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?
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Exclusive Excerpt from Cold Malice
No way would Cole be involved in something as despicable as murder. There had to be a reasonable explanation. Should she ask him about it? And say what exactly? Hey Cole, where were you this morning? Out committing double homicide?
What if he lied? Worse— what if he told her he was involved? Then what would she do?
Dread took a tight hold of her innards and gave them a slow, painful twist.
She pressed her hand hard against her stomach. Could it be, despite all her efforts, he’d turned out like their father after all?
No. She refused to believe it. Cole was the one person in the world whom she believed in and she wasn’t going to sacrifice that trust on the basis of a piece of paper.
There was no way Cole was capable of murder. Maybe the file belonged to one of his buddies?
Should she talk to the cops?
Hell, no. That was not an option. That would involve answering a lot of questions she didn’t want to deal with.
One thing she did know. Her brother couldn’t know she’d snooped through his stuff. She gathered up his paperwork, rushed back to the office, opened the filing drawer and slid each piece of paper back into its respective folder. With shaking hands, she pulled out the black file and debated whether or not she should take it with her.
And what? Become an accessory? That realization had fiery panic licking along her nerves. The last thing she needed was anyone connecting that file to her. She wiped the cover and the pages she’d touched with her sweater and eased it gingerly back into place using the sleeve of her cardigan.
Everything appeared like it had before. She shut the drawer and ran back into the kitchen and stood there, trying to catch her breath. Then she crammed her belongings into her laptop case, washed up her cup, dried it, put it away in the cupboard. Rearranged the kitchen table into its familiar mess. She stuffed her arms into her coat sleeves, searched around to make sure no trace of her visit remained.
She took a breath. It looked precisely like it had when she’d let herself in thirty minutes ago.
She left, locking the door behind her, and sat in her car for a moment, trembling, her heart racing as her carefully constructed world fell to pieces.
Then she remembered whom she was dealing with. Her brother, whom she’d watched take his first steps, whom she’d walked to kindergarten, whom she’d taught to stand up to bullies. Her brother, whom she knew and loved with every molecule of her being. Not some violent jerk who liked guns or fighting, but a registered Democrat who bought her flowers on Valentine’s Day when she was single and called himself a feminist. For his birthday this year, he’d asked her to adopt an endangered species from the World Wildlife Fund in his name. No way would Cole commit murder, but she needed to know what was going on and how he was involved.
Blind trust was for the gullible and foolish. She’d rather put her faith in facts and empirical data. Unlike people, numbers never lied.
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