Carina Guest Author: Toni Anderson

For the next few weeks I'll be hosting fellow Carina Press authors as they celebrate the release of their books. First up is Toni Anderson, whose SEA OF SUSPICION will be available as of June 14.

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.

Thanks for letting me be on your blog today, Carrie! I write Romantic Suspense and my latest book, SEA OF SUSPICION, is released by Carina Press next week and I'm thrilled! It's a moody atmospheric sexy romantic mystery set on the misty shores of contemporary Scotland.

This story is particularly special to me as I set it in the Scottish Marine Laboratory where I conducted my Ph.D. and met my husband in the early nineties. I was lucky enough to revisit the lab in April this year and, though it has grown and morphed into a much larger institute, the essence of the original Victorian building remains the same. The rugged beauty of the East Fife coastline and the hypnotic rhythm of the sea never fail to enthrall and I know I'll never get enough of that gorgeous coastal region.

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. Let me know what you think!

My editor Deborah Nemeth's comments on SEA OF SUSPICION:

Detective Nick Archer has issues--and he makes a wonderful romantic hero, the sort you root for from the first page. I love the way he uses the heroine to get close to his chief suspect. Sea of Suspicion is more mystery romance than woman-in-jeopardy suspense, but it has enough tension to keep you riveted--and keep you guessing about whodunnit. The Scottish setting is vividly depicted, and the romance and murder mystery elements are deftly interwoven. A keeper!


"What you got, Lewis?" Nick asked the square-faced policewoman. Her expression was serious. P.C. Julie Lewis was slow to smile, but smart and dedicated, with no pretensions.

"Those two found a body." She indicated the girls, who sat crying. "I think we're looking at a murder, sir." At his raised brow, she added. "Pretty hard to smash in your own skull."

Nick's stomach clenched. Murder?

He looked along the footpath, dread digging claws into his stomach and trying to find purchase. He knew homicide. He'd done four years' homicide after he'd finished his undercover stint, but St. Andrews hadn't seen a murder in years.

Had this poor bugger been bleeding to death when he had broken into the Gatty? Had he tracked the vic's blood into the building? Into Susie's car? Could he have saved a life if he'd been paying more attention to the present, rather than wasting his time trying to avenge the past?

Nick looked up at the overcast sky and thought for one split second he heard Chrissie's laugh. He was going to hell for a little B&E. Or maybe for wanting a woman in a way he hadn't in more than a decade.

The wind blasted his cheeks, icy and raw. Twin flashlights beamed into his eyes and he was instantly blind.

"Get those things out of my face," he yelled.

"Sorry, sir." Two synchronous replies.

Nick smelled blood in the air, sharp and cuprous. His intestines flip-flopped as he took another step down the grassy slope. P.C. Eric Mosel and Sergeant Hammy Soothill ran their beams over the body of a young woman.

Christ. "ID?"

Both men shook their heads.

"We tried not to disturb the locus." P.C. Mosel, or Mouse as he was known in the station, was normally a bit of a twat, niggling away at the division between CID and uniform coppers--the filth and the woodentops as they were called. But not tonight. Tonight he was all business. "I thought she might still be alive."

The back of her skull was smashed like a broken eggshell, pale bone gleaming amongst gore. The flashlights picked out blood matting her hair, streaking her neck, staining the sand beneath her body a rusty brown. It was bloody obvious she was dead, but they'd still need a doctor for verification. A body could be trailed from one end of the beach to the other, but police officers still needed a doctor to confirm death. Rules and regulations of the God-almighty handbook.

Sobs reached him, but all Nick could do was stand and stare. This woman was his first homicide victim since leaving the crime-ridden streets of London. He hadn't expected to feel quite so appalled, but St. Andrews was the one pure spot in a life of brutality and it had just been violated.

He nodded toward the wailing girls. "They report it?"

"Yes, sir." Sergeant Hammy Soothill waved his flashlight as if looking for footprints, but the sand was too dry. There wouldn't be any tracks down there worth saving. "The one lassie slipped and fell in the blood."

The distaste on Hammy's face was echoed by Nick's stomach. There was none of the usual black humor that accompanied sudden death and no one prodded the corpse with a ubiquitous black boot.

They were all somber as they got on with the job, maybe because no matter how many cases they'd had in other places, this was the first of its kind in St. Andrews.

"Get the photographer down here when the doctor's finished. See if we can get hold of floodlights for the forensics team. Mouse, we'll need a scale drawing, and Hammy, I want you to oversee every piece of evidence and make sure it is catalogued like the Crown Jewels." He glanced at his watch. His boss would want to be notified, and the Procurator Fiscal.

His gaze lingered on the young woman's body. Her skirt was hiked up around her thighs, suggesting a possible sexual assault, arms outstretched over her head as if she'd tried to crawl away.

All that blood…

She'd taken time to die.


Toni Anderson said...

Thanks for having me, Carrie! Not going to be in to check comments til this evening but will be back!!

Carrie Lofty said...

Not a problem. I'll keep any visitors company :)

Mari Powell said...

Loved the excerpt, Toni - it reads like a BBC programme, which for me is a total win! Glad to see you, and good luck with Carina!

Patti Ann Colt said...

I have to say this intrigued me. I love romantic suspense anyway - but to add a Scotland setting (a place I've longed to visit) and a brooding hero - well, that puts it on a auto buy for the to-be read list. Thanks for sharing.

LorelieLong said...

Oooh, contemporary Scotland. No kilts! ;)

Toni Anderson said...

Mari--Thank you!! That's a compliment I'll happily take :)

Patti Ann--I hope you like it. I love the setting too :)

Lorelie--no kilts in this one. My hubby has one so I guess I get my fix in person :D