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by Linda Lovely
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release: October 19, 2012
Editor: Deb McIntyre
Line Editor: Joelle Walker
Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans
Nexi Ketts has reinvented herself—new name, new look, new life. She makes her living catching corporate cheats, partial atonement for dear old dad’s embezzling ways.
A fling with a handsome cop ends badly when he tries to kill her. She flees, naked, causing a fender bender, and making it damn hard for Detective Barry Gerton to think clearly. A second vicious attack convinces Barry the secretive Nexi, who has her very own FBI dossier, is the target of a professional assassin.
Determined to protect her, Barry unexpectedly falls in love. Nexi yields to the same sizzling attraction. Trust is another matter... Nexi has secrets to guard. And Barry’s been burned before.
Yet once the couple lands in Jamaica, trust is no longer a luxury. Amid the trappings of paradise, they need each other to survive a heart-stopping, cross-island game of hide-and-seek and a harrowing descent into the depths of Dragon’s Throat cave.
Eager to get a look at the JAMMIN mine and the infamous Dragon’s Throat, Nexi was glad when they started moving. The journey started in a valley—the field beside Wayne’s house. They climbed steadily for half an hour, marching single-file.
In the lead, Jordan wielded a very sharp, very long cutlass. His scythe-like swings severed maybe half of the relentless green tentacles that grabbed at their arms and legs from every direction.
“You sure this is just a mile?” she panted. They’d reached the top of a cockpit dome. Despite regular aerobic workouts and the men packing the heaviest gear, she wheezed, breathless in the hot and steamy pressure cooker. The terrain could only be described as rugged and wild. Everything growing here seemed designed to scratch or poke.
Jordan wiped sweat from his forehead. “It’s mostly downhill from here.”
The steep descent provided little relief. Nexi celebrated when the slope began to level. They paused on a small shelf. At higher elevations, the tightly packed forest blocked any view of the mine on the valley floor. From this new vantage point, she spotted an orange gouge in the landscape and decided it would pass muster for a Cockpit road. The swirling red dust offered faint evidence of fat tire treads. The road led to, well, nowhere. A black hole. A huge sign with red letters provided the sole indication of habitation or commerce.
No Trespassing. DANGER! Keep Out. JAMMIN Mine #11.
The only thing missing was a skull and crossbones.
She tried to judge the size of the cavern. Its entrance appeared large enough to accommodate a mid-sized truck, if the driver didn’t mind clearances measured in inches.
Barry tapped her shoulder and pointed a hundred yards north of the entrance. A guard in battle fatigues patrolled with a rifle slung over his shoulder. The man’s companion made her mouth go dry. He walked a muscled Rottweiler on a choke chain. Another beast with fangs.
“See the fence,” Barry whispered. “Barbed wire, maybe ten feet high. It follows the road all the way to the mine entrance then ends.”
“Just like Shawna said,” Jordan added. Nexi strained to hear his whispers. “Shawna and her friends pretend the mine is a British fort and they’re brave Maroon scouts. A winding footpath leads to the roof of the mine. That’s where the children hide and pretend-spy.”
“Spying sounds good. Let’s go.” Any suggestion that increased the distance between her and the hulking Rottweiler was just dandy.
They threaded through the scrub and crept onto the cave’s rounded earthen dome. The shrubbery petered out near the cave’s mouth. They scooted the last ten feet on their bellies. From their bird’s eye view, they spotted a second roving guard. He had a fanged pal on a leash, too.
Birds floated on air currents above. Below the two men on patrol plodded along their monotonous circuits. An hour passed. No other sign of activity. Sweat glued her clothes to her body, and ravenous mosquitoes feasted on her neck. The tiny vampires raised ankle bracelets of welts above her socks. She longed to scream and slap the blood suckers dead. She was afraid to make a sound.
Her companions appeared unbothered. Either the insects preferred her flesh, or her friends were stoics. “Can’t believe we haven’t seen anyone enter or heard any activity,” she whispered.
“The silence doesn’t surprise me,” Jordan answered. “There’s a ton of rock between us and whatever’s going on inside. Nature’s perfect sound proofing.”
“But where are the workers?” she asked. “The trucks bringing supplies? Maybe the mine’s already been abandoned. If so, we’re wasting our time.”
“Doubt it. If they’d moved on, they wouldn’t need armed guards,” Kylee said.
Nexi heard a low rumble and squinted at an approaching ball of dust. A compact six-wheeler with an empty crib. The driver stopped at the gate, spoke with a security guard. A minute later, the cavern swallowed the truck.
The sweaty vigil lasted fifty minutes. The truck backed out, loaded with crates. It cleared the entrance. The driver finessed the gears, pivoted 180 degrees, and moved forward.
Barry trained binoculars on the containers. “Crap, a waste of time. Cartons are sealed. No letters or identifying numbers outside.”
“Might as well go.” Nexi felt disappointed but eager to leave the jungle sweatbox.
“Wait.” Barry said. “What’s going on?”
A security guard ran from the cave, yelled at the trucker, and pointed a rifle at him. The driver climbed down from his cab. The guard manhandled him into the stance and frisked him. After snatching a small plastic container from the driver’s pocket, the guard smacked the man’s face hard with an open hand.
Nexi nudged Barry. “What did he take from the guy? Jordan, can you make out what he’s yelling.”
Barry toyed with the binocular focus. “Looks like a pill bottle. The label reads F…A. Shit, his thumb’s in the way. The last letters are I…R.”
A shot kicked up dirt near their heads. One of the roving guards was shooting at them. He took aim and fired another round. He gestured to his buddies. The truck driver was forgotten.
“Damn,” Barry said. “Let’s get out of here. Fast.”
Jordan led a full-speed retreat down one of Shawna’s alternate routes. Tree branches and oversized ferns tore at their clothes, clawed their skin. Nexi appreciated their head start. The chasers had to climb half way up the steep incline to reach their spy post. Outrunning the men, who looked older and heavier, should be easy.
Then she remembered the dogs. Did Rottweilers bay when they gave chase? Maybe not. Maybe they were silent killers. Oh sweet Jesus, get me out of here.
She ran faster. Her pulse thundered in her ears.
“Stop.” Jordan held up a hand. “In here.”
He ducked into a small cave. Alone, she never would have spotted the slit in the rocks. They huddled in the dark. Her skin felt clammy as if her sweat had turned to mold. Could anyone outside pick them out in the gloom?
Shit. The damn dogs didn’t need to see. They could smell.
“Steamy, sexy, and full of suspense! Final Accounting will keep you on the edge of your seat, whipping through the pages to find out what happens next. A strong heroine, a tough detective, great action, and sizzling chemistry—the perfect mix for this must-read book!
—Ann Charles, Award-winning Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series
Fleeing an assassin, Nexi Ketts runs naked onto Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Exposing her D-cup tatas on the busy Atlanta thoroughfare, Nexi jump starts the action-packed thriller, Final Accounting. The twists and turns keep on coming as suspense builds in this witty, poignant thriller. Linda Lovely has crafted a wonderful story with a relatable heroine and a detective so yummy, women will beg for an interrogation. Entertaining characters combined with spine-chilling villains, a fresh twist on a murder plot, and the magical scenery of Jamaica add up to one page-turning mystery. Final Accounting is a must-read!
Robin Weaver, award-winning author of Blue Ridge Fear
FINAL ACCOUNTING’S complex plot twists at every treacherous turn, culminating in an exotic locale as perilous as it is beautiful. Non-stop intrigue propels a nail-biting, gripping read.
K.M. Daughters, Author of the award-winning, Sullivan Boys romantic suspense series.
About the Author:
Linda Lovely’s romantic suspense novels serve up a main course of suspense along with generous helpings of romance and humor. Her manuscripts have earned final spots in 15 contests, including RWA Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier contests. Dear Killer, the first in Lovely’s Marley Clark mystery series, was a finalist in the 2011 RWA Golden Quill published novel competition.
A journalism major, Lovely pursued a career in PR. One of her clients—the investigative firm that served as a prototype for the heroine’s employer in Final Accounting—introduced her to forensic accounting and other techniques for catching savvy criminals.
During five terms as president of the Upstate SC Chapter of Sisters in Crime, she also established ties with many law enforcement experts willing to share expertise with authors. She belongs to Romance Writers of America and the South Carolina Writers Workshop. A popular speaker, Lovely teaches genre fiction classes through Clemson University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Lovely lives with her husband beside a peaceful lake in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She swims and kayaks—keeping an eye out for a big honking turtle that frequents her cove. She plays tennis, hikes, gardens, and, of course, reads. Bedtime means diving into a good book.
To learn more, visit: www.lindalovely.com
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Elixir is fantasy at its best. Katie Caroll draws us into her world with ease, her well-polished writing style and flow holding us captive until the end. I especially liked the relationship between Katora and her sister Kylene, obviously drawn from real life. I can't wait to read the sequel.
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this very charming and witty book to read on the skytrain. But I have to say it was kind of embarrassing. I couldn't stop giggling out loud at Maggie Lyon's humour. People kept looking at me, and I tried my hardest to hold in the laughter, but it was impossible. What a delightful story! What child wouldn't love this. It's a story for 6-10 year olds. It's a great book to read to your children when they're young or by themselves when they're older. If your child likes Geronimo Stilton, they'll fall in love with Dewie the little dragon and his friend Jones the toad. I hope Maggie Lyons will turn this into a series.
Joy Smith pulled me into the story on the very first pages. Fast moving, first I hated Victor, than I love him, than I hated until I loved him. And Marisol with her guarded heart had me hoping throughout that she'd open it again to love.
I loved her descriptions. They created such visuals, I felt I was traveling and discovering Colombia with Victor.
Ms. Smith writes believable, flawed characters that I wound up cheering and caring for on each page. I can't wait to read her next book. Goodreads Reader Review - Five Stars
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I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot of this novel. From Annabelle putting her life in danger when running away from Boarding School where she has lived since the age of five to her tenacious pursuit in finding clues as to her origins.
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Rosemary Morris' major and minor characters spring to life. I sympathised with Annabelle and found Roland charming. Apart from this, Rosemary's great attention to every aspect of the Regency era is impressive.
False Pretences is a ripping read and I look forward to reading this author's next novel. - F.Way- Amazon Review