Not Just Another Day at the Beach

He’s as cool as a Mojito on a Key West beach, he’s the kind of guy your mother wouldn’t let you play with, and he’s every bad guy’s worst nightmare. Former CIA spy Nick Seven is back in the romantic spy thriller “Out of the Shadows” (Nick Seven Book 8). This is another breezy, sexy adventure set in the exotic Florida Keys, pitting Nick and his former co-worker from Barbados, Felicia, against an assortment of shady characters. As always, there’s vivid atmosphere, snappy dialogue, fast-paced action, and a sensuous romance between the two leads.

“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.”

“Out of the Shadows” is my 29th book, and the 8th entry in the Nick Seven canon. I should point out that the books do not need to be read in order. This one is the recipient of the Editor’s Choice award from Extasy Books, and was chosen for the prestigious Book of the Month slot at Readers Favorite. Not all of my books have been part of this series of Florida-based spy romances, though. I have a second ongoing series about a private eye named Vic Fallon, who hangs out on the Lake Erie shores in northern Ohio. I’ve also written several short holiday romances, and another series of summer beach reads under the umbrella title “Key West Heat.”

With so many books on the market, I’m often asked where the ideas come from. I wish I had an easy answer for that, but the truth is that they just pop into my head when I least expect them to. I might be reading a news item or watching a TV show and think “That’s interesting, but what if we did this instead? Which one of my characters would be good for this kind of adventure? Is there enough substance to spin it into a full-blown book plot?” Some of my stories were inspired by personal life events or an experience someone shared with me.

The basic elements of “Out of the Shadows” were influenced by some classic heist films, like “To Catch a Thief,” “Charade,” “Grand Slam,” and “Ocean’s 11.” There’s also a ripped-from-the-headlines element involving the young trophy widow of a convicted financial scammer and sex trafficker who supposedly killed himself in jail before he could name names. It was suggested by actual events, and you can fill in the blanks. To embellish the Keys atmosphere, I included a salty charter boat skipper who may remind film buffs of a gruff Irish shark hunter from the movie “Jaws.”

Of course, there are the usual lead characters, Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens. They both left the CIA to find peace in paradise, but somehow never manage to do so, thanks to past events intruding at unwanted times. They still generate more heat than Key West in July with their sensuous romantic banter and teasing. Here’s an example:

In a few minutes the parasail boat was 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, they 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.”

“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.”


If you’re in the mood to chase away the winter blahs and blues with an escape to a sultry climate, join Nick and Felicia as they outwit the bad guys in “Out of the Shadows.” I think you’ll enjoy the trip!

About the Author:

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.

“Out of the Shadows” is available in print and e-book format at Amazon Kindle