by Kristine Mason
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GENRE: Romantic Suspense
What do you get when you mix a mad scientist, a psychopath, an ice cream lady and a repo man? Something perfectly toxic…
Melanie Scarlet is a knife-wielding badass who knows how to dispose of a body, and make evidence disappear. But Mel, a.k.a., the Ice Cream Lady, draws the line at one thing: she refuses to live with her husband, Cash Maddox, unless he quits the repo business that nearly got him killed—no matter how much she loves him.
To thaw Mel’s heart and convince her to leave the Everglades and move back home to Tallahassee, Cash is finally ready to retire from his adrenaline-fueled job…until homeless men begin vanishing. As Mel investigates the disappearances, Cash’s temper goes into overdrive when he realizes his wife has been keeping a dangerous secret from him. She’s been doing more than scooping ice cream—she’s a cleaner for the underground criminal investigation agency, Above the Law.
Mel isn’t the only one with a secret. A scientist has created a drug that will cure psychopaths by deadening the urge to dominate, hurt and murder. To prove his chemical combination works, he uses the homeless as test subjects. He breaks and scrambles their minds, turns them into killers, then tries to fix them. But what if the scientist creates a killer he can’t fix? A true psychopath he can’t control? As Cash joins Mel and the ATL crew, they learn firsthand, the results could be…toxic.
He followed Mel into the house, grabbed her arm and hauled her against him. She looked up at him, her eyes glittering with anger and guilt. “Please let me go,” she said with a hitch to her breath when he wrapped an arm around her and brought their bodies flush.
She reached up and cupped his jaw. “Neither can I,” she said with so much damned sadness it made him ache.
Ignoring her tone and what it meant for them, he brought their mouths closer. “I’ve missed you.” He brushed his lips against hers. “Nothing’s the same without you.”
“That’s on you.”
The disappointment in her eyes killed him. He could give her what she wanted, give them both what they needed, and end their two-year separation. But he didn’t want to. He wanted his f*cking cake, the whole damned thing, and to eat it, too. Right now, he wanted to kiss his wife.
“I want you on me,” he said, taking the easy, immature way and making light of something serious. When she stiffened, he regretted his words and wished he could be the kind of man she deserved—smarter, well spoken, good with emotions.
“And I just want to see my dog.” She pushed away, but he held her still. “I’m serious, let me go.”
“I told you, I can’t.” He’d expected her temper to flare and for her to push him again, not her eyes to mist with tears. His chest tightened with panic. Mel never cried.
“Then maybe I’m the one who needs to put us both out of our misery and do what I should’ve done a long time ago.”
“Don’t,” he warned her.
“Or else what?” A tear slipped down her cheek. “I don’t want the house or a piece of your business. I don’t want anything except for you to stay out of my life, or be my husband in every sense—not just on paper.”
He shoved his hand through her thick wavy hair and cupped her head. “I’m the same man you fell in love with eight years ago. Why does anything have to change?”
“Because I’m not the same woman, and we’re not in our twenties. It’s time to grow up, Cash. I’m ready to move on, with or without you.”
He brought her mouth close to his again. “No divorce,” he said, then pressed his lips against hers. When she didn’t kiss him back, his panic intensified. She’d threatened him before, but not like this. She’d never brought another man with her or resisted his touch. He’d finally done it. He’d taken something good and pure and had fucked it up completely. With a sigh and regret weighing on him, he eased back. “I don’t want a divorce.”
“And I don’t want to live seven hours from my husband.”
Kristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies, C.O.R.E. Shadow and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E. Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas.
Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome.
Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more about Kristine’s books at
Kristine Mason will be awarding a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card to two randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.