Cold in the Shadows

By: Toni Anderson

Killion dialed a number he knew by heart. “Crista. I need an ID on the photograph I just sent.”

There was a pause. “Running it through facial recognition programs. How you doing, babe?”

“Been better. How’s the new boyfriend?”

“A jerk. Ex-boyfriend.”

“Give me his number; we can start a club.”

“Oh, please. You are so not an ex-boyfriend.”

“I seem to remember doing some very girlfriend-boyfriend activities with you a few years back.” He rubbed his chin, only half concentrating on the conversation.

“The fact you think sex is the same as dating just proves my point. Have you ever actually been intimate with a woman?”

“Don’t tell me you slept through some of the best experiences of my life?”

“Intimate, jackass. Not inside. We all know you’re an expert on what to do with a woman’s body, but do you ever dare to try and figure out their minds?”

“Hell, no. And what do you mean ‘we all know’?” He was still watching the gate. “Did you go and start your own club?”

“Not yet, but I’m thinking about it.”

He turned his mind back to the conversation. “This guy really did a number on you, huh?”

“I guess.”


“Kill him for me?”

“As soon as I get back,” Killion promised.

“Sorry I was bitchy—but I kind of meant it about your inability to do more than connect physically when you’re in a relationship.”

“I don’t do relationships.”

“Exactly. Hey, before I forget, Maclean was looking for you.”

“What did you tell him?”


The last thing he needed was his boss suddenly poking his nose into his business while working this particular mission. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, darlin’. Okay, I have a name for you. Hector Sanchez. Listed as a known associate of El cartel de Mano de Dios.”

Killion’s eyes widened. He’d heard of good old Hector. The guy was an aficionado of the art of tying the Colombian necktie. Audrey Lockhart sure had friends in low places. She’d fooled the hell out of him.

It wasn’t the first time, but he didn’t like being conned by a pretty face.

“Thanks, Crista. Gotta go.”

“Be careful,” she told him.

“Always am.”


He grinned as he hung up, then stared thoughtfully at the entrance to the park. What was taking Lockhart and Sanchez so long?

* * *

AUDREY WALKED BACK to the lab wishing she could shake the low-grade anxiety that had plagued her since the attack last night. All she wanted was sleep, but the idea of going home to bed filled her with dread. Her PTSD had reduced over the years, but being assaulted last night had brought back the symptoms in huge crashing waves and she knew she had weeks of flashbacks and nightmares to look forward to.

She hated living in fear.

The detectives who’d come to take the report last night had been more interested in her body than in the threats her assailant had made. They’d taken her statement, but made no effort to look for evidence and hadn’t even bagged the plastic ties that had cuffed her wrists and ankles. She hadn’t been raped, robbed or beaten and they didn’t seem to know why she’d called them. When she had the energy she’d get in touch with the embassy in Bogota, but right now there was nothing to do except jump at shadows and scream like a weenie whenever something moved in her peripheral vision.

The Gateway Project. What the hell was the Gateway Project? She’d googled it and got nothing but computers.

Her phone rang. She checked the caller ID—Devon Brightman. If he were just her ex or her sister’s new boyfriend she’d blow him off. But he was also Rebecca’s younger brother and because of the grief they’d shared, no matter how she was feeling on any particular day, she would always pick up.


“Hey, how’s my favorite nerd?”

“Said the techno-geek.”

“Techno-geeks are way cooler than nerds.”

“Only they and their toys think so.” She laughed. When Devon wasn’t being over-demanding and possessive, he was actually a good guy.

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