17 June 2010
Thanks for letting me be here, Jenny.
I’m Toni Anderson, a former marine biologist who conducted my Ph.D. at the Gatty Marine Laboratory in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. I was born and raised in the U.K., but now live in Canada with my husband and two children. I set my stories in the stunning locations where I’ve been lucky enough to live and work—the blustery east coast of Scotland, the remote isolated mining communities of Northern Labrador, the rugged landscapes of the U.S. and the Red Center of Australia. I escape the long brutal Canadian winters by writing Romantic Mystery and Suspense stories.
My first Romantic Suspense, HER SANCTUARY, was released in 2009 to some great reviews. I write about my travels on my blog and update on Twitter. Readers can sign up for my newsletter on my website, or friend me on Facebook. I’ve also set up a fan page for SEA OF SUSPICION with location photographs and anecdotes.
Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.
Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.
When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.
They turned into her drive and a security light flooded the gravel yard, revealing the beautiful old stone cottage flanked by patches of heather and herbs.
Home. Thank God.
Grabbing her purse, she shoved open the door before they’d stopped. Dormant wheat fields stretched behind the cottage, which bordered a golf course. Emily and Lily’s cottage topped a low rise three hundred yards away, tall hedges giving both houses seclusion and privacy.
Nick stood beside the car door, one foot on the sill, hands on the roof, looking delicious. His eyes darkened as they met hers. “Still want me to call a taxi?”
The air between them crackled with possibility, but Susie nodded. She wasn’t some easy lay for a stranger. She needed to believe she was worth more than that.
“Can I at least walk you to your door?”
Susie looked over to the French doors twenty yards away up three uneven stone slabs. Nick’s request was a baited trap, but he wasn’t that irresistible. She nodded.
Fog billowed along the lilac hedge that marked her property, enfolding them in a soft mystical silence. He fell into step beside her and handed her the key fob. She moved ahead up the steps, brushing an old lavender bush that released its fragrance through the night air. Fumbling, she dropped her keys and Nick bent to retrieve them before she had chance.
“Nice place,” he commented. “Secluded. Wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting the neighbors with loud music or screaming sex.”
Her skin sizzled and every sense felt electrified as if someone had plugged her in and flipped a switch. Her eyes widened, her chest tightened. This was dangerous. She was too aware of him, too interested in the idea of screaming sex, and too damn drunk to run as fast as she should.
And he knew it.
She pressed back against her door, her shoulder blades drawn up tight together. Nick slipped the key into the lock and took a step forward, bringing him close enough to touch if she so much as took a breath. So she didn’t. The lock clicked and he took a step back with a grave expression on his face.
“I’d kiss you goodnight if you didn’t look so scared,” he said softly.
“I’m not scared.”
“Good.” His eyes sparkled as he lowered his mouth to hers.
Mistake! Her mind screamed but it was too late. The breath whooshed out of her as he pressed the gentlest kiss to her lips—as fine a sensation as the stroke of a feather across sensitive skin. And the world stopped. Then every sense climbed to high alert as he took a half step closer, the bulk of his shoulders blocking the wind, and heat coming off his body like rays from the sun. He smelled spicy and male, the leather of his jacket creaking as he shifted his stance. He took her by surprise as he slipped one hand beneath her coat, resting it possessively on her hipbone. Startled, she opened her eyes.
But he kissed her again, this time less gently. Sliding his hand to the base of her spine, the burning impression of each finger pressing through the cotton of her T-shirt, brushing bare skin. His lips were teasing and coaxing, not what she expected from a man who screamed danger. Her palms braced against the muscles in his chest, but they weren’t exactly beating him off. He eased her toward him, enticed a trembling response from her body, but all of a sudden he jerked away and stuck his hand in his pocket.
“Bloody hell.” He pulled out a cell phone, adjusting it to read the display in the poor light. Swearing, he looked at her with an apology in his eyes. And regret. Because she was a sure thing. “I’ve got to go.”
“You’re on call?” Susie couldn’t believe the disappointment in her voice. Go! Please go.
His smile was a slash of white. “Criminals always know when I have a night off.” His eyes slid to her car. “Can I borrow your Mini?” He gripped the back of his neck, looking up at her from under heavy brows. “I’ll get it back to you before morning.”
“Take it.” Susie wouldn’t be accused of getting in the way of law and order, plus it would get him away from her faster. Next time she saw him she’d be sober and prepared. “I’m not planning on going anywhere tomorrow so there’s no rush to drop it off.”
She opened the front door, pulled the keys out of the lock and twisted off the ignition key from her octopus key fob.
“Here.” She threw it to him, not surprised when he snatched it out of the air without even moving his gaze. His intensity was unsettling.
She dashed inside and closed the door. Locked it. He could have her car, no problem. But he couldn’t have her. She wanted a relationship, a future, a family. Nick Archer was a lousy bet for anything except orgasms and heartbreak, and not even the orgasms were guaranteed.
What do you hope readers will remember about your book?
I hope readers remember the atmosphere of the setting and the depth of emotions of the characters.
And to celebrate Carina Press's launch, I'm burying a virtual time capsule. What will you contribute to it?
Time capsule, huh? Nice idea. I’d contribute series of photographs from my recent trip to Europe. I love looking at images from bygone days. And if you want to see some of the photos from where SEA OF SUSPICION is set, checkout my blog, website or Facebook photo albums. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jenny!