Title: Ambush in the Everglades
By: Petie McCarty
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Plenty of action-adventure in this romantic-suspense tale. Photographer Kayli Heddon is given the biggest assignment of her career—a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration—and a special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn’t count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and unpredictable airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner makes all the difference in your survival.
Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn’t expect the governor’s photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense flies out the window whenever she gets near.
Unfortunately, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship—any relationship—and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from his past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators
Excerpt: Leaping over palmettos and tree roots and dodging half-buried cypress knees, they raced for their boat as the whine in the distance grew louder. Kayli recognized the whine as a second airboat. She couldn’t stop running if she wanted to, Skye had a death grip on her hand.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” she shouted, “and why are we running?”
Twenty more yards, and they reached the airboat. The approaching craft sounded closer by the second.
He dropped her hand to grab the bow line. “Get in the boat,” he ordered.
She stopped dead. “No.”
He whipped around with a fearsome glare.
“Not until you tell me why we’re running.”
This was so unlike the man she’d come to know over the last two days at close quarters. He looked . . . well, scared.
“Crane Tennapin is on his way here with drug runners to make a pick up.”
She felt the blood drain from her face. “Who is Crane Tennapin?”
“Another cousin, now let’s go.” He pushed on the bow of the airboat. “I’ve got to get you out of here. I’ll leave you at Sally’s.”
“I’m staying with you.”
“You can’t. I have to come back to help Crane.”
The whine grew louder and closer.
She froze. “You’re coming back to help a drug dealer?”
“Hell no!” he roared and softened his voice when she flinched. “Crane’s in over his head. He got mixed up with the Colombians before he knew about the drugs. Now they’re threatening to turn him in if he doesn’t help them with this drop.”
He motioned her over and held out a hand. “Come on, come on.”
“What if you don’t get back in time?” She couldn’t believe she wasn’t scrambling into the airboat.
He had her by the shoulders in two steps and stared hard in her eyes. “I can’t let anything happen to you.”
The emotion in his voice wrapped around her heart like long tentacles, and she couldn’t pull free. She didn’t want to.
Her arms flew around his neck, and Skye crushed her to his chest, his mouth hard against hers. A flood of emotion rifled through her unlike anything she’d ever felt in her life. She wanted to fold her soul into his and never let him go. She had wanted this can’t-let-you-go kiss from the moment she laid eyes on Skye. She wanted the kiss to last forever.
Precious seconds were squandered. The airboat whine grew louder, and his head jerked up.
“There’s no time to get me out.”
No way would she leave him, not with drug runners coming. She might never see him again.
He pulled back and gazed into her eyes. “You have to trust me.”
She nodded. “What’re you going to do?”
“Sink the airboat.”
Review: I’m giving this novel 5 stars as it draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the end. The Characters are extremely well developed with wonderfully described scenery that makes it feel like you are traveling along with Sky and Kayli. The plot holds your attention and is well paced. There are actually two plots going on at the same time. The first one is Kayli and Sky’s developing relationship and Kayli’s mission to gather the beauty of the everglades with photos. The other plot involves his cousin Crane who became entangled with delivering drugs from the Colombia mafia’s Both plots end up converging on the secret island that Wren lived on.
Kayli is a strong woman who has overcome tragedies in her life. Both of her parents died when she was young but not before they installed the love of the environment and the everglades especially. She was raised by her father’s best friend who becomes the governor of Florida. She doesn’t want many people to know about that connection since that may cause favoritism. She is assigned a task from the governor to take pictures of the everglades to help him pass a new bill to help the everglades and protect it from the sugar plantations.
Sky Landers is half Seminole Indian and half-Spanish who also lost his mother and has a rocky relationship with his father. He was taken under his uncle Wren’s protection and he teaches Sky all the secret places in the everglades and how to survive for weeks at a time.
Family is the most precious thing to him and he is very close to his cousins Jimmy and Crane. In fact, he is taking the tour for Jimmy since he was helping to replace a roof.
When Kayli meets Sky, sparks fly between them and also a great deal of frustration and anger. Sky hasn’t had such a reaction for a female and he isn’t sure how to handle all the emotions swirling inside him. Kayli also finds herself drawn to Sky and tries not to show how much he captivates her.
It’s rather funny watching their interactions in the beginning of the tour. They banter back and forth and try to up-one each other. For example, Sky dumps Kayli into the river and she ends up covered in leeches, which made her hysterical as she hates bugs. Both of them are stubborn and Kayli uses anger to try to push away her feelings for him. One thing that drives Sky crazy is having to follow Kayli’s directions as he is usually the one in charge.
To make things even worse, Kayli has been saddled with Brad, who is a member of the governor’s entourage, who thinks he is her boyfriend. I liked watching Sky’s reaction to Brad as he thinks Kayli deserves better. Poor Brad is not equipped for the outdoors with several instances that made me laugh out loud. One of my favorites is when he falls overboard and panics trying to get out of the water. He causes all sort of embarrassment for her. The rest of the traveling group also do not like him as he has no outdoor experience. A great example of this is when they allowed Brad to stay in a shelter with mosquito netting with holes, causing him to be covered in bug bites.
Things go downhill fast when Sky’s cousin Crane is forced to take two members of the Columbian mafia to a well-hidden island. Jimmy, Sky’s other cousin, goes after him in his own airboat. Kayli shows her courage when she doesn’t want to leave Sky alone to fight the mafia.
I enjoyed this book with its beauty, and love. It shows how family is important and those that we thought had left us behind are still there to help us at the most important times. It also shows how important the environment and if we don’t protect it there may not be around for our futures.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Authour Bio and Links
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—”The Most Magical Place on Earth”—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and an opinionated Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.