I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest romantic spy thriller, “One Way Out” (Nick Seven, Book 9). This is another breezy adventure set in the exotic Florida Keys, with interesting characters, vivid atmosphere, snappy dialogue, fast-paced action, and a sensuous romance between the two leads.

Lauren Scott is a wealthy widow with a lot of embarrassing secrets. Her late husband, a convicted stock swindler, died under mysterious circumstances, just as he was about to name names in Federal court. His legacy supposedly includes a list of VIPs who attended sex parties on a private Caribbean island, among other things. Now Lauren has become the target of too many people who think she holds the secrets he once kept, and they just might kill her for them. 

She calls on her friends, former CIA spies Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens, for help. Despite initial misgivings, they agree to assist her. But their laidback Florida Keys life is quickly disrupted by those in hot pursuit, including a zealous podcaster who is making Lauren’s private life public, a Treasury agent, victims of her late husband’s Ponzi scheme, and a Southern governor who has his eye on the White House.

Looks like there might be trouble brewing in paradise.

This year marks my 22nd anniversary as a published author, and “One Way Out” is my 30th book. Not all of them were 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 holiday romances, and another series of summer beach reads under the umbrella title “Key West Heat.”

I’ve referred to “One Way Out” as the book I wasn’t going to write. My previous release in this series, “Out of the Shadows,” did very well critically and commercially. I was surprised when fans of the Nick Seven adventures began asking “When will we see a sequel?” I hadn’t considered a follow-up to “Shadows” beyond another stand-alone series entry. Apparently, readers felt I had left some loose ends, and they wanted to know what happened next. The reality is that I ended “Shadows” with a question mark on purpose, sort of a “Did it happen or didn’t it? Will they discover the truth? Does the brass ring everyone is after really exist?”

The basic elements of “One Way Out” were influenced by some classic caper movies, like “Charade” and “The Maltese Falcon,” along with several Hitchcock films. There’s a strong current events element involving the young trophy widow of a convicted financial scammer and sex trafficker who was found hanging in his jail cell before he could testify in Federal court. It was suggested by actual events, and I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. I also included the governor of a southern state who has his eye on the White House, and may have been a guest at the island sex parties. You can probably name that person, too.

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:

Nick stood at the railing overlooking the Gulf, staring at the calm blue waters. A flamingo lazily walked along the rocky jetty that protruded near the boat dock into the water, its keen eyes alert for any small fish careless enough to swim too close to shore. Nick’s focus may have been idle but his mind was active, processing what they had learned earlier.

He came back to the present when he felt Felicia’s arm around his waist. He pulled her close and she rested her head on his chest.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” she asked.

“Nothing special.” He hesitated. “Actually, that isn’t true. I was thinking about how lucky I am, having you in my life.”

“What’s that they say about great minds thinkin’ alike?”

“That’s on your mind, too?”

Felicia placed her palm on Nick’s cheek and peered into his eyes. “Every day, tough guy. Every day.”

Nick gave her a firm hug and inhaled her musky scent. It was an erotic combination of Giorgio Red and her natural body chemistry that always kickstarted his libido, sending it into occasionally inconvenient directions. He pulled her a bit closer.

“Don’t ever change that cologne.”

Felicia giggled. “You like that, do you?”

“Always have.”

“You never get tired of lookin’ at this, do you?” Felicia asked.

“Never. There’s something mysterious about sunsets, the way they change color depending on their atmospheric mood.” He pointed to a dark cloud formation far away over the Gulf. “See that cloud in the middle over there? What does it look like to you?”

Felicia stared at it for a bit. “A seahorse. What do you think it looks like?”

“A woman riding a unicorn.”

Felicia laughed. “Seriously? Where did you get that?”

“I see a human shape that looks like it’s sitting on a horse, but there’s something protruding from the horse’s forehead.”

Felicia sighed and shook her head. “I worry about you sometimes.”

If you’re in the mood for an escape to a sultry location populated by interesting characters and adventure, join Nick and Felicia as they outwit the bad guys in “One Way Out.” I think you’ll enjoy the trip!

Blackmail, kidnapping, stalking, death threats…some days, you just can’t win!

Get your copy on Amazon today!

One Way Out (Nick Seven Book 9) – Kindle edition by Smith, Tim. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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