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Cold Silence (EBOOK)

Cold Silence (EBOOK)

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A determined FBI agent hunts a sadistic serial killer in this “steamy” (Kirkus Review) Romantic Thriller with a “masterful plot” (The BookLife Prize) by New York Times bestselling author Toni Anderson.

FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Shane Livingstone is frustrated when an injury sidelines him during an operation to catch a sadistic killer. A killer who auctions off vicious ways to torture his victims and screens the events for money on the dark web. When a teammate dies during the op, a devastated Shane vows to track down the monster responsible—but to do so he’ll need access to specialized skills he doesn’t possess.

A bloody game of cat and mouse…

As a white-hat hacker at Alex Parker’s security firm, Yael Brooks knows how to track predators through the darkest recesses of cyberspace. She can’t say no to Shane’s request…even though she fears her own secrets may put her at risk.

With a serial killer who makes it personal…

Shane and Yael must work together as a team if they hope to stop this psychopath. As they begin to grow closer, Shane demands Yael’s complete trust, but trust is the one thing Yael is reluctant to give. As the chase intensifies and more people die, it becomes obvious that the killer knows exactly who Yael is and plans to make both her and Shane pay the ultimate price for getting in his way.


*Overall winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

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Gold Team—Echo Assaulters. Dec 15th

FBI Special Agent Shane Livingstone calmly straddled the metal bench on the outside of the MD530 Little Bird helicopter as the pilot buzzed so close to the ocean Shane swore he could see his own reflection in the surface of the ebony water. One of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team’s K9 members lay on the floor behind him, leaning out of the open door near enough that his drool dripped onto Shane’s exposed neck.
At least it was warm, unlike the sea spray that felt like bullets of pure ice piercing his flesh.
Good times.
Adrenaline buzzed his system and he grinned. This method of transportation was a thousand times preferable to that of the last training mission when Gold team had accessed a
remote coastal installation using Rigid-hull Inflatable Boats.
They’d been dropped into crashing surf that had been nut- cracking cold and rough as the wildest rollercoaster, especially fun when carrying sixty pounds of gear that seemed to weigh ten times as much when wet.
This current infil was positively first-class luxury by comparison. Shane’s fellow Gold team Echo assaulters
were all revved up and ready to go. These men were more than his colleagues. They were his friends, his brothers. And, unlike last time, this wasn’t a training mission.
According to the tactical operation briefing, five white nationalist terrorists, who were vocal online supporters of long-dead cult-leader David Hines, had taken over a courtroom and were threatening to kill everyone inside the courthouse if they and the defendant weren’t allowed to walk free.
Never gonna happen.
Three of the attackers had military training, as did the defendant. The other two were self-proclaimed “militia.” Wannabes with dicks the size of Shane’s little finger and brains to match.
These particular whackos had already shot dead the court reporter and were threatening to shoot another hostage every hour until their demands were met. So, even though the Crisis Negotiation Unit was on scene and negotiators were attempting to talk the bad guys into coming out, everyone inside the FBI knew that Judgment Day was coming.
But probably not in the way the tangos envisioned with their corrupt version of Christian values and morals Satan would get a kick out of.
The signal to “get ready” came through his earpiece. The pilot pulled up the nose of the machine and the terrain beneath Shane switched from inky sea to dense shadowy trees then houses, before morphing into taller buildings in the downtown area that the pilots navigated around with apparent ease.
They were close now. The pilot climbed in altitude before descending rapidly and hovering over what must be the roof of the courthouse. HRT’s second helicopter was barely
visible in the darkness.
These machines were quiet compared to most but, even so, the FBI were trying to deflect the hostage takers’ attention
away from what might be happening on the roof. Shane
recognized one of the FBI negotiators who was helping disguise HRT’s arrival by talking non-stop on the bullhorn. A police cruiser chose that exact moment to turn on the siren and speed away from the courthouse as another distraction.
“Go,” came the order over the comms.
Shane unclipped his safety strap and threw down a chem light as heavy ropes were deployed onto the roof.
Thick gloves stopped his flesh from being ripped off his hands as he wrapped his lower legs around the cable and threw himself off the side of the chopper before fast-roping twenty feet to the flat roof. He took up a defensive position with his H&K 416 D10RS carbine while Cowboy, also now on the roof, released the dog from his harness. The pilot held steady in the darkness as the rest of Shane’s seven-man team, plus kit, descended with rapid efficiency.
In a matter of seconds, the helicopters were flying away, someone inside gathering up the ropes.
Shane grabbed his breaching ram as the assaulters stacked up at the door. Shane stepped forward to take care of that obstacle after Cowboy checked to make sure the door was, in fact, locked. Shane much preferred explosives or his modified Remington M870 loaded with breaching rounds but today they were using the ram on this door because that’s what acting Gold team leader Payne Novak had ordered. The closer they could get before the hostiles
knew for sure they were coming, the more chance they had of saving innocent lives.
Shane didn’t think knocking a door off its hinges with a breacher was much quieter than blowing one off its hinges with a slap shot but, having served in the Green Berets prior to becoming an FBI agent, Shane knew when to follow orders and when to beg for forgiveness later.
Gold team’s other assaulter unit, Charlie, had been dropped on the opposite side of the roof and were preparing to abseil down the outside of the building and enter the courtroom via the windows. HRT snipers had the building surrounded, ready to take out any visible cultists as soon as the signal was given. Shane’s Echo assaulters were to work their way down the building, floor by floor, and neutralize any bad guys who’d fled the courtroom in a last desperate bid to make a stand or attempt a daring escape.
Shane took a deep breath in, held it, then released it. Repeating the process as his eyes scanned for possible danger. Deliberately calming his body, settling the adrenaline that wanted to ramp up his heart rate and influence his physiology. This natural response was why
they trained all the time. A firefight was less shocking when you walked into one every single day.
Cowboy waited for Charlie unit to get into position to begin their rappel. As soon as
Charlie unit reported they were ready, everything changed. Tension snapped through the air like static.
Game time.
They communicated using hand signals. Sound carried and they didn’t speak on an op unless they absolutely had to.
As planned, it went completely dark as the City cut the power to the block. HRT immediately activated their night-
vision goggles. Cowboy counted down with his fingers and,
with a single precision strike, Shane slammed the metal ram into the door beside the deadbolt. The wood around the lock shattered.
He stepped back, swapping his ram for his carbine as he followed his team inside and down the stairwell.
Intel had all the hostage takers in a second-floor courtroom, but things changed fast in a dynamic situation and it wasn’t always easy to tell the bad guys from the good guys using thermal imaging or radar. Quickly reaching the fourth floor, the team swept into the main office area with a blast of flash bangs and godawful noise and overwhelming firepower that should make any sane individual shove their empty hands high in the air while simultaneously pissing their pants.
Holiday decorations looked garishly out of place under the circumstances and the inflatable Santa in the corner almost earned himself a double tap when he floated back-and-forth.
Thankfully no one shot it.
The press loved nothing better than to crucify law enforcement and while Shane agreed with some of what was said, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park figuring out good guys from bad in these kinds of conditions.
They didn’t find anyone, which suggested the tangos had rounded up everyone in the building earlier. Like all the operators, Shane moved in a smooth, slightly crouched gait. It kept his aim steady while allowing him to cover ground quickly and silently.
Off the main office area was a series of rooms down a long narrow corridor. Shane was at the front now and Echo assaulters swiftly cleared three rooms before finding another locked door. He swapped the carbine for the ram again as the team lined up either side of the barrier. Suddenly, Shane paused, shook his head and pointed to the wall instead. Something didn’t feel right and the need for silence had long been replaced by the use of speed and
overwhelming force. Doorways and elevators were always the most dangerous places in a building, followed closely by stairwells and corridors. His sixth sense was telling him this doorway was either a storage room no one ever used, or a deathtrap.
He never ignored his instincts and Cowboy respected them, too. They all trusted one another with their lives. They had to. The team reassembled and Shane set the explosive
charges on the wall.
Once again Cowboy counted down. They all momentarily closed their eyes to avoid getting blinded by the flash in their night vision goggles as Shane blew the charges. Scotty tossed in a flash bang and the assaulters were through the opening, kicking out jagged sheetrock as they went.
Shane heard a shot before his team returned fire.
“I got one,” Scotty said quietly into the comms.
Shane nodded to himself. He’d made the right choice.
“Gold Echo assaulters to TOC,” Cowboy spoke calmly. “We have one dead subject.”
The team filed out and Shane quickly continued down the corridor. Flash bang powder burned his eyes, but he ignored it.
“Charlie unit has three dead subjects.”
That left two tangos unaccounted for, including the defendant.
Echo unit continued to spread out and search the area. There was a second set of stairs leading down to the third floor on the north side of the building.
Shane saw movement but recognized a civilian running for cover. Her hands were empty, and she was sobbing in fear. He let her go and watched her cower into a corner as
the K9 unit took up protective stance beside them. Scotty went over and put wrist restraints on the woman and told her to hold position until someone came to rescue her. They couldn’t risk she was in league with the cultists. It might seem harsh to treat terrified people this way, but better than accidentally putting a bullet in someone they
mistakenly assumed was a threat. That would be a bad day for everyone.
Shane looked through the small glass window of the fire door. On the other side a marshal lay in a pool of his own blood. Shane checked as much of the area as he could
through the glass, but the range was limited.
“Charlie unit heading up the main stairwell to the third floor.”
Cowboy checked through the window also and replied to TOC. “Echo unit entering the north stairwell heading down to three. One dead marshal in stairwell and one female civilian secured on the fourth floor.”
Shane opened the door and covered the others as they moved into position. When he headed down the stairs to the next switchback, a bullet hit the wall above his head. He didn’t pause, didn’t flinch. He locked onto the target and kept moving forward to engage. He didn’t have a clear shot but with the large windows to the north he didn’t need one.
The sound of a high-power bullet traversing glass before lodging in the attacker hiding behind a frightened hostage had them all moving forward toward the danger. The sniper had done his job. The tango wasn’t going to hurt anyone else ever again.
Cowboy reported into the TOC. “Tango down in north stairwell. Hostage secure.”
They kept moving and held a defensive position as Scotty stopped beside the woman who Shane belatedly recognized was the judge. Luckily, he hadn’t already slapped restraints on her.
Cowboy reported, “We have Judge King. Repeat, Judge King is in our possession. Echo unit bringing her out via the north exit.”
Cowboy signaled for the group to split up. Shane was with the group who were to get the judge to safety while the
others helped Charlie team clear the third floor.
“Roger that.” Shane nodded. He led the way while Scotty and Keeme supported the judge between them. Cadell and the dog watched their six.
The earlier noise of bullets and explosions had quieted down, although he could hear HRT and SWAT moving through the building.
A sudden shiver of apprehension rolled down his spine. A reaction to the operation, or something else? He raised his hand to signal the others to stop. Then he edged forward and poked his head quickly over the banister. It was pitch black, but the night vision revealed a flat green world that appeared empty.
Shane wasn’t sure what had bothered him. In all likelihood the tangos had gone to ground in one of the offices.
He gave the hand signal to move forward. At the bottom of the next switchback the dog growled and Shane felt the hairs on his neck rise.
He knew what he was going to find before he even saw him. The defendant. Del Renfro. An asshole who’d driven from Idaho to DC with a trunk full of explosives, prepared
to carry out an attack on a federal building. He hadn’t cared which one.
A flat tire on I-95 and a sharp-eyed traffic cop had ended the man’s evil intentions before they’d come to fruition, but not without a bullet hole in the brave law enforcement officer. Now the asshole held a young Black woman in front of him, the marshal’s 9mm sidearm pressed to her cheek.
Shane put a bullet in the guy’s fat skull, calculating and praying the ricochet off the wall didn’t hit the hostage.
Del slid to the floor and the young woman stood there, screaming, her hands covering her face. Shane put another bullet into the man on the ground to make sure he was dead.
He touched the woman’s arm so she knew where he was because he doubted she could see anything and must be terrified.
“FBI. You’re safe now, miss.”
He nudged the bad guy’s weapon away from the body and Cadell picked it up.
“Gold Echo unit to TOC. Dead tango on lower north stairwell. We have a second hostage we are bringing out the side door.”
He held the young woman by the arm and looked up to scan the area as they approached street level. Everything happened in slo-mo as she stumbled in her high heels, holding onto his left arm with the strength of the Rock on steroids and he knew he was going down, too. He tried to roll so her fall was cushioned by his body as they crashed headfirst down the stairs.
Panicked, she twisted and somehow landed with all her weight on the midpoint between his wrist and his elbow. He heard the double snap at the same time she let out a scream that could shatter glass.
Or maybe that was him.
The others held their position and he didn’t tell them his arm was fucked. They’d heard the bones break. They knew. He carefully pushed himself to his feet using his right arm and then pulled the woman upright with the same hand, steadying her.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, a little breathless. “Just sore. Thank you.”
“No problem, miss. Follow me outside where the police officers will question you. They will restrain you until they can verify your identity. Don’t be scared. It’s standard procedure.”
Then he let her go and surreptitiously cradled his injured arm, leading the way until he had the door open. Officers rushed forward to grab the rescued hostages.
Scotty paused beside him, wedging the door wider with his boot. “You okay, buddy?”
Shane shifted and gritted his teeth hoping his best friend wouldn’t notice through the NVGs the fact that Shane wanted to hurl.
He followed the rest of the guys outside and they headed to the rendezvous point to meet up and debrief. He paused to carefully flip up his NVGs as the power was restored and the world came glaring back to life.
Unfortunately, that meant the others could now see the unnatural angle of his lower left arm as it rested across the top of his carbine.
Gold team leader Payne Novak met him halfway with
their medic. They wrapped his arm in a temporary splint and slipped a sling around his neck. All Shane could think about was how much it was going to suck getting out of his favorite flight suit.
When Novak indicated that the ambulance drive toward them, Shane balked. “I can walk.”
“And risk severing an artery?” Novak snapped.
Well, maybe not.
“You shouldn’t have moved once you realized it was broken.” Novak sounded pissed.
Shane was valiantly trying not to vomit all over his friend and boss, so he didn’t bother to argue. Suddenly going to the hospital didn’t seem such a bad idea.
Shane swallowed and asked quickly, “We lose anyone?”
“No. Nor any hostages. From what we can gather, they killed the marshal who you discovered, plus the unfortunate
court reporter before we started our assault.” Sobering news which proved the white supremacists had been serious about their intentions. “All six hostiles are dead,” Novak told him and Shane felt a crushing weight release off his shoulders.
“In fact,” Novak smiled slightly as he indicated Scotty get in the ambulance with Shane. “You’re the only HRT casualty today.”
Shane groaned, as much from embarrassment as pain. “The woman who came out with us, is she okay? And the judge?”
Novak nodded. “Yep. Both shaken but no obvious injuries.
There are easier ways to impress women, you know.”
Shane shook his head, knowing he was never going to live this down.
“I’ll expect a full report when you get back to Quantico.” Novak closed the ambulance doors and thumped the back to tell the EMT to get going.
“Fuck.” Typing up FD 302s with his non dominant arm was going to take forever.
“Of all the ways to be brought low—a woman in high heels was not on my bingo card today.” Scotty grinned.
“Always expect the unexpected.”
The EMTs blasted the lights and sirens, more for fun than necessity in Shane’s opinion.
One of the medics started to come through to the back but Shane waved him away with his good hand. “This field cast will do until I get to the emergency room.”
The guy nodded, seeming a little intimidated and Shane remembered he was in full battle dress and laden down with weapons and explosives.
They went over a pothole and Shane swore again as pain streaked up his arm and lanced his shoulder.
“You sound worse than Grace when she was in labor with Katie.” Scotty gripped Shane’s good arm hard though. Shane knew his friend was worried about him.
“Grace is a badass.”
“Strongest person I know,” Scotty agreed about his wife.
“I have no idea what she sees in you,” Shane told the guy, though in reality Shane had never met a more compatible couple. Nor a couple more in love.
“I got lucky. If you weren’t such a cry baby and, frankly, so fugging ugly, you might find true love, too.”
“No sane woman would put up with our bullshit schedule or workload.”
“Are you calling Grace insane?” Scotty gave him a mocking glare.
“Well, she did marry you.”
Scotty grinned again. “The guys are probably taking bets on exactly what you broke and how many pins it’ll take to fix and how long you’re gonna be out for. I’m guessing ulna and radius. Three pins but if you hear anything different,
I want the skinny.”
“I’m not going to need an operation.” Shane narrowed his eyes, trying to ignore the increasing pain radiating from his snapped bones. “I don’t need to be off the team. I can do
my job wearing a cast.”
“Sure you can. And you can breathe fire and shoot bullets out of your ass while you’re at it. We know this already—
unless you have really bad gas...”
Tears streamed from Shane’s eyes more from laughter than pain, but some of it was pain and that was humbling for a member of HRT. “I love you, man.”
Scotty ruffled his hair like he was a little kid. Shane didn’t recall removing his helmet.
“I love you too. But if you ever embarrass me like this again,
we’re over.”
"Next time, you take the beautiful young woman in high heels and I’ll take the judge, okay?”
Scotty grinned. “Deal, but no one will ever be as beautiful as my Grace.”
Sudden claws of envy scraped Shane’s insides, but he ignored them. He wasn’t ready to settle down. Maybe when he stepped away from HRT if there was anything left of him to give. Not everyone was lucky like Scotty and Grace Monteith. Not everyone got their happily ever after..

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Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
Hard to put down

Cold Silence
Cold Justice - Most Wanted #1
Toni Anderson
Wow. This book was so hard to put down!
Yael is a private contractor, hiding in plain sight with the FBI. She survived a tragedy in her youth that has made her want to blend in rather than take the spotlight. Her circle is small. Shane is a former green beret, FBI agent in the specialist HRT. Friendly, outgoing and with no attachments.
No matter how hard these two intelligent minds try to pretend the sparks aren’t there they get caught. When backs are to the wall will this work, will they catch a killer or will secrets from the past end it all?
A romantic suspense / thriller of the highest class. Great characters, some familiar faces for Toni Anderson fans, and a fast paced plot that will keep you guessing.
This is the first book in this crossover series, it can totally be read as a stand-alone novel with hea. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!
I received an arc of this book.
5 stars

Perfect Read to Stay Up Late With

Think of the best mystery thriller you’ve ever read, and I guarantee (IMHO) COLD SILENCE will surpass it! This is an exciting and totally enthralling tale. But I have to warn you, this is not without a touch of heart-wrenching tragedy that will most likely bring some tears early on. The storyline is complex but not complicated so it’s fast-paced with enough action that will often have you on the edge of your seat. There’s a serial killer that needs to be found, and Shane and Yael have both been assigned to the FBI’s task force. Yael is a civilian computer expert who works in Alex Parker’s security firm. She has a hidden, tragic past that drives her lack of trust issues and reticence over forming any close attachments. Shane is a member of an elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team. Already frustrated by being side-lined by his recent injury, he’s now having difficulty dealing with his feelings over the present tragedy so he can’t afford any more distractions, especially since he’s having suspicions about Yael’s involvement in the case. But even with these conflicts, they can’t avoid their growing attraction to each other and the inevitable passion that is blooming between them. As I said, this makes for a complex story. Throw in the mysterious sadistic killer with his own crazy, mad computer skills and the ticking clock to find him before he strikes again, and you’ve got a story that is sure to keep you up reading late into the night. My perfect read!!!

Caroline Logue
Great read

Another absolutely fantastic story in this exciting series of books. Toni Anderson has done it again. I crave her books because no matter what she writes I know I am going to get a story that is riveting, sizzling and so very hard to put down until the very end. I loved Shane and Yael’s story. It plucked at the heartstrings and I truly felt for Yael. She is one determined lady though and what she has had to go through since her teenage years has made her so much stronger than even she realises. It was great having previous characters from the previous books pop up. It’s always nice to hear what is happening with them without encroaching on the main characters. Loved this book. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Cold Silence

Shane is an FBI agent assigned to a task force which includes Yael who is a computer wiz. The team is trying to find a killer who likes to torture his captives while charging people to watch online. Shane and Yael decide to fight the chemistry they feel for one another and ignore their connection. Shane is not interested in a relationship and Yael has a hard time trusting people. They both are keeping secrets from each other that will cause serious problems if the secrets ever come to light.

The excitement level of this story is high and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is so captivating and will keep you wondering which direction the story will go. It will keep you intrigued with trying to solve the mystery and the ending was amazing. What wonderful characters and a great way to start the new series.

A. Cooper
Another home run for Toni Anderson

I’m a huge fan of Toni Anderson’s books, and couldn’t wait for this book to come out! The characters were very believable and you felt for both of their issues. The suspense had me reading late into the night! It was one of those books that you read quickly to find out what happens, but at the end of the book you’re sad because it’s over! Highly recommend this book, as well as anything Toni Anderson writes!