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“We came to Rio de Janeiro for a quick shoot and–”
“A what?” he interrupted. He knew there was something odd going on with her.
“A location shoot,” she said as if that explained anything. His frown must have conveyed he still didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. “Billy is a film star. This was our fourth movie, and they needed to shoot some footage on location.”
Ah, so that’s what makes Billy worth so much.
“We had just wrapped up and were due to fly home the next day.” She did the lip thing again. “I took him to the park near the hotel to play, and that’s when he disappeared, when they must have taken him.” Her eyes welled up with tears. “I didn’t know what to do and even after the ransom call was made, the embassy and the police wouldn’t lift a finger to help me. They said I should just pay them the money and hope they’d return my boy to me.”
He handed her his clean napkin.
“Thank you, Mr. Hicks.”
“Just Hicks, Parker. So, you told them you wanted to deliver the money yourself, and now you’re here.”
“Um, yes.” She dabbed at her eyes, nodding. “That’s everything.”
“Do you know who these people are?”
“No, I only have a phone number to call when I reach Pobranco.”
Something still seemed wrong, like she was holding something back. Hicks wouldn’t be surprised if this was drug-related. Using the woman and the kid to smuggle might be a great cover. He’d run into that sort of situation before.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT BILLY
American Evelyn Parker has only twenty days left on her Brazilian visa to save her beloved Billy, kidnapped by reputedly ruthless drug lords. Brazilian authorities and the U.S. Embassy have told her to simply pay the ransom but Evelyn will only hand over the money once Billy is safely back in her arms. She hires reluctant ex-Marine Hicks to help her make the arduous trip into the Amazon Basin. And Hicks makes no bones that he not only doesn’t trust her, he doesn’t even like her.
So what will he do once he learns the truth about Billy?
A Green Thumb
Abbey Rhoads may have finally accepted hunky handyman Max Edison as her boyfriend, but the ex-FBI Forensics Profiler and now college professor refuses to believe her new best friend, Sunny, is a killer. The police think Sunny has something to do with her much detested next door neighbor turning up dead. The two had an ongoing feud the whole town talked about, after all, and Sunny herself had said publicly how she wished the purple house painting woman would just drop dead.
But Abbey notices a recent trend of supposedly accidental poisonings, overlooked as not all are fatal and caused by common toxic plants. She suspects it’s much more than a coincidence the town and the nearby Canadian city of Victoria share.
While Abbey knows she should be working harder on her romance with Max, she also knows she can’t stand by while a serial poisoner continues to sicken and kill people in two countries – and is it her fault the investigation comes conveniently when Max wants to talk about a more serious commitment and she wants to avoid just such a conversation at all costs?