Out of the Shadows Nick Seven Book 8
by Tim Smith Genre: Mystery, Romantic Thriller
How can a couple of former spies enjoy life in their personal corner of paradise, when things from the past keep coming back to haunt them?
What does a former spy have to do to get some peace and quiet in his personal corner of paradise? In the laidback ease of the Florida Keys, Nick Seven has carved out a life far removed from the intrigue that once defined his life in the CIA. He runs his trendy club on the Gulf, keeps a low profile, and enjoys the tropical setting with Felicia, his Barbadian lover and former co-worker. After he sees a woman being killed at a resort, Nick finds himself thrust into an investigation where there is no corpse and no evidence of a crime. The police are busy with a string of high-profile home burglaries and don’t have time to look for his imaginary victim, so it’s up to Nick to investigate. Then French con artist Marco St. Julian unexpectedly surfaces from Nick’s past. Are the incidents related? And what part does the wealthy young trophy wife of a convicted financial scammer play in all of this? Throw in a career-hungry FBI agent, a mysterious Cuban crook and an ex-patriate Irish gunrunner, and it’s more than just another day at the beach.
Nick’s parasail ride was nearing its conclusion, and he felt himself descending as the boat slowed. Gary worked the crank, reeling in the tether line to bring Nick back to the flat landing area at the rear of the boat. He stretched his legs straight in front of him in preparation, then made a perfect landing on his butt. Gary quickly gathered up the parasail while Nick shrugged off the harness and scooted forward.
“Have a good time up there?” Felicia asked in her West Indies accent.
Nick ran his fingers through his hair. “Very relaxing, yet stimulating.”
“Whatever makes you happy, hon.”
In a few minutes they were underway, heading back to the dock outside the Sunset Resort. The small white sandy beach, one of the few in the Upper Keys, was half-filled with sun worshipers occupying chaise lounges and kids splashing in the warm water. Felicia positioned herself next to Nick, then held the camera in front of them to take a couple of selfies with the three-story hotel in the background.
After the boat was docked, Nick took out his wallet and gave Gary a ten-dollar tip. Nick and Felicia deboarded and walked along the dock to the beach, heading for the parking lot.
Felicia took a deep breath. “Beautiful day. I love it when the sky’s clear. Not too hot, either.”
“Making you homesick?”
“Maybe a little. Back home, I used to hit the beach nearly every day before I went to work.” She leaned in close and lowered her voice a notch. “Some days, I’d visit the clothing-optional one.”
Nick chuckled. “I always knew you were a closet exhibitionist.”
“Hey, if you’ve got it, you shouldn’t keep it hidden.”
He ran a lusty scan of her shapely bronzed frame, highlighted by a white mesh string bikini. “You’ve definitely got it.”
He stopped when they reached a railing that separated the beach from the sidewalk. Nick took the camera and stepped back a few feet.
“Give me a good pose,” he said.
Felicia leaned against the railing and rested her right arm on it. “You want casual or touristy?”
“Sex. Raw, uninhibited, can’t-wait-to-tear-that-bikini-off-with-my-teeth sex.”
Felicia laughed. “I can’t give you that with all these people around.”
Felicia struck a pose with one leg bent slightly inward to show off her toned thigh, while giving him the sultriest look in her arsenal. After Nick took two shots, she requested a close-up. He zoomed in on her upper torso and face. Felicia brought her free hand up then raised her middle finger, while giving him a coy look.
Nick laughed. “Beautiful! That shows the real you.”
They walked to Nick’s Mustang convertible in the parking lot. He lowered the top for the drive home. After crossing U.S. 1, he merged with the northbound traffic on the other side of the median. The blowing wind felt good, offsetting the sultry Keys humidity of early Spring.
“What do you think about when you’re sailin’ up there?” Felicia asked.
Nick took a moment to compose a response. “Mainly how lucky I feel having you here.”
She rested her hand on his bare knee and gave it a squeeze. “You’re sweet. I feel pretty damn lucky, too.”
Nick gave her a sideways glance. “I don’t think you’ve ever said that before.”
“Then that’s my bad. I think back to the day a few years ago when you asked me to stay here with you instead of goin’ home after that op was finished. I thought we just got to enjoy each other for a little while and my time in your life was over. You kinda surprised me when you made your indecent proposal.”
“Askin’ me to shack up with you without offerin’ me a ring.”
He laughed. “Would that make you feel like an honest woman?”
“Not really necessary because I’m not that insecure. There are a lot of reasons why I’m glad I stayed here. It reminds me of home, there’s a lot to do, and we have fun together.” She hesitated. “And I have to admit, the sex is pretty damn terrific.”
Nick sighed. “You’re telling me.”
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His novels featuring former CIA agent Nick Seven have garnered several awards and international critical praise. He is also a freelance writer, blogger, editor and photographer. When he isn’t pursuing those interests, he can be found in the Florida Keys, doing research in between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito.
What inspired you to write this book?
The primary objective for this, and all of my books, is to write an adventure story that people can lose themselves in. Most of my mystery/thrillers are influenced by my love for classic films. “Out of the Shadows” owes some credit to lighthearted romantic caper movies like “To Catch a Thief,” “Charade,” and “Ocean’s 11.” Each of them had a colorful con artist/thief as the charming villain. A character like that is the perfect foil for a tough former spy who crossed paths with him in his past life and knows that if he’s there, trouble isn’t far behind. I was also influenced by a few current events that piqued my interest and made me want to include them in the plot.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I’m always looking for unique situations to drop my heroes into, or worthy adversaries for them to take on. I may see an offbeat news item and think “What if this happened instead?” I do the same thing when I’m watching a TV drama or movie. When I get such an idea, I decide how my characters would react and deal with it. This was the case with “Out of the Shadows.” On one of my trips to the Florida Keys, I read something in a local newspaper that piqued my interest, then spoke with one of the locals about it to get more details. During the creative process, I added some personal experiences and observations. When I conceived the antagonist, I wanted to see how my hero, former spy Nick Seven, would deal with him. The supporting characters came along as I was developing the story and found opportunities to include someone interesting.
Who designed your book covers?
The covers for my books are courtesy of my publisher, Extasy Books. They have some of the best cover designers in the business. Most of mine were courtesy of the talented artist Martine Jardin.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
As it states in the disclaimer at the beginning of the books, all characters are fictitious. To be honest, I’m a people watcher and observer, and I pick up on little things. When I’m conceiving a character, I usually have a certain personality and body type in mind, including hairstyle and mode of dress. I may notice a character quirk or speech pattern and include it. My characters are fairly generic, but with enough details to give the reader a mental picture. In some cases, I might have a specific actor or actress in mind, but they’re caricatures when they reach the page. My Florida-based stories are populated by Latino and Hispanic personalities because they’re part of the cultural fabric, and they add realism. The challenge with specifying a character’s ethnicity is doing so without being derogatory or condescending. Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
If you’re looking for escapism with cool characters in an exotic setting, an intriguing plot, fast-paced action, humor and steamy romantic encounters, this is the book for you. When I write an adventure story like “Out of the Shadows,” I have one goal in mind—to give the reader an escape from the stresses of everyday life. My stories may be labeled as romantic mystery/thrillers, but I include enough action and realistic atmosphere to transport readers out of their comfort zone. One comment I consistently get is when readers tell me they felt like they were standing next to the characters, watching a sunset or engaging in the action with them. The second nicest compliment is when they tell me they can’t wait to read my next one. It doesn’t get much better than that!
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