Skip to product information
1 of 1

A Cold Dark Promise (EBOOK)

A Cold Dark Promise (EBOOK)

Regular price $4.99 CAD
Regular price Sale price $4.99 CAD
Sale Sold out


From New York Times bestselling author Toni Anderson comes a heart-wrenching, emotional story about love, bioweapons, and the importance of keeping promises in the run up to Alex Parker and Mallory Rooney’s wedding.

In the midst of wedding preparations, a shadowy figure from Alex Parker’s past reappears and threatens the joy he’s found with Mallory Rooney.

Four years ago, Jane Sanders’s powerful ex-husband kidnapped their young daughter and Jane hasn’t seen her since. Now, she finally has a lead and she knows just the man to help get her daughter back. Trouble is, he’s an assassin. And he terrifies her.

Despite his upcoming nuptials, Alex agrees to help, but it doesn’t take long for the routine operation to turn complicated—and deadly on a global scale.

Can the former assassin make it home in time to marry the woman he loves, or will his dark past destroy all hope for their future?

A Cold Dark Promise takes place during the week leading up to the wedding of former CIA assassin Alex Parker to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, who first meet in the novel, A Cold Dark Place. A Cold Dark Promise can be read as a standalone novella, but readers might get more enjoyment if they read A Cold Dark Place first.

This EBOOK will be delivered instantly by BookFunnel to the email address you provide at checkout.

Read a Sample

Chapter One

Sunshine showcased the cherry blossoms that lined the Tidal Basin, and glinted off the white marble of the Jefferson Memorial in an almost blinding light. Alex Parker maneuvered his Audi carefully through beltway commuter traffic, as he and his fiancée, FBI Agent Mallory Rooney,
headed into the heart of the nation’s capital. They drove downtown, the smell of exhaust fumes mingling with the
scents wafting from the multitudes of food trucks that lined the streets. Tourists bustled. Buses full of schoolchildren headed in the direction of the Capitol Building.
He and Mal had rented a condo in Quantico for those nights they worked late and didn’t want
to drive back to his DC apartment. Their new house should be ready to move into in a fewweeks’ time, after they returned from their honeymoon.
“I’m getting fat.” Mallory smoothed two hands over her rounded stomach. She was twenty-seven weeks pregnant and looked more beautiful with each passing day. That was pretty much how long he’d known this woman who’d changed his life from darkness to light.
“I think that’s how it’s supposed to work,” he said gently. Her hair had grown a little longer than when they’d first met. It now formed a dark cap with the ends just starting to curl around that elfin face. They were getting married a week from Saturday.
“I’m not sure this reproduction business is divided equally between the sexes,” she said dryly.
“Hey, I did my part.”
“Your part involved a few minutes of vigorous exercise.” She sounded particularly unimpressed. He’d have to fix that later.
“I recall going above and beyond the call of duty.” He gave her a salacious grin.
Amber eyes promised vengeance, even as a small smile flirted with her mouth. “Do you now,” she said slowly.
He squeezed her fingers. “I promise to make it up to you after the baby is born.”
Mallory’s eyes softened. “I know you will.”
He let go of her hand to change gear.
“I’m going to look like the side of a barn in our wedding photos,” she mused.
“You can barely tell you’re pregnant.” He loved every expanding inch of her.
She stared distractedly at her bump. “I’ll have to get the seamstress to leave extra room for everything I eat this week. Or starve myself.”
“Hell, no,” he said sharply. “We can get married naked for all I care, but you are not going to starve yourself to fit into some stupid dress.”
One side of her lips quirked. “My dress is a work of art.”
“You are the work of art.”
“And that is why I love you.” Her hands kept up a steady soothing motion over her abdomen.
“I don’t think the minister would approve of us turning up naked, but it might be worth it to see the look on everyone’s faces.”
“Give me the word.”
Mallory smiled, and his heart rate settled a little. The idea of her not taking care of herself, or getting stressed, scared the hell out of him. On New Year’s Eve, they’d thought she’d lost the baby. Then, in February, he’d believed for a few horrifying minutes she’d been murdered in her hotel room. They’d been the worst moments of his life, which, as a former assassin who’d spent months incarcerated in a Moroccan jail, was saying something.
“We could always elope to Vegas,” he suggested.
“You wish.”
She was right. She knew him too well.
She grew serious. “I’m sorry I forced you into this rigmarole. I know you’d rather skip all the drama.” There was that twist in his heart again. “It’s just that Mom and Dad...” she trailed off.
Mallory’s twin sister, Payton, had been abducted when they were both eight years old. The family had finally discovered what had happened to Mal’s twin and had laid her to rest last December.
“The payoff is worth the price,” he assured her.
She smiled, but guilt lingered in her eyes.
“I really don’t mind the wedding stuff.” He had to remind himself to not call it “crap” whenever he spoke to Mal. “I just don’t want you stressing about things like how you look or what you wear. You’re beautiful. You being pregnant with our baby is the sexiest damn thing I have ever seen. Every time I look at you I fall in love all over again. Your health and the baby’s are the only things that concern me. Turn up in rags and I’ll marry you. Hell, turn up painted green and I won’t blink.”
“I like that idea.”
“Nontoxic paint,” he cautioned.
“Yes, dear.”
He grinned. They pulled up outside Blissed, a fancy bridal store with more tulle in the window than the Bolshoi ballet. He got out of the car and walked around to open her door.
“You’re going to pick up the tuxes, right?” she asked, gathering her bag and taking his arm so he could help ease her up and out of his low-slung sports car. Most days, Mallory wore a business suit to work. Today, she was wearing a white, cotton sundress printed with yellow daises and a gauzy, white cardigan that made him think of long, hot summers and picnics in cornfields. Her sidearm was in her purse.
“Yes, ma’am. Frazer is picking up his own. I’m picking up the others.” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lincoln Frazer— Mallory’s boss—was Alex’s best man. His groomsmen
included FBI agent Lucas Randall and two former Army buddies he’d reconnected with after years of silence.
Dermot Gray and Haley Cramer, his business partners, rounded out his side of the wedding party. “I’m going into the office to check in with Haley and Dermot and the guys on the cybercrimes team.” Everyone who worked for him was invited to the wedding. That meant they were setting up an emergency room in the hotel to run any ongoing operations and to be available in case of any new intrusions. A few of them would need to remain sober but no one would miss the party completely. “Pick you up in an hour?”
She shook her head. “Mom invited us to lunch.”
The muscles in his chest tightened.
“I told her you were busy so you can thank me later. I’ll get a cab back to the apartment when we’re done.”
He kissed her forehead. “And that is one of the many reasons I love you.”
She smoothed her palm over his cheek. “One of the reasons.”
They stood on the sidewalk not going anywhere for several long minutes. He never got tired of kissing her.
She pulled away, looking as dazed as he felt. “Is Haley picking up her dress or should I get it delivered with the others?”
“I’ll ask her.”
Mallory eyed him knowingly. “Is she still pissed she isn’t your best man?”
Alex took her hand and pressed her fingers to his lips. “She’ll get over it.”
“Eventually.” Mal already knew his business partner well enough to realize Haley would make him suffer long and hard before she forgave him.
“I invited her to my hen weekend,” Mal said suddenly.
Alex felt the blood drain from his head. “Did she say yes?”
“She hasn’t replied yet.”
Haley and Dermot had been his best friends at MIT. Of the three of them, Haley was the free-spirited wild child. She came from money and had fronted the startup costs for their company. She was razor sharp and partied like the world might end tomorrow. He loved her like a sister, but god help the man who fell in love with her.
“If she gets you into trouble, I’m going to kidnap her and dump her on her Caribbean island for a month. Alone. I might make it two months and arrange a food drop.”
“Then she really will kill you.”
“She’ll have to catch me first.” He sighed. “I need to find her a decent boyfriend.”
Mallory punched his arm. “You don’t need to find her anything. She’s more than capable of finding her own man.”
Alex shook his head. “She’s attracted to douchebags. I’m going to try and find her a nice guy who doesn’t mind a few sharp edges.”
Mallory smoothed her hand down the front of his shirt, her engagement ring shimmering like a small sun in the morning light. “She’ll find someone. The worst thing you can do is try to set her up.”
Alex’s mouth quirked. “Maybe she’ll meet someone at the wedding.”
His only jobs for the big day, aside from turning up, were figuring out the seating arrangements for the reception, and writing two-hundred or so name place cards as per the
wedding planner’s orders. Apparently, first-come, first- served, didn’t fly in these social circles. Considering how many politicians were on the guest list that was a damned shame. Maybe he’d surround Haley with every eligible bachelor he knew, but then she really might kill him. He’d
wanted to hire someone to write the cards for him, or have them printed, but the wedding planner said the personal touch made everything more authentic.
How could a card telling you where you were sitting at dinner determine the authenticity of someone’s wedding vows?
Whatever. He’d get the damn cards written this week.
He checked his watch and looked at the front d
oor of the little shop full of white froth. “Want me to come in with you?”
“No, thank you. We don’t need any bad luck.”
He grinned and pulled her to him again, kissing the tip of her nose and feeling their child kick against his stomach. He looked down. “Someone’s feisty.”
Mal laughed and placed his hand against her abdomen. “Tell me about it. This kid of ours is either going to be a kick-boxer or a soccer player.”
“You sure you’re okay?” He searched her features for signs of fatigue, but her skin was soft and smooth as peaches and she practically glowed with happiness.
“I am perfect.”
He swallowed the ache in his throat.
“I’ll text you once I finish up with my mother. See you back at the apartment, and we can take Rex for a stroll together.”
Rex was their golden retriever who’d been rescued after his owner was brutally murdered. He stayed with Alex’s neighbor whenever they were away overnight, just until they got into their new home. Fortunately, Rex was used to apartment living.
“Sounds like a plan.” Alex watched Mallory walk away, wondering how he’d ever gotten this lucky.
An hour later, he parked outside the brownstone in Woodley Park that housed Cramer, Parker & Gray, Security Consultants. Five carefully packaged, custom-tailored tuxes were stacked in the trunk. Haley’s gown was being delivered with the bridesmaids’ dresses. His cell phone
pinged with a message from an unknown user as he headed up the steps. He stopped and read the text.
He stood for a moment and contemplated ignoring the summons. Then he closed his eyes and swore. Pivoting on his heel, he strode north-west along Connecticut Avenue. At least it was warm out. Scenting coffee, he found a nearby Starbucks and grabbed two cups of dark roast. He
crossed the street and entered the National Zoo, mingling with tourists and parents pushing strollers around the large enclosures. A tingle of excitement shot through him. This could be him soon, showing his child the joys of animals and the natural world.
Alex meandered through the crowd, making sure he wasn’t followed. After circuiting the entire zoo, he doubled back to the panda enclosure—the zoo’s pride and joy—and found a vacant bench. He placed the second coffee on a wooden strut and rested his arm along the back of the seat. The big, male panda was out of his den and walking laps around his compound, examining the walls as if looking for an escape.
Sudden panic scratched at the edges of Alex’s mind like sharp claws on a dirt wall. Memories of being imprisoned hit him—filth, pain, despair. He forced himself to breathe slowly and steadily. He wasn’t in that Moroccan shit hole anymore. He wasn’t at someone else’s mercy.
The bench seat creaked as someone sat next to him. Alex held out the second cup of coffee he’d bought, and the woman took it from him gingerly, careful not to touch his skin.
She’d skipped the power suit this morning and had gone with workout gear—black yoga pants with a black zippered hoodie fastened to her chin. Bright orange Nikes provided the only splash of color, and she wore a neat leather bag strapped around her waist. Maybe she thought she might need to run from him. Not a good sign.
“Jane.” He nodded carefully.
Once upon a time, he’d despised Jane Sanders, who’d acted as a go-between for the heads of The Gateway Project and its foot soldiers. Now he pitied her.
Unease was visible in the wideness of her eyes and the tension that emanated from her frame. She scraped her white-blonde hair behind one ear. Her hand shook.
She was terrified of him. She had always been terrified of him. So why seek him out now?
“Mr. Parker.” Her voice was rough.
Alex raised his brows. “I thought you’d started to call me Alex?”
Her lips pinched, and she looked away, staring into the distance, not seeing the panda or the crowds.
“I found my daughter,” she said slowly.
Everything in the world muted.
Four years ago, Jane Sanders had obeyed a court order to let her four-year-old daughter visit her father for the summer. Jane had never seen the child again. An international arrest warrant had been issued, but her ex had disappeared.
Her fingers played with the hem of her jacket, knuckles prominent and white against soft, pink skin. “Ahmed is on a yacht in the south of France. Antibes. Taylor is with him.”
“How do you know?”
“A friend of mine spotted him.”
“Then Masook is already gone.” Ahmed Masook was a wealthy man who wouldn’t take chances with his liberty.
Jane swallowed. She had sharp, delicate features. A short, straight nose and vivid, blue eyes and chalk-white skin that would burn rather than tan. “He didn’t see my friends. He doesn’t know them. He’s still there. They both are.”
“So, go to the authorities,” Alex said impatiently. He wasn’t her stooge. He didn’t have time for this. He was getting married next week. They weren’t friends. They’d never been friends.
“He must have paid the cops off. He wouldn’t be there otherwise. If I go to them he’ll know. He’ll run.”
Alex rolled his shoulders and leaned forward so his forearms rested on his knees, still cradling his paper cup of coffee. Birds sang in the trees that bristled with new leaves. Daffodils nodded their yellow heads in time with the wind.
“Help me grab Taylor, and get us back to the US. I’ll take care of things from there.”
“You’re asking me to take a child away from her father,” he said calmly.
“He stole her from me!” Her eyes burned electric blue. She put the coffee cup down, untasted, hands gripping one another like tangled vines. “I was willing to abide by the court order. I was willing to share Taylor for all our sakes. But Masook didn’t want that. He didn’t like the fact I left him and took our daughter. He thinks he’s above the law.”
Now that Alex was going to be a father, he’d gained a better understanding of Jane’s anguish. And Masook’s.
Jane grabbed his hand. “I’m begging you.”
The fact that she touched him was astonishing. She’d always been petrified of him. Yet she’d come to him for help.
Her eyes sprang wide as she realized what she’d done. She released him and inched farther away. Then her lower jaw thrust out mutinously and her eyes narrowed. “I could threaten you and your precious fiancée. I could rip your world apart.”
Alex held her gaze as everything inside him stilled. A little piece of his soul tore loose and
drifted away on the breeze.
“I could. But I won’t.” Her expression turned stricken. She stuffed her fists under her armpits as if deathly cold. “I’m just saying I could.”
And he’d destroy her. But he didn’t want to destroy her. She was already broken.
“Taylor might not even remember you anymore.”
Her mouth warped as her expression
shattered. “I know. But I also know the kind of man Ahmed is.” Her fists clenched and unclenched in her lap. “I will not abandon my baby to that monster.” She started to sob.
Alex didn’t want to be moved by her impassioned plea. He stared at his shoes. Jane was young. She could have more children. Even as he thought it he knew it wouldn’t matter. One child did not replace another.
She stood, wiping her cheeks. “What would you do, if it was your child?”
Alex had the knowledge and skills to go after anyone who threatened his family, which was why Jane had come to him. He’d tear the world apart inch-by-inch until he found them. But hewasn’t a killer for hire, or someone’s pet mercenary.
Jane seemed to understand his decision without him saying a word. She closed her eyes and appeared to sway in the gentle breeze.
“What are you going to do?” He couldn’t get involved. He was getting married in a week’s time. He had no authority in France. He didn’t even like Jane Sanders.
But he understood her.
Her chin lifted.
“I’ll go myself.”
“You’ll die or get arrested.”
The grief in her eyes was haunting and familiar. “I’d rather die than never get my little girl back.”
Alex thought of his own mother’s gentle touch. Her loving smile. Her warm hugs. He imagined Mallory in Jane’s place. It didn’t matter. He knew what his answer had to be. He
couldn’t help Jane.
Silently, she stood and walked away.

FAQs: Reading order

People often ask where to start reading Toni's books. She put together this page with more information: Reading Order

FAQs: How will I get my ebooks?

Ebooks are delivered instantly by a link in your confirmation email and also by an email from our delivery partner, Bookfunnel.

FAQ: How do I read my ebook?

You can read the ebooks on any ereader (Amazon, Kobo, Nook), your tablet, phone, computer, and/or in the free Bookfunnel app.

All sales of digital products are final. No returns. No refunds.

View full details