Cover Image: After the Dark

After the Dark

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Member Reviews

4.5 stars
Intense and gripping, After The Dark had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. A twisted thrill ride that held me captive throughout.
FBI Profiler, Samantha Dark has just suffered a significant loss. The loss of the career that she loved, the loss of a man she cared for deeply, and the loss of her confidence in her skills. One moment, one horrific event, and her life was forever changed. Knowing her life will never be the same, she goes home to Alabama. Leaving everything she's worked for and the man she thought she could love behind.
Agent Blake Gamble is not ready to let Samantha go. She may not be his partner anymore but when a serial killer sends a message her way, he knows he needs her help to stop the killer. He's never given up hope that there could be more between them and now that she's in danger, he'll stop at nothing to protect her and make her his.
Samantha and Blake were brilliant, capable, and brave. They were multi-dimensional and deep. I liked how their jobs were such an important part of who they were. We learned so much about them by how they approached their work. Together, these two were hot. There was no denying their connection.
Eden delivers a dark and complex story. The suspense was palpable, pulling you deeper into the story. With danger around every corner there was a constant feeling of unease. She cleverly wove together a variety of different aspects. The heartbreak of loss, the brutality of the murders, the passion of Samantha and Blake's romance, the tension and anticipation. I was mesmerized and I couldn't put this book down. I'm excited to see that this is just the start of the series and I'm looking forward to reading more about this team.
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Cynthia Eden’s After the Dark is the first book in a new series and is a page-turning romantic suspense novel with a cunning, serial-killing mastermind and a steamy romance. Samantha Dark was once a brilliant profiler for the FBI, but was fired after it was revealed that the serial killer she and her team were hunting was her ex-lover. She escaped DC and fled to Alabama to get away from it all. But she is reeled back in when Blake Gamber, her ex-partner, knocks on her door. There is a new serial killer with some familiar habits and Blake needs her help.
Samantha knows she is not free and clear of the debacle in DC. There was more to her last encounter with her ex that she has let on, and while she doesn’t want to get sucked back in, she knows that she must get involved. Actually, the killer isn’t going to giver her any choice. Meanwhile, there is Blake, a partner for whom she had complicated and unresolved feelings. Being around him again isn’t easy especially once he makes it clear that he has romantic feelings for her as well.
Once Samantha agrees to help, things get complicated quickly. The killer obviously wants Samantha on the case. Is her ex the killer?  Is he a copycat? Is there more going on? Why does he always seems to be one step ahead? Is he just messing with Samantha and Blake? What really happened back in DC? It becomes clear that Samantha herself is hiding something?
After the Dark is a seriously twisty book with a seriously twisted bad guy. The romance is hot and fraught with delicious and hot sexual tension. It was super spooky and dark, but is also trademark Cynthia Eden who is one of my go-to romantic suspense authors. I definitely recommend this one - a romantic suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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This was my first read from Ms. Eden and it won't be the last. 

Samantha Dark is a FBI profiler along with her partner, Blake Gamble, they are tasked with finding a serial killer. 

Unbeknownst to Samantha, the killer is closer than she could imagine. 

The suspense was on par for a Romantic suspense book, I do wish Blake would have been more of an alpha male, but overall good book. I look forward to continuing this series.
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Cynthia Eden digs deep into the mind of a serial killer and reveals the dark side of life as an FBI profiler. The first novel of the Killer Instinct series takes readers on a wild ride that they will not want to stop.

After the Dark is like a super sexy episode of Criminal Minds. The story opens as Samantha Dark, the best profiler the FBI could ever hope to employ, hunts the Sorority Slasher. The killer is smarter than any of them could have imagined as his subterfuge causes Sam her job and reputation. He was also Sam's casual lover in the past. Her former FBI partner, Blake Gamble, takes on the case when a copy cat killer picks up the hunt after the original killer disappears. The twisted plot further entices readers to the dark side when the copy cat killer targets Sam. The peace she sought after her dismissal in D.C. is disturbed when Blake draws her back into the search for a dangerous psychopath.

The chemistry between Blake and Sam drives this story. Sam's insecurities and the fact that Blake is her partner have kept her from pursuing a relationship. When those barriers are removed the heat between them increases tenfold and it makes the story even more intense. The cast of characters is intense enough, but with the uncertainty of Blake and Sam's relationship and her ties to the serial killer I couldn't say which makes the story the most interesting.

This romance suspense novel packs a punch with steamy romance while not forgetting the factor of suspense. To give readers an even better view of the duo's grueling task of catching killers, Cynthia Eden gives special attention to their profiling techniques. Sam is able to view crime scenes in the mindset of the killer, much better than any of her counterparts. It's a believable tactic that comes through very well in the story.

After the Dark gets points all around for standing out among the many enjoyable FBI suspense novels already published. Cynthia Eden takes it one step further by focusing on the unusual relationship between Sam and the serial killer. It gives you chills and pushes you to the edge of your seat all in one carefully planned novel!
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
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I had no clue what to expect when I started reading this book and was thrilled, quite literally, to be back in my element and first love, romantic suspense. After the Dark grabbed me from the first page and kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last. It had my heart pounding and eyes darting at every little sound. My husband was out of town the night I decided to dive into this suspenseful tale, and I had my alarm set way before it was time to lock up the house. I can't wait to read more from this author!

I reveled in the sadistic nature of the killer, the unexpected twists and turns, the complicated relationships among all of the characters, and the psychology behind the profiling. I especially loved how Latham and Samantha played off of each other. I was truly fascinated by their relationship and the journey it took throughout the story. Usually, I can predict the outcome or figure out the author's "formula" in a romantic suspense book, but I was shocked and pleased by the unexpected road this one traveled as well as the high body count. 

I loved the light and dark angle the author took in regard to Samantha's personality. She used the men in Samantha's life to fuel these differences. Blake was a straight shooter, true blue, ex-military FBI agent, and Cameron was the dark, twisted, emotionless best friend. They each saw a different side to Samantha and fed her opinions based on what they knew and wanted from her. Therefore, she struggled with her own sense of self. As a profiler, she needed to be able to get inside a killer's head. Blake was able to ground her and give her a sense of peace in her world of darkness. However, the questions kept coming up, at least in regard to Cameron's manipulations, as to the ease with which she was able to think like the killers she hunted. Was she as messed up as they were? Would she eventually become a killer herself? What was keeping her from crossing that line? I enjoyed watching her fight the clutches of the evil that wanted to consumer her.

The romance... Samantha and Blake's connection was intense and powerful. I could feel the tension as if it was a living, breathing thing. It was evident from the start* that there was so much more than a working partnership between them. I longed for Samantha and Blake to give in to their desires. And I basked in their surrender and celebrated their newfound passion. 

*Make sure you read The Gathering Dusk to get the early days of their relationship.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Readers Copy of this book.
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4.25 stars--AFTER THE DARK is the first full length installment in Cynthia Eden’s new, contemporary, adult KILLER INSTINCT romantic suspense series. This is former FBI profiler Samantha Dark, and FBI agent Blake Gamble’s continuing story. There is a prequel novella THE GATHERING DUSK that introduces the characters and sets up the After The Dark story line revealing some background between the leading couple and their latest serial killer.

NOTE:  AFTER THE DARK contains graphic scenes of violence, brutality and torture that may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from several third person points of view AFTER THE DARK fast forwards the series four months from the novella The Gathering Dusk wherein our heroine former FBI profiler Samantha Dark has been fired from the Bureau for letting a killer go- a killer she knows intimately and a man who was once our heroine’s lover. With a copycat killer on the loose Samantha’s former partner at the FBI Blake Gamble comes looking for help and a second chance at a happily ever after. What ensues is the search for two potential killers who are playing a psychological game of cat and mouse with our story line couple, and the building relationship between Blake and Samantha.

Samantha Dark’s reputation as an FBI profiler was destroyed when it was discovered that their most recent serial killer investigation led back to Samantha’s former lover-a doctor, a professor, a man known to manipulate our story line heroine using her past as a form of psychological warfare. FBI agent Blake Gamble is a man determined to prove that Samantha’s past has no affect on their current situation but a man who has fallen for the woman that will control his heart. The relationship between Samantha and Blake begins as professional partners but their attraction to one another is immediate and intense but a sexual relationship between active Bureau agents is definitely against the rules. The $ex scenes are intimate and provocative without the use of over the top sexually graphic language and text.

There are a large number of supporting and secondary characters including a number first introduced in the prequel novella The Gathering Dusk:  Samantha’s ex-lover and mentor Dr. Cameron Latham,  and FBI Executive Assistant Director Justin Bass. We are introduced to a former student of Cameron’s Jason Burke, FBI agent and former SEAL Josh Duvane, reporter Janice Beautfont, and Captain Roger Lewis-a man Samantha considers a surrogate father. 

The world building continues to focus on the hunt for a killer. Samantha is a profiler who gets into the mind of the person she is trying to uncover. The romantic relationship between Samantha and Blake is threatened by Samantha’s inability to let go of the past.

AFTER THE DARK is a story of suspense, mystery, murder and betrayal with a couple of twists and turns to the story line premise.  The premise is intriguing and tangible; the characters are colorful and fascinating; the romance is powerful and alive, Cynthia Eden pulls the reader into a tragic tale of one man’s obsession with killing, and the resulting psychological power death holds over everyone concerned.

Copy supplied by Netgalley




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After the Dark by Cynthia Eden is book one in The Killer Instinct series.

Meet Special Agent Samantha Dark, a investigator and profiler. Together with her partner Blake Gamble she investigates a serial killer case at a University.
What she doesn't know is that she is well acquainted with the killer.
The killer escapes and Samantha gets the blame. She leaves the FBI and moves to a smalltown in the South.
Blake follows her, he wants her back and he needs help with a case. What he doesn't know is that something was following him.

After Dark is a thrilling and dramatic read.
I couldn't put it down, literally. I read this book in one sitting. I was at the edge of my seat and I really really liked the twists and turns, some of them I never had expected.
5 Stars and Thank you Cynthia Eden.
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You want a dark and exciting romantic suspense read, then Cynthia Eden is the go-to author. And it’s just not plain horrific evil; her villains are super smart, twisted and a pro at mind games, making her books one of the best thrillers to read.

Her latest Killer Instinct series starts off with the prequel “The Gathering Dusk” and this should be read before continuing with “After The Dark”, to follow Samantha Dark and Blake Gamble, as they take on evil in plain sight and very closely attached to Samantha Dark.

“After The Dark” starts off with Blake reuniting with Samantha who was and is once touted as one of the best profilers. Yet her FBI career goes down south when her ex-lover and best friend turns out to be the killer. A killer she may have let go. But now someone is hunting Samantha in her small quite town and Blake wants Samantha to help catch the killer and also protect her at the same time. 

I love when thrillers are just not gory and violent, but have a scintillating mind game in play. Cynthia Eden is exemplary in that field and I just love her characters. She gives equal depth and layers to the good as well as the bad, to make her stories so very brilliant. And Samantha Dark and Blake Gamble make one strong couple as they battle for their lives against a psychopath who knows Samantha to the very bones of her being.

“After The Dark” should be read to enjoy the brilliance of the plot, the characters that will become one of our favorites and the narration that is tight and filled with adrenaline.
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Really good story and writing!  Even knowing who the killers are, I still found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens next. The only reasons that this was not a 5 star read for me are that I did not feel the chemistry between Blake and Samantha and I would have liked to have known more about Blake. The story seemed focused on both Samantha and Cameron's past, but did not go much into Blake.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
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I'm reviewing Cynthia Eden's latest romantic suspense After the Dark (Killer Instinct Series ).  When Samantha Dark, an FBI profiler , gets fired and kicked out the force she goes into hiding. Her ex-partner Blake Gamble now sees this as their chance to finally get together and goes to her, but there's a killer on the scene who's not letting her off so easily and Blake inadvertently puts her in more danger - especially as the killer and Sam have a connection that even Blake cannot sever.  Here are my thoughts:

^^ When a story begins with what should be the ending of Sam's life only a few pages in and I'm already thinking, 'how's she going to get out of this one?' I knew this was going to be one hell of an emotional, fast ride;  full of ups and downs. It hooked me from the start and did not let go. 

^^ Cynthia Eden has written a gripping fast-paced story I could not put down, which means I'm now going to have to go through her back list and add more titles to my ever growing to be read list!

^^ There are so many layers to this story, which makes it an exciting read. Sam's got a great, dark background, and with this you get  a sense that profiling killers makes her almost as evil as them. 

^^The tension between Sam and Blake is steamy, and yet, there's also something to be said with Sam's connection to the killer, the control he has over her, and how he hunts her down and draws her back into his games. 

^^ I'm sure this must have been said a thousand times over, but as this author is new to me, I've got to say it; the relationship and mind games between Agent Dark and the villian Cameron Latham, reminded me of Clarice Starling's with Lecter when looking to apprehend Buffalo Bill. The only difference being the genre, that was horror thriller, and this is a romantic suspense. There's still plenty of blood and gore, it's just this author's voice is more light-hearted and keeps true to the romantic will-they-won't-they-get-together theme when it comes to Agent Dark and Agent Gamble's on and off relationship. 

Overall:  An enjoyable fast read, which took me totally by surprise. Like I said, I'm definitely going to go back and read more of Cynthia Eden's work. Superb. 
I was given an ARC of this book via Netgalley. Thanks to Harlequin (US & Canada).
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Samantha Dark is a profiler for the FBI on the trail of a serial killer.  When her latest case ends tragically she gets the blame.  Finding out the painful truth will cost many lives. It will also make her doubt her abilities. She should have seen who and what he is.
Blake Gamble was Samantha's partner at the FBI. He needs her to help break a case,  but going to her will put her in range of a killer.  He is used to always playing by the rules, but no more.
Wow this is a real thriller.  The characters are amazing.  We don't get time to settle into anything,  it is action from the start to the finish.  There is an obsessive attraction and a fierce love story. 
I will definitely be reading more of this series.
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Wow! This book will make you want to keep turning the pages one right after another. I needed to know if Samantha was going to trust the wrong person or if she was going to trust her gut and stand by her profiles. 

Blake Gamble is tired of waiting for Samantha, he's going to go after what he wants. While trying to keep her safe, he's going to prove to her how right they are for each other. He has the hot, alpha thing down that knows what Samantha wants and needs.

What if she makes the wrong decision? It could cost people their lives if she chooses wrong. Very suspenseful, on the edge of your chair until the last page. Can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.
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Author Cynthia Eden brings readers another gripping series with Killer Instinct.  After the Dark begins with a bang as you are thrown into the middle of a spine-tingling tale.  After the Dark is brimming with chilling suspense and intense passion.  Ms. Eden weaves many threads together beautifully all of them leading up to a brilliant finish.

Samantha Dark hasn’t exactly had an easy life.  She has been betrayed in the worst way and lost her job but now she will do whatever it takes to right the wrongs and put a vicious serial killer behind bars.  You would think with all this Samantha wouldn’t have time for affection but when her ex-partner Blake Gamble comes charging back into her life she has little choice.  Blake is a man on a mission determined to lure Samantha back to work so they can find the killer that got away.  Blake and Samantha may have ignored their feelings in the past but that is hopeless now. It is impossible to miss the sparks that fly between these two.  Samantha and Blake make a great team in and out of bed. 

Ms. Eden takes her readers on a perilous journey in After the Dark.  There are many times I had chills because of Ms. Eden’s impressive imagery.   I definitely felt the evil oozing from the killer. Scary!

Cynthia Eden delivers on all fronts giving her readers the perfect mix of suspense and drama in After the Dark.
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This is a story which is packed full of secrets, mystery, power struggles, twists and turns, passion, and love. Cynthia Eden has outdone herself with the storyline and writing of this wonderful book.
I was sucked in from the first chapter and I didn't want to put it down!

Smart. Sexy. Riveting. I felt the chemistry with every breath. I truly love this author's writing!
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After the Dark is the first in a new romantic suspense series written in the vein of Ms. Eden's LOST series.  It is dark and gritty and holds you attention throughout the entire book.  Intensely brutal scenes allow you to get into the minds of the serial killer. This is a cat and mouse game at it's best, the question is who is the cat and who is the mouse?

The development of Samantha and Blake's relationship is fraught with chaos and peril. They start out as partners and their bond just gets stronger.  Both lead characters are well developed and feel very connected to each other.

Another well thought out plot driven romantic suspense novel.  I will definitely read the next in this series.
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FBI Profiler Samantha Dark is shaken after finding out her former lover, Dr. Cameron Latham is a murderer, and she’s fired in the aftermath.  All the signs were there in front of her, but she never thought Cameron would be capable of such darkness.  Licking her wounds, she moves back to her hometown, all the while trying to track down Cameron before he strikes again, because Samantha knows he’s not done. 

Blake, Samantha’s former partner, has never doubted her abilities and knew she was unjustly fired by the FBI.  Company policy prevented him from acting on his intense feelings for Samantha, feelings he suspects she returns, but she’s not his partner anymore.  When a new murder happens with a similar MO to Cameron’s, Blake has the excuse to track down Samantha for help, and this time never let her go. 

I love Cynthia Eden’s romantic suspense novels! I can always count on a fast-paced, good time with some thrills and chills when I pick up one of her stories. As former partners, Samantha and Blake know each other well, and I just loved the undercurrent of sexual tension they had brewing between them. I knew it was only a matter of time before all that longing gave way to heat and passion!
While After the Dark was an exciting read, I think a little bit of the tension was gone knowing the identity of the killer.  Still, there were some twists to discover, and the jealousy over Blake’s relationship with Samantha made Cameron even more dangerous, making me worry over his reactions. 

You could read After the Dark without reading the prequel, Gathering the Dusk, first, but it lays the foundation of Blake and Samantha’s relationship, and has its only little mystery.  It’s only sixty-two pages and currently free.
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An amazing, riveting tale that was impossible to put down until the end. It took a hold of me from the very start and didn't let go, it mesmerized my mind, it intrigued my curiosity. The characters were enthralling, the romance passionate and all-consuming, the crimes malicious and the culprits savage - just what I look for in my romantic suspense!
The vile minds and actions of the suspects gave me the chills with their heinous deeds. The constant battle between the good and the evil, the profiler's ability to get into the mind frame of the criminals, and the psychological games they played left me flabbergasted. Absolutely brilliant plot twists and turns in the story had me constantly on the edge, biting my nails, waiting for another disaster to strike. 
But all that hate and ugliness was perfectly balanced by the connection and chemistry between Samantha Dark and Blake Gamble. I adored those two together, there was heat and passion and adoration, mixed with such complete understanding and acceptance it took my breath away. Blake's absolute certainty that they belong together was refreshing, the doubts had no room in his mind, heart or soul when it came to Samantha. The passion between them was scorching and absorbing, the intensity high because of Samantha's connection to Cameron Latham. 
The supporting cast and crew all contributed to the story and were well drawn out and helped to enrich the story even more. The endorsement  Samantha received from her former peers was admirable and told its own story about her abilities and character. She carried such deep wounds inside her from her formative years, yet she had a chance to face her demons and grow and develop as a person through the events of the tale. 
I absolutely love the brilliant mind and voice of the author. Every single time she manages to completely capture my mind and leaves me in awe of her ability to twine a story with such adorations and love mixed with deep evilness existing in perfect balance. A mesmerizing tale that left me highly anticipating the rest of the series. Could it get even better than the start?!
~ Five Spoons
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Cynthia Eden has a great grasp on grabbing a reader's interest from the first page.  Her new love of thrillers and this new series proves that she can keep the buzz of excitement going from the first page to the last. 

There is a prequel to this story which just came out and is free on most ebook retailers. Get The Gathering Dusk

This story focuses on FBI Profiler Samantha Dark.  Samantha finds out the hard way that her friend and former lover was not the man she thought he was.  It does have a bit of a Red Dragon feel at the beginning where Will takes some time before he figures out that Hannibal Lecter isn't the swell guy he originally thought.   Here, Samantha's long-time friend and former lover Cameron Latham was more than just an impressively smart college professor.   The fact that Samantha didn't realize that her BFF was actually a serial killer calls into question Samantha's ability to do her job.

But her partner, Blake Gamble isn't about to let Samantha walk away.   Not from the FBI and not from him.  They might have had to keep their distance while working as partners but things are different now.  Gamble uses a new serial killer as an excuse to track down Samantha to get her help but he might have inadvertently led the killer to Sam's doorstep.

Women in Sam's small town are being abducted but is there one killer or two?  The suspense is high as Gamble and Sam reassemble their team and try to work out their relationship.  Partners can't have a romantic relationship but they are no longer partners so the rules are changed.

There is plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep you excited until the end as well as a passionate romance once Sam and Blake finally give in to their desires.

While it is not necessary to read the prequel to enjoy this story, comments are made about the prior case which would ruin the suspense so I would definitely recommend reading The Gathering Dusk first before starting After The Dark.
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Four months ago Samantha made the biggest mistake of her life, she let a murderer escape . Now this ex profiler for the FBI has to live with the fact that her best friend and sometimes lover Cameron isn't the clean cut guy she thought no he's dark, cunning and a psychopath . Samantha may appear to be licking her wounds but her thoughts don't stray too much from the events that saw her losing all credibility . When her former partner Blake shows up it's clear that the case is far from closed and soon pretty little Fairhope, Alabama turns into serial killer central!
There's a prequel to this The Gathering Dusk that introduces these characters and shows the beginning of the simmering relationship that grows between these two agents. Its clearly intense but also a really bad idea and by the book Samantha has ignored the attraction until now . Blake doesn't want to pretend they are just professional colleagues, he needs more than anything to protect Samantha but it's apparent the stubborn woman needs protecting from herself! 
I thought Samantha was the character that dominated this story. She has a history of horror and pain that she keeps hidden but it's made her what she is today. A woman who can understand how a killers mind works might scare some but Blake is made of sterner stuff and desperate to save Samantha from a cruel adversary and yes even from herself. I don't think we really got into Blakes mind as much as I wanted, certainly not as much as we did other characters although his lust for Samantha was certainly fleshed out. This couple may be surrounded by atrocities and death but they sure do know how to celebrate being alive!
If tense, brutal suspense with a huge dollop of romance appeal to you then this new series will no doubt make its way to your bookshelf . Alpha hero and a tortured heroine combine here as the hunter becomes the hunted. Not a straightforward easily predicatable thriller and I really enjoyed ( perhaps too much) discovering just how far a killer could go. The author involves her readers, we know exactly who and why but it was still a page turner and isn't that how it should be?
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