serpent who guarded the entrance of the toy store and any lingering disappointment in his expression vanished. They stood in silent fascination for several long minutes as they took in the display that clambered up and over the shop. There was a teddy bear in cowboy gear riding a horse, a dinosaur on a motorcycle, and above it all a giant clown that made Vivi distinctly uneasy. What was it about clowns?
“OK, let’s go inside. You can choose one thing from the store and then we’ll go find something to eat. Later we’ll hit the rides.” He grinned and ran inside. Vivi hid a smile. She took a step after him only to collide with someone massive and bulky who knocked her on her ass. She ended up sprawled on the floor as the man kept on walking. Her jaw dropped at his rudeness and she climbed awkwardly to her knees, cradling her wrist, which hurt from the unexpected impact with the floor.
“Need some help?” A man crouched beside her. He had short, black hair and rich, brown eyes, which crinkled attractively at the outer edges. His fingers were strong and firm as he eased her to her feet, holding onto her good arm.
She gripped him for balance as she slipped her shoe back on. He had a straight nose, full bottom lip and a cleft in his chin. Those dark eyes ran over her critically as if assessing her injuries, then something changed and they warmed with frank male approval. She let go of his hand and her knees wobbled. She blamed it on the high heels she so rarely wore.
Another round of screams from the people on the roller coaster broke through her reverie.
“Thank you, again. I’d better go find my son.” She nodded toward the toy store. It had become automatic to use Michael as a barrier and the habit was starting to wear on her nerves.
Maybe one day she’d get over the trust issues her ex had instilled in her.
“Good luck getting him out of there.” The handsome stranger held up a plastic bag with the distinctive logo on the side. It looked incongruous against his smart business clothes—a black suit, blue shirt, purple tie. How someone carried themselves revealed a lot about a person—his posture suggested a military background—and maybe some sort of law enforcement. He also exuded an air of competence and authority she recognized from her days working at the UN. The last guy who’d affected her this way had taught her that a handsome face and commanding manner were no substitute for compassion or morals. Still, it was nice to look at.
“I got my fix buying for a friend’s kid.” For a split-second a shadow passed across his features then disappeared. Maybe she imagined it. He took a step away. “If you’re sure you’re OK?”
She nodded and he smiled back and then strode away.
Gone. Vivi blinked.
It had been a long time since a man had looked at her like she was anything except a frazzled, single mom over thirty. The sensation of being a flesh and blood woman slid over her body like a skintight dress, rekindling a part of herself she’d forgotten existed. Great, another thing to add to her list of frustrations.
Walking toward the store she fingered her sore wrist and decided it was nothing more than a mild sprain. She’d ice it when they got back to the hotel later tonight.
A loud boom erupted from the center of the atrium. She jumped and spun around. Screams grew louder and for a moment she thought the roller coaster was malfunctioning. Then a weird noise peppered the air, one that sounded familiar but she couldn’t identify at first. Then she did. Gunfire. People started running. A man standing beside the candy store dropped to the floor and the glass from the window shattered and rained down on him as a wide pool of blood spread around his body.
Oh, dear God.
There was a shooter in the mall.
(See Jonetta's review of A Cold Dark Place, the first book in this series)
Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson
Single mom Vivi Vincent is thrust into her worst nightmare when she’s trapped inside a mall during a terror attack along with her eight-year-old son. With the help of Jed Brennan, an FBI special agent on enforced leave, Vivi and her son survive the assault. But the danger is far from over.
Vivi’s son may have witnessed critical details of the terrorists’ future plans and is targeted for death, but he’s mute, and he’s traumatized. Still someone launches a strike against the FBI’s safe house, and Jed fears the bad guys have an inside man. No longer knowing who to trust, he hides mother and son in a log cabin deep in the heart of the Wisconsin Northwoods. There Jed and Vivi try to figure out how to unlock the information inside her son’s head. What they don’t bargain for is the red-hot attraction that flares between them, or the extent of the sinister plot that threatens to rip apart not only any chance of happiness they might have together, but also the very fabric of American society.
Toni Anderson is a New York Times & USA Today best-selling author of Romantic Suspense. A former marine biologist, Anderson traveled the world with her work. After living in six different countries, she finally settled down in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children. Combining her love of travel with her love of romantic suspense, Anderson writes stories based in some of the places she has been fortunate enough to visit.
Toni donates 15% of her royalties from Edge of Survival to diabetes research–to find out why, read the book!
She is the author of several novels including Dark Waters, The Killing Game, and A Cold Dark Place. Her novels have been nominated for the prestigious Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award and National Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense.
Her latest release is the second book in her Cold Justice Series called Cold Pursuit. Find out more on her website: toniandersonauthor.com