Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden + Giveaway (US/Can)

Before the Dawn (Killer Instinct #2)
Cynthia Eden

The Killer Instinct series from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden continues as an FBI profiler tracks a case that resurrects ghosts from his past

Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Jason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Jason’s final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous “Iceman.”

It’s Tucker’s up close and personal experience with evil that’s made him perfect for Samantha Dark’s experimental profiling division in the FBI. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother... and since he last saw Dawn, his one-time lover. But as Tucker and Dawn grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both have the same question—has Jason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?

Tucker Frost parked his car and jumped out of the vehicle. A thousand stars glittered overhead as he approached the old cabin, a place that he damn well hated.

Jason should hate the place, too. He had no idea why his brother wanted to meet him there. The cabin held only bad memories. Memories Tucker wished that he could forget. He’d gone halfway around the world in an effort to banish that hell from his mind.

Insects chirped all around him. Frogs croaked, and down near the water he could hear the deep growl of a gator. Swamps weren’t quiet—most folks had that wrong. Swamps were loud and busy, all the time. Especially at night.

And he hated this one swamp in particular. It was too full of dark secrets.

“About time you got here!

His gaze lifted at his brother’s voice, and he saw Jason bound out of the cabin. “I’ve been waiting over an hour for you to show up.” Tucker rolled back his shoulders. “I stopped by Dawn’s dorm. I needed to talk to her.” Because he’d gotten orders to ship out. A new mission. He wouldn’t be back for a few months and he’d wanted to tell her the news face-to-face. Hell, he hated the idea of leaving her. Little Dawn Alexander. Who would have thought that she’d come to mean so much to him, so fast? He cleared his throat. “But she wasn’t there.”

Jason glanced back toward the cabin. “You don’t say..."

Tucker yanked a hand through his hair. He and his brother stood at a similar height, and their bodies were built along the same rough and ready lines. “Why did you want me to come out here?” Before his brother could answer, Tucker gave a bitter laugh. “Unless we’re out here to torch this place, I don’t really want—”

“We’re not torching it.” Anger crackled in Jason’s voice, surprising him. “I don’t like fire.”

Tucker’s brows flew up. “And I don’t like this place.” Too many bad memories. “You shouldn’t, either.” Not after the hell that had happened to them there.

Jason rocked back on his heels. “Family comes first.”

That was a phrase that seemed to echo in Tucker’s mind. It was a phrase his father had used too many times.

Jason cocked his head and studied Tucker. “You believe that, don’t you?”

He didn’t speak. Tension snaked up his spine. This scene was wrong. “Why are we out here?”

Jason glanced back toward the cabin. “I fixed it up while you were out saving the world. Looks good, doesn’t it?”

It would never look good to Tucker. We should have destroyed it long ago.

“When you came back, I knew things would be different.” Jason focused on him once again. “I have a surprise for you.” He nodded once. “Inside the cabin.”

The tension Tucker felt grew even worse. “I don’t like surprises.”

But his brother just laughed. “You’ll like this one.” Then he came forward and slung his arm around Tucker’s shoulders. Tucker forced himself to relax. This was Jason, the guy who’d always had his back. The guy had been looking out for Tucker his whole life. When he’d been a kid, Jason had made sure no bullies were ever dumb enough to tease Tucker about his worn clothes or the fact that his lunch box was empty most days. Jason had always been there to take care of him.

He’s my blood. The only blood that matters.

Tucker blew out a long breath. If Jason wanted him to go into the cabin, then he would. Hell, he’d do just about anything for his older brother. With Jason’s arm still slung around his shoulders, they headed up the rickety stairs and toward the door. Jason was talking and laughing, and the guy seemed happier than Tucker had seen him in years.

Jason opened the door with a flourish. “After you, bro.”

Tucker headed inside. The old floorboards creaked beneath his feet, the way they’d done years ago. But the place didn’t reek of the stale scent of old beer. Instead...

What is that scent?

“Open the door on the right.” Jason’s voice had hitched up. “Your surprise is in there.”

Okay, he’d play along. For the moment. Then he needed to tell Jason about his new orders. His brother wasn’t going to like that he had to leave again. Jason hadn’t understood when Tucker had enlisted. But Jason didn’t get it. If Tucker didn’t let the dark energy swirling inside him have an outlet, then trouble would come.

Tucker grabbed for the doorknob. He pushed it open and—


For an instant, Tucker just stood there. He stared into Dawn’s beautiful green eyes—eyes that were glassy with terror. Blood and tears trickled down her cheeks and she was yanking at the rope around her left ankle. Her shirt was covered in blood. Her body marked by bruises.

And she looked at him as if he were the devil himself.

Tucker shook his head. No, this was wrong. This was wrong. “Dawn?”

Jason slapped his hand down on Tucker’s shoulder. “Surprise! Had her waiting for you.”

A gag was in Dawn’s mouth. A purple bruise along her delicate jaw.

Tucker whirled on his brother, knocking that hand aside. “You did this to her?” A dull ringing was in his ears and rage burned in his veins. “You hurt her?”

Jason’s eyes widened. “Easy, bro.” The words were low and warning. “You know you have to watch that temper of yours. Control, right? It’s key?” But his lips were curving. “You lose it and you become just like our old man.”

Screw that. Tucker shoved his brother back, hard, slamming him against the wooden wall then pinning him there. “What the hell did you do?”

About the Author

Cynthia Eden is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller.

Cynthia writes dark tales of romantic suspense and sexy paranormal romance novels. She is a three-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over seventy novels and novellas.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies include hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Before the Dawn—yay!

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This is pretty typical, but I love discovering new food with friends. It can be a little intimidating (and expensive!) to be adventurous with food by myself, but bonding over meals and interesting new restaurants is a great experience.

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