You can't outrun the past......and tripping over a frosted corpse is a complication that could destroy Alex Duggins' attempt to restart her life. The discovery of a murder victim threatens to unearth some old secrets, including her own.As the tiny town of Folly-on-Weir braces for a chilling winter and snow blankets Britain's Cotswold Hills, a killer faces a deadline. A terrible crime was believed to be safely hidden, but time and conscience can wear on a secret.The clock ticks and with the police breathing down her neck, Alex knows she's at the top of the suspect list. Desperate to clear her name and find the real murderer she begins to peel back the layers of deception that have long-concealed one of the town's darkest secrets. But time is also running out for a killer who has nothing left to lose. What's one more murder?Someone intends that Alex will be the next snow-covered body found in the beautiful hills above the town.
How long had it taken to change a life forever? A minute, ninety seconds – while he listened, barely understanding, while two men destroyed his own young innocence, and allowed another child to die?
Nothing was ever the same after that day. All the days and years that followed had led to this night of hope and fear.
“Come on boy, catch up,” Dominic called. “We’ll freeze if we don’t keep moving.”
The only reason he could see the dog at all in the darkness was that his dark gray fur showed up against a thickening carpet od snow underfoot, and the falling flakes that grew heavier with each moment.
Brother Dominic stopped and watched Bogie approach like a trotting miniature show horse in slow motion, lifting each foot as if it burned.
“Okay, we’ll keep each other a bit warmer.” He swept up his little grey buddy and tucked him inside an old tweed coat. “Now we’ve got to get a move on. This is a borrowed coat and we need to give it back to Percy.”
Talking to his dog was an indulgence Dominic reserved for when they were alone. He smiled at the thought. They were rarely as alone as they were in the middle of the night, on this hill in the Cotswold Hills that were so spectacular in the daylight, yet so pitiless when every step was an act of faith.
` He had pulled the hood on his habit up to cover his head and ward off some of the cold. The old, brown cloth was already soaked and started to freeze.
Silence seemed absolute. Except when a gust of wind sent frigid, leafless branches raking together.
Not a single vehicle had passed on the narrow road that forked away from the tiny village below and rose to traverse the hill. There was a scatter of farms and houses up here, all with feeder tracks from the road. But any people out there were probably tucked up sleeping by now.
You couldn’t see any buildings form the road.
Bogie scrabbled closer and pressed his wet nose to Dominic’s neck.
The wind picked up, drove straight at him, and he leaned against it to push his way on, and the snow drove into his face and crammed inside his collar.
He crossed his hands over the dog and pushed his bare hands beneath his arms.
This has to be done.
Old wrongs must be put right, lies dispelled quickly for the sake of peace, his own but more importantly, the others involved. His challenge was to bring secrets into the light without harming the innocent.
About The Author
Stella Cameron is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. With over fourteen million copies of her books in print, Cameron is now turning her pen to mysteries and independently publishing COLD, Introducing Alex Duggins. She draws on her English background for this new, already critically acclaimed mystery series. Atmospheric, deeply character and relationship driven, COLD reveals the power of old secrets to twist the present. Cameron's reputation for using her backgrounds to add tension and allure to her stories is heightened again.
Cameron is the recipient of the Pacific Northwest Achievement Award for distinguished professional achievement and for enhancing the stature of the Northwest Literary community. She lives in Washington with her husband Jerry, her Papillon Millie, black cat Zipper, and a cheeky little tabby named Jack.
Why did you choose the Cotswolds as the setting for COLD?
The Cotswold Hills are a treasure trove of mysterious villages with cottage windows that cry out for me to tell stories about the folks who live in them. History doesn't have to be searched out, it's stamped on the faces of churches, shops, pubs, tithe barns, markets still held where they have been for hundreds of years, cobbled alleys and streets, and even in the cadence of the people's voices. This is a place rich with atmosphere, it's a haven for someone like me who sits quietly, observes and spins tales. I think the Cotswolds chose me to tell the story in COLD.
All of the characters in this book are memorable, but Bogie really stands out. What can you tell us about him?
Bogie, who becomes Alex Duggins’ dog, is named after a dear reader's dog. I held a sweepstakes to find just the right name and along came Bogie who was randomly selected from hundreds of entries. Even more lucky, I have now met this lovely little furry boy, taken him on a walk, sat with him on my lap while I told him how handsome he is! After spending time with him, I knew he had to have more than just a walk-on part in COLD.
Many readers may recognize you from your successful career as a romantic suspense writer. Why the switch to mystery?
I've never written a book that has no mystery/thriller elements. When a story develops for me, a mystery wraps itself around the plot and the mystery and thriller threads not only demand equal time with a romance but I make a conscious effort to balance the two. Romantic suspense is wonderful to work with but I'm a very natural mystery writer and I'm ready to devote myself to the genre.
After so many years of writing under contract, why have you decided to independently publish COLD?
Stereotyping doesn't just happen in the acting world, it's rife in publishing. If a writer is successful, as I am, in one genre, traditional publishers are reluctant to take on what is essentially a total makeover of an author. Since I have no such hangups and I've gathered an accomplished support team around me, all I feel is excitement at the challenge and confident I'm making the right choice.