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Even in paradise, danger lurks…
When Makayla Evans discovers that her employer — a pharmaceutical trailblazer — is dabbling in Dark Pharma, she barely has time to process the information before her conventional life is ripped away. In one breath she’s standing in her New York office; in the next, she’s waking up in the middle of a Central American desert. With no way to escape or call for help, she realizes a terrifying truth. She has vanished… without a trace.
For former Marine Kellan James, working private security on Costa Rica’s La Isla Azul — The Blue Island — is a dream job. But his peace is disrupted when an old friend calls with a nearly impossible task: track down a woman kidnapped by a dangerous drug cartel. When Kellan finally finds Makayla, she’s in bad shape, but she’s alive. Now he just has to keep her that way…
Finding refuge on a remote island with a kind, handsome Marine is not how Makayla expected her nightmare to end. As the days turn to months, Makayla and Kellan develop an unbreakable bond, falling in love with the island, and with each other. But they can’t hide forever. Because even in paradise, danger lurks…
“Kellan, I have a proposition for you.”
The last time Derek Bishop had a proposition for me, I ended up taking his sister to our senior prom. Of course, that was over ten years ago.
“What kind of proposition?”
“Well, you know how I’m overseeing the research division at Syntec now?”
“I’m working with a doctor at Stanford who will be leading a research expedition for a project I’m working on, and I could use your help.”
“My help? With what?”
“Protection. For him and his team.”
“What are they researching?”
“Plant compounds that can be used in medicine. New medicine, hopefully. He’s a pharmaceutical botanist. And an MD, which will be beneficial to the locals.”
“Where are they headed?”
“An island off the coast of Costa Rica. La Isla Azul.”
The blue island.
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“I wouldn’t expect you have. It’s a refuge, a sanctuary protected from tourists and the rest of the world. Other than the residents of a small fishing village, it’s basically uninhabited. The Costa Rican government only allows access to it for research and education.”
“Then what do they need protecting from?”
“The Latin American drug cartel. You know as well as I do how dangerous South America can be without the protection of borders. Places like Peru, Columbia, and Nicaragua have been known to use the island to stash drugs on their way up to the states because it isn’t policed.”
“So you want me to go with this doctor to Costa Rica and do what? Sleep in a tent and follow him around with a gun while he looks for plants?”
“No tents. There are a few vacation homes on the island that were left empty when the government sanctioned it a decade ago. They refurbished one of them for groups like ours to use. I’m not promising the Four Seasons, but it should be sufficient for everyone.”
“Dr. Paul Hernandez, Mia Lawrence, and Jason Walker.”
“And they’re all plant doctors?”
“Mia and Jason are plant pathologists. Mia’s also studying to be a physician. They’re both in Dr. Hernandez’s mentoring program at Stanford. They’re young in their field, but Dr. Hernandez made a strong case for them. He’s been leading expeditions like this for the last twenty years, so I trust his judgement.”
“It’s just the three of them?”
“Yes, but I need you to find two more recruits. Maybe Adam and one of your other military buddies.”
“You haven’t even convinced me to do this.”
“Why do you need convincing? It’s three months in paradise.”
“Three months?” I say incredulously.
“It’ll be like a vacation.”
“Will there be air-conditioning on this vacation?”
“Then it’s no vacation.”
“Kellan, look. I know the last year has been hard on you, after what happened in Afghanistan. Maybe it would be good for you to get away from everything for a while. Reset. Soak up the sun. Wander around a rainforest in the middle of nowhere. Surf.”
“I haven’t surfed in a while.”
“I’ll actually be paying you to surf every day.”
“Will there be food? First aid? I don’t want to die of an infection from a mosquito bite.”
“Yes, of course. We’re actually setting up a rudimentary clinic where Dr. Hernandez can treat the locals who live in the fishing village. Speaking of which, your Spanish might come in handy.”
I get up from Adam’s couch and look around his one-bedroom apartment, where I’ve been living for the last few months. We spent the last few years holed up together in Afghanistan, but at least I had my own bed. “Okay.”
“You’ll do it?”
“Yes,” I say tentatively.
“But not alone,” he insists.
“I know you’re tough, Kellan, and you’ve seen a lot—oorah and all that—but if something were to happen, if you were to encounter someone…without numbers, it could be bad. You need to bring company. At least two other guys. Military trained. They’ll be paid well, you can assure them. I trust your judgement in choosing them.”
Adam walks into the room, yawning.
“Let me get back to you, Derek.”
I hang up the phone and call to the kitchen, “Hey, Adam, I have a proposition for you.”
About the Author
Robin has been dreaming up book boyfriends since before she ever had one. A career, a husband and three kids later, she’s still hopelessly addicted to love stories that make her swoon. Robin is an extroverted introvert with an unhealthy dependency on her horoscope and a knack for plotting emotionally charged romance novels on her way to work, where she spends her days as a hospital director. She loves the ocean, thunderstorms, coffee, wine and Tim Riggins. She hates turtlenecks, chunky jewelry, kitchen gadgets and high heels, though she begrudgingly wears them often. She also has an aversion to extreme cold, which is why after a four year stint in the Northeast, she returned home to Florida where she’s living happily ever after.