Cold in the Shadows

By: Toni Anderson

The man’s eyes flared as they ran over her and rested on her bloody wrists, and on the knife. “Did he rape you?” He switched to English.

She shook her head, grateful to have come away from this encounter without any real physical harm—although she knew from experience how damaging the psychological aspect could be. “He tied me up and threatened me, but he didn’t actually touch me.”

The man’s eyes narrowed as he spoke to her. “There are some bad people around here. Some very bad men. Are you sure you want to talk to the police?”

Because sometimes the local cops cared more about the bad men than the victims—that’s what the caretaker was trying to tell her. Audrey was an American. She knew the difference between right and wrong, and just because the asshole hadn’t raped or beaten her didn’t mean he hadn’t done those things to someone else. If reporting this saved one person, it was worth it.

“Call the cops.” She shivered as she remembered his strange warning. “I want this bastard locked up.”

* * *


His hand groped on the side table before he found the receiver. “What is it?”

At first the words didn’t make sense, the accent thick and hurried, making it difficult to understand. Audrey Lockhart. Attack. Masked man. He stared groggily at the ceiling of his bedroom.

“Tell me exactly what she said in the report,” he mumbled.

Two words had him wide-awake in an instant. He swung his legs out of bed and padded across the room.

“Read it again,” he demanded. He could almost hear Audrey snapping irritably at the local cops. Someone had attacked her and warned her that The Gateway Project was finished, but she had no idea what that was.

He went to the window, his pale reflection staring back at him. He reached out to touch the cold glass and connected with his fingertip.

This was what he’d wanted, he reminded himself. This was the culmination of a game he’d been playing for so many years he’d almost forgotten it had to end. He was hit by an unexpected pang of grief and regret. However, he couldn’t risk anyone finding out the truth behind his carefully constructed lies.

“What should I do, amigo?” asked the Colombian on the other end of the phone.

A network of frost crept between the windowpanes and a shiver worked its way over his naked skin. Time to finish this. Time for the endgame.

“Get rid of the report. Kill the woman.”

Chapter Two

ACCORDING TO PATRICK Killion’s favorite data analyst at the Agency, he was a half-inch short of being the perfect romance hero. As long as the inch she was talking about was his height and not his dick, he didn’t give a rat’s ass.

Today, at a measly five foot eleven and a half inches, he towered above the locals. His height, combined with his sun-bleached blond hair, meant he definitely did not blend in with the Colombian population. He didn’t bother to try.

The CIA dealt in threat assessment and probability levels, manipulation and human intel. Lockhart’s appearance, expertise, hidden Cayman Island bank account, and the fact she was in the right place at the right time for Vice President Ted Burger’s murder, made her his number one suspect. So, despite FBI ASAC Lincoln Frazer telling him to back off yesterday, he was still following her. He couldn’t walk away.

Last night he’d shaken the tree to see what fell out.

He ignored the twinge to his conscience. He’d been a little rough. He hadn’t wanted to risk her getting the drop on him. He had given her a get-out-of-jail-free pass and probably saved her life—that should count for something.

Except she hadn’t behaved as she should have. She hadn’t called her employer. She hadn’t grabbed a bag and run. Instead she’d reported the assault to the local cops and had gone in to work today. Maybe she’d been busy destroying evidence or delaying until the last possible moment before she made a mad dash for some small private airfield. Maybe she was overconfident about her abilities. Or maybe she was innocent.

It was the last “maybe” that bothered him.

As he stood in line for a ticket to the ecological park, a pretty redhead in a strappy top and high-heels eyed his neon orange T-shirt and red plaid shorts with a distasteful grimace. He’d committed a class-A felony and the fashion police were about to convict.

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