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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Border Heat by Ramona Butler

Border Heat by Ramona Butler
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (61 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Azalea

A travel agent and a Special Agent working under cover, join forces to save a Copper Canyon tour group of senior citizens caught in the crosshairs of a Mexican drug cartel.

Special Agent Jess Hightower, working undercover as a tour guide, knows he’s in trouble as soon as he catches sight of Caroline Cody’s red hair. What is the beautiful babe doing on a senior citizens’ tour of Mexico’s famed Copper Canyon?

Red haired travel agent Caroline Cody blames a Tarot Death card for her latest assignment: an on-site review and evaluation of a tour tailed specifically for senior citizens, a trip that experiences trouble from the get-go. When her first meeting with tour guide Jess Hightower ends in disaster, she suspects he isn’t an experienced tour leader, but she can’t begin to foresee the danger he represents to the tour group—or to her heart.

When Reno travel agent Caroline Cody has an assignment dropped on her, she's not happy. She doesn't do train travel and she doesn't do tours with silver-haired nymphomaniacs. Furthermore, a Tarot death card turns up in her tour packet. What promises to be the tour from Hell in one sense, nearly turns into the tour to Hell.

DEA agent Jess Hightower masquerades as a tour director to gain information on a notorious drug cartel supposedly operating out of Chihuahua. Personal vengeance plays a part in Jess's search: his younger sister was killed as a result of her involvement with drugs, and Jess will do anything to take down their ruthless leader. He's on the train with the tour and looking for his contact when he meets Caroline. The sexy redhead punches all his buttons, but he finds himself attracted to her. He also wonders what she's doing with a bunch of senior citizens.

When an explosion near the group's hotel narrowly misses killing Jess, he must ask for Caroline's help to provide a cover. Danger lurks everywhere, and one of the tour group ladies has fallen to her death. Caroline has overcome a history of violence from her ex-husband, and she has to open her heart to Jess so she can learn to trust again.

This is a well-written, fast-paced short read. Ms. Butler gives just enough information to make the characters believable and keep the reader turning pages. The romance is light and sweet with hints of further involvement. The pacing is wonderful for a short story. There's enough plot to keep the reader engaged, and the author's research shines in this delightful story. Nicely done and recommended.