Today my blog guest is fellow Extasy author Tim Smith. If you haven’t dipped into his Thriller series Nick Seven, don’t miss it—you’re in for the roller coaster ride of your life!
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Tim Smith
Word Count :67807
Publication Date :2022-10-28
Series : Nick Seven #8
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense and Mystery, Thriller
Winner: Extasy Books Editor’s Choice Award
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.
The intruder stood in the shadows at the rear of a spacious oceanfront home on Duck Key, waiting for the right moment to go to work. The nighttime Florida sky was punctuated by a bright slice of quarter-moon and a handful of stars. The only light in the old-moneyed neighborhood was provided by ornate street lamps and security lights. Just the way the intruder liked it: enough light to see by, not enough to be seen. The background noise was a combination of waves lapping ashore and distant trawlers scooping up fresh catch. Occasionally a car would cruise by.
The home was one of many in the rich Florida Keys oceanfront enclave known as Hawk’s Cay, just south of Conch Key on the Overseas Highway. It was the kind of place that catered to a certain brand of people, like rich retirees, trust fund babies and savvy bankers who got out while the market was still good. Thousands of people cruised past it every day on their way to and from Key West without giving it more than a passing glance.
The intruder wore a black nylon catsuit that covered every inch of flesh from head to toe, as though they had been sprayed with onyx lacquer. They saw their shadow flash briefly in the glass of the French doors, tall and slender with narrow hips, an elfin-like creature gliding through the night. Their gloved fingers ran along the frame of the door that led to the interior of the home, but stopped when they located the security system sensor near the top. It was a cheap hardware-store variety contact alarm, not appropriate for such an expensive house. The person carefully slid a thin piece of magnetized metal between the two contact points, then crouched to work on the lock. Two metal picks in the keyhole were expertly moved against the tumblers until the intruder heard the telltale click of the lock giving way.
They opened the door and stepped inside, finding themselves in a small dining area off of the kitchen. The interior of the house was illuminated by one lamp from the living room. They stood still for a few moments, not detecting any sounds, then walked to the bedrooms at the rear of the home. They used a small flashlight to illuminate the way, then stopped when they reached the largest bedroom at the end of the hallway. According to the floor plan, this was the master suite.
They approached a dresser and found a small wooden jewelry chest in plain view. Their gloved hands opened it and the flashlight’s beam reflected off the gold and diamond baubles the chest contained. The intruder took a black vinyl drawstring bag from a pocket and transferred the contents to the bag.
They switched off the flashlight, then retraced their steps to the French doors leading to the deck. They momentarily froze when a car passed on the street nearby. After waiting a few moments, the person left the way they had come in and moved to the street, taking advantage of the natural cover provided by shrubs and hibiscus bushes. They made their way to a black Toyota coupe parked down the block and got in.
The driver pulled off the black hood of the catsuit, then fluffed her long dark brown hair, letting it cascade to her shoulders. She pulled down the visor and looked into the lighted vanity mirror, arranging her hair with her fingers. She checked her tanned face for a moment and satisfied herself that she looked natural, not like someone who had just committed a home invasion.
She drove slowly along the narrow street, then crossed a wooden bridge that traversed the channel that ran through the subdivision. When she reached the Overseas Highway she merged with the northbound traffic and maintained the speed limit to avoid any attention from the police routinely patrolling the highway. She glanced at the small bag of gems on the passenger seat and smiled, feeling a little giddy. She gazed forward and saw the marker sign on the right berm, the one reminding her that she was 15 miles from Key Largo.
She continued her northern trek while doing mental calculations. Tonight marked the sixth successful break-in over the past two weeks at various locations along The Keys. All were of fancy homes owned by well-to-do people with more money than they knew what to do with–wealthy industrialists and financiers who had made their riches off the sweat of blue-collar types, and the investors who fell for their scams. People who were smart enough to fleece the flock and dodge the subpoenas when the lawsuits began flying.
The woman slowed as she reached the entrance to the Sunset Resort on the Gulf side of Key Largo. She signaled her turn, then crossed the median into the parking lot, nosing the coupe into a spot at the end of the building, where there was no security camera. She got out, used a key card to enter the hotel, and took the elevator to the third floor. She hesitated before walking to her room, checking that there were no guests in the hallway.
Once inside the suite, the woman transferred tonight’s haul into a gallon-size freezer bag. She took a moment to give a closer look at something that had caught her eye. It was a gold pendant in the shape of a unicorn, about two inches long, with emeralds making up the horn and eyes, on a heavy rope chain. She pocketed the necklace, then secured the bag alongside three others in the designated hiding place.
Five Stars: A fast-paced story from the get-go, with some romantic moments between Nick and Felicia, to relieve the suspense. Plus, a few interesting twists to keep you guessing till the end.
Five Stars: Once Again, Tim Smith has penned an excellent thriller, worthy of the highest recommendation!
I’m an award-winning, bestselling author of mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. I’m also a freelance writer/photographer and blogger. When I’m not writing I can often be found in The Florida Keys, indulging my passion for parasailing while seeking out the perfect Mojito.